Friday, May 20, 2011

My life.

I never thought I'd pick another person's boogers,
I never shared a blanket all night long.
I never imagined singing the same song on repeat for hours on end.
I never realized how little sleep I need.
I never held the power to calm someone's tears and fears,
until you came into my life.

I told myself I had to stop being afraid of the dark when you got here, baby girl, but I just can't promise you that it isn't scary,
and I can't promise you that there are not monsters in the closet or an alligator under your bed,
because I kind of think there are some in my room, too.
But we can just snuggle together, because when we do, they don't seem to bother me at all.

My baby is 11 months old. What an amazing almost year it has been. What a treasure, a gift. Lord, I pray I have done well mothering her and raising her well. My sweet baby B-lyn.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Missing and loving

I miss late night feedings, but I love sleeping all night.

I miss snuggling in bed, but I love wrestling and tossing you into the blankets.

I miss sleeping all day together, but I love playing more.

I miss non-smelly poops, but it is nice to share mealtime with you.

I miss having a clean house, but I love that you are the reason for my messes.

I miss having you in my bedroom, but I love that you are independent.

I haven't missed out on many moments.

I absolutely love the little girl you are becoming.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where we're at.

Lately Brooklyn,

- has shown a true liking to yogurt, full body flail (that others may consider a medical condition) of excitement as soon as she sees her special cups.
- can be seen with a puzzle piece sticking out of her mouth, she particularly enjoys the farm board puzzle from her big cousins with huge knobs that she plops in her mouth and sucks on throughout the day- I get to stare at cardboard brown cutouts in front of her cut little face.
- tips over backwards to drink out of her sippy cups (Avent are my favorite, no leaking so far, and easiest for her to drink now that she figured out how to suck them! And my SIL just informed me that the tops are inter-changeable with the bottles- too bad I didn't use those! Geez Louise! :) The things you learn LATER! :) Then again... I only have bottles that came with my pump...)
- pulls my pants down on a continuous basis, to the point that if shorts season doesn't get here fast... we're going to have a problem. She loves to stand while I cook or do dishes and pulls on my pants to get up, then they both end up on the floor! (In fact... she just pulled them down to my knees, thank you for that love.
- tries to grab on to the back of pants to follow behind, she loves "walking" like this- cracks me up every time!
- has yet to open a cabinet (thank God for quiet close because even my 2 year old nephew can't open them! :) For those of you who have been to my house... you know it will be a problem when she has the curiosity for, "What is behind door A?" since there is no way to block cabinets in a small house with a great room... :)
- will finally eat avocados, she just needed a little lime, miss fancy pants- she gets it from Aunt H. :)
- calls me Mama, and daddy Dada and Papa (last night... or was she calling for her grandpa? Hmmm...)
- If she hears "hello," in a song, from a toy, others speaking, she waves looking for who came in- seriously a-friggin-dorable.
- she has another little girl cousin due in less than 2 weeks (my cousin's baby) and another girl cousin due in August (my other cousin's baby) and we cannot wait to love on those little bundles.... by poking eyes, pulling fingers, and most likely sitting on. (Don't worry- I won't be doing those things....)

Life is good, and I am enjoying every single moment.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Iron sharpens Iron, so will a child sharpen her Mama.

I can't be the only mom in the world who is changing, growing, and challenging herself as a woman every day.

I am a young-ish mom- and I never had thought about what that might mean for my family. It might mean that I have less life experience, that I haven't been out to see the world, and so perhaps, I might not know how to best culturize my children. (Yes... I made that word up, you probably won't want to re-use it).

But I am an old soul- a watcher, a thinker, and mostly a what would I do-er.

I have been an aunt for almost half of my life... that is scary... oh my word.... holy crap. I have watched my brother's parent their children. I have babysat for many families, and one daily for years. I have younger cousins. I attend a church where families are abundant. I have been close to others with young children. I have watched, I have listened, and I believe I have held experiences in my heart.

