Parenting 101 (part 2): Enjoying the View

Tonight, like every night, I will kiss my kids and tuck them into bed, and pray they don’t remember how I’ve failed them. I will lay in my bed, like every night, and think of how to be better, love better, be more present, be more prepared and ask myself, “how do I not fail tomorrow?”

The answer is the same. You are here. You are present. You love them. You are a good Mom. It’s not what you do. It’s not what you say. It’s that you love. And I love you.

I spent five days in the hospital, and by God’s grace He made me grateful for it. 
I saw the leaves on the trees. I was able to look above the concrete, from the elevator hallway floor-to-ceiling windows, and see creation.  

I saw people. Hurting people. Lonely people. Chronic pain. 100s cycled through; hundreds cycled through- just the NE wing: floor 7- in five days.

I saw my friends. I saw love. I saw compassion. I saw that I matter to a lot of people. I saw that I am not alone. As much as I believe that horrible lie, I saw that I am NOT alone.

I saw my husband. I saw how much he cares for our family. I saw how much he protects me. I saw his unique, individual, only-Joseph-shows-empathy-to-me-this-way love. 

I saw my kids. Not just their physical bodies. I didn’t just hear their words. By God’s grace I saw their hearts. 

When they weren’t even there, I saw them. I saw that my performance and parenting skills, at which I have often boastfully reassured myself to be good, does not produce mathematical results. I saw that there are not always answers to every question. I saw that I don’t have to make up an answer to every question when I can’t find one. I saw that my life that I define as “Crazy” is beautiful. 

I missed them. I missed the crazy that I often want to run and hide from. 

It was oddly bittersweet getting into those elevators; I knew I would not be able to stop several times a day, feel the warm sun peering through the glass, and see the view above the buildings. 

It’s amazing how quickly the images of hurting people leave my mind’s eye when the day to day tasks and frustration arise.

It’s amazing how all that I “saw” starts to become blurred by the distorted lenses of fear and doubt.

I am choosing to take off those lenses. I’ve done this before in other ways on my journey, but this time I don’t want to put them in their protected case. I want to step on them, crush them, destroy them, so they can never be worn again. Anyone with me?

Let’s take off the lenses of shame. 

Let’s take off the lenses of judgement. 

Let’s take off the lenses of doubt.

 Let’s take off the lenses of fear. 

Let’s let anxiety be the uncomfortable, itchy eye-sore we never want to enter our home, instead of wearing it like our cozy sweatpants we’ve had for ten years that we don’t want to get rid of.

And for those of you who don’t identify with any of this parenting stuff, love those in your life who might. Spend time with them so yours eyes see a little more clearly the reality they face daily. “See” them. Listen to them. Ask questions. Offer help with your hands not your mouth. 

Use your mouth to speak words of encouragement. If you start to judge, self-reflect. It’ll be better for everyone, including yourself! Maybe you’ll see the amazing qualities you have to be life-giving to someone who feels hopeless and helpless.

I Love this picture of my daughter and I hiking! 

This is friendship.

There are many mountains we will climb in this life. Let’s not kick someone in the knees and make them fall to their face. Let’s help lift each other up when it’s needed. Let’s walk side by side. Let’s find a walking stick to empower each other and strengthen each other. 

Find your people. Be that person to someone. Love even when it’s hard. Be the light that shines hope in the darkness not a magnifying glass to imperfections. 

Who’s in?

I used to say, “until my munchkins next nap,” but in this season the reality is my writing will wait, “until the next time I have an opportunity.” So in the meantime, surrender, smile, breathe, cry if you need to, kiss those you love, and find an opportunity to make someone’s day, not break it. 

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Parenting 101: The Test

Parenting feels like a multiple choice test. 

Not like a scantron where there’s actually a right answer. No. It’s the type where all the answers could be right and you have to select the best one. 

You ask yourself (as time is ticking), “what is the BEST for THIS situation!” 

You choose.

Sometimes you’re right. Sometimes you’re wrong. Sometimes no matter what you choose… you’re wrong because there actually is not a correct answer. 

Sometimes you try “all of the above” and you’re still wrong. 

