Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby Deer

There's a mama polar bear with her twin polar bear babies, just like Brynne and Hadley.


flip
There's a mama orangutan holding her baby orangutan.

flip
There's a mama whale and a baby whale.

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There's a mama duck with all her ducklings. Quack, quack, quack.

flip
There's a baby deer drinking milk from her mama...

Today I had to choke back
...just like Brynne and Hadley do.
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It's been part of the story, our story, for 18 months.

But, as with all good stories, they must come to an end.

My prayer was that it would be a peaceful end. For all of us.

Thank you, Jesus.

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Afterthought: I had no idea I was weaning during World Breastfeeding Week. I'm not sure if this makes it better or worse.







On In Around button

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mama Loves

I recently told a bloggy friend of mine that blogging has made me a better mama.

Really!

I have learned so much from other mama bloggers.

I've learned that many of the struggles, challenges and joys we mamas face are universal. There's camaraderie in that--having a shared experience. I've also learned about great toys, books and gear to help me along the way.

 
photo credit

When I first started blogging, I made this gigantic list of stuff that I thought was the most useful stuff for expectant twin mamas to put on their registries. The girls were only a few months old when I wrote it, so being a bit more seasoned now, I'm not sure that list would look the same if I wrote it today.

My intention in writing the list, was to encourage and give advice to future twin mamas, who, maybe like me, walked in to Babies R Us, and hyperventilated from the bazillion choices that store holds.

Over the past months there have been toys or books or baby gear that I've thought: I bet this would be helpful for some mama somewhere to know about. 

So, I came up with Mama Loves.

Every Saturday I will post Mama Loves: one or several things that have helped make "mama-ing" just that much better during the week.

I realize, that what I have to say isn't going to be helpful for all mamas. So that's where you come in, dear readers! (I'm super excited about this!)

Here's how I'd love to see this work:

Each week share with us:
  • a toy or book that captivates your child(ren)
  • gear you just can't live without
  • a recipe your choosy toddler gobbles down
  • a parenting book that you've found perspective changing 
  • an activity that wears your kid out
  • an outfit that flatters your post-baby body and makes you feel fabulous
You can tell us about one or many of your Mama Loves.

To share your wisdom with us, you can do one of two things:
  1. Link up a blog post with your Mama Loves here.
  2. Leave your Mama Loves in the comment section.
My hope is that this will be both encouraging and helpful to all mamas out there, and that this can be a sisterhood of women supporting each other through this journey of motherhood, no matter what stage of mama-ing you're in.

You don't even need to be a mama to participate. If you of know of something genius and helpful, please share!

So, that's it. You can participate one time, every week, or anything in between. Come, share; read, learn.

And spread the word! No sign-up or membership required.

I'm looking forward to hearing what all of you have to say, and gaining wisdom from your words.

Won't you join me in sharing your Mama Loves?

See you next Saturday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Swiffer

Our house is almost entirely wood floors. In my efforts to keep those floors free of pesky dust bunnies, I break out the Swiffer frequenly.  

This past week, the girls saw the Swiffer, and wanted to take their turn Swiffering. After I'd gotten the dust up, I refilled the Swiffer with a fresh Swiffer Sweeper (try saying that five times fast).

The girls went at it for a half an hour, and even picked up a bit of dust that their mama missed.

Sweet!



And, yes, I am planning on busting these pictures out any time they complain about chores. I'll remind them that they used to scramble for their turn at the Swiffer. 

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cutest Little Fire Fighters You Ever Did See

My girls love trucks.

Garbage trucks.
Recycling trucks.
UPS trucks.
Fed Ex trucks.
Dump trucks.
Fire trucks.

Anytime they hear a loud truck-sounding engine, they rush to the window, and clamor for the best spot to view said truck.

It's pretty adorable, actually.

This past Saturday, Brad's company had their annual picnic. Part of the entertainment was a fire truck from the local fire department.

The girls were enthralled with all things fire truck. Hadley insisted on putting her hat on immediately, and paged through her fire fighter coloring book the entire way home. And, both she and Brynne made the fire engine noise sporadically for the rest of the day.

