26 September 2013

Last week I was walking into our local grocery store when an older woman was pulling out in her crown victoria.

"Hey, watch it!" I shouted, a baby on my hips and tightly holding onto my three-year-old's hand.

She kept moving, slowly, and I yelled again.

"Watch where you're going! I have two kids here!"

She stopped, but didn't acknowledge that she saw me and talked to me through a closed window. I walked to her window and said again,

"Please watch where you're going. I have two kids with me."

"You were in my blind spot! People have a blind spot, ya know?!" She finally cracked the top of the window.

What was I going to do, jump in after her?

I walked away, fuming inwardly as my mama-bear nearly awoke after a long winter's nap. The double doors opened at the grocery store and what should await me but a lovely green mermaid. It was a day for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. The kids wheeled in the little car-cart and I had a little air to breath, get some groceries and sip on my warm latte. And finish it before it was cold.  I felt much better after the coffee pick me up.

All that to say, this afternoon, after a wild yet fun morning of playgroup and after lunch and before nap I saw Jack playing on the floor with his cars. He has a little map with parking spots and streets signs. From his position on his tummy I hear his little voice say,

"Hey! Watch where you're going! I have two kids here!"

to which he replied.

"Sorry, I didn't see you."

"Well, watch out!"

My jaw literally dropped and my heart sunk. I don't often call people out in public (that's my hubby's least favorite activity. Did not used to be mine.) but the one time I really had, with my kids, Jack heard the whole thing. Not just heard it, but remembered it and not just remembered it, but replayed it with his toy cars.

What else am I saying that he's mirroring? What other negative, complaining and hurtful things do I say that he takes in and saves for later?

These little people are sponges. I knew it before, but now I see it again and again. They mimic everything we do. Which is kind of cute, but kind of-really intimidating as well.

I don't want to mess my kid up any more than I have to. Words are powerful. Looks and attitudes and tones affect people far longer than we think and I'm reminded (and humbled) once again that I need to watch what I say, how I act and the attitude that lingers long after I thought he'd notice.

So since that day, since I allowed my attitude to come out like a bear in spring, I've noticed it with other people. With the old people who shoot dirty looks at toddlers at a Wendy's on a Wednesday afternoon, with fast drivers that don't come to a complete stop at the stop sign, and with my husband who isn't coming out to the car fast enough. This entitled attitude that wants to say a lot of things that aren't very nice.

But that's not who I want to be, or who Jesus wants me to be....or who I long for our kids to be.

It's a tough job, this whole mama business. They watch everything we do and while we're allowed to be human and are far from perfect, it still settles in the back my mind. What version of me do I want him to mirror? The entitled, annoyed version of myself or the new creation, Jesus filled version? Because I don't think Jesus would have yelled at anyone in the parking lot (even if they were kind of close to backing up over them.)

Which then leads me to wonder...who do I want to be? Who do I want to mirror? I read this from a friend and it's my heart's prayer.

I have been reached out to, so I should reach out.
I have been shown mercy, so I should be merciful.
I have been forgiven, so I should forgive.
I have been loved, so I should love.
I have been humbled, so I should serve.
I have been included in the family of God, so I should include others in His family.
I have been taken care of, so I should take care of.
I have been shown truth, so I should share truth.
I am made new, so I should make new.
I have died and risen again with new, eternal life, so I should not fear, not even death.

16 September 2013

sick little bird

Zoey has been sick over the weekend. I wish I could say that when my kids become sick I turn into this:

But instead, I turn into this:

Ok, that's a little extreme, but funny none the less.
Sometimes I have Marmee potential, but when it comes to vomit or the runs, I am a mess. I just run around trying to find rags and get that smell out of my nose while John gently consoles our little one; vomit all over his shoulder. That's kind of how we work though, he and I. I clean up and disinfect (which he appreciates) while he cuddles and comforts and aids with a sip of water.

I did take one for the team though. Around 3am, rocking my sweet girl who then puked all over me. Of course then I called for backup, but for a minute I was alright.

Maybe I'll mature into a Marmee-type. Maybe one day vomit won't suddenly make me feel like I, too, am about to throw up everywhere and I can hold back the hair, gently scratch the back and then stroke their hair while they sleep.