Because, my friends, in parenting, your strong-willed kid is that professor that gets to choose (not morally, ethically, or actually) what he thinks is right and wrong depending on his mood.  

No matter how much reading, studying, discussing, and reasoning you have done to come up with the best answer, if the professor has a different opinion, there is no changing his mind.


Example
: Your kid throws sand in another kid’s face. What is the appropriate response?

Answer

  • A. Walk over calmly take the shovel, explain (for the 100th time in his life) that it’s mean/not nice/disrespectful/not ok to throw sand. Tell him to make sure the other kid is ok. Tell your kid to apologize. 
  • B. Remove kid from situation. Give him a time out for making a bad choice. When time out is over, have him apologize.
  • C. Take shovel. Spank kid’s bottom for being mean. Tell him it’s unacceptable behavior and to make it right.
  • D. Leave the park. Your kid knows it’s not ok to act that way. Tell your kid if he wants to be at the park, he needs to earn the privilege of being at a park back by being respectful at home. 
  • E. Ignore it. They’re kids. They need to be able to work out conflict on their own and establish relationship rolls.

I’ve read about and come up with all sorts of great solutions. The reality is though, the ideas that “you’re the parent, and the kid will behave perfectly if you’ve done your part to establish authority” or ” your kid just wants to feel safe, if they feel loved and secure their behavior will follow suit” aren’t always true. 

So many people I know, including myself, who battle either depression, anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, addictive behavior, and many other debilitating conditions were not allowed to take ownership of their choices and emotions as a child, and were often even criticized for them. 

Anyone else familiar with, “children are to be seen and not heard”, “children are to only speak when spoken to”, “she’s a child, she doesn’t understand”, “he’s a kid, he doesn’t know what he wants”?

When you witness scenarios like the example above, you might ask. “How old is the kid?” “Does he know better?” Was this the first time?” “Why is he throwing sand. That’s mean! Why is he so mean?” Do you compare him to all the other kids you “know”?

These are all great questions and concerns. They’ve gone through my head too. Both as a observer/bystander and about my own kids. 

Sometimes we don’t see the invisible ink:

  • F. There is no correct response.

Come on Moms, if we’re honest with ourselves and each other, we know that “breast is best” doesn’t work for a baby who’s Mommy can’t produce milk. Sleep training does not work for every kid. Some kids refuse a pacifier and will only suck their thumb. Potty training boot camp works wonders for some families, and for others it produces bathroom anxiety and long term digestive issues.

I have a secret… It’s all ok. 

Moms, it’s ok. 

Dads, it’s ok. 

This is not a test.

Do you need to do something? Absolutely, you are a parent; however, this is NOT a test.

Now, to the really nosey people who think that your “expert opinion” matters, it ok. It’s really ok that “those parents” aren’t doing it “your” way! 

It is NOT ok, however, for you to make them feel less-than. It’s NOT ok for you to give your opinion if it’s not asked for. Your unsolicited advice is hurtful and unnecessary. If you’ve had kids, you had your chance to raise THEM. 

If you want to mentor younger parents, then love on them, spend time to know them AND their kids, and if they ask a question, you then have permission to answer. You have been invited. Trust me, we need more of you who truly care!! We need more safe people. Otherwise, you are an intruder and are trespassing. Zip it please!! 

We forget sometimes that kids are people. They have brains. Emotions. Sometimes BIG emotions. Thoughts. Opinions. Good days. Bad days. Tired days. Tantrum days.

Oh ya, can we talk about this for a second?

Any one of those answers to the above situation, by the way, could result in a tantrum.  Some, for a child, are totally controllable and are out of complete defiance. Others, however, I believe happen when a child’s amazing developing brain is unable to process and respond to both the facts and emotions at the same time.  All the circumstances are so overwhelming that his or her mind and body explodes like ticking time-bomb.

I absolutely believe it is my responsibility to teach my children respect and kindness and integrity and love and patience and self-control.  

I am also learning that all I can do is teach it and model it. And most importantly pray about it. I cannot demand it. The more I push and strive and strain to control my children, the more out of control I become.

So, I pray for my own self-control. 