(Please excuse the silly look on my face, it was very hot that day--the temperature was over 100 degrees and sweat was pooling in my bra, I can't be responsible for the expressions on my face in conditions like those).



The fun didn't stop once we were hunkered down in the chill of our air-conditioned home.


Brynne was rockin' the pigtails, and she wanted you to see just how cute they are, so she just held her hat a lot. 


If you have a chance to take your kids to see fire trucks, they will love you for it!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Hot Town, Summer in the City

We had a busy weekend! Full of lots of great opportunities for fun and fellowship. It.was.hot. That didn't stop us though, and the girls did really, really well!

Counting my blessings today:

779. The perfect comeback for, "You sure have your hands full".

780. Two girls who handled the heat really well.

781. Being able to have dinner outside for the first time in two weeks.

782. Fire truck.


783. Silly moments with the girls.


784. Playdate with Whitney.

785. Purple bookshelf for the girls' books.

786. Window units.

787. Cloth diapering!


holy experience

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comeback

Girl, you've sure got your hands full!
I hear some variation of these words a lot when we're in public. It's the one line I didn't have a good comeback for.
Uh oh! Double trouble!
Comeback: No, double blessings!
As the girls have grown older, and astound me every day with how much they understand, the "hands full" phrase has bothered me more and more. I hadn't found a positive way to spin it, so I usually just smiled awkwardly, and remain silent.

I never want the girls to interpret those words to mean that they are a bother, inconvenience or a nuisance. They are gifts. And while, it's not always easy---I feel blessed beyond measure to have these two little gifts, and I want the girls to hear that and know that.

So, I hadn't come up with a good comeback, until now.

Conversation yesterday in Michael's:
Well intentioned cashier: Girl, you've sure got your hands full!
Me: Yes, full of good things
 I was grinning from ear to ear as I walked out the door!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Capes!

Despite what some might say, we really love capes around this house!

(If you have a moment, this clip from The Incredibles makes me giggle).  


One day, the girls channelled their inner superheroes, and asked to wear their towels capes around the house.

They run around the house, their capes flying out behind them. Off to save the day!




Okay, so I know they don't really defy gravity, or anything. It is pretty darn cute though. 

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood


Monday, July 18, 2011

Summertime Joys

767. Capes.

768. Girls tromping around the house in their papa's big shoes.



769. Brynne gasping when she gets to the page where Clifford is digging up the flowers (just like her mama does).

770. Sharing.

771. The girls making their duck "quack" to ask for more duck with orange sauce.

772. A vase full of daisies.

773. First pumpkin on the vine.

774. Sunday afternoon nap.

775. A God that whispers grace.

776. A pool for hot days.

777. Pool faces.



778. See the bird?!



holy experience

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love Bites

Conceptually, it's easy to love, isn't it?

I can serve people in need.
I can give money to charities.
I can pray for those who are hurting.
I can love my husband with words.
I can give to my daughters all day long.

Loving on my terms. When things are the way I want them to be.

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Having children, watching the miracle of life unfold---I was taken with this whole concept of God being in everyone.

Every face I see, God knit their body together.
Every face I see, he made unique and beautiful.
Every face I see is made in God's own image.
Every face I see; there is God.

Isn't that lovely?

We can think that way, can't we?

Love everyone. See God in everyone?

I thought I could. I still think I can.

But.

It's really, freakin' hard sometimes.

From the day the girls were born, my concept of love has been      s t r e t c h e d.

I never expected my well-thought-out, thoroughly-prayed-over, lovingly-executed decisions---all done in our girls' best interest, to be met with such scrutiny.

It's hurtful, frustrating and maddening to have decisions and choices disregarded; to feel unheard and misunderstood. Especially when it comes from people who love me and love our girls.

Sometimes--love bites!

cartoon282.gif love bites

I've recently been hurt. I'm angry, and I don't really know what to do with it.

