Friday, October 20, 2017

From Rust to Glory...Again and Again

My fingers are rusty.  Like tools that have been left out in the yard and weathered one too many rainstorms.  Sometimes it feels like if you neglect a gift for long enough then the gift is ruined beyond repair, like those tools warping in the rain.  Are my fingers rusted beyond repair?  Is there any hope of their restoration?  Is the connection that once blazed between my soul and my typing hands severed for good?

 I suppose the connection might  be lost forever, the gift utterly destroyed, if I didn't believe in the redemptive work of my Father in Heaven.  As His priceless daughter, I have come to understand that it is never too late and no one is ever too far gone, no gift is ever so rusty that the Father can't gently polish it and repair it to make it even better than new.  No gift is so neglected by life's demands, or hurts, or trials, or even the simple chaos of parenthood that God can not redeem it in HIS timing to shine like the sun once again for HIS glory. 

My rusty fingers and disjointed connections will fire up again if I am willing to do the hard work of surrendering my stubborn heart to the words that God wants to speak through me.  If I am willing to sit in the quiet and wait for His voice so that I can then plunk out the stories in my heart with bravery and courage.  If I am willing to step outside of my safe and protected little world and risk a little comfort for something greater than myself.  

Sometimes all it takes is a simple,

"Here I am Lord. I am willing. Use me."










Monday, March 13, 2017

To Every Parent With a Spirited Child

If you have a spirited kiddo.  I just want you to know...I LUV YAH AND YOU ARE AWESOME. 

Before my son was born, patience came more naturally to me and so many of my friends would comment on how "patient I was all the time." Not trying to brag...it's just a fact...excuse me, it was a fact.
 

 I cherished every second of motherhood with my only kiddo and I delighted in my role as a stay at home mom.  I probably only raised my voice once at my daughter in five years.  She was an easy kiddo overall.  She was always smiling and so content to observe everything.  She made me feel so loved (which I realize isn't her job but, it was an extra treat!)because I was always able to calm her down, cheer her up and make her feel better in any given situation.  She required literally slim to no physical discipline because all I had to say was a gentle, "no, no," and she would move on to something else.  She has been my best buddy, literally since the moment she was born. Ahhhhh, the good ol' days.  

Then my son was born...and don't freak out on me people.  I ADORE my son and I LOVE having a son.  Bruin is SO unbelievably cute and incredibly funny.  He is a great sleeper and the sweetest snuggle buddy that there ever was.  I will brag more about him later but, for now I need to vent/complain/be real/be crazy. 

My son, my son.  

He is spirited and passionate and extremely LOUD.  

He was pretty mellow for the first 6 weeks of his life and then he took a sharp turn and just started crying 88.9% of every day.  

We tried everything that good parents try to rule out all of the possible causes.  Hungry? Nope. Poopy? Nope.  Tired? Nope.  Too hot?  Nope. Too cold? Nope.  We were told that maybe he was just a colicky kid. That actually gave us a sense of peace because now we had light in the tunnel.  

It was SO mentally draining to not be able to cheer up my son.  The constant crying depleted me in every way and I often felt like my child didn't even like me or need me.  That wasn't true of course but, it felt that way and it hurt so much.  It was a very discouraging season (well, technically it is still ongoing but, not quite as hard I guess.) I didn't want to go anywhere because I didn't want to have to talk over a screaming child or shop with a screaming child etc.  That's not fun at all.  On the other hand, sometimes he surprised me and enjoyed himself at a play date etc. and that was such a HUGE treat.  But, the unpredictable nature of his mood, made it so hard to want to go anywhere.  

A year passed and I realized that I wasn't dealing with colic at all...I had just been given the great honor of raising a spirited child.  

I couldn't help but, think back on all of the times that I saw a mom (or friend) struggling with her screaming child in every store I had ever been in.  I used to feel bad for the child (and the mother of course too but, mostly the sad child).  I wondered if the mother just didn't understand her child very well or maybe she wasn't a very patient mother.  It actually hurt my heart to hear children screaming because I had never really experienced that kind of screaming before.  I wanted to go hug those kiddos and help calm them down because hugs and sweet words worked perfectly with my daughter. 

Surely, those things worked for all children! 

I thought my patience and gentleness were a big part of the reason why my daughter was so sweet and easy. 

 Psh. Not at all.  Ok. Well, maybe like 5% of the reason.  I deserve a little credit I guess. 

When my son sets his mind to something, there is nothing on Earth that will deter him from what he wants. I suppose that would be okay if we only had to deal with one thing like that every day but, the thing about strong-willed kiddos is...that is every moment of their life.   

Diaper changes = hiding and avoiding and when caught, screaming, flailing and nashing of teeth. 
Getting dressed = clothes too tight, too small, too scratchy, too cold, too hot, too blue, too white, too cute, too clean. 
Hats = forget about it. never ever ever....getting back together.    
Gloves in subzero temperatures = throwing them on the ground and screaming NOOOOO.  Oh you can keep trying to put them on and keep demanding that they stay on but, CHILD WILL WIN.  You just give up and let their hands freeze.  THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.
Grocery shopping = 10.2 seconds of calm before said strong willed child scans the store and finds something to ask for and then screams the entire duration of the trip because you say no.  They will also ask through snot and tears for the item at least 1.4 million more times before you get to the cash register and ask if they sell a pill to euthanize yourself. 

I bring snacks, toys and cell phones to the store as well but, when a spirited kiddo wants something it's all over.  Goodnight.  

Oh and P.S. They will also scream the entire way home from the store in the car. 

Wiping dirty noses = lots and lots and lots of screaming.  Sounds like someone is being chopped into tiny pieces every time.
Meal Time = a slow painful death.  They stare at the food you lovingly prepared for them and then pick it up and throw it.  You discipline in love and they careth not...and do it all over again.  You even try to make their favorite food...or a special meal just for them and even still they decide that at that given moment...it is not their favorite meal after all and you have yet again FAILED. 

I eat most meals in somber silence trying desperately to crawl away in my mind to some happier place. 