My kid is going to do what he wants to do because he is a person. He is not a programmable machine. He is not a dog that I can give a treat for good behavior and expect that he will eventually behave a certain way and make all the right choices.

Does positive reinforcement work? Absolutely! It encourages. It shows that there are good consequences and rewards for good behavior. But it does not change a heart.  

Do consequences work? Absolutely! They establish boundaries. Kids need to know what is ok and what is not ok. They need to know there are rules in life even as adults, and there are consequences for making bad choices. But it does not change a heart.

My kids also need Jesus, just like I need Jesus every day. When I come to Him, Jesus shows me my heart. He shows me when I totally mess up and yell or when I ignore because I don’t want to deal with it, when I make choices out of control or selfishness, and He forgives me and helps me start over or “push the restart button” like we say in our house. The reality is I make my own choices too, and I fail daily. 

I pray I bear the Spirit’s fruit of self-control because I am not strong enough to will it upon myself.

If you’re that frustrated Mom out there, like I am today, and you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing is working. Please don’t feel defeated. I feel pretty defeated on a lot of days, and you know what, I’m worth more than that. You’re worth more than that.  Though we feel beat up all day long, we are not punching bags.

You have value. You have purpose. 

We are not taking a test, being graded by the successful responses or good choices of our children.  

Observers, please stop grading us.

We grade ourselves. We judge ourselves. God gave our kids to us and us to them for a reason. We will do many things to mess up along the way, but it’s in those moments, when we can’t do it on our own, that we hopefully realize God’s strength to guide us through.

Please don’t assume we are bad parents because of the choices our kids make. 

Please don’t assume we are good parents because of the choices our kids make.

Please don’t assume anything.

Coming from a very opinionated person on a tough journey learning the time and place to put voice to my thoughts. Coming from a person who cares so deeply for people, and truly wants to see people grow and learn and flourish into the person they are created to be for the life they live: 

Use your mouth to speak words of encouragement. If you start to judge, self-reflect. It’ll be better for everyone, including yourself! Maybe you’ll see the amazing qualities in which God has gifted you, to be life-giving to someone who feels hopeless and helpless.

Parents, we can be protected from our head to our toes with salvation, righteousness, faith, truth, the Spirit, and peace. 

If you’re down on the ground, rise up to your knees, say a prayer. He’ll heal those wounds and support you as you rise back to your feet.  

I love brainstorming with other moms. The learning does not stop with the many incredible tools from my Mommy friends, podcasts (shout out to the seriously life-changing God Centered Mom), and other bloggers who have great parenting insight. Here’s the reality: those tools are super helpful, and sometimes nothing works! 

It’s ok. 

Tonight, like every night, I will kiss my kids and tuck them into bed, and pray they don’t remember how I’ve failed them. I will lay in my bed, like every night, and think of how to be better, love better, be more present, be more prepared and ask myself, “how do I not fail tomorrow?”

The answer is the same. You are here. You are present. You love them. You are a good Mom. It’s not what you do. It’s not what you say. It’s that you love. And my daughter, you love deeply. And I love you.

Breathe. Smile. Rest. 

I used to say, “until my munchkin’s next nap,” but in this season, the reality is my writing will wait until the next time I have an opportunity. So in the meantime, surrender, smile, breathe, cry if you need to, kiss those you love, and find an opportunity to make someone’s day, not break it. 

Top 10 Life Lessons

I was challenged by my uncle to list my Top 10 Life’s Lessons. I think I relearned all of these lessons simply by thinking about them all over again.

I saw this quote today not long after I received this challenge and its so fitting:

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What a great way to move forward and be present: reflect on how the past has made me who I am today.

1. Don’t gossip:
At a very young age I learned how hurtful words can be. It’s not worth trash talking people I love for the sake of keeping other “friends.” If they gossip to me, they’ll gossip about me.

Learn who you can trust:
My most valued and cherished friendships are girls who are honest, brutally honest sometimes, but who love me enough to be honest. There is no flattery! There is encouragement. We aren’t afraid to be down in the trenches with each other when needed, but we also help lift each other out of them.