So, surely, I might be less than a quarter of a century old (for a few more months at least), but I have lived a full, beautiful life where I believe I have been blessed plentifully with experiences. Those I have read about, watched, and lived. And I try to learn from each one, so I am proud of the mom that I am every day... and some days I know I won't be. (It is kind of easy with a baby... but when we're starting to get in to everything... Dr. Nelly can come out)

My mothering gets better every day- Brooklyn sharpens me into a more beautiful woman of God every day as I am challenged to raise her for the King.

This morning I had a sense of peace as she tipped over my entire purse- I was blending my breakfast (YUM) and not watching her, she grabbed the handle and poof- keys, wallet, receipts (that should just be thrown away anyway), gift cards galore, business cards aplenty, thank goodness I zipped the lotions/body works/lip stuff in that side pocket... and I just giggled at her big, proud smile. "Silly Lyn, look at how clever you are big girl! Momma should have watched you!" I chuckled, she squealed, all was cleaned up in less than 2 minutes, and life went on.

She won't remember this moment. And in 2 years, I may forget... I guess that is why I like to write down my favorite memories. Who cares that she made a small mess, she is a child, she is a baby, she is my love- how can I get angry over that? I should have been watching!

Have you had little moments that have changed you? Experiences where you said, "I will never do that when I have kids," and meant it- even better, LIVED it? Are you quick to anger with your kids (because you're tired, you're done, you're sick of being the entertainer, you just want to be alone)?

Choose a reaction today- close your eyes and create in your head a moment- something that always makes you lose your temper, but this time, change how you respond in your head, seal it over your heart, and commit to that reaction today.

(I read a story on facebook, I think it was, of a friend who had gotten in a small fender bender- they were rear ended, and they were kind, gentle, quick to forgive, and tender with the person who had bumped them- I decided to act this way if that were to happen to my family. And when it did this winter- forgive me if I wrote about it already, I reacted just as I would have wanted to in a dream world. I checked Brooke, who was fussing from the noise we bet, then enveloped this young boy in a hug as tears streamed down his face, "We forgive you, Austin, it is okay." To see the tears turn to a sobby smile melted my heart- I don't think I would have reacted like that 2 years ago.)

Why should we holler, get frustrated, and scowl at others? We could throw in an eye roll, that'd be mature. We could just choose love and kindness... perhaps.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


A day or two ago on the radio they were discussing greetings- what a powerful 30 seconds we have with our children and spouses, students, and coworkers every day.


"You're late."

"Do you have homework?"

"Why did you wear that shirt today?"

"I'm so happy you're here."

"We're running late, let's go."

I think you get the point- I think you already know what I am going to say.

I try to treat my husband like the king when he gets home, because well... he is the king of this castle. I squeal with joy, ramping up the excitement for our 9 month old and dog. Harley slides across the wood floors taking Brooklyn out by the knees, I catch her by the arm and we race to the back door. "Daddy is here!!!"

I hope his heart swells at the sound of our thrills. He whistles behind the door exciting the dog and intriguing our baby- we literally cannot wait for this man to open the basement door.

I kiss him hard when he walks through the door as if to say, "Where have you been all day, my love? How I have missed you!" My hand always lingers on his bicep as he reaches over to snuggle our baby and give her scruffy whisker kisses. Then- the dog licks till her heart is content and we are back to regular business.

I have been chewing on this- I have so many negative feelings towards cell phones and the constant connect-ability we can choose to have with them- often when we enter a lunch date or family time we're "just finishing this up." Then you get the, "sigh, hello." (I don't want to give a sigh hello, I want to give a smile, welcome, hug, a cheer... anything but that!) Jonathan and I are holding out on the smartphone thing (partly because we have no room in our budget but mostly, because I simply hate the idolatry of phones). To see kids sit on their phones at dinner or on a visit, for a mom to not set the phone down for 5 seconds to snuggle her babes who just walked in the house, for a dad whose ear piece is always connected to his head and can't kiss his wife because he is still "working" when he walks in the door- I have to think, are we stewarding these moments well?

Are we showing our spouses, children, and families how important they are through our greetings? (And this is just 30 seconds of our day, there are million other times that I hope we are all showing love to our loves! :) It seems like something so simple, so stupid, so small to just say "Hello," but I think it matters so much.