Getting in the car = sounds simple enough.  WRONG.  I never knew how stiff the human body could become while still alive.  A two year old child can simply refuse to bend into the sitting position required by most car seats.  You can even put most of your shoulder wait gently against their body and they will still be stronger than you and don't forget, they will be pulling your hair whilst you attempt to bend them.  
 

Buying your child a toy = Of course you love your strong willed child so occasionally you want to buy them something fun.  JUST DON'T.  The color and size will be wrong. They will want to open the box immediately and will refuse to wait to get to the register.  Then they will ask for "MORE," and throw the goodie on the ground because it is just not GOOD ENOUGH.  You will then go and buy yourself a goodie to ease your suffering. 


Strong willed kids are not bad children.  They are not poorly raised children.  They are not brats.  They can be very WELL LOVED and yet they are simply spirited.  That is all.  

I've changed drastically between child one and child two.  I've even learned that each of my children require a completely different parenting style from me.  That has been and will continue to be a tough skill to learn and implement.  

Daisy is quick to learn and obey.  She requires a gentle tone and very little follow through.  She has a heart that loves to please and usually obey.  

Bruin requires a much firmer tone and follow through...every. single. time.  He still needs lots of love and positive affirmation too of course.  He is a super sensitive little guy.  But, I quickly realized that the way I parent Daisy was not working with Bruin.  Bruin's nature is to resist direction at all costs.  LOL.  Gosh, I love him.  

  I have learned so much about people and life from my two children.   I have a million times more compassion for Mothers with strong willed kiddos.  I've also learned that as parents we must be willing to adjust ourselves and our parenting styles to bring out the best in each of our kiddos.  That is what love does.  It's hard and it hurts sometimes but, it's wise.  I've learned that I can create two humans in my stomach and they can look pretty dang similar on the outside but, be NOTHING alike on the inside.  I can love them both just as passionately but, they will still be vastly different people. 

To Every Parent with a Strong Willed Child, I send you my love, encouragement, support and zero judgement.  Carry on Momma.  Keep loving your spirited kiddo with all your heart and I will do the same.  It won't be long before we will get to enjoy seeing what awesome little leaders these kiddos turn out to be.  God will take care of the rest! 

Peace. Love. 
Casey 





 
 




 



  


Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Years Thoughts

I haven't blogged in so long.  I go back and forth on the idea of shutting this blog down for good but, evidently I am not quite ready to part with this little creative space that was such a comfort to me for so many years.

I have had so many thoughts bouncing around in my head lately as we approached this new year.  I am hoping that I will be able to articulate at least a few of them here today to share with you all.  

Life is such a roller coaster isn't it.  It's such an adventure of mountain peaks, falls from that mountain peak, climbs back up and valleys...sometimes long, hard valleys.  We would be foolish to think that we will always stay up on the mountain tops of life but, on the other hand it is also wise to cherish the mountain top seasons.  We also have to find the strength in God to survive in the valley.  To walk through it no matter how long it might take.  Seasons are a part of life.   



I would say that I am in one of those climbing seasons.  A season that I can't quite call a mountain top but, I am overjoyed to say that I am no longer in a valley...today:).  I'm climbing...going wherever God leads me and feeling quite sure that I'm climbing out of something long and hard and into something new and much lighter.  Today, I am not weighted down as much by heartache, sorrow, brokenness or financial burden as I was for so many years.  I say today, because we never know what tomorrow will bring right.  I celebrate this simple moment right now.  Right now I am soaking up January 1st, 2017 to the best of my ability. This quieter moment carved out of my time here on Earth, that isn't so full of pain that every moment feels like drowning.  I know those moments so well.  

Throughout this year I saw a lot of friends walk through valley seasons.  So many were dealt the blow of a very dear loved one passing on.  A friend of mine just lost her husband days before Christmas to cancer.  Another friend of mine just told me that she was just diagnosed with brain cancer a few weeks ago...please keep her in your prayers! Cancer took far too many lives as it so often does.  I saw friends struggle with various hardships and challenges.  So many marriages came to a heartbreaking end.  Some friends battled health issues and chronic debilitating pain, depression, infertility heartache.  And then on a broader scale I just observed the world and all the suffering in it.  It's a lot of hurt.  I know that hurt.  Or at least I have tasted it.  More importantly, Jesus knows that hurt better than anyone. 

In stark contrast, I celebrated the mountain top seasons with many friends. I celebrated the miracle of life with many friends and family members as they shared pregnancy announcements or gave birth to one of the greatest gifts life can bring...a precious child.  I celebrated birthdays, weddings, marital victories (praise you Jesus!), my own sister's cancer free report at the end of 2016 (Hallelujah!!).  I celebrated that my own home life and marriage have come so far over the past few years.  I celebrated that I was even in a place in life that I could enjoy celebrating a little bit this past year.  That last revelation made my heart leap with gratitude over and over again.  

For so many years celebrating felt so hollow and contrived.  For so many years I was too weak to put on the mask and pretend like life is always a picnic but, I did it anyways.  Every time I put that mask on to please the people I felt myself dying more and more inside   In this superficial, social media driven culture that we live in, we quickly realize that going through hard times publicly is unpopular and a downer to other people.  It makes people uncomfortable when someone airs their "dirty laundry," and it seems to send a silent message, "steer clear of that person! They have problems and their life is a mess.  They are too emotional.  They are depressed.  They are a kill joy."  So people hide their trouble.  People suffer in silence.  They pretend on the outside and break quietly on the inside.

Oh but, if you only know how close Jesus is to the broken, the lonely and the lost.  He...is...so....close to you.  He takes that mask that you have put on every day to please the people and he throws it in the fire and he pulls you into His arms and holds you as you weep.  He holds you as you cry, for days, weeks and even years. He never lets go when life gets ugly.  He understands that losing a child....or a loved one unexpectedly is not something that you just get over in a day.  He knows that you might struggle with a loss for the rest of your Earthly days.  He knows that watching a loved one battle cancer for years and years is not an easy load to carry.  He knows that longing ache for a child doesn't get easier with each passing year.  He knows the pain of loneliness as you wait for a love to share your life with. He knows that some seasons in life are long and hard and He isn't turned off by your pain.  He is walking with you in it.  He did walk in it...Up the hill of calvary and on to the splintered, nail-pierced cross.  He is with you, always.  