Yeaaaah. Probably not.

Sorry, kids. I have some strengths, but dealing with puke may not be one of them.
But I am always up for a good old fashioned sick day. Sheets on the couch, pillow, comfies all day, whatever you want to watch and whatever you'd like to eat. I'll comfort you, stroke your hair and read you as many books as you would like.
Just please don't throw up on me.


12 September 2013


Some days there just isn't enough time.
Some days I feel kind of restless, distracted, consumed by social media or the newest thing that I forget these moments.

I long to be an alive-in-the-moment type of person. I can feel myself learning how (this book has helped) but sometimes discontentment is bred by the smallest of things and I am heading down a road of "wish I had's" and "wouldn't it be nice if's." and before I know it, I've lost sight of the now once again.

I'm also very sentimental and find myself reflecting on the past with longing sighs as if somehow I could be transported back in time. 
I dream about my childhood and movies, shows, toys, and dollies that were just as vital to my childhood as any living person.

But still, the past is gone and the future is out of my hands and all that really leaves me with is the now.
and Now, for us, means taking the time to color and paint with the kids and read books and make up stories and build forts on the couch.
the Now is rocking Zoey for just a minute longer so I can kiss her hair and feel her tiny hands around my arms.
the Now is laying down with Jack before nap and asking how he is doing and what we can thank Jesus for.
the Now is date nights and taking the time to embrace our youth and going for family walks and cuddling on the couch after the kids have gone to bed.

'cause so fast its gone. and then it's a whole new Now that will look different and feel different.

my hope is to love each season of life. embrace it, live in it, love it and do whatever it takes to be content. which is, obviously, way harder than it sounds.

10 September 2013

song for the mornin'

"Oh! Great is our God! So we should worship greatly!!
No song is too loud! No orchestra too stately
To hail the majesty of our King
So lift your voices loud as we sing

Oh! Great is our God! So let our songs be endless!!
So awesome His ways, how could we comprehend them?
So we will make it known to our kids
And we will sing about the gracious gifts you give

We will sing your praise and pour forth your fame
We will bless your name
Let every one give thanks, because our God is great!

Oh! Great is our God! And we cannot contain it!
We sing from our souls, affected by His greatness
His mercy covers all that Heʼs made
Showing His glory and His grace"

09 September 2013

nap time

i love capturing an afternoon nap or saturday morning wake up calls.
thanks to motherhood i have become an early riser and savor my still, slow, quiet mornings alone with my warm cup of coffee, journal and a good book. even if it's just for ten minutes. 

my man still loves his sleep. he's a night owl and will often be up a full hour after i've dozed off (light on and all) and i try to let him savor that morning sleep a bit too.
though that doesn't always happen. like this morning when i found him totally asleep, all the lights on (courtesy of jack) while both kids jumped in zoey's crib. 

our kids haven't caught on to our morning routines and wake up at different times and with different needs. imagine that.

but there is always always time for a snuggle. even while still asleep.

oh, there he is. wakin' up too. 

these two love a good nap, a good cuddle and way-too-warm sleeping conditions for my hot blooded self.

07 September 2013


Zoeybird gets unhappy sometimes.

She's discovered the fine art of temper tantrums. Thankfully they don't last long, but the face is sad to see.

so sad.

Her little person is growing and changing every day. I love being with her, talking to her, showing her dollies and animals and reading her favorite book to her. She can understand so much yet says so little.

I'm sure this will change soon.

My hubby wrote this article recently for USA Today after putting Zoey to sleep.
Raising a girl used to really scare me. It still kind of does, but not quite as much when I see who gets to be her daddy.

03 September 2013

i like you

I like you, I like you, I like you just the way you are.

The first time I heard that sweet, simple melody my heart rose like a lump in my throat. I looked over at my three year old boy and saw that he heard it too. The catchy phrase was repeated over and over in that episode and each time it touched deeper and found a place that I had tried to work on, but wasn't having much success.

I started singing it to my boy. My cute, spirited and energetic three year old who can sometimes be found having outbursts that make my blood pressure and temper rise. My lively boy who, when hungry, tired, hot, bored or overstimulated can be found melting down. I imagine it's fairly normal for a three year old boy, but sometimes...sometimes I'm exhausted or overwhelmed or even embarrassed. Sometimes I can see my own inner heart in his tantrums and feel like I too, would like to throw myself on the ground and scream.

