Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Month of May

May was a super fun month for our family.

Our youngest turned one!!

My hubby turned 31!!

My love and I got to have a fun date honoring the men and women who have served this country.
Breakfast at Morgan's
Our baby girl turned one. What an amazing year it has been having her in our family. She is a sweet little thing. She likes to think she's bigger then she is. We had a 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' themed party for her. It was so fun! Thanks to all of our family and friend who came out!

The decorations.
The birthday Girl!

Baby Girl with her Great Grandma!

My sweet family!

My amazing and talented friend made these cute little boxes as a thank you gift.
Inside were candy necklaces for everyone!
The Birthday Boy!
My hubby turned 31! It's crazy to think I met him when he was just 21. I have to admit his birthday snuck up on me this year. I threw together a party really quick and I think it went well! He bought himself a motorcycle the week before so I went with that!  
Before the party started I was trying to get everything ready so The Hubs was on baby duty. I caught this little gem out the kitchen window. Be still my heart!!

 The cake was suppose to be a "rolling thunder' theme.
It was beautiful in my head- not so much on execution.
But it tasted good!


 The Cook!

Rolling Thunder
We dropped the kids off with my mother in law and her sister, and we got to enjoy a motorcycle ride to Washington DC. Amazing to see all the people lined up along the road to wave. Many were holing signs of their loved ones who are serving over seas.

The aftermath of the kids spending the day with their Nan-nan!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Striving To Be a A+ Parent

There is an article that I read the other day called "The B Plus Parent:5 Perfectly Acceptable Reasons to Shout at Your Kids." You can read it here. It talks about why it is ok to be a B+ parent. It says that it's fine to strive to be a B+ parent because if you strive to be an A+ parent you will fail and then feel like a failure. It makes the argument that a B+ is a passing grade and beside that those who got A+ grades in school had to study all the time and had no fun. So, just be a B+ parent, have your own life too and you'll be happy and wont feel like a failure.

The article opens with this paragraph "The problem with pretty much every parenting philosophy is that they expect you to be a perfect parent. Always do what’s best for your kids, no matter what the effect on you, your wallet or your mental health. And in striving for an A-plus, most of us end up feeling like failures."

If you know me at all, then you know that I don't agree with this advice at all.

I get what the article is trying to say. It's saying that since we can not be perfect parents then we shouldn't try, because who wants to feel like a failure, right? The article talks about why it's ok to yell at our kids in this culture of no yelling.  I think yelling has become the new hot topic in parenting.

I totally get that we can not be perfect parents all the time (shish, my one year old just fell off the changing table right in front of me and needed to get 4 stiches!). There is only one perfect parent and that is our Father. But, just because we can not be a perfect A+ parent, does that mean we shouldn't even try?

Here is my totally unsolicited advice.

1. Stop it.

Stop calling yourself a failure. Stop it.

You didn't make the pinterest craft you pinned 3 weeks ago.
Your 4 year old can't read yet.
Your house is a mess (duh!)
Your kids just ate PB&J for dinner for the 5th day in a row.

Are your kids fed and breathing?
Yes? Awesome, call it a success!

Seriously though.

Lets start speaking truth to each other and to ourselves. I have been working on this this year. I am really good at encouraging my friends, but I am even better at beating my self up! If my friend calls and tells me about the rotten, awful, no good day she just had with her kids, I would tell her that she is just fine. I would tell her that we all have bad days. We all make mistakes. But, she is a good mom who loves her kids and that is what matters! So why then would I turn around and tell myself I am a failure in the same situation? Truth is the same forwards and backwards. If it's true for her then it's true for me (and for you)!!

If you don't want to feel like a failure then stop telling yourself you are a failure!    

2. If I strive to be a B+ parent, then that's all I will ever be.

Sure, we will never be perfect. But, if we don't even strive for perfection then how could we get even remotely close?

There will be days where we yell too much. Days where we over correct or under correct. Days where the toddler watches TV all day long because we just-don't-have-it-in-us. But these days shouldn't be the norm.

The norm should be us, as parents, striving to be like Jesus. We should try each day to do better then the day before. Some days we wont. Some days will be worse. That doesn't mean we failed- it means we get to try again tomorrow (or after nap time if it's still early!).

3. I set the example for who my kids might become.

I want to be great things, but even more I want my kids to be great! I want them to do great things! If I am setting the standard that being mediocre is the goal, how in the world could they be great? Lets give our kids a fighting chance to be the best they can be. We get to help shape who they become! Lets shape them into something great!!

4. Where I fall Short, Jesus fills in.

Look, we don't have to be perfect. No one expects us to be perfect. God knows that we aren't perfect.
Were we mess up, Jesus cleans up!
It's really just that simple.

5. My own life? They are my life!

The article says that we should be B+ parents because then we get to have our own life too. This just baffles me. My own life? My kids, my family, are my life. Don't get me wrong, I do things I love and that are for me, but they are not separate from my family. I want to run? I take them along. And guess what, it's fun! We don't have to have a separate life from our kids to have fun! Obviously, there are days that I want time to myself, and that's ok! When I feel that way, I take the time. But again, it's not the norm. The normal day for us is our family spending time together.