Believe me, I know that every day is different- the other day I had dinner up to my elbows and Jon just wasn't going to get the loving he usually does when he walks in the door- I think he forgives me. But today- I made sure to love him in those first 5 seconds because it is on my heart. It is important to me.

Is it important to you?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Smooches and Waves

Puckered lips.

"Give Momma a smooch! You can do it!"


My face is dripping with slobber, my heart is overflowing with love.

She has kissed me before, but tonight it was kiss, after kiss, after kiss- and the loudest, silliest giggles from both of our mouths as she covered mine in hers. This moment will remain frozen in my memory- our best laugh attack, our sweetest moment yet. Oh sweet child of mine- you are the most perfect gift. My lips shook the inside of her mouth making her giggle even more- open mouthed kisses are so gross, when it isn't your kid. I eagerly await the days of real kisses, but for now, if I look a little drooly, I'm just being loved on by one special girl.

Tonight I made a quick trip to the library before bedtime- I got 2 books in (Choosing to See and Startling Beauty) from 2 far away libraries and wanted to get a head start while my dear love played games tonight. When I got home I waved largely to Brookie and she beamed, waving her arm as hard as she could. She came to me falling on her face trying to wave and crawl at the same time. (I wouldn't recommend it.) So precious, so sweet, so wonderfully mine.

Lord thank you for this little girl you have entrusted to me- may I honor this gift every day, may I teach her all that you would have her learn, may I be the best for her always- (in every stage, even when she poops her diaper 5 times a day... and sticks her feet in it).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One year.

One slice.

One tug.

One cut.

One cry.

One voice.

One glance.

One whisper.

One kiss.

One little love.

It was our one year anniversary when the doctor told me it would be very difficult to become pregnant. It was one year from that day exactly, that we delivered our one beautiful daughter.

I still cannot believe that I am the one who holds this child in my arms, I thought it would be years before I met her. This baby whose every smile gives me butterflies in my stomach, this love. This gift that has changed me so very much. I know that every day, I am the best momma I was created to be.

I am gladly not number one in my life anymore, I am proudly not number one for every day. It is my greatest joy to not shower so I can play with my baby, it is an honor to wake up at 5:45 in the morning to feed my love. I wear bags under my eyes with pride some days, spit up is still my perfume. There truly is no other job I was destined for than this.

She will be one year soon, sooner than later, and I can totally believe it! We have had the greatest journeys, the most fun, and I have savored every moment. I'm not sure what it is... but you probably won't hear me say "where did that year go?" Because I'm still in shock that she is here. :)

Oh my one baby... I love you girl.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I live my life in twos.

I take care of two people every day.
I talk about my daughter's number twos daily.
I make two dinners every night.
I make two breakfasts (and lunches too).
I pump two breasts every night.
I put away the toys twice a day (after nap- in order to give her new toys to play with after nap and before bedtime).
I have two couches, two laptops.
I clothe two people a day.
I dream of having baby number two, whenever that happens.

See? My life is in twos.

But the most important twos I live with every day are the two hour time slots we are still somewhat captive to.

I read a fabulous book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child that my sister-in-law gave me before Brooke was born. (And would completely advise anyone having a baby to read a few sleep books before baby arrives- you will probably be a) too tired to read a book, or b) too frustrated to consider the author's opinions or c) too enraged to even think about what to try next.) One of the key features I read in almost every book is that a child should not be awake for longer than 2 hours, pretty much at any time. I know a lot of people who said, "Not MY baby," oh no, your child is just special and so abnormal that they don't need routine. Only kidding. I know, every child is different- in fact, Brooklyn could barely stay awake past 1.5 hours. But, as a general rule, if you do not put your child to bed (for a nap or bedtime) within 2 hours of the last time they awoke, they will be overtired and you will either think they are a) not tired or b) hungry or c) need you. However- they probably are just overtired- just give it a whirl. We have read that by now (8 months) Brooke should be able to stay awake beyond 2 hours, possibly to 3- well, our baby girl just requires a lot of sleep, and some days she can make it to 3 hours, but her naps usually suffer then, or her mood. Joy.

So, twos it is. We wake up and I have exactly two hours to get whatehaveyou completed. Then we nap. Then I have two more hours to get whatchamahoozit done. Then nap, then we have two more hours to magnificently make memories as a family before bedtime. And if I'm lucky, we will have gotten a lot accomplished. It sounds pretty easy right?