My nature is passionate. I can really love something and also really dislike it. I can be extremely happy and incredibly sad. Sometimes within minutes of each other.

I feel. Deeply.

I feel other people's feelings from across the room. I feel feelings they might not even be having or realize they are having. I can sense the tone in someone's voice when it's a little off or be hurt to my core when someone takes a bad day out on me. Even when I know it's not my fault, somehow I think it is. It's dysfunctional. But I'm working through that.

It's not a gift or anything. What could be empathy somehow takes advantage of me (or I take advantage of it?) and it can turn into some serious people pleasing and selfishness.

So, at my core, I am selfish. Like most people, I reckon, but here I am admitting it. And becoming a mom taught me that. Being a mom to Jack specifically taught me that.

When I heard Daniel Tiger sing "I like you just the way you." It hit me. It hit me hard. I looked over at my adorable three year old, took his little cheeks in my hands and kissed his nose. It became our anthem for a month and counting. I sang it before nap, I sang it before bed, I sang it randomly throughout the day and each time I'd search for his little eyes to remind him just how much I did love him, just the way he is. He gets it. He gets what it feels like to be in trouble for just being a kid, instead of for something he did. That reality breaks my heart. First borns do have it rough; they're somehow expected to measure up to this invisible standard that just floats around and is often that of an adult.

Every time I would vent about how embarrassed I was that he hit another kid or was having a meltdown my friend would gently, yet sternly, remind me. "He's three, Melanie. He is three. He's not ten. He's three."

And he is three. And beyond that, he is who he is and trying to have him fit into this mold that always finishes his dinner, loves to try new foods, doesn't have a binky, is completely potty trained, never interrupts when adults are talking and always obeys the first time might not be really practical at three. He'll get there. (or not. That's okay.) But for now, he's three. For now, we take each day as it comes and I choose to love him just the way he is. Even right after he disobeys or cries in the check out line. Even when the worries and stress of the day has me on overload and my selfish person just wants to take it out on someone, I choose to love him just the way he is. Of course this doesn't mean he doesn't have consequences for disobedient behavior, but rather it's about changing my heart attitude. Changing my mentality. Changing my tone and the words that come spewing out of my mouth.

As this mentality grew and as Jesus dove deeper into my heart with this truth I began to wonder. Do I believe Jesus loves me, just the way I am? Am I enough? Am I enough when I argue with my husband, struggle with the same worry that I have for the last four years and struggle with the need to control situations?

How can I let that kind of love come out of me onto my kids and onto my husband, when I don't believe it for myself?

As the week went on and as I sang the catchy tune to Jack, I began to accept it too. Accept that Jesus really loves me just the way I am. And if He can change the way I see my son, see parenting, see loving people truly unconditionally, then can He change other areas of me too?

Can He change the depths of my heart that have long been held captive by fear and worry and anxiety? Can He change that? Can He love me through that? Can He change my entire thought patterns that make me think I'm not strong enough to handle scary situations?

Will I let Him?

Jack and I's tender 3 year relationship needed this healing. Before we began a potential lifetime of labels and unnecessary frustration and lack of grace, I needed this song to stir my heart to see him through Christ's lens and not mine. Jesus doesn't just love our Jack, He likes him too. And that's at the core of most people's heart, to be liked. Being loved is great, but often an obligation, but liked is not a given, it's a privilege.

I long for him to know that his Jesus, who he is just beginning to learn about, loves him just the way He is. I long to truly believe that Jesus loves me just the way I am. Such a simple, elementary truth, but one that somehow I forget so quickly. I know I'm hard to love on days when I'm anxious or angry or tired. Especially hard to love just the way I am. And yet, He does. Somehow He can look past my outer core and search the depths of my heart and He still loves me. It's a mystery I will never, ever understand, but one I am learning to accept.

And He is patient with me and sings over me with His grace. He reminds me that every minute we have a new choice to change. A new opportunity after many failed attempts to trust and choose again. Through that He reminds me that He likes me, He likes me, just the way I am.

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