I may not be in the valley today but, I still know the pain of it so well I can taste it.  I saw the valley pain on the faces of so many friends and loved ones this year.  I don't ever want to get to a point that I have lost the ability to walk in the valley with a friend because I am too wrapped up on my mountain top bubble.  Can we enjoy the mountain top seasons and still walk in the valley with the broken?  Can we stop being so afraid of pain that we run from those whose lives are riddled with it?  

As I approached the new year I asked the Lord what word He had for me this year.  I often feel like the Lord puts a word on my heart at the start of each new year.  This word often comes to me after prayer and Bible reading.  One year my word was rest.  This was at a time that my hubby was still very sick and battling through late stage lymes disease, medical bills were sky high and life was just very, very hard.  I had literally zero strength left but, as a Christian I felt guilty if I wasn't still constantly doing something, serving and saying yes to everything.  BUT God, told me to rest and told me to learn to say no.  It was a hard word to submit to that year but, it just might have saved my feeble sanity. Rest....when, God says it, listen to him.  He knows best.  

A couple of years later I was given the word organization.  Maybe some of us think of a neat and tidy house but, that was only the surface of what the word meant for me.  I was meant to focus on taking back my broken life and organizing it one piece at a time.  That did translate into a house wide purge, a better system for planning and keeping track of information as well as getting order back in my marriage and spiritual life. If your life is feeling especially chaotic or out of control then maybe organization might be a good word for you! 

Early in December I was reading my Bible and I read a passage out of Hebrews Chapter 12 verses 1-3.  I've probably read this passage a dozen times or more but, this time the words jumped off the page, grabbed my shoulders and shook me while saying, "are you listening?  I'm talking to you here!"  It wasn't exactly like that but, then again it sort of was.  For those who have the ears to hear...the Bible is so alive it's scary (scary awesome) sometimes.  Watch out.  God is always talking and I guarantee He has something that He wants to say that is just for you. 

Now, keep in mind that this passage was meant for me in that moment.  It may be that it is not meant for anyone else right in this moment but, I am sharing anyways...well, because I want to.  

Hebrews 12:1-3  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  

It wasn't the entire passage that jumped out at me initially but, the simple, "let us throw off everything that hinders," part of the verse.  That was it. 

I sat there a little stunned by how much the words resonated with me and then read the passage over and over again.  Then I started asking God why He let the passage jump out at me.  What did He want me to do with the words that I was hearing as if for the first time?  

I am coming out of a long season of pain and valley and I'm in the climb again.  What helps us to climb again?  Throwing off the things that are holding us down.  I quite literally COULD NOT throw anything off last year, or the year before, or the year before that...and so on.  God understands that we can't always flip a switch on our pain and climb.  Sometimes walking in the pain is an inescapable part of our life process and journey.  Many of us are completely re-shaped and re-made by the pain of the valley.  God also knows the EXACT moment at which YOU ARE READY to climb out and up.  He is with us, every single step of the way.  

I had a lot of fun reflecting on these verses.  What is hindering me from experiencing more joy?  What is hindering me from sharing all of the things that God puts on my heart?  What am I afraid of? 

The truth kind of embarrassed me because, I didn't even see it.  

I'm way too afraid of people and what people think of me.  

Whaaaaa...honestly, it isn't something that I have ever thought of as a problem.  I am a friendly, social person and I love people.  I don't really have issues with people on the personal level of interaction.  If you meet me...watch out, because I will befriend you...all of you. lol....kidding not kidding...

On the other hand, there is public speaking .  It is literally my biggest fear....I think I just got nauseated thinking about it. Uggg...But even that didn't feel like everything that I was supposed to get out of this revelation. 

I also have so many friends and family members who do not believe in Jesus and thus I am always trying to find a loving balance (and failing miserably) between respecting all of our differences but, also enjoying the freedom to be me, someone who loves Jesus and whose identity is quite literally woven in Him.  I love talking about my faith and what God is doing but, I also don't want people to think that I am trying to force Him on them.  That is never my motive.  I just love telling stories, writing, sharing and being a Christ-follower.  I don't expect everyone to agree with my faith and I hope people that know me best know that my intention is to share love and my motivation is to be encouraging to others. 

I also get embarrassed that I analyze life so much and that I can be so sensitive to the pain of others.  It would be great to be a super silly, light-hearted person but, I am not sure if I will ever be that person nor that I was meant to be.  I am able to love on certain people because of how God made me and in the same manner you were made the way you are to love on and bless other people.  And if we all walk freely in who we are in Him, we just might make a real heck of a difference in this world.  What a beautiful, beautiful thing.  

FREEDOM.

That is my word for 2017.  Freedom.  

The first step is seeing the words when God gives them, then receiving them in our hearts and then declaring and claiming them in our lives. 

I wrote all of this because my heart's desire will always be to make sure that people in the valley know just how loved they are by God....and by me.  

You may be in a new valley.  If so, I pray that you would ask God to hold you close and give you strength for each and every pain filled day.  He is with you! He loves you!  He hears you!  I pray that your valley season is not long and I pray that you hold tightly to the truth that you can walk through this in Him and with Him.  One day at a time you can walk this hard walk through to the other side. And don't forget to put on your armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) every day, because the battle is for real.  

 Maybe you have been in a valley for some time.  If so, I pray that you begin to see a new light shining off in the distance. I pray that your time to climb out is coming soon.  Glory to God I pray it's coming soon.  Keep marching.  Keep pressing on.  He is with you!  He loves you!  He hears you! 

And then I felt this on my heart...loud and clear.  

God's people CAN DO HARD THINGS.  What do I mean by that?  Well, it was a reminder to me that I serve an all powerful, all knowing, supernatural God.  I think that so many Christians are discouraged (as I was for SO dang long) and need to be reminded that just like the little engine who could and who said, "I think I can, I think I can...,"  In Christ, WE CAN and we need to KNOW in our spirit that we can.  In Christ, we are loved just as we are.  In Christ, we are never alone.  In Christ, we have all that we need.  In Christ we are conquerors.  In Christ, We are able to face tomorrow because WE KNOW who holds tomorrow and all that ETERNITY holds for us.  In Christ, we can walk through the valley and trust that He can see what we cannot.  