2. Stop worrying about what others think of me:
I still have to remind myself of this one. Most of the time what I perceive other people to be “thinking” are just my own insecurities projected onto them. God gave me my own conviction, passion, and vision. The more I focus on others’ approval the less I focus on God’s purpose.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially when it comes to food:
I lived most of my childhood hating seafood. I had only had salmon BBQd, “well”-done, with a either lemon or a brown sugar glaze. Bbllleecckk! Now, hand over the sashimi or catch it fresh on the rivers of Idaho and sear it with a little salt and pepper medium-medium rare…now we’re talking!! I had never tried sushi until I was 21 because I was told eating raw food was dangerous.

Most everything tastes good if made the right way!!!!

4. Smile:
If someone looks grumpy or rude, smile, say “hello”. I’m only responsible for my own attitude and actions. More often than not, I discover how nice people really are. Some are just deep in thought, more reserved or not having a good day. When I smile, it makes their day and my day too!

5. I am my son’s (and soon to be born daughter’s) Mommy for a reason:
God gave him to me, not someone else. Not the over-opinionated old lady leaving the grocery store who thinks my 8 month old needs to be wearing sunglasses for his 30 second trip inside. Not to the family member or friend who sees things differently. We (my hubby &I) make decisions for our children based on prayer and the convictions God has given us.

It is important to learn from other people’s experiences and heed the wisdom, but discernment is also necessary. Just because there’s a blog that says this or that doesn’t mean our choice was wrong…just different than how that family decided to do things for their child(ren)…and that’s OK!

We need to support and love each other with our words and actions, not judge and tear each other down.

6. Forgive myself:
I make mistakes. I can and have been well-intentioned and still hurt people. Good people do bad things sometimes, and it’s not always on purpose. Being humble and apologizing is huge, but still not always received. Forgive myself, learn the lesson, move on and don’t repeat the same mistake. Living in the past just prevents me from being my best now and in the future.

7. Quinoa is a superfood: It is a complete protein:
It serves as a great alternative for pasta or rice. There are many delicious ways to cook it, both alone- hot and cold (mmm yummy greek salad!!)- or in a casserole or some other fun Pinterest recipe. Try it!
(This leads me to my next lesson)

8. Quinoa should not replace everything:
Meat is good! Sometimes you just need a good steak…or chicken…or ground beef or sausage. God created plants AND animals for us to enjoy. There are few things better than my Nana’s Rosemary Garlic Rack-of-lamb or All Day Meat Sauce!

9. Lighten up:
I’m still working on this one… One of God’s greatest gifts to me is my husband Joseph. He teaches me how to laugh at myself and not take life so seriously all the time. And now I have a son, with his Daddy’s sense of humor, who by 16 months had discovered the humor in hiding and jumping out to scare me.

I love to laugh and have a good sense of humor, but I also know I’m not that funny, so my most memorable moments are when I surround myself with people who help bring the silly out of me.

This reminds me of one of the funniest road trips: crank up the music in the car with a good friend, do some hand motions while you dance, and sing as loud as you can…and if you end up on the wrong freeway, remember the lesson: lighten up:)

10. Miracles do happen:
God heals! The stories in the Bible are important to teach us lessons in history, but Go is the same God now.

I, personally, within a 6 year period, was diagnosed with a chronic digestive disorder, suffered migraines, anxiety, had mysterious inflammation that “wasn’t quite rheumatoid arthritis”, a brain tumor, and was told it would probably be impossible to have children. All of which through prayer and God’s Grace are completely gone.

God wants to be present and in our lives, but He doesn’t force Himself. We must invite Him to participate. He wants to show us His power that will work in us, through us, and around us.

Until my munchkin’s next nap time: I challenge you and encourage you to Make your own list.

It’s really cool what happens in your brain and in your heart when you write stuff like this down. If you’re comfortable sharing some of them, I’d love for you to comment. I can always handle some more learning from others.

Do you ever feel isolated, depressed, or alone? How do you break it? This is what I did today.

Do you ever feel isolated, depressed, or alone? How do you break it? This is what I did today.