On one of my favorite blogs, recently, the mama was talking about how she talks with her kids about how, sometimes, when we say that: I'm mad, what we really mean is that: I'm sad. Then, she proceeded to describe how her three-year-old yells, "I SO SAD AT YOU, MOMMY! I SAAAAAD AT YOOOOUUU!" from time-out.

Hilarious.

I think I need her to come over and parent me for awhile.

She's right. I'm just so sad. I'm sad that this is what love is sometimes. Love can be brash and insensitive and over-bearing and ugly sometimes. We do a lot of well-intentioned, yet hurtful things in the name of love.
...I have learned that most of the time, all you have is the moment, and the imperfect love of people. ~Anne Lamott
I really just want to yell from the top of my lungs:

I'M SO SAD AT YOU!

I would actually do this, except the girls are napping, and the neighbors are having a garage sale. It's kinda just therapeutic to see it in really big words, so I'll make do.

I still believe in love.

Sounds like a ballad from one of those 80s hair bands, or something (not that I would know anything about that).

But, I do.
I believe in love, even though, sometimes, love bites.
Love is a harsh and dreadful things to ask of us, but it is the only answer. ~ Dorothy Day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sluuuuurrrp

So, Brad's been traveling a lot.

I'm a chicken. 

True story.

I'm a big chicken.

So, when Brad's away, I never put anything on any Internet mediums of any kind that would suggest that he's not around, just in case there are creeps watching.

{If you are a creep, and you want to roll the dice that my husband might not be home, know this---I sleep with a baseball bat. I was a good ball player back in the day, but that doesn't matter, because I will beat the ever-loving stuff out of you if you dare to keep this twin mama from her precious sleep}

Anyway. When he's away, the girls and I treat ourselves to our favorite delivery food.  It's a local joint. Asian food made with fresh, real ingredients--it's delicious. Not your average Chinese take-out, people!

The girls love to gobble up their crab rangoon. Then, they set to work on the noodles. Pad Thai and spicy Sesame Noodles.

I love watching them slurp down those noodles! Makes me giggle every time! Makes Brad being gone almost worth it. Almost.






Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Unplugging, Balance and that "M" Word

Not that "M" word.

Moderation.

So, I re-read my post from yesterday. I was all over the place!

I also received quite the response! I so appreciate the wisdom I receive through your comments. 

Some of you have been without TV for awhile.
Some of you just recently unplugged
A couple of you were inspired by my words to unplug.

I hope that those of you in the last group don't hate me for that decision later. Ha!
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There's something in that post I feel the need to address, or maybe confess (?).

I think I came across a little:
I'm better than you, because I don't have cable, and we don't let our girls watch television.
Eeks! If it read that way to you, I never intended it that way.

One of the first comments I received was about all things in moderation. I actually got quite a few of those.

So true.
Moderation.
Balance.

I definitely make love to drink my coffee and check my email in the mornings. My daughters play quietly, and read stories. It eases us all into the day. It's not all about them all the time. They know that. Balance. Moderation.

What I need to change and what I poorly communicated, is that I have a tendency to let this get out of whack.

I check my email/facebook multiple times a day. I love seeing comments from my fellow bloggers (who doesn't love comments?!) But, as I do all of this, I sometimes neglect mama-ing. I teach those girls that I need technology constantly. I think that is unhealthy--for me, for us. Moderation. Balance.

That is what I was trying to say, and so poorly worded, perhaps.
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The other point, I was trying to weave into all of this is, best said with someone else's words:
The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community, forms the basis for the Christian life and should therefore be the subject of our most personal attention. ~Henri Nouwen  
Peace to all of you today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unplugged

We got rid of our cable this weekend.

I can't tell you how ecstatic that makes me. No television. Zero.

Don't come to our house if you want to watch the big game. We'll be a big disappointment, because all we'll do is offer you a glass of wine and try to talk to you.

I'm a lover of silence.
I'm a lover a good conversation. 
I'm a lover of just being with people.

I think, sometimes, television, Internet, iPads, iPods, cell phones, and whatever else I might have forgotten--take away our ability to sit in silence; we never fully engage, we're never fully present to those around us.