I was so sick over Christmas break but, my Momma who I have not seen in a year and a half was here with me.  My Momma is amazing.  She is the reason I know Jesus and she is such a great counselor and friend.  She made breakfast for all of us each morning; she played with the kiddos a lot to keep them out of my hair, she folded laundry, she emptied the dishwasher, she gave me back messages and foot messages...she loved on me in my sickness and you know what...it was the most wonderful Christmas in spite of having the flu. 

I reflected on that for a while too.  Having someone so comforting and loving around in my suffering made it not just bearable but, possible and I even enjoyed my time a little bit too.  It was a little Christmas miracle. 

And so to, we have CHRIST to comfort and love on us in our suffering always.  Maybe sometimes we need to be more intentional about inviting him to sit next to us on the couch for a chat.  Or inviting him to hold us while we weep.  Maybe we need to invite Him to speak to us by reading our Bibles or spending time with Him in prayer.  Maybe we push Him away more than we realize?   Maybe we choose just about everything but, Him to fill our void when we are hurting and we wonder why we don't feel His presence more.  I've sure been there and I'm sure I will be there again someday as life is so full of circles. 

The good news is...that is what we are all here for!  To encourage one another on in our races and to remind each other of all the things that we so easily forget when times get hard.    

For some, 2017 is looking like a year full of excitement and possibility!  For others it is just another year of trial and heartache.  Wherever you are at, God is with you and His love for you is infinitely deeper than your deepest valley and infinitely higher than your highest mountain top.  

I pray that regardless of what resolutions you may have made or not made, that you feel God moving in your life this year more powerfully than the last.  That you recognize His great love for you more clearly than past years.  That we would all grow and throw off the things that hinder us and the sin that entangles us and run our races with perseverance. 

Because Christ endured the Cross WITH JOY for us because HE KNEW what the outcome was.  He knew that he could take the torture, the pain and even conquer death because it was worth what He could give us in return....eternal life and a Heavenly paradise.  

"How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!"
1 John 3:1

Much love to you all. Whatever steps you take this year, take them with Him. xo














Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bruin is TWO!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our super adorable, sensitive, silly, feisty and sweet little Bru Bear! 

You are so very loved my little Prince. 

His second birthday party was Mickey Mouse theme.  And since Bruin has watched more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than any other show, it seemed fitting for him to be holding Mickey in his 2 year portraits:).  He loves "Miggeeeeee!" 
I took these pictures of Bruin (and some with he and Daisy) about a week before his 2nd birthday.  He has actually gotten surprisingly good at sitting for a few seconds and saying cheese with the promise of a lollipop afterwards.


 Below:  He has figured out that he has gotten a drum set.  The poppy flew out of his mouth a moment later when he squealed with delight.  HE WAS SO HAPPY!!  We decided to leave the other presents for later because we wanted him to take the time to enjoy the drum set.  We opened the remaining presents on his actual birthday.  So many people have told me that I am so brave to allow a drum set into my house...lol, I want to say a few things to that point.  One: These are not as loud as a real drum and they are super cheap.  They might last a few months at best...lol so I won't have to listen to it all that long.  Two: They don't play them all the time and most of the time I am just so happy when my kids leave me alone for three seconds so I can tolerate the noise for a little bit here and there.  Three: I am brave...and a little crazy so you are accurate.  lol

Bruin is the sweetest cuddle bug.  I am thankful for a baby that is so affectionate.  It's not all the time and it really is only on his terms but, it's THE BEST.  He loves to lay his head on my shoulder at least a hundred times a day.  He gives lots of hugs and kisses.  He loves to sit right next to me on the couch or in my bed and he likes to lean on my arm.  I would definitely say that one of Bruin's love languages is affection.  

His vocabulary is growing daily but, he is definitely taking his time with talking and even comprehension which of course can be very frustrating because he is always frustrated and I can't communicate with him...sigh.  Here are some of the words that I do hear him say frequently: Mum, Day Day (Daisy), no, star, uh huh, candee, migee (Mickey), noz (nose), ug (hug), heah (head), duck, bungee (bunkee), popeee, car, tuck (truck), show, light, chair, eye, tee (teeth), brush, dink (drink), chee (cheese), hiiii, byyyy, doggie, kiiy (kitty), bug, shew (shoes), hai (hair), hewp (help).

PS the irony of this cake is that by Bruin's birthday both my husband and I were eating gluten free so neither of us could eat any.  I had already ordered and paid for it before hand so there was no point in cancelling it. Daisy doesn't like cupcakes so she didn't want one...soooo...we had 24 cupcakes just for Bruin and he ate half of one...talk about a waste.  But, a very cute waste! 

Bruin wears size 2T or 24 months in just about everything but, 2T is still on the bigger side for him.  He wears a size 6.5 shoe but, I have been getting him 7 lately.  Size 5 diapers.  

Bruin is a very picky eater.  I can tell that his sensory issues effect his ability to tolerate textures and really hinder his adventurous spirit when it comes to food.  

He has been enjoying a bowl of cereal with a tiny bit of milk for breakfast the past couple of weeks.  His favorite thing to eat on planet earth is applesauce squeezers.  He absolutely must start each morning with one and he probably inhales about 3 a day.  He likes cheese sticks and sandwich slices.  He likes, bread, plain pancakes, hashbrowns, mac n' cheese and most all pasta, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit (grapes, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, bananas, basically he loves all fruit).  He likes a little bit of sushi (not nearly as much as Daisy), some pizza if he is in the mood, chicken pieces, Daddy's grilled meats, crackers and anything sweet.  Bruin is definitely my sweet tooth kiddo.  He is obsessed with cake!  It is his favorite treat to eat but, he is happy with anything sweet.  He mostly drinks very diluted apple juice.  He doesn't like to drink he milk in the morning anymore for some reason and he refuses water most of the time unless it is in sister's school water bottle.  

He loves watching various shows on my cell phone off and on when I let him.  He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but, he also loves the youtube kids ap.  He will usually watch shows about cars, trucks or sing along songs. He also loves Goldie and Bear and Little Einsteins.  I also have a few Wiggles DVD's in my van and he enjoys watching those as well.  