I started off this week super productive. After staying up late Sunday night meal planning to stretch my dwindled budget through the end of the month, I was up early for a doctors appointment. I made breakfast, loaded up all the necessities for me and my munchkin for the day (food, food, and more food), got him up and dressed and out the door. After the doctor, it was Costco, Target, Sprouts, then back home in time for lunch and nap.

Feeling über-motivated, I decided to meal plan for the month. I went Pinterest crazy with recipes and strategies. In the meantime, I made homemade chili with my best friend, Mr. Crockpot.

After nap I enjoyed an amazing afternoon playing chase, follow-the-leader, soccer, and rolling and dancing on the grass outside with my favorite little buddy, while waiting for “Daddy” to get home for dinner.

Following such a productive, fun Monday, you’d think I was set up for a successful week. Why then did I wake up tired, sore, sad, and sluggish?

Besides the obvious “I’m pregnant” response, there was something else wrong. All morning I battled this depressive and emotional state and nothing was fixing it.

I had a good breakfast and took my son to the park to get out of the house.

The empty park mimicked the desolate feeling in my heart. The family of crows seemed to mock my aloneness as they sat in the tree above me squawking and shaking the branches. It’s kind of funny now, in hind site.

Ever since we relocated for my husband’s work, I have eagerly sought out different locations to meet other moms. I so desperately need people in my life, as I think we all do, I’m just ultra-aware of how much I care about the people in my life.

Maybe it’s because from a very young age it seemed like every best friend I ever made moved away not long after. This taught me that maintaining friendships requires a lot of work on both parts. I have found that most of the time the other party doesn’t put in the same effort. I have also found that my very closest friendships DO put in the work. And we chase after each other if a few weeks have gone by without a call.

The hardest reality for me right now is that I haven’t connected with anyone in this new city. One mom and I connected immediately and then after a few unsuccessful attempts of getting together, she started back at work. Since all the other kids I see at the playground are raised by nannies, I thought I’d form some friendships there. We had some fun mornings digging in the sand with our little ones, until the parents decided preschool was the best summer option for their two-year old.

Eeeeevvvvery-once-in-awhile I see other moms with kids on play dates and wonder, “How the heck did they meet? It must have been “Gymboree” or “Mommy and Me”.

This morning I called my sister, who lives five hours north of here, crying because I felt so alone and isolated. I battled uncontrollable tears. In this crowded overpopulated city, where is everyone?

Have you ever felt like loneliness was drowning you?

It’s a weird reality that nothingness can feel like a giant ocean swallowing you in the waves.

As my sister and I often find in our conversations, I make the bitter comments about how “all the moms are working and letting nannies and preschool raise their kids” and she being a full-time working mom of two kids under three makes the comments about how moms who are home have “so much more time to get things done”…on and on go the differences.

Despite our vast differences, we both know in the depths of our hearts that we want the best for our kids, and each other’s kids; we long for our children to be happy, healthy, God-fearing individuals who love The Lord and want to serve and love others.

We talked today about how we all have different realities, but ultimately the only way to survive our worlds is relationship and support.

After our brief heart-to-heart moment we both scurried off the phone to chase our toddlers onto their next adventure.

I still felt empty. Really? Can’t this darkness just leave already? I have an amazing child to hang out with, yet I feel alone.

We left the park to do our little lunch and nap routine at home.

We finished reading and singing and I began to pray before putting him to bed.

It hit me.

Since he was a newborn, I have prayed the scripture, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper in the name of Jesus,” and we put on the full armor of God. Now that he’s older he’s able to repeat what I say and is learning where the armor goes. It’s been such a joy listening and watching him get excited about participating.

Today, as we said these things together God reminded me that “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!!!” This verse has power! Not only to protect us as we sleep (like we had just prayed), but that it’s God’s Word, His promise to me that when I stand in faith and in His reality, not my own, that the Enemy cannot mess with me. I am God’s child. I am protected under the blood that Jesus shed to conquer Sin.

I put my munchkin down. As I thought about this verse my emotion didn’t change, but I mustered up the energy to say those words out loud again. This time believing them for myself.

Do you ever feel so defeated that even the truth seems impossible to listen to?