We should do what's best for our kids. We should sacrifice and make tough, hard to make, unselfish decisions for our kids. That's just motherhood.

When faced with a choice or decision I like to think of what I will say on my death bed. Will I say, "I am so glad that I strived to be a B+ parent. I am so glad I had 'my own life'." Or will I say, "I am glad I did the absolute best that I could do. I am glad that I strived to be a A+ parent."

Grace to you mama. You aren't perfect, but you are doing a wonderful job!

Eyes on Jesus.
Where you mess up, He will clean up.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning To Listen

Do you ever hear that little voice telling you something? Do you listen to it? Do you do what it asks or do you fight it? I firmly believe that if you are a believer and follower of Christ, that voice, the Holy Spirit, speaks to you for a reason.

I don't always listen and I don't always obey. For what ever reason I sometimes brush it off or fight back. Silly human nature I suppose. But, not listening could have devastating consequences. There have been  two times that I have brushed off that voice that have left deep regret in my heart. Once was when I was a new believer and the other was just yesterday. 

I became a believer almost 10 years ago.  As a new believer I was a 23 year old, going to school for nursing and working as a nursing tech on the surgical ward at our local hospital.  When I got to work on a Friday I kept having this feeling that I needed to call my grandfather.

My grandfather was a really neat guy. He graduated from West Point. He flew for the Air Force in WWI, WWII and Korea. He was tough, would tell you like it was and have no apologies about it. But when it came to his grandkids he had a softness about him.  He helped me purchase my first horse (the horse I still own 16 years later). Later as he got older I would sometimes do things with him. I drove him to the bank where he would fight with the bank teller and I would quickly apologize after he was done and out of ear shot!  Despite all this, we were not super close, not in the since that we would talk on the phone. So having the thought that I needed to call him was not a normal occurrence for me. Instead of stopping and calling him I made the excuse that I was working and I would do it at lunch. Then at lunch time I was tired and wanted to rest so I told myself I would call him after work. Which, of course, I didn't do. The next day, back at work, I had that thought again. 'Call your grandfather.' I didn't do it. I was for sure going to do it tomorrow......

Well, that Monday while I was headed home from the barn my mom called me. My dad went to check on my grandfather as he normally did and found him peaceful in his bed, dead. I had forever missed my opportunity to speak with my grandfather one last time. Regret that I would carry even all these years later.

Yesterday I did it again. Now a more seasoned, more confident believer, I did it again! It was nap time and I was getting everyone ready. I had the thought that I should get rid of this changing table and change the baby on the floor. She is moving so much now and her older brother is almost out of diapers. I don't really need the changing table. Besides, hadn't the pediatrician warned me at her last check up that changing tables were dangerous at her age?

It will be fine, I told myself. I am an old pro at this by now!

That night as I was getting everyone ready for bed. I had the baby on the changing table and the twins running around. "Everyone in bed! Don't make me say it again!" I turned to grab a diaper, not realizing that the baby was reaching for something that was sitting on the dresser next to the changing table. The next thing I knew I was headed to the ER with my precious one year old.

She had fallen head first off the side of the table and on the way down her shoulder caught the corner of an open draw that left a large gash in her otherwise flawless porcelain skin. I immediately thought of the fact that I had just brushed off that little voice, 'ditch the changing table.' Regret filled my heart.

Baby Girl was the first to get stiches in my crazy clan (if I was a betting girl, I would have lost everything we own because I would have placed it all on my son!) Four stiches in her shoulder. She did great and the Doctor and PA were wonderful, but I couldn't help but think it could have been prevented if I had just listened and obeyed!

Mommy and baby girl in the ER waiting for stiches.
Despite feeling regretful, I can not help but notice how God still protected Baby Girl in this situation, even though her mama was not obedient.
About a month ago we had to get a new healthcare plan due to Obama care (that is another subject for another time!) I searched around and got us a plan and paid for it. I didn't think anymore of it but 2 days before her fall, my husband realized that they had not actually enrolled us in the new plan. We called and got it figured out the day before her fall.
Baby Girl was due for her well check 2 days before her fall. I had to call and change her appointment due to a conflict. The next available one wasn't until next Monday. Which is now going to be perfect for the pediatrician to check her stiches to make sure they are healing well.
When she fell, she fell head first into a large pile of dirty cloths, thus protecting her head from hitting the floor. She also caught the draw with her shoulder and not her face! Oh how much more regret would I have if she had needed stiches in her face!
It is amazing to me that we can be disobedient to the Lord, we can brush him off and make excuses for not doing what he asks of us, but he still protects us. He still loves us and watches out for us. I am so grateful that he protected our sweet girl last night. I also used my disobedience as a learning tool.
The first thing did after breakfast this morning was remove the changing table from the house!
I am learning to listen. I ask my children all the time to listen to me the first time I say something. I wonder if the Lord finds it amusing that he is still teaching me the same lessons I am trying to teach my sweet kids!