To most non children families, it is almost impossible to NOT get everything done in three, two hours slots, I mean, come on. Maybe this post isn't intended for the every day mom, because right now, if you are a mom, you are probably smiling, nodding, and reminiscing to when twos ruled your life. And if you're not a mom... you probably gave up on me hours ago- and that is fine... I'll just keep going.

Two hours. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (Awww.... miss my 6th graders). Let's see what happens in those two hours, Monday let's say: Baby wakes up and we lounge until nap time- we never go out before our morning nap because often we are down for our first nap within an hour and a half of waking up (we're delicate in the morning- not crabby, delicate). We nurse for 20 minutes, snuggle, play puzzles, wrestle, eat breakfast, change our diaper, play some more, and take a nap- that, is doable my friends- sometimes I even squeeze in a shower (if she will go in her jumpy) or throw in some laundry. Then when she goes down I have anywhere for one to two hours to shower, throw in some laundry(because you NEVER do laundry before your shower), do my hair, makeup, flip the laundry, clean the bathroom, set out dinner, play with the dog, make the bed, and plan the grocery shopping trip (with coupons) for the week. Then I have exactly 2 hours from that first real cry- GO! 20 minute nursing, 10 minutes to change her, pack her up get in car. 15 minutes for transportation, 45 minutes to shop (less time if going to Wal-Mart- have you STOOD in those lines?), 15 minutes to transport home, and 15 minutes to get everything inside/love on baby girl/feed her solid lunch so she feels like she had a mom in that 2 hour time slot. And she has to be down within 2 hours- or... else... Oh, and you are supposed to look cute while doing these things, just an fyi.

Then we nap... sweet nap. I put away groceries (which may mean breaking up meat into one pound packages or cooking baby food), fold laundry, clean the kitchen, play with the dog, put the toys away and take out a new round, read a little, put away some laundry (if I'm being disciplined) and get ready for daddy to get home.

I know it sounds pretty simple, I know moms complain a lot- I'm really not complaining- I love this life I have chosen and been given. But a lot of my friends just don't get it.

Living in twos is not easy- it means saying "No" to lunch dates, or picking whose house to get stuck at while you try to get your kid to nap there (knowing it'll probably be somewhat of a disaster) so you can hang out with someone other than yourself for a bit, or when you have to wait for something (picture DMV, SS office, Unemployment office) you feel that nervous going to pee your pants feeling because you know the sleepy timer is about to ding and it still isn't your turn and if you had just left the baby with a family member she COULD nap, but WOULD she and what burden would she be on someone else- when life is in twos, it isn't that simple.

Some day we won't live in twos anymore, and I'll miss it, because it can make for a nicely paced day (while we're at home). But- I won't miss feeling like I miss out on things because people just don't understand.

But either way... God, if I have to live my life in twos, bring it on- bring on two more babies, or two times two more in many years to come. I'd gladly live in twos forever if life will be this good.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This girl and her mama

"It's a baby mop, one free with each pregnancy."

Yup- my husband said this weeks ago, on camera, and I almost cried laughing.

I have a very fond memory with my Mama, and my eyes get teary when I think about the amazing woman she is, and what fun we have had together. And I am SO happy that Brooklyn gets to have that fun with her too. We used to hold hands on the tile floor and she would swing me between her legs to the song by Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You."

If I had a mother daughter dance at my wedding, that song would have been our melody.

When B was about 7 months old we started swinging, and it brought me back to that moment. Such sweetness! And I do think she loves it just as much as her Mama did when she was little.

We have had such a fun life- with my still toothless babe. (Come ON already, come in teeth! But, the doctor said it is normal to not get any until 12 months too, so we're doing alright!)

