At Some Point, Everyone’s Sippy Cups Hit The Floor

unnamedIf you follow me on Instagram you saw this post last week. My boys bopping heads as they looked overboard to see where their thrown sippy cups landed. Pretty cute. Cute like when my firstborn for the first time dropped her sippy cup overboard. “Aw, here you go,” I’d say, “sweet little sugar booger boo. You sweet thing – you accidentally dropped your sippy cup!” You can read that in a squeaky Mom voice. So pleased to have helped my helpless child who had lost her sacred sippy cup, I felt accomplished and humbled as I turned back to the kitchen to eat my own food. THUMP. Squeaky voice says, “OH MY! You did it again.. you sweet thing. You can’t find the high chair tray anymore. That’s ok! Here you go, sweet love.” Patting myself on the back again, imagining my work here as noble as those serving in orphanages, I was glad I could help her again. Back to my sandwich. THUMP. Ok. No more squeaky mom voice. This is interesting. Either she has no depth perception or she is, in fact, doing the unthinkable. She is doing this on purpose. With my firstborn, it took me a while to realize this little truth that was tucked in so neatly to her sippy cup drop – she enjoyed the reaction. I was doing what she wanted me to do. The attention was turned back to her.

When these boys started dropping their sippy cups, I was ready. No more squeaky from mom. I knew mealtime was over when the sippy cups hit the floor.

As a mom of three now, I often find myself identifying with the behavior of my babies. Like when my girl wakes up crying because she doesn’t want to get up. Or my oldest son screams when he isn’t being fed fast enough. Or when my youngest just sits in the middle of the floor crying because he wants to be held. I see all these acts of “childhood” and they get me thinking about how though 30 years separates us and I can drive and cut things with a knife, emotionally speaking, a child’s reaction is simply the outworking of what most adults are doing their best to contain.

We all feel a little lost at times. We all want the person we love the most to turn back towards us and hand us what we want the most. But it’s the “what we want the most” that I have learned is the tricky part. My kids don’t really want their sippy cups back. Because if they did, they would show their happiness by sucking down its contents. No, what they want is my attention. They like the idea that someone is out there picking up their stuff. Bringing it back to them. So they do it again to see if you’re still there. Still listening. Still willing.

Though this begins at such a very young age (pre-1 year old) it lasts a lifetime. The action just changes over time. Sippy cups turn into, say, teasing someone at school so that the other kids like you. If you say this about Cindy, then the rest of the girls think you’re cool.  An elementary age gal might drop her sippy cup (say something mean about someone else) to have the cool kids like her (turn back around). Then the sippy cup could turn into say, for a high school gal or guy, taking that first sip of beer, smoking that first cigarette. Trying something new for the sake of getting others’ attention. The dropping of the sippy cup can take the form of anything a person does to get the attention of someone else. To return their gaze back to you. We do this by talking about someone behind their back, we stretch the truth to make sure someone still likes us, we pick fights with our spouse to get them to engage, we drown our sorrows in addictions, we pull the trigger when we feel no one cares. We all drop our sippy cups at some point in our lives. No one wants to feel alone. No one wants to feel like no one is there to pick up the pieces that we’ve dropped.

What I really want to tell my kids when the sippy cups fall. Or the cheerios fly. Or when they stand at my leg and cry or when they have to go to time out because they didn’t listen, is that no matter what, no matter what they do, whether I turn back around or not, they are loved. The truth is that I would bend over 1000 times to return the cup if it meant they knew they were loved. But because my back would hurt too much and because there isn’t enough time in the day, I just need them to know.

We are all loved. There is someone who loves you. Who cares about you. Who wants to hold you when you cry. Hopefully you know who that person is. Hopefully you know so you don’t have to go outside of who you really are for the sake of getting just anyone’s attention. To get attention from someone for something which you don’t really believe can cause a lot of pain in the long run.

This is very hard for some of us to believe, but at our very core, at the center of who we are is love from a Creator God who created you. And though you test the waters time and time again to see who is going to come save and rescue you, there is really only one who loves you unconditionally as you are.