Bruin loves shoes and he quickly learned how to get his own shoes and ask us to put them on him ("shoe, shoe!" whenever he wants to go anywhere.   

He loves taking his nap everyday.  Bruin is the type of kid who pretty much lets you know that he wants to go to sleep.  He often grabs his blanket and puts his own pacifier in his mouth.  He will put his blanket on my shoulder and ask me to pick him up.  Then he lays his head on my shoulder and points to his room.  It cracks me up and melts me all at once.  Daisy has never once in her life ever wanted to go to bed so to have a kiddo who is the exact opposite is a crack up.  When I lay him on his pillow pal he has his eyes closed almost instantly.  He is never wild and amped up at nap time. He is ready for it. :) He doesn't nap long unfortunately.  Daisy used to take a three hour nap ever day for nearly 3 years.  Yes, I was spoiled.  Bruin is more of an hour to hour and a half napper.  On the other hand he likes to go to bed at 7 sharp!  And he sleeps solid most every night until 6:30 AM.  And if you are wondering I have attempted to adjust his bedtime in hopes that he might sleep just a hair later in the morning but, it makes no difference.  Early rising is in his blood. Sigh.  I am very thankful that he is a great sleep overall.  No complaints here. 

Bruin loves when I pull up a couple of chairs to the kitchen sink.  He climbs up and plays with the dishes, water and soap.  He could probably play there for an hour each time if I let him but, I usually have to stand next to him because the chair gets super wet and slippery and he falls a lot.  But, he loves it so we try to do this activity once every few days.  

He loves to help us cook or bake!  I don't love doing this with him yet but, I try to find things for him to do when I can.  He is great at helping me load the washer or dryer or empty the dishwasher.  He is at that helping stage.  He wants to help with everything which makes everything that much more difficult.  LOL.  It is also SUPER cute too. 

He loves to throw things both when he is being silly and when he is angry.  I've been hit in the face once or twice by a very big toy and it was not fun lemme tell yah.  But, I am hoping we can channel that energy into a fast ball pitch here pretty soon.  

Bruin loves being outside, going on walks, exploring, driving Daisy's jeep, or riding her scooter (I push him around).  He loves going to new places and seeing new things.  

He seems the most unhappy and bored when we are home all day...which is a bummer because that used to be my favorite thing before he was born. LOL.  Now, I try to get out once a day to burn some of Bruin's energy and to help me stay sane.  Otherwise, he cries 100X more if we stay home all day.  I'm not gonna lie....he is a tough cookie most days.  But, I love em to pieces.  

Bruin loves animals and he knows must about every farm animal and the sound that they make.  I need to record his sounds on a video very soon!  Daisy was always scared of dogs as a toddler and even now but, Bruin loves dogs and cats.  Bruin and his Daddy are twins when it comes to their passion and their love for animals. lol   

He loves to wake up in the morning and come in to my bed and watch shows for around 30 minutes.  I am so thankful for this down time before starting the day.  At night Bruin likes us to read him two books and then he knows it's time to turn off the like, get rocked and we sing a song to him and then he is ready for bed.  He likes his routines and seems to feel secure in them.

I love this little guy so much even if he does wear my brain ragged more often than not with all of his whining and crying.  lol.  If you have a whiney child, let's just say that I understand you a whole lot more now than I did with my first child.  Peace and love! lol


  




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hello



I'm thankful for a recent picture of me and the kiddos.  I was taking pictures of Bruin for his 1.5 year session and asked my hubby to snap a quick picture of me and the kids.  Such a treat.  I'm also thankful that we were all smiling and no one was faking a thing. Woohoo! It was a good day!   

Today I am answering 50 Questions that are circling the blogsphere for fun. 