Let me encourage you today. That was me this morning! I muttered those words once and the heaviness felt just a little bit lighter. I said them again.

I’m not going to over-dramatize the results and tell you the skies opened up, a light shined down and a beautiful choir started singing in the background… I will tell you this, the darkness left!!! To that I say, “Thank you, Jesus!” I am ready to face the rest of my day, whatever the reality of today might be. I’m putting a smile on my face, and doing my full-time job, the job and purpose God has set before me:

I am going to nurture the precious, little, miracle 19-month old baby boy with whom God blessed me.

I can only live my life, not everyone else’s. I can only pray God sends me wonderful friends in this new place and trust that He will, just as He lifted the darkness today.

In the meantime, until my munchkin’s next nap: Be someone’s friend. My life lesson for today: I’m going to stop looking for friends and start looking for opportunities to be one. I’ll start by smiling.

How much better do you feel when someone walks by and you actually acknowledge each other’s existence with a smile or “hello”?

Will you join me?
Will you commit to being a friend to someone?

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Food for Thought

I applaud my friends who on a daily basis offer healthy food choices to their children. It is a full time job being a parent, and it’s not easy making the time to read up on the latest info to better our kids’ lifestyle. Yet, I am surrounded by moms who selflessly sacrifice precious sleep to do the research and pass it along via text, Facebook, Pinterest and whatever other social media outlet reaches the masses. I have learned so much from you! And am excited to see that other moms care so much about their children’s’ well-being, even if it means its not popular to all who scrutinize us under their microscopes.

Why is it that most people in the the generations preceding us can’t get the clue? Are they so exhausted from parenting that they’ve “earned the right” to throw junk food down our kids’ throats? Or is it ignorance? Why do I constantly have to justify or explain that I’d rather feed my child blueberries or grapes than crackers and cookies. I don’t care that they’re organic! But thanks for the effort.

If a grown adult ate bread, cookies, and crackers all day, any right-minded person would know this leads to diabetes and a slew of other health issues. Why are these ok to give our kids?

I’m not saying these are never ok, but my goodness, they don’t need to be the go-to foods. You can wash an apple just as fast as you can open a cracker box.

Our precious innocent children, who have yet to create their own bad eating habits, are being subjected to this junk to pacify the whines. No one wants to support the younger, educated, “health obsessed” generation in raising healthy kids simply because of the old-school thought, ” I did it this way, you-turned-out-fine” argument. If we all turned out fine, than why are we all doing so much research to find a better way?

If everyone’s fine than why are so many people suffering from digestive disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the like? Every doctor wants to blame anxiety. Why don’t we face the facts and look at the side effects of some of the preservatives put in our food?

Disodium phosphate or tripotassium phosphate for instance-the binding agent in most foods such as the popular Cheerios. Almost every household in America is taught by doctors that these fabulous O’s help infants strengthen their dexterity. Has anyone bothered to look at the side effects of these ingredients? Or the OSHA warnings for that matter ? Or what these ingredients are also used for?

I’m not here to claim to be an expert and provide all that info to you, but what I’d like is for people to stop pretending they know what’s best for my child, and stop questioning my parenting choices. I doubt and question my choices enough. I don’t need aunts, uncles, grandparents, or random strangers at the grocery store giving me funny looks, ignoring me telling them not to feed my son that cookie because “he says he wants it.” Of course he does!! He’d watch hours of television (don’t get me started on my thoughts on tv and other media) or drink a piña colada I’m sure, if I let him. Does it mean its good for him? NO!! of course not!!

My sister shared a link that’s been circulating Facebook about how parenting choices that are failing this generation of kids. One of the author’s points is that “we’ve lost the village”. I totally agree. The village needs to support the parents’ choices. It’s not “your mommy/daddy says no”. It’s “that’s a no” “we all agree its a no and support each other in setting healthy boundaries.” A toddler throws a tantrum because (s)he is learning how to process and express emotion. This does not mean we give her/him anything (s)he wishes.

I feel like I just went on a rant, but this is a desperate cry for people to learn respect! I thought that as I became more confident in my parenting choices that I wouldn’t care so much about all the opinions or that I’d get more respect or a response from people. Wrong! Nothing’s changed, and quite frankly I’m tired of it!