Life is wonderful here though, spending lots of time with momma, snuggles on the new carpet in the living room, wrestling with daddy, and sleeping with a blanket and 3 lovies (Ellie, Bunny, and Harley Cub). We are eating lots of foods, she threw up cottage cheese this week, poor kid. I decided not to even bother with foods that Jon and I won't eat (that is if they are a lot of work- you know, squash, pumpkin, we just aren't going to EVER eat that... so why try to get her to like it?). But, there are some easy foods that don't have to be prepared, like yogurt- not so much a fan, but the kid LOVES it! Cottage cheese, another open the tub, scoop, eat. She ate 5 bites, all a go! Then one more bite, gagging, vom- all down her bib, pure cottage cheese. I don't think she was traumatized, but if I see cottage cheese again- I might vom. We did go to meat today, ground turkey that I cut up very finely mixed with potatoes- I think tomorrow we will try to puree it with the potatoes and peas, almost like a baby shepherd's pie... we'll see. She ate maybe 5 bites of the turkey mixture, pureeing might be best... for her. Me on the other hand- thank GOD we are not pregnant yet... or I WOULD vom.

My bf and I chatted the other day when she came over for lunch- some days I feel like, "What do I do with this kid?" I can only hand her toys so often, play airplane... it's okay to just let her play right? I mean seriously, she loves to just crawl around, investigate, chew everything, and stand up whenever possible. Even if it means flipping things into her face- OUCH. The bridge of her little nose is red- and I feel horrible... but that is life. Oh little babes...

Just checking if any of you have heard this song- my new love melody to Brookie, when she banged her face I just sang and sang to her until she relaxed and just nuzzled into my neck. Oh my sweet 8 month old... how big you are!! I love it!

And THAT is my random post... because I just don't have much to say! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011


When I remember back to high school (It was OH so long ago... almost 6 years, THAT is weird) there was a time in youth ministry that we all learned about serving one another. I don't remember the scripture we had studied, or who spoke on it, (but let's be honest, it was probably Tom,) but I do remember the acts that followed this particular lesson. Helping one another, lifting one another up, being comforters, friends, and cheerleaders for each other.

Doesn't it sound so great to have a community around you cheering? To have friends who pick you up when you are down, who care for you when you are sick, who take care of business when you cannot? To have people praying for you daily? Well- I think that sounds awesome.

In high school it was really little things:
-Can I plan the songs this week for youth group?
-Can I pray with you about your finals?
-Can I take you to _____ since you don't have your license yet?

You know, those things, and a lot of the time, really, I don't think as many opportunities to serve were taken as should have been.

I see it this way. We are all pretty self sufficient people (or like to think we are) and we know that we can take care of things (even if it might take us two hours longer than if we had help). But- with that- we are all selfish people, too.

Stay with me here, aren't we selfish to get the glory for doing things, to be noticed for working hard (although I know this isn't the perfect example, but I think it can count in some circumstances), or to be felt sorry for that you have done sooooooo much?

I know that when I was working three jobs and pregnant it did make me feel good for my husband to praise my efforts, to notice that I was kicking my tail knowing my teaching job was going to be gone the next year. But- it became such an obsession at times that I would take on more because I liked hearing his praises, and instead of allowing him to take some of my other burdens (such as laundry, making dinner, doing dishes, etc.) I packed that on too, because it made me look good. "Wow, she works so hard." But wasn't that out of selfishness? Uh... pretty sure that's a positive Ghost Rider.

In those youth group days our leaders told us that sometimes we would have to purposefully allow people to serve us. Yes, you are capable, but does that mean you should/have to do it? (But... there are some people who have become very good at being "served" and I want to kick them in the face, you know, those who never work, or whose homes are trashed and a group comes, cleans it up, and the next week it is completely in disarray again? I think sometimes we can be taken advantage of.)

But specifically I remember a conversation with a friend, "Let me do this for you, let me serve you."

We are called to serve others as Jesus did.

I love the story about washing the disciples feet in John chapter 13. There is so much to this passage, but tonight, I am focusing on the fact that Jesus took the role of a servant, and cleaned the dusty feet of His followers. Some protested, but He explained that He had to do it anyway.

Do you protest to people serving you? I do- because I know I can do it on my own. But this so easily creeps into other areas of our lives too- I can do salvation on my own, I can do forgiveness on my own, I can do life on my own, and God then has no place. People offer to carry a diaper bag, but I got it. Or to hold my baby while I do something else, but I can do it one handed.