50 Questions 
  1. Are you a morning or night person? Neither.  I have never, ever, ever enjoyed getting up early and I have never, ever enjoyed staying up much later than 11.  Even as a child I avoided sleep overs because I never had the energy to stay up and chat all hours of the night with the other girls.  I am a 9-7 person, I guess.  
  2. Do you prefer, sweet or salty foods?  More often than not I am a salty food lover however; there are certain times of the month that a girl just needs her sweets. Hint, hint.  
  3. Ninjas or pirates? Ninjas duh. 
  4. Ninjas vs pirates, discuss.   When I think of Pirates I just think of dirty old men that steal and pillage.  Except for Jake and the Never land Pirates.  He's cute and sweet.  Anyways, Ninjas are more like super heroes.  C'mon they are cool.    
  5. Autobots or Decepticons?  I'm all about dem Autobots...Love me some Optimist Prime and Bumblebee....
  6. What was your favorite childhood television program? I loved a lot of different shows.  I enjoyed McGee and Me, Adventures in Odyseey, Anne of Avonlea (the TV show) and Little House on the Prairie.  Yes, I'm proud to say that I loved each and every one of those shows.  
  7. Are you a collector of anything? When I was a child I collected a lot more things than I do now.  I loved Collecting Lisa Frank products, pencils, doll clothes and pretty rocks.  Now as an adult I try not to collect because, I hate clutter but, I do enjoy coffee cups, books, jewelry and journals.
  8. If you could be any animal, what would you be? A bird.  I want to soar high up in the sky with the wind under my wings and then dive like an arrow just for the thrill of it. I'm sure I would get eaten by a larger animal or shot by a hunter pretty quickly (LOL) but, I'd enjoy the ride while it lasted.  
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I have never been able to answer this because I couldn't settle for just one power.  I want to be Superman...so all of his powers would be awesome thank you.
  10. What is usually your first thought when you wake up? "Ok, whew another day.  Here we go. Help me sweet JESUS to be a blessing to my kids and husband and whoever you put in my path today."  
  11. What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? I think about way too many things.  It might be about whatever show I just finished watching on TV, it might be about politics and how  much it grieves me....or the state of our world today.  I might be thinking about my kids and wondering how they are doing or my hubby or our marriage.  The last thing I try to think on is a prayer, so that I can let it all go and then go to sleep.  
  12. What's your favorite color? I like different colors for different purposes.  I like wearing blue, aqua, black and white a lot.  I like decorating with blue, green, brown, yellow and white.  I also love bright colors for accents around the house.  I love the soft pink in my daughter's room and the soft sea blue/green in my son's room.  My current least favorite color is orange but, next year it could be my favorite.  I am always changing my mind about color.   
  13. What's your favorite animal? I would probably have a pet cat if I wanted a pet to take care of which I don't currently.  I also enjoy the birds outside tremendously.  I am definitely a bird lover.   I really enjoy ALL animals but, I am not a big fan of caring for household pets.  
  14. Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? Only in the Heavenly realm.  Angels are very real as is God and I'm not sure what they look like but, that would definitely qualify as life outside of this planet.  
  15. Do you believe in ghosts? No, but, again angels and the spirit world is something I don't understand.  Perhaps people have mistaken angels for ghosts! 
  16. Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? I have never been a game junkie but, I have played many, many games in my days.  I loved super mario world and cart as a kid and currently we play Zelda and Wii sports. 
  17. If you were given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on?  The boring answer...I would invest it and live off interest most likely.  I know how quickly money goes so I try to be cautious when I have it.  But, okay for the sake of blowing cash I would buy a bigger home with a beautiful pool in the backyard.  I'd like a ski boat and the hubby would want a sweet bass fishing boat and a big fancy truck or jeep.  I'd try to convince my family to move near me by offering to by them a house.  I'd love to donate money to different charities that I support and then I'd use the rest to travel the world with my little fam bam.  
  18. Have any bad habits? I think my bad habits are more internal...in my head.  I am pretty hard on myself as a Christian, a mother and a person.  I am ever learning how to extend myself the same grace that I try to extend to others.   
  19. Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy?  Honestly, the bad habits that drive me crazy are people criticizing each other so ruthlessly and thinking they have all their own stuff together....c'mon y'all.  
  20. List 3 of your best personality traits:  I love to encourage people and remind people how amazing they really are because I know how much we all need to hear that every single day.  I am a pretty patient person.  I love people...all people, very much.   
  21. List 3 of your worst personality traits:  I'm overly sensitive.  I can read too much into something someone says or does which gets my brain on a hamster wheel.  
  22. Have any celebrity crushes? Nope.   Of course I am not blind to the fact that there are lots of attractive people in the world but, I aim not to crush on anyone but, the one I've got.  
  23. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself: Just one thing?  Ummm....I would love to be less afraid of public speaking.  My fear has held me back from so many opportunities.  I would also love to have longer legs...just being real...I could have listed 10 body things I'd love to change but, I'll just leave it with the legs.  I must add though that the older I get, the less and LESS I care about my body image...it's just getting older, saggier and grayer so I gotta embrace it for what it is.  
  24. Any tattoos or piercings?  No tattoos.  I'm not opposed to them at all but, I don't think I ever want to get one.  I have two ear piercings in each ear and that is all.  I like simple.  
  25. What's the first thing you notice in the opposite sex? Face.  Are the eyes kind and welcoming and immediately after I notice quickly if they have a warm or cold personality.
  26. Whats your dream date? A good dinner out and a movie.  That's it.  Again, I like keeping life simple.  Now if the date was out of this country and in Europe that would be awesome.   
  27. What personality traits do you look for in a partner? I was drawn to my husband's extroverted personality, his persistent nature, his adventure spirit and his humor.  
  28. What personality traits do you dislike in other people?  Judgemental.  Why do so many people criticize others for the pettiest things when they themselves have so much junk to work on in their own life.  Focus on growing yourself and loving others as they are...period.  
  29. Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years? done. check. 
  30.  Are you mostly a clean or messy person?  Clean!  I prefer a clean house, clean clothes and a good shower.  I don't mind if other people have messy homes etc. but, as for me and my house...we keep it clean. 
  31. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?  Ideally I would like to move to a different place ever 3 years or so.  I would live in Hawaii for a few years, then Europe, then different states in the US, then Italy, then Greece and so on.  That would be so awesome!  Unfortunately, jobs and income don't really allow for that. 
  32. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Maui, Hawaii, Europe, Greece, Italy, Africa, Mexico and pretty much all the islands.  
  33. List 5 goals on your life's to-do list: Finish college and get my degree in Psychology. Write my book. Take my kiddos on a missions trip. Travel to a few dream destinations.  Strive to live a content life regardless of my circumstances.  
  34. Name 1 regret you have: not being more confident when I was younger.  I had to grow up to build it! 
  35. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid: Someone else cooking the meals every night:) 
  36. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult: So much.  The freedom to make my own choices.  
  37. What's your favorite song of the moment? I have been listening to David Crowder and Third Day lately.  I don't have a particular song that stands out as a favorite.  
  38. What's your favorite song of all time? I could never have a favorite for that long...
  39. What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? I have two small kids who kick my butt all day...Soooo, I like to put them to bed and then recover from the long day by sitting on the couch eating a treat and watching a show with my hubby.  Bliss. 
  40. What's your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Church with the fam and then a family nap/rest after and lastly a yummy dinner together.  Maybe a swim at our community pool. Low key.  
  41. Have any hidden talents?  I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose with ease;)
  42. You're about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal? Sushi, strawberry short cake and a Pepsi. lol  
  43. What would be your dream job? What I do...stay at home Mom. If I didn't have littles at home I would love to be a traveling motivational speaker, or faith focused teacher for women groups and churches (assuming public speaking didn't terrify me...)
  44. Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love?  The only true love I know of comes from knowing Jesus...money, meh...I can live without it.  
  45. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? Just one...world peace:)...that would basically mean that the rapture has happened and we are now in Heaven.  
  46. Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? Not that I can recall
  47. Name 1 thing not many people know about you:  Oh gosh I don't know...I am not a fan of chick flicks or country music...doesn't mean I can't stand them but, I will choose something else if given an option.  
  48. If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to? I have no idea.....I could sit here all day trying to think of another name I would like.  
  49. Do you believe in the afterlife? I hope that anyone who knows me...knows my answer to this already.  100% yes...Heaven and Hell are both fo reals.  
  50. On the topic of abortion, how do you feel about cookies?  This is a very interesting question....ummmm....I am pro-life y'all and not ashamed of it one bit BUT, my strong feelings on this issue do not in any way lessen my love for pro-choicers or women who have had an abortion.  I love  y'all and I would never think less of you because we don't see eye to eye on this...but, I am gonna fight to protect those who do not have a voice to fight for themselves.  And cookies....I LOVE THEM...fresh baked cookies are a weakness of mine.  I'll take them over ice cream ANY DAY!  
Monday, June 6, 2016

Bruin is 1.5 (Happy Half Birthday Buddy!)