I drop my sippy cup at least once a day. I look for my husband to pick it up for me. I look for friends to turn around and see me. I look for approval. In work. As a mom. As a wife. I drop my sippy cup to make sure there is someone there to retrieve it. But the truth is, and I have to remind myself this daily, is that my hope is in one who is love. God is love. There is no limit to his love. He is always here and even if it seems no one is turning around.

If you are looking for others to fill your needs, give you purpose, give you meaning – you may find it. I believe there are people who love really well here on earth. But they won’t love really well every single time. Which is why resting in an eternal God who loves you as you are – as He created you – can bring you a peace that surpasses all the sippy cup droppings you could ever, ever do.

But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were still sinners (sippy cup droppers) Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We don’t have to pretend. We don’t have to gossip, lie, cheat or steal. We don’t have to dress spectacularly, stay in perfect shape, make more money, go to more Bible studies. We don’t have to do anything to see who will turn back around. He is near… and He loves you just as you are.

 Maybe this week we could try holding on to our sippy cups, instead of dropping them, and rest in the fact that we are loved. 

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Two Newborns, A Toddler and What I Remember Most

Every night for a month I sat in my bed with a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and ate them one after another, rapidly and mindlessly as we prepared for the night ahead of us. The boys swaddled side by side in the pack n play by our bed, we listened to them grunt most of the night. Sound sleepers they were not. A week after we came home, we headed to the ER with high levels of jaundice in our babies. One’s body temperature so low we spent the next 2 days in an incubator while my other week-old baby was home with Daddy. A month later, our baby boys were carried away from us in the nurse’s arms for surgery to remove 3 hernias between them both. Home that evening, hernia free. All this in the first month. And we still managed to find time to fall in love with these little guys.

Physically, the best thing I can report post-delivery is that I didn’t have hemorrhoids. Post-pregnancy hormones were very hospitable, though, and welcomed huge cystic acne to my neck. One after the other they would surface. I had no idea if they would ever go away. Pre-twins I loved coffee. Post-twins I was more dependent on coffee than I ever dreamt I could be. Someone out there created the Keurig just for me.

A year ago on Valentine’s Day of 2013 I laid on an operating table praying for the Lord’s mercy as I began to push. (All twin deliveries take place in an OR.) I remember the nurses counting down for me as I pushed. Within minutes, Chris and I welcomed Baby A (Cohen). 14 minutes later we welcomed Baby B (Preston). Surprised by their weights, totaling 13 lbs exactly, I finally realized why my back had hurt so bad.

Here we are a year later. And as I have turned this past year around in my head to choose what was most important to remember, I landed on many great memories. But I have decided these are the things I never want to forget.

When I found out I was pregnant I was at my parent’s house while Chris was in Israel. I told him over FaceTime. 🙂

When we went to our first sonogram, there was one heartbeat. The heartbeat we saw was faint so we returned in 2 weeks for a follow up to make sure all was well.

When we returned two weeks later, that heart beat was fine and so was the other one. The ultrasound tech dropped her jaw as she told us she saw two babies. She was in shock. Chris was laughing. I was relieved. Two babies sounded pretty awesome to me.

Coming Soon Feb 2013When we heard the boys were sharing a sac with no dividing membrane and that it would be a precarious pregnancy, Chris and I decided to believe in their Creator more than the fears we felt.

When we found out we were having two BOYS.

When we heard, after 24 weeks of the unknown, that the membrane was there we praised the Lord for revealing the miracle that was the dividing membrane.

When we heard on February 14, 2013 that I would be delivering that day due to high blood pressure, I burst into tears – for fear of the unknown, over sadness for not hugging Olive extra hard as the last day as my only child. For not being able to go to In and Out burger for lunch like I thought we would. Some brothy soup later, I was fully on board as we checked into our room at 1pm.

When my epidural was situated, water broken, pitocin dripping, prayers prayed over me by friends, hugs from my parents and kisses to my baby girl, at 9pm that evening we rolled into the operating room.

When we heard our baby boy, Cohen, cry for the first time.

When we heard our baby boy, Preston, cry for the first time.

When we heard their weights yelled out. 7 lbs 1 ounce. 5 lbs 15 ounces.

When we rolled out of the operating room at 9:55pm.

When we wondered every evening when someone would wake up crying.

