Sunday, March 30, 2014


Being a mom is draining. While our children fill our lives in beautiful and unique ways, they also require us to pour ourselves out completely. We pour our time, energy, love, creativity, patience, and attention into these tiny people. It's an honor to be the ones filling their cups, but still it's exhausting. By the end of each day, we are usually running on empty.

Moms, we must find ways to fill our own cups. When you are drained and depleted you cannot possibly pour into your little one. An empty soul cannot create a full one--to give life to our children, we must remember to give life to ourselves.

Recharging, refueling, doesn't require a weekend retreat (though wouldn't that be nice?!). After all, time is not a luxury many of us have in abundance. Over the past few weeks, I have realized more than ever that what refuels me now are the same things that I enjoyed before becoming a mom...I just have to make time for them. Breakfast with a friend, a double date, a quick night away with Andrew, going to a lecture I'm interested in, making time to actually go to counseling, a prayer service all alone, reading a really good book, buying a fun new fill-in-the-blank...for me, these are sacred. These everyday moments are where God speaks and soothes and gently fills my heart up, ready to be emptied again. I just have to make them happen. I have to make them a priority. I must realize that the time I spend away from my kids is sometimes just as vital to me being a good mother as the time I spend with them.

So take time to remember what you "used to" love, and find a way to incorporate a little of that back into your mom life. Make time to be something other than a mom every once in a while. Fill yourselves up, moms.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

purple sunshine

There are weeks that drive you to your stay-at-home mom wits' end. And this has been one of them. Sweet Barnes was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday, and despite the fact that both twins seem to be fully healed physically, the whining and crying and clinging and craziness has continued. My nerves are fraying. I have a saint of a husband who has helped as much as possible, but still, I'm running on empty. At times like this, you cling to the cuteness--to the moments when your little people amaze you. So to help me through the lingering crud, here are the precious things my twin monkeys are doing now that I want to store away for always.

  • Barnes has the most vivid, adorable imagination. His latest story to tell is about the colors of the sunshine.  Most mornings, he climbs into my lap while I pump and tells me what colors of sunshine he sees that day.  Red, pink, blue, yellow, orange, and purple are usual suspects.  And in case you were wondering, Donald Duck likes purple sunshine.
  • Frances has music in her soul. This girl walks around singing and dancing all day. If a restaurant is playing anything decently catchy, you can bet she'll be dancing in her seat. Her current favorites are the ABCs and Jesus Loves Me, though If You're Happy and You Know It ranks pretty high as well. Hearing her proclaim that "Yes, Jesus loves me" never gets old.
  • B&F are still obsessed with art time. They ask for it each morning and wait not so patiently for Shep to go down for his first nap so that we can pull a project out of our "art closet."
  • Barnes knows where everything is. If you lose something, anything, Barnes is likely to be the only one who can find it. It's uncanny, really.  Makes you wonder if he has something to do with items disappearing in the first place.
  • Barnes loves stuffed animals. LOVES. His crib looks like an animal convention. And he takes care of them. Back in the day, B had three wubbanubs (pacifiers connected to little animals). We cut the pacifiers off long ago, but the little dogs and frog have stayed in the crib, and now each one is assigned to one of his three favorite friends. The frog is Snoopy's paci, and the two dogs belong to Mickey and Donald. And each night at bedtime, he makes sure that the pacis are properly distributed.
  • Frances loves her baby brother, and he loves her right back. She always goes into his room with me to get him out of his crib...she likes to hold his hand through the rails. She loves to "play" with him, and he gives her some of his very biggest smiles.
  • Frances not only takes care of her baby brother, she takes excellent care of her babies. She gives them bottles, makes their baby food, changes their clothes and diapers, and takes them on walks daily. This girl is all about the babies.
  • Barnes is so very particular about clothes. He usually goes through at least three shirt options before deciding on one he will wear. I have totally given up on him looking cute ever again (clothes wise, because his precious face is cute everyday). And his obsession with clothes trickles into laundry as well. He loves to "help fold" and put his own clothes in the washer and dryer.
  • Frances has become quite the little dog walker. She loves to go with mom and prefers to walk Stella, since Stella's leash is pink. She calls it her "exercise." She is not so patient with the dogs, saying "Come On Cooper/Stella" more times than you can count, but I love having her join me on our afternoon excursions.
Overall, two and a half is fun. The tantrums can be trying, but the fun times more than make up for it.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

shep is 6 months old!

Happy Half Birthday, Shepherd! I can't believe my little doll baby has been in our family for a whole six months. My sweet boy is such a joy--so happy, content, and easy these days. I wish I could share him with each of you for a day, as you can't help but smile when you're with him.

Shep is loving food and doing so well with learning to eat. So far he has had bananas, apples, sweet potato and squash, and he hasn't met a puree he doesn't enjoy. The only "food" he doesn't love is previously frozen milk...this kid has quite the discerning palate. He's working on his sitting skills and can sometimes stay upright for a few seconds at a time. His favorite activity is exersaucer time--I think standing feels good to his adorably chunky thighs. He loves his mini Sophie giraffe, his sterling ring rattle, and some chewy books. He's getting interested in hair, which is painful for mom and the dogs since he knows how to grab on but not so much how to let go. Shep is the wiggliest, rolling-est baby around. He can barrel roll across the floor in seconds, so trying to keep him on a blanket and away from twin germs is proving to be impossible.

We are so in love with our little monkey man and look forward to seeing what the next 6 months have in store.

loves his toes

that gorgeous smile

thighs for days

Friday, March 14, 2014

potty time

Y'all....the twins are officially potty trained! Our diaper use (and contribution to the demise of the environment) has significantly decreased. While I try not to brag too much, I can't help myself here. Barnes & Frances completely rocked potty training. We started on a Friday and were leaving the house in underwear by Sunday. Within days they had truly figured this thing out.

What were the keys to our success? M&Ms, hershey kisses, stickers, a froggy potty in the back of our car, and temporarily turning our living room into a double bathroom. While I had seriously dreaded potty training two tiny people at once, it was far less scary than I imagined.

We are so proud of our two little potty-using toddlers!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

my lenten cleanse

Since our move, we've been living in chaos. Bookcases with house shoes. A master bedroom that looks like a cardboard box convention. And while I haven't exactly been sitting around getting pedicures every day, at some point you must find time for what is important. And the way I live, the way I treat things and my home, is important. You see, I want my children to appreciate the things they have. I want them to be grateful and treat worldly possessions, both theirs and others, with respect. But as I learn every single day, children are parrots. They do what they see. To learn gratitude and respect, they must see gratitude and respect. And having piles of clothes that you don't know where to store is not exactly a great example.

Today is the beginning of Lent. Lent is the season set aside for Christians to prepare for the celebration of the Lord's passion, death and resurrection. During Lent, we are called in a special way to examine our lives and seek out those things that separate us from our God. And what separates me from God? Stuff. Wanting stuff, "needing" stuff, worrying about stuff, stressing over the details of stuff. My home is filled with stuff that occupies my time and mind. So this Lent, I am doing a "recently moved" version of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.* I hope to declutter, organize, and simplify my physical world, and in so doing affect my spirit as well. While making space in my home, I will make space in my soul for God's grace and glory to shine in. After all, aren't our physical surroundings all too often a reflection of our insides? Don't our homes give a tiny glimpse into our hearts?

I'm not aiming for perfection here. I do have three tiny people working against my attempts at organization. But as in any spiritual discipline, perfection is not demanded. God loves us amidst our messes. I'm just praying that by Easter my mess is a little less messy...

*If you want to learn more about this challenge, google it and you can find tons of resources.