I'm guilty of this too. So guilty.

My daughters see this. They see me on the computer type, type, typing away. The other day I saw Hadley pretending to type on our closed laptop. Little sponge, she is.

I love silence, conversation, engaging; yet my girls don't always see me seeking it.

Can I find God on my laptop? Sure. I've found him lots of times. Many of you help me see him through your writing. Can I find friends on my laptop--sure can. Maybe, though, I can really celebrate this unplugged experience by doing the whole email/facebook/blog thing only during naptimes. Read the girls more stories or run around the garden a few more times instead. Be present to them the entire time they're awake.

We've embraced a no television policy, where the girls are concerned. It's part of the reason the television is officially unplugged. That, and we seldom watch anything in the evenings.

Most evenings you'll find us enjoying wine on our back deck, talking about life, or God, or how we'd fix the world. If those pesky mosquitoes get too fierce, we come inside and watch a movie, or Arrested Development on DVD, or Modern Family on Hulu.

But--in sitting in silence, I think we can find God, see God, even hear him speaking. Being fully present to other people--I think we find God that way too; there is God in all of us, afterall.

Too often God gets drown out, or at least watered down when technology gets in my way; I miss the simple beauty, the gifts, the fellowship, the intimacy he's just layed out there in all it's splendor for me to notice.
In this modern age very little that remains is real. Night has been banished; so have the cold, the wind, and the stars. They have all been neutralized; the rhythm of life itself has been obscured. Everything goes by so fast and makes so much noise, and people hurry by without heeding the grass by the roadside, its color, its smell and the way that it shimmers when the wind caresses it.... ~Gaston Rebuffat
A small addendum to my words here. Thank you for your grace.
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Counting my gifts with Ann today:

756. Girls walking in their mama's shoes.

757. Hibiscus in full bloom.



758. Girls pretending to talk on the phone to their papa when he's away.


759. Zinnias.



760. Smelling zinnias.


761. Tassels on our sweet corn.

762. Sunflowers.


763. Playdate with Whitney.

764. Authentic conversation.

765. Celebrating Max's two years.

766. Party fun.












Friday, July 8, 2011

True Beauty Conversations: Reality Check {Guest Post}

My friend Melissa and I are continuing our conversation about Beauty this morning. We've been talking about True Beauty through a series of letters on Fridays: What is Beauty? What will we tell our daughters about Beauty? We're so glad you're joining us. We would love to hear from you!


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Today we're featuring a guest post from Melissa's dear friend Sarah.

I met Sarah doing something crazy (probably mattress surfing) in the halls of "Middle Howard".  She has to-die-for curly hair, is super spunky, she plays the guitar and sings worship songs, and is compassionate enough to cry when others hurt.  She shepherded the hearts of many girls on my dorm hall.

I had the amazing opportunity to serve with Sarah at a Christian girl's camp.  Normally, we only crossed paths at the pool where she life guarded while I worked as a counselor and high ropes instructor.  But one week some other counselors needed a break and Sarah and I were paired together in a cabin to work with a teen camp.  There may have been a silly interlude of "SeƱor Navel" visiting our teens... but the only 'evidence' is a headless slightly blurry picture... hardly verifiable in a court of law as anything other than circumstantial evidence.


But in all seriousness, that week as teen counselors stretched and grew both of us immensely.  We dealt with some of our own fears of beauty as reflected through the eyes of young girls barely starting high school.  We pleaded with a young girl who had already sought her worth in the eyes (and hands) of a man twice her tender age of 15.  We stayed up late talking about the hard things and trying to process how to serve these girls and who we were becoming in Christ.  And we gave one another many reality checks that week: some brisk edifying "Snap out of it and serve these girls." and some "God made you beautiful and that's the truth."