We’re expecting our second child at the end of the year, and I’m sure I’m going to learn more about myself and this process with our new addition. But Lord help me if I have to deal with more comments about “how different two are” or “I’ll lighten up when the second comes” or “I won’t care as much.” I’ve seen plenty of moms with multiple children still making the same healthy choices as they did with their first. I pray I can be that diligent, and I have so much respect for their choices!

We all parent with different perspectives, paradigms, realities, and choices, but it’s up to us and the communities around us to support each other in those differences. But why is it that children with cellulite on their legs get “goos” and “gaahs” and cute nicknames as they shove chicken nuggets and donuts in their mouths and then we wonder in disgust why adults have eating disorders? People celebrate those parents and tell me to lighten up.

I talk to moms that don’t get to be home all the time with their kids that complain that they “can’t tell someone else how to raise their child.”

I’m here to say, “yes you can! (S)He’s your child!! I know that in order for a lot of people to survive these days two incomes are necessary, but guess what, don’t sacrifice your child’s well-being by making excuses for the caregiver. They’re getting paid, and if not, then its someone who loves your child enough to watch him/her for free and therefore should love him/her enough to make healthy choices. If not, do the extra work and pack the food yourself so there’s no excuse.

I know I’m not going to make everyone happy every time I write, but please know my heart is to encourage you. I want to learn from my own mistakes and other’s successes. I welcome feedback and questions with love.

Until my munchkin’s next nap (or my next sleepless night), I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I hope my life lessons can promote community and respect for others. Now, I need to figure out how to smile and shut off my brain so I can sleep. Now is a good time to let go and let God.

Trust Yourself: Don’t Always Believe What the Doc Says

“Oh really, what makes you think you have cysts on your ovaries?”

“Well, all my symptoms show either I’m pregnant or I have cysts.”

“You can’t have cysts if you aren’t ovulating yet. Did you take a pregnancy test?”

“I did. It was negative.”

“I don’t know what I can do to convince you that nothing’s wrong! My job is to specialize as an OBGYN! If I check everything and everything is normal then I’ve done my job!”

This was part of my very frustrating conversation with my doctor in the middle of March.

I really like this doctor by the way. And I do trust him. He delivered our first son, and was my doctor for three years prior. We’ve always had a great relationship with really open communication. He’s always been very thorough answering questions and as a father very compassionate and understanding of whatever concerns I had. I would still recommend him! ok, I’ll stop! This isn’t a YELP ad. Something about me going in “self-diagnosed” irked him and his nurse, and the conversation went south.

I’m choosing to give grace, understanding that maybe they were just having a bad day.

I knew something was up, though! My hormones were going crazy! I was breaking out like a teenage girl. I had strange abdominal bloating and cramping. My appetite was changing.

“I swear I’m not a hypochondriac! I know something is different with my body! I just feel off and want to know what to do!!!”

I’m still breastfeeding. I never started my “monthly cycle” after having the munchkin (sorry for the details, but its true). According to the doctor I can’t be ovulating.

AND…the pregnancy test said, negative.

All this is to say, “I am pregnant!!!”

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10 weeks!! Due 12/3/14!! There’s the little peanut right there!!

Yes, if you’re wondering, that’s ONE week before my munchkin’s 2nd birthday!!!

10 weeks!! This means I was just under 2 weeks pregnant when I saw my doctor and a couple days pregnant when I actually called to make the appointment.

My doctor apparently didn’t do “everything”. He should’ve given me a blood test to check, but didn’t. He relied on my 99 Cent Store negative test result (which, by the way, was also the one that showed positive a month later) rather than my instincts. He did an ultrasound, but I have since found out, and you should note this, you can’t see the baby until almost 4 weeks.

So how did I finally find out? A few weeks after my doctor visit I was still feeling off. My clothes weren’t fitting the same, smells started to get weird, and what did it for me was the coffee brewing Friday morning before work. I about lost it! The only thing that would remedy the nausea after that was a Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell. Two all-too-familiar feelings from my first pregnancy!!!