This Sunday I was sick, very very sick, and I let my husband serve me (that doesn't seem to be difficult, except for when he doesn't do what I want done when I want it done). A good friend of mine repeatedly asked how she could help me, and although I lay in bed for hours, I told her nothing, that we were fine. Last night, as I pondered those days back in high school and allowing others to serve you, I replied to a simple text that I could use her help the next day.

In serving me, my sweet friend also helped me to serve my sister-in-law who is recovering from delivering my adorably sweet nephew. Because I remembered back to some Snow Blast, the ball of service is rolling. And I'm hoping to serve my sick friend this week, and my other friends in months to come.

As a mom, there is a lot to think about here- how do I teach Brooklyn to serve others and be served, but not to take advantage/be taken advantage of? Or, do I leave that up to God? I hope she will see her dad and I serving people in more ways than bringing meals, moving furniture, or doing laundry. (Although seriously, isn't is AWESOME when someone does your laundry? Uh- ya, and puts it away... in the right places!)

Serving others is so simple, but it is finding those who will let themselves be served. As a mom and wife, I serve my husband and daughter daily, but what if I extended it beyond them? I like to think that I serve my parents when I help do dishes, while they serve me by taking care of Brooke for a bit. Or by purposefully cleaning up the things that we took out while we were over there (particularly having to do with our baby, and YES, I did call to apologize to my mom for not putting Brooke's bad back in the spare room on Saturday.) Have you chosen to be served? How can we serve others this week?

(I'm thinking we won't be serving the neighbors with shoveling.... because they all have snow blowers... but we'd gladly be served... not that I KNOW my neighbors really.... :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Delicious Enchiladas

Jon and I hate enchiladas, just ask my mom, I would skip dinner instead of eating the disgusting casserole in a tortilla- until now.

I created these bad babies a few years ago, and felt the urge to eat them again this week:

6 tortillas
1 large chicken breast (Like really, the big ones)
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans enchilada mild sauce
1 can original rotel (or mild, if you have baby taste buds)
1/2 bag shredded three cheddar/mexican cheese/colby jack (whathaveyou)
1 large can refried beans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook chicken breast (we cooked ours in chicken bullion in the slow cooker, about 1 hour so it could easily by shredded, could easily be set early in the day). Shred chicken and place in bowl with taco seasoning, rotel (WITH juices) mix well.

Grease 9 x 13 pan with cooking oil spray.

Smear some refried beans down center of tortilla, sprinkle cheese generously, sprinkle chicken mixture, roll up, place seam of tortilla down in pan, when filled, pour one can of enchilada sauce over all roll ups.

Cook for 30 minutes in oven at 375, sprinkle cheese on the top, and the other can of enchilada sauce (we used half). Cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with yummy rice drizzled in lime and salt and sour cream- fab!

I know I know... I normally don't blog THIS kind of stuff, but truly, I lost my recipe cards and had to document somewhere! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Competition and Priorities

Jon and I started a new workout program on Monday, and yes, we’re still doing it. (You can pick your jaw up off the floor now… we’ll see how long it lasts.)

There have been many times that I have wanted to try this workout, or this diet, and usually, it starts with a friend. Someone suggests we do something together, and we go for it.

And I fail, EVERY TIME.

See, here is the paradox, if you will. I am competitive, but not with women. I HATE competing with women for anything. I hate one-on-one women’s sports, I hate “Biggest Loser” women groups, I hate job interviews when other women are there. Maybe I’m intimidated, maybe I think women take things too personally (ahem), I just think it is silly to compete with friends, so I just choose not to.

I like to compete against men, feelings don’t get hurt, it doesn’t get personal, and who cares! I will wrestle any man, and gladly lose. I will diet with a group of guys (and even let them know my weight because really… they don’t care anyway) and be blown out of the water. I will show any man up on an interview (hehe).

I don’t like playing whose what is better or try to convince everyone that my ____ is the best. But if someone challenges something that I am very passionate about, I will certainly defend my position whether it be a male or female, (or my brother)- and it is okay if we don’t agree. I like how my friend Liz said it, “We can just choose not to talk about that stuff since us two are passionate this way, and you two are passionate that way.” Nice friend, nice.