These days, when we see the boys follow their big sister to her room to play.

When I get to smell their skin, and drool and slobber while I nurse them.

When I get to look at the man I married 5 years ago every day, knowing fully well that there is no separation in this effort of raising 3 kids 3 and under. I have never for a moment felt alone or unsupported. Chris and I have survived this year by surviving it together.

When I have been at what felt like the end of my rope, (which was usually closely connected to being sleep deprived and hungry) I had to remind myself of something…

These are the Lord’s kids. All 3 of them. Chris and I are the honored ones who He chose to bring them into this world and raise them. But these are His kids. He has a plan for their lives that is unfolding daily. Chris and I have the best front row seats to see it play out.

Being sleep deprived is the worst. Many friends with firstborn babies will tell me how tired they are because of their newborn… to quickly follow up with “but I know i’m not as tired as you are…” and the truth is sleepless nights are sleepless nights no matter how many kids you have (or don’t have) and God knows, we all need sleep.

Someone told us before the boys were born that the first month was the hardest with twins. I have to disagree. We’re still figuring it all out and they’ve been around for 12 months. There’s a direct correlation that occurs with babies: up all night – sleep all day evolves to sleep all night – up all day. Either way has its challenges.

In the spirit of advice, my only advice for surviving twins is:

– get a double snap n go

– and every time they take a nap, lay your body down.

The past year has been the hardest work out of my entire life. Physically, mentally, and spiritually I have been pushed the hardest I’ve ever been pushed. But I have often felt like the Br’er Rabbit (who acted like being thrown in the Briar Patch would be the worst, tho it’s where he wanted to be). Where most people wouldn’t want to be thrown – is exactly where I’ve wanted to be. In the Briar Patch with these little people. I wouldn’t trade the joy of it, the work of it, the challenge of it, the laughs from it, for anything.

I have to give a few shout outs to end this.

Thank you to my mom (in law) for supporting us so well. For laughing and crying with us, for celebrating, for providing Olive with awesome memories in the midst of this year…. and for outfitting our kids in the best clothes they will ever have.

Thank you to my mom and dad for helping us so much. Thank you, Mom, for trusting your intuition and getting here the day before the boys were born.  For cooking us a hundred meals. Thank you, Dad, for seeing a need and meeting it. The boys are sleeping on the finest mattresses, swinging in the finest swing, busy in the finest saucer – and even the doggone neighborhood birds are fed.

Thank you to my closest friends and family for helping us survive. For the meals, the treats left on our doorstep, the hand-me-downs,  the “likes” on our pictures, for staying with crying babies so Chris and I could get away, for traveling to Texas to see us, the endless texts for support, for all the grace…and most importantly the prayers.

I have to thank my husband for fully supporting me this year. I had goals of nursing my sons for a year straight like I did our daughter, and he helped me to that end. Chris, you have been a constant source of encouragement to me and this family.

Day 1To separate the gift of these boys from our sweet Lord in heaven is impossible. Completely unexpected to us, completely known to Him, we believe that these boys (and Olive) were knit in my womb for His glory. We could have never been prepared for this year without the work of the Lord in our lives. Thank you, Jesus.

I consider the end of this year to be like the end of an era. Phew, we worked our butts off. But it was worth it. And I have to add, the cystic acne are gone. The boys are sleeping through the night. If you are in the thick of your newborn, post-pregnancy-hormone life, I just have to say – hold on. It’ll be over soon.

The best thing about year one ending is the beginning of year two.

So, what else can I say. Let’s do this!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COEY AND PEANUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

photo 3-7

Posted in Christian thoughts, Contentment, Love, Memories, Morning Grunge, motherhood, Parenting, real life, Twin boys, Twins, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Unbreakable

As you may have noticed by now (by the obnoxious number of kid pictures I post) I love being a mom. With 29 years of life before becoming a mom (and hopefully a billion more years of life left to be my kids’ mom) I pursued many great interests, logged a lot of fun memories, tried a bunch of different jobs, got a couple different degrees, and found nothing that was as fulfilling nor as vast a title as the one I received when I birthed my firstborn. Then, approximately 2 years and 3 months later, on Valentine’s Day, I got my first promotion from mom of 1 to mom of 3. I interpreted our twins as God’s way of saying “you’ve worked hard and now i’m giving you a raise.” Any Bible scholar knows God doesn’t say things like that. But, I’m a stay at home mom who makes zero dollars so I have to live out my “corporate” lingo somehow.