The moving truck was scheduled for pick up Saturday morning at 9:30. I was so excited for our new place and to start a new home for our family. I did not want to find out the night before our move. I wanted to just wait until we were settled in our cozy new apartment.

“Just TAKE a test!”
“I don’t want to!”
an hour later
“I can’t believe you’re not taking a freakin’ test!”
“FINE!!”

Positive! it didn’t even need the full two minutes. It didn’t even need two seconds. Two lines immediately.

God has a funny sense of humor! I was praying for a fresh start and new beginnings.

He gave us a new adventure for sure!

I love where we live. I’m just ready for this all day sickness to pass so I can make it more homey and be more present as a mom and wife. I am so thankful for my husband! We make a good team, but right now I feel like I’m stuck on the bench and he’s doing all the work. He is so gracious and so patient with me.

Thank you Joseph! I love you so much! P.S. You’re Hott!

Until, my munchkin’s next nap time:
Trust yourself! You know your body better than anyone. Trust God! His timing is better than your own. If you try to control your life too much, you’ll miss out on some incredible blessings He has for you. Or He’ll choose to bless you anyways to show you that you’re not in control! I’ve been on that end a few times too. Don’t forget to smile! Even on the hardest of days, a smile seems to make it a little brighter. If you can’t get yourself to smile, look at this one, his always helps me!!

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I want to hear your thoughts and stories.
How did you find out you were pregnant?

Did you know right away?

Has your doctor ever been wrong about something?

How did you stand up for yourself?

I had to find a new doctor since we moved: Should I call my previous doctor and tell him?

My March of Indulgences with “The Traveling toddler”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little absent from the writing world.

Well, here I am back for a brief visit. I’ll spare you some details (not because they’re uninteresting, in fact if you love a good roller coaster ride, the last two years of my life would probably give you quite the thrill) because, honestly, I’m still in the middle of a long two year ride on the “Dave Ramsey Plan”.

There is so much reward in all the sacrifice financially, emotionally, and my dear sweet sanity, but we’re just still working on it and waiting for it.

When I’m on the victory side of the long underground tunnel, I’ll share the dirty details. For now, there’s this faint light at the end that seems to be getting brighter, but a lot slower than I’d like.

To distract myself from the emotion of these life lessons, I’ve been learning some fun new indulgences recipes in the wonderful healthy, mom-on-the-go, crockpot-cooking world as well as some indulgent not-so-healthy, but organic desserts in the meantime.

This amazing chocolate, peanut butter cup double layer cake with peanut butter whip topped with more peanut butter cups is one of them.20140327-142759.jpg</a
Recipe:

I opted for an organic chocolate cake and organic pudding mix as well as chocolate peanut cups from Sprouts Farmer’s Market, rather than the Reese’s, and let me tell you:

“it was the best cake I’ve ever had in my life!!!”

The confidential feedback from several family members who didn’t want to offend anyone. 😉 But at the end of the day we all agreed so I don’t think they’d mind my divulgence of information.

Another indulgent treat on this Dave Ramsey Plan journey, is implementing the “put a name to every dollar” idea. This discipline allowed us to plan a wonderful, much-needed family vacation to Seattle.

We visited the Space Needle:
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We went to the Seattle Zoo:
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This is my munchkin making his giraffe face.

We visited the Aquarium:
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My Boys Impersonating the otter’s eating.

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Pike’s Market:
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Our indulgent SIX Dollar Apple Fritter:

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Wine Tasting with our incredible friends who hosted us at there beautiful home:20140327-145533.jpg20140327-145557.jpg20140327-145617.jpg

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Seattle Science Center:

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Overall such a fantastic trip I wanted to share some of our memorable moments with you. Here’s one last one of me and my amazing hubby:
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Until my munchkin’s next nap time: Smile and just remember, when you’re going through a tough time, make time for yourself, your family, and your friends. It’s amazing how a brief break from the everyday routine can rejuvenate and reenergize you to finish the course.

I was reminded at Bible Study this morning to “finish the race”. Don’t quit along the way because it gets rough. You can do it! I believe in you! A lot of other people do too. Now, YOU just new to believe you can do it!<