In the bible study I am doing right now with other mothers we are talking about parenting (shocking). We have discussed what we need to give our kids- things like a secure love, a strong hope, a significant purpose, the freedom to be different, and on and on. THIS, my friends, is something I am passionate about, THIS is something that I believe in- 'raising our children the way that God raises us.' This is a priority, for our family.

Which got me to thinking… Priorities. I remember in high school we had an activity where we had to list out where we wanted to be in 10 years- sort of a priority list for a 16 year old. You know, married, a good job, a nice home, a few kids, an education, etc. And then I thought- how do we make these priorities happen?

Priorities can screw up just about anything can't they? They ruin friendships, they can break up couples, and they can be the demise of a family. (No, this is not a law, this is my idea… but I don’t feel like saying I think… before every phrase, just saying.) You know, if one friend prioritizes another friend, poof, first friend is gone. Or if a boyfriend prioritizes sleep over growing in faith, one woman may walk away. What if mom's priorities are to make money and have a big house, and dad's are to spend time with the family and play over working- will either get what they want- probably not, and someone will walk away.

All of these systems can easily break down when people have different priorities: activities, people, family, religion, clubs, work, hobbies. What order we put these into can make a huge difference in our lives.

Jon and I spoke a lot before we got married about what was more important to us, if you will. What a journey we have been on these past almost 6 years, but our priorities have stayed constant.

We never had the dream of a castle, or fancy cars, or lots of money. It really just is not in our character. We had big dreams to us, a large family, a comfortable home with just enough space, and jobs that we loved, regardless of what they were. That means that we live differently, and a lot of the time, we just don’t fit in, and that is hard sometimes- but we know that the choices that we are making, are glorifying to God. (AND- in no way am I saying that when people live in castles, or have fancy cars, or lots of money are they NOT glorifying God- we just don't do it that way.)

I’m thinking tonight about what Jon and I do prioritize, and I think it goes something like this, but not perfectly. Family comes first- and this can be really hard. A lot of the time, it means not going out like we’d like (well, really we DO like being home!), because our family needs to be home for bedtime, and our family needs to make money the way that we can and that means that mom has to work at night sometimes, and dad has to take care of Brooke. We prioritize faith- church, studying the bible, loving on others, praying. Time together- oh my heart swells from this. It may seem crazy, but I go mad every day that Jon is away at work, I love the man with all of my being and my heart yearns for him when he is gone- when he is home sometimes we just sit together and do nothing, and I hope our family will spend a lot of time “doing nothing.” My being a stay-at-home mom has been another huge priority for us- a majorly sacrificial priority. We made choices in our early life together of saving with specific goals in mind, and we were able to meet those. And then, instead of jumping, we waited for things, and we have certainly reaped the benefits of that- but we easily could have not. We chose a modest home, in a modest neighborhood, with what we wanted: within 15 minutes of family, 3 bedrooms, room to expand, good schools, a basement- and NO, we were not willing to sacrifice any of these things because of the “IFs” in life. What IF the market crashes and we simply CANNOT get out? (Yes, we thought this before the major crisis that is our world today- we have some wise family members who have ALWAYS made us think like this.) What IF we have a horrible medical emergency that makes us really poor? What IF Jon loses his job? What IF, what IF, what IF… I could go on and on. I would love to have a 4 bedroom home, with millions of square feet (and a cleaning lady to come with it), but with the priorities that we have, we just don’t HAVE what it takes to have that. Does that make sense?

We don't have the money to have the priority of a BIG house, that is close to family and friends, with room to expand, and good schools. We can have a modest house with all of our non-negotiables.

My being a stay-at-home mom is another priority we had before we knew if we'd be able to have kids, before we knew where we'd live, and before we knew how much money we'd be making. If we had to live in a one bedroom apartment to make that happen, we gladly would have. It is just more important to our family than having a big house, or a nice car. Having our kids in a GOOD school district, not just an okay one, is more important to us than living in that dream home. Living near family is far more important than driving a beautiful new SUV. And so that means we have to make choices- with what we can afford! We could have bought a beautiful home- in KENTUCKY… or even Boofoo, Illinois, which maybe isn’t that far to some families. But, it is not close enough for us.