(I'm posting this two months late because that is my blogging average now. lol.)

One and a half is already here!  I'll be serving this kid a cupcake with two candles on it in a blink!

We took the little guy to a local lake for his 1.5 year session.  It was a really beautiful day but, it was quite warm and sticky so I had low expectations.  Bruin isn't the kind of kiddo to sit and smile for a camera but, I got lucky!  I brought his teddy along and he loved that we were somewhere new and that he got to sit on a special stool.  He gave us some of his sweetest smiles and facial expressions.  I melted.  And then he took off down the deck.  Happy boy = Happy Momma.

I sure do adore this little boy.  


Bruin weighed 24.5 pounds at his 18 month checkup.  He was >? (need to retrieve data!) inches long.  He is growing great!

Bruin's favorite things to do:

Dance.  This boy loves dancing.  Anytime Bruin hears a tune playing on a TV, tablet or cell phone, he  immediately throws one arm up in the air and starts waving it around.  He also has this one foot stomp motion that goes along with the hand swaying in the air.  When I am holding him he will bounce to the music in my arms.  If he is walking around he usually dances around in a circle while shaking his booty.  It's the cutest thing ever!! I love having a dancing kiddo.

Watch shows.  One of the very first words Bruin learned to speak was, "show."  He points up at the TV and softly says, "shoooowww."  When we are in the car he points at the DVD player and says the same thing.  He likes to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Psalty's Praise, Wiggles and Mother Goose Club.  Basically any musical show is his favorite.  No other shows keeps his attention.  He loves to eat a little snack on the living room floor while watching a show.  

Play outside.  He loves exploring the weeds, grass, rocks and dirt.  He is a typical boy and I love it.  Yesterday, during Daisy's tennis lesson, I took Bruin to an abandoned dirt lot full of gravel and weeds.  He had the best time throwing rocks, pulling weeds (yes, both of my children love pulling weeds because I LOVE pulling weeds. LOL), and playing in the dirt.  He doesn't like having pebbles or dirt on his hands though so he would then wipe his dirty hands on my shorts.  It cracked me up.  He also likes to kick a ball around in the backyard and climbing up and down on his little slide over and over and over again.

He loves to brush his teeth.  We pulled the stool out of the closet for him to use and now he climbs up and grabs his own tooth brush and toothpaste.  Then he brushes his teeth or plays in the sink for a little bit.  It passes time and it is teaching him a useful skill.  Win. Win. 


He finally enjoys taking baths.  I had no idea a kid could despise bath time as long as Bruin did.  He would take a bath but, he never enjoyed it and mostly he whined to get out the entire time.  Now when I ask him if he'd like to take a bath he gets excited and walks to the bathroom and stands beside the tub and waits.  He loves to sit right up next to the spout with his big pitcher and cup and he collects the water as it pours and then pours it back and forth from cup to pitcher.  He loves pouring things out.  He also loves to have me put a dab of shampoo, lotion or soap on his hand.  He loves just staring at it on his hand.  I have repeatedly showed him how to rub it on his other arm or to wash it off.  Then he grunts for more.  Good times.

We went to the great wolf lodge recently and Bruin was far too overstimulated by the noise and the splashing water everywhere.  He likes things to be quieter and more mellow at this point.   I'm not sure if it is an actual sensory issue or if Bruin is just a sensitive kiddo which is could be the case. We also tried playing in the sprinkler in the backyard but, he didn't like the suddenness of the water getting him each time it came back around.  We went to the pool a week ago and it was freezing still.  Of course he hated it.  He must get that from his mom.  Sorry buddy.  He sat on the step with me and seemed to enjoy that well enough.  We are going to try and go back to the pool when it warms up a bit and see if he likes it more then.  Hope so!

Bruin likes to do new things and he likes variety.  If I keep him occupied and constantly change up the activities then he is happiest but, I find that exhausting.  I created a sensory bin for him last week and it was probably the happiest I have seen him in a long time.  He sat for an hour and played with the beans and cups!  He likes to be challenged.  I have noticed how quickly Bruin picks up on things.  If I show him how to do a task like put all the marbles in a cup and then put the lid on and shake it, he can instantly repeat the task.  So, pray that God gives me energy to come up with new and creative things to do with this little guy to help him thrive and to keep him busy!  lol

Bruin is just starting to get to the point that he will "play," a little bit with Daisy.  He loves to follow her into her room and get into her stuff.  It blows my mind how patient and tolerant she is of him.  I think she just really enjoys having a sibling and she loves having someone to play with even a little bit.  Recently the two of them discovered that they could take the shelf out of the oven in her kitchen set.  Then they took turns sitting in the pretend oven and closing the door on each other and waving through the window.  Sounds rather odd to type that out but, it was ridiculously cute to watch and don't worry, I don't leave either of them alone for fear that Daisy might keep Bruin in the oven a little longer than necessary.  He'd survive but, meh, I'm not gonna chance it;).  Daisy is unbelievably gentle with Bruin.  She is a very affectionate kiddo, so he gets loves of cuddles, hugs and kisses from big sis.  He also gets back messages.  Daisy is on a kick that she loves to give us a message.  It feels nothing like a message but, shhhh don't tell her that.  We just love that she has such a kind heart and she is trying to do a nice thing.