Since camp, God has taken Sarah on a long road.  She married prior to finishing school to a guy who appeared to love the Lord and doted on her.  She became unexpectedly pregnant with a sweet girl named Emma who has milk allergies, is gluten-free, and has Asperger syndrome (a syndrome low on the autism spectrum).  After a couple years of marriage, Sarah had to be strong enough to endure a biblical divorce and become a single working mom.  A few years later the Lord brought back an old friend who loved Him to love her.  They've been married for almost 2 years now and are daily striving to serve each other and Him to the best of their grace-reliant resources.

Through it all, Sarah's attitude has only become more gracious as she learned endurance and joy through the difficult paths she's walked.  Oh, Sarah, I am so blessed to call you friend and wish we could visit more often.
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Ya know, there are many people in the world that seemingly have it all together and also have everything all together in a nice house. They look great, are really "cool", have friends with class, big-important jobs, and money. I've honestly been struggling with the "looking great" (i.e. perfect body) aspect of all of this for about two years. Now don't get me wrong, many of you know I'm trying to eat healthier and make better choices in food and exercise and that's fine and dandy. 

But when my heart is set on the goal of perfect, tan, skinny, American wife and mom I lose sight of what's truly important. I begin to not just keep a healthy biblical goal of eating healthy but lose integrity and forget about the truth of Christ's love that really matters. 

Yep, it's bold to say that, and might sound extreme but that's honestly and truthfully what we lose when we strive to be like the world!


True integrity, doesn't come with perfection, in any form, or jean size! In fact, Christ tells us to cease striving and to lean on Him for help. So why do I continue to desire to look like the world when I'm only here visiting? And not just in my clothes size but in longing for bigger and better things such as money and home.


Friends, we are living in a modern day Babylon. I'm learning, in my new Bible study in Sunday School (Daniel by Beth Moore), the the parallels between the ancient and very worldly Babylon are actually very, very similar to today's world. The book of Daniel is the best example to explore these truths. Our class has only gotten as far as chapter one, in which Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah stand up to the chief guard and request to eat clean healthy foods vs. the king's food.

But, in this modern day world, why do we seek worldly beauty and choices over true beauty and Biblical truths?! Why don't we stand up to the chief of all lies and say we're standing in truth and requesting to seek to be like Christ not that tan blonde with the size 4 pants?!I've got a new mind set, sweet friends. Time to seek some more Jesus and less of myself. Will you join me?
"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it."
Mark 8:34-36


Do keep in mind that it's okay to eat healthy and stay at your height proportioned weight. That's taking care of your body that God gave you and there's nothing wrong with that. But let's aim even higher and set our sights on walking in truth, God's word. Let's stand on that more than a scale, dressing room floor, a "cool" but bad scene or Satan's pretty little lies of deception.

Let me leave you with a humorous reality check I was dealt, lovingly, a few nights ago. My sister and best friend is a realist to the max and I love that about her. She's always had a good head on her shoulders and heart in her chest. She knows how much I greatly desire the best for my family, but sometimes I get over exhausted in the perfection of spotless carpeting and sparkling dishes. So here's what she did: she rearranged Emma's doll house to reflect the humorous truth about a home.

Rather than sleeping babes, we have....
 the toddler climbing out of the crib! Emma was doing this, mind you, at 15 months. Which is mind boggling because she didn't walk till almost two years old! I tell ya, that kid has some serious determination! Haha.
 Oh look, the sweet little baby boy is washing the kitty in the toddler tub :)
 The mother desperately trying to sleep before her 5 a.m. alarm clock goes off.......Not that this is at all exactly like me or anything! lol
 The Daddy staying up late reading his nerd blogs and web pages, exploring new gadgets........very familiar lol. My favorite part about this photo though is that the doll Daddy is looking at Fisher Price girl clothing. 
Improvement, I say! 
 And of course the dog is escaping.
 And the puppy has found the dog food, readied to hork it down!
   Lastly, and my favorite, the toddler is raiding the fridge (of course for GF foods lol).

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 Thank you, Sarah, for a reality check.  Your words are strong, but they are true.  Often times I find myself wishing for the perfectly kept house, perfect body, perfect... one thing. But what I have in Christ is soo much more than anything else.