I’m not saying that you should change your priorities or that if you choose to live in Boofoo that you are wrong, please don’t think that.-- I’m just talking to myself here about my family- and considering my husband doesn’t really read this often… and Brooke can’t work a computer… I don’t expect anyone else to agree with me. (And yes, living close to friends is a priority of ours too, but it doesn’t seem many are rooted yet in where they are going to be… so we’re planted, like REALLY planted… where will you be friends?! :) )

How on earth did I get from working out to my families desires for our life? Simple- Jon and I are working out together, not with anyone else competing(women! Hehe)… ya… I dunno either! :) But- if we’re always competing with others about what we have and who we are becoming, I think that it becomes the whose _________ is better.

And clearly, our plans are best. :) Just kidding!

I’m wondering, what are your priorities? What drives your family? What are you willing to sacrifice, and what isn’t worth it? Who are your priorities made for? How do you plan to get there?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baby I'm amazed by you.

I started dating my husband in 2005.

I got engaged in 2007.

I got married in 2008.

I found out I was pregnant in 2009.

I became a mother in 2010.

I know that 2011 will hold many wonderful adventures for my sweet family. I cannot wait to see where we end up, what we're doing, and who is along for the ride.

I'm sitting here chuckling to myself thinking over the past few weeks and all that Lyn has done. On Christmas Eve morning I set her down and she began crying out, "Ma ma, ma ma mom!" Um... seriously? Sometimes I beat myself up for Brooke not crawling yet, or whatever... I know, don't worry, I tell myself to shut up. (But, she is army crawling, and it is PRECIOUS) But when that happens, I think about how AMAZING she is... she calls me Mama... and she is only 6 months old. She cries it out when I set her down, or leave the room. Sometimes she just babbles it... but I think she may know that I am Mama. Good brain babes, goooood brain. (And, we did get a "Papa" out of her once, I think Jon was pleased!)

This little girl has such a personality, she is so sweet laying her head on my shoulder, wrapping her arms around my neck and squeezing tight, and being so still for loves. She is friendly, and will let people pass her for hours pretty much, honestly, on Christmas at my mom's, I wasn't quite sure where she was for roughly 2 hours, but I knew she was in hands that love her very much. She was passed down the table, then snuggled with her adoptive Grandma Randall and Papa Steve, and did so well! Oh sweet love, I love who you are becoming!

Right now, we're going through the, "Wait, you're my mom, and I don't think I want to be away from you." However, this has REALLY developed over the past 24 hours or so... and I was away from her for a good 9 of those hours, then with the 8 hours of sleep she did in her bed... she needed some momma love, and I needed her too. My heart aches for her when she is not with me. But, I do know that I need to let her explore the world around her, be loved on by others, and it warms my heart to see that. So, I gladly hand her over to anyone who asks... and even those who don't. :) We're all about sharing this baby love that we have been given.

I just figured I'd update you a little on our lives.... and here are a few tid bits, if you care:

1- We started bananas a few weeks ago, have added in sweet potatoes, along with apples. Tomorrow, we will do carrots. And yes, I am a freak, I make my own baby food, and yes, it is organic, and I LOVE doing it.
2- We have taken to calling our girl Lynie... but usually Brooke and Brooklyn... but seriously, you might think her name is Lynn if you spend a day with me!
3- We bought Brooklyn one Christmas gift, and it was used- and she likes it!
4- We lost our Jeep a few weeks ago, boooo, so, we bought a super sexy wagon from our grandparents, we tried to be a one car family, and it DID work, I cannot lie. However, after debating the fact that some days I will have to take Daddy to work, Brooke would then be screwed up on naps, and honestly, we value sleep more than money. Oh Money.... I could go on and on and on... money is evil, and we will not be slaves to it. We also put Brooke in her big girl car seat in this car, she likes that she can see around, however, she is not thrilled with the in and out, and I do not blame her.
5- We have vaccinated Brooklyn a little bit, but after how lethargic she was from her last Pertussis vaccine, we aren't sure if we will do that second one in a few weeks, we are blessed to have a very traditional doctor, who loves to converse with us about these choices, along with help us make the best choices for us.

And that is all for tonight... because I'm pooped!