He prefers being held 98% of the day.  I truly think that he is miserable a lot of the time and I think being held is the most comfortable place for him to be.  I don't know if his fussiness is because he has a low pain tolerance level and teething drives him crazy or if he is a sensory kiddo who is bothered easily by the stimulus around him.  He does get ear infections a lot due to teething and I know from experience how horrific ear infections can be.  Two weeks ago he actually ruptured his ear drum.  I feel terrible because I had no idea he was battling an ear infection prior to that because he cries all the time already so it's so hard to know what is bothering him on any given day.  I had been giving him motrin for his teething at night so I hope that helped a little bit.  We got him on an antibiotic and he seemed happier after a few days but, then he returned to his rather fussy self and again, I wonder if he is hurting or just not the happiest baby in the world.  It's so hard to know.  He will occasionally have a really happy day and I kid you not those are some of my happiest days in the past year and a half as well.  When I see him having a good day, smiling, laughing and enjoying himself I feel like I've been handed a thousand bucks.  I hope for more and more and more days like that for this cute little boy of mine.  I do so love him...so, so, so, so much.


Bruin loves his stuffed animals.  He is soothed by them.  We often take one on a car ride and he has a few in his crib to snuggle with at night.  He gives them big squeeze hugs and his face lights up with a big smile whenever we hand him one.  The best.

He wears size 18-24 month clothes from Old Navy and mostly 18 month everywhere else.  To be honest 18 month can still be a bit big but, 12 months is definitely too snug now.  He wears size 5 shoes with some room to grow.  Size 5 Target diapers.

He still goes to bed at around 7 and sleeps until around 6:30 most days.  I can usually get him to hang in his crib until 7 but, that is his absolute max.  He is not a sleep in type of kid.  Bummer dude.  And if you are wondering, we have tried keeping him up later in hopes of getting a more restful morning in but, nope...he rises at the same time no matter what time he goes to bed at night.  That being said, I am pretty intentional about keeping him on this schedule because I desperately need the down time before bed to decompress a little bit.  Bru naps from around 12 ish until around 2:30 depending on the day. We pick Daisy up from the bus at 3:30 which is why I don't push for a later start to his afternoon nap at this point.

Bruin loves to eat but, he is rather picky.  I have a hard time getting him to eat meat of any kind and vegetables are almost always a big fat no.  I have gotten him to eat canned green beans as long as I remember to give him a fork to feed himself.  He will also eat chicken nuggets in small pieces so long as I remember to give him lots of ketchup to dip the pieces in.  He loves ketchup and "dip-dip," as we call it. He will dip anything in ketchup if given the opportunity.  When he is done dipping his food he usually picks up the plate and sticks his entire face in the ketchup in attempt to get a good lick.  Hilarious.  Bruin loves to eat fruit.  His current favorites are strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, grapes, and mandarin oranges (from the can).  He also loves hawiaan sweet bread rolls.  He enjoys holding an entire sandwich by himself and eating it.  He like pb&j and a cheese sandwich.  He is not a fan of sandwich meat.  He will also eat just about anything that I am eating, even if it is something that he wouldn't eat if I set it on his tray.  Simply because I am eating it, he must also eat it by default.  Kids are so funny.  He did not ,however; like the avocado that I was eating last night.  He shuddered violently after getting a tiny bite.  So, no to avocado evidently.  lol  He loves sweets!  He can eat anything with sugar all day long.  Daisy was never my sweets kiddo.  She was super picky about cake and donuts etc.  Bruin will devour anything sweet...anything.


We set his teddy off down the trail and had him go "fetch" it for us so that he had something fun to do.  He loved this game and we got some great candid shots and expressions in the process.  My favorite kind of photography.

Bruin definitely has a bit of separation anxiety at this point and he is also a total Momma's boy.  More often than not a kiddo who spends a lot of time with a stay at home mom is going to have a season of attachment.  That is where we are at. I went through this for about 1.5 years with Daisy but, I forsee this phase lasting longer with Bruin because he is far more emotional than Daisy was.  If I walk out of the room and even leave Bruin with Daddy he has a full blown hysterical melt down and it takes him a while to move on.  He hates going to the church nursery and he cries off and on the entire time.  I dread going to church because the entire rest of the day gets thrown off because of his rough morning at church but, we survive I suppose.  It makes things harder for sure but, it is a phase and someday this too will pass.  Plus, I can't complain that my son adores me and loves to snuggle his momma.  That is priceless and worth it all!

  We adore Bruin's eyes. Both the color and the shape. His eyes are shaped like little almond, tear drops. Oh how this little boy melts me.

Happy 1.5 birthday buddy!  You are growing up so fast, I can hardly believe it.  You are the cutest little guy and you have Mommy wrapped around your finger...even if you are the biggest handful ever.  Love you my little prince.
xoxo,
Mommy. 
Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Mother's Day Blessings



 These are definitely my new favorite pictures of my kiddos. I LOVED the way the light was pouring in all around this spot but, at the same time I loved that I had a nice shade patch for the kids to walk around in. And Bruin even looked at the camera like twice! What a great Mother's Day gift to me! hehe

 Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing Moms both in our family, in our circle of friends and in all the world!! Thank you for all that you do to love on your kids and families! Every drop of love that you pour out makes this world a better place.  God Bless you for all that you do.  I am blessed to know so many strong, giving, loving and selfless women.  I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful day being celebrated.  xoxo

*******************

Being a momma is such incredibly hard work.  It's bone weary, gray hair and wrinkle inducing,  brain frying hard.   Every Momma would agree to this and they would probably also point out that I am being far to gentle in my description here.  lol.  

But I also think that every Momma would agree that motherhood's rewards are made up of priceless treasures that money could never buy.

 The gifts that these little people pour into our weary hearts is so rewarding.  Every time they smile.  Every time they snuggle up to us.  Every time they scribble us a little note or love letter.  Every time they get hurt and run to us because they know that we are the only ones who will kiss the boo boos just right.  Every time they wrap their little arms around our necks as we swoop them off to bed.  Every time they point at something new and stare with such an expression of wonderment.  Every time they show love to each other and we get to see a tiny glimpse of our hard work paying off.  Every time they breathe and we simply appreciate the fact that they are okay.  Every time they sing on stage with their class.  Every mother/child tea in preschool.  Every thoughtful gift and every slobbery kiss.  Every time they call us on the phone when we are away.  Every time they come to us for advice and encouragement.  Every time they say, "you are the best mom in the wold world."

What a gift these little wild ones are.

What a sweet gift motherhood is.


(Below: Daisy is not smiling her usual over the top smile here but, I promise she was actually having a lot of fun with Bruin;)