Over the past 7 months of having 2 infants and a toddler, I have thrived and giddied myself over watching these 3 grow. Nursing 2 at a time is one of my favorite accomplishments in my life and still wanting to be held by my almost 3 year old fills my heart to overflowing. I love this season of my life. And as I am reminded almost daily by family, friends, strangers, cashiers, flight attendants, and the like this season is going to fly by and it’ll be over before I know it. And I believe it. It was just yesterday I birthed 2 baby boys. And just yesterday was actually like 210 days ago. I cherish these days. Again, my heart is full to overflowing.

But somedays my heart and my “to do” list are just plain full. Like too full. An overflowing that isn’t so good. Actually from time to time when my cup is so full to overflowing – I feel like crying. Because well, quite honestly, who is going to clean up that overflowing mess but me?

I am a stay at home Mom. I’m the food chopper. I’m also the housekeeper. The dish doer. The laundry folder-er. Today I dropped part of a chip that I bit into and it fell on the floor. I stepped over it at least 6 times instead of picking it up. Why? Because I would be the one picking it up when I did the next kitchen floor sweep anyways.

We went to church this morning and it took me every bit of my pastor’s sermon to finally settle into my seat and able to hear solace in His words. I was tired. My body was achy. I felt overwhelmed as I added up the number of times a week my husband and I transfer car seats and have had to convince my toddler that running shoes don’t go with everything. My mostly satisfied soul had reached its max and during the last song the tears flowed. And flowed. and flowed. Like “please sing one more song that is kinda funny so I can dry these tears” flowed.

But, they flowed all the way home. They flowed when we drove into the driveway and my husband told me to go lay down as he’d get all the kids out and situated in the house. And as an introvert, with a running dialogue in my head, I thought to myself… it’s time to write.

There is no particular point to this story except that even the most rewarding of “jobs” and “titles” have their breaking points – even if you feel unbreakable. My breaking point today had nothing to do with love or lack of love for my favorite title. It had nothing to do with anything except that parenting young ones can be exhausting. And it became abundantly clear that a good, solid cry can do you a world of good. And it solidified for me that it’s probably time to schedule a mani/pedi. 🙂

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A rare moment of (boxed fan) quiet.

Sitting in my bedroom, alone at 7:45am with a cup of coffee. I think it’s been at least 6 months since this rare moment has occurred. With 2 babies napping (yes, napping, they woke up at 5:30a) and a little lady enjoying time sipping milk while watching tv with her Dad (either the News or Barnie, depending on who won) I can sit here listening to my favorite sound of all time… the boxed fan running. A silent home to me is as rewarding as going on vacation. A silent home with nothing but the sound of the boxed fan blaring in the hallway (that’s how we do sound machines around here) brings nothing but peace and satisfaction to my already satisfied but busy soul.

The sound of silence becomes a great reward when you embrace what “normal sounds like” has become. For me and my home, normal sounds like a slow crescendo of mutterings coming from 2 cribs at around 4:30am. A short walk down our hallway, a scratching around to find a pacifier in the dark (even glow-in-the-dark ones get lost) and finally fussy babies quieted for the next 2 hours is what normal sounds like. A banging on the walls at 7:45am. Though not with arms, but feet. A succinct calling of “Mom!” “Mom!” “Mom!” over and over from our 2 year old is what we hear.

Coffee brewing, morning news anchors telling us (over and over, hour by hour) the latest news and catastrophes; and quick glances and kisses between me and my man is what morning sounds like. As the day goes on, captivating stories told by our little lady, some words easily understood while other creative sounds fill in the gaps.

Our babies laughing and crying, giraffes squeaking and toys singing, and if you listen close enough you can hear little baby cheeks crack as they smile huge smiles and the air get pounded as they kick huge kicks. As we cycle through our day, the norm has become loud boxed fans for naps, an almost constant reciting of ABCs, numbers, renditions of the itsy bitsy spider and on the occasion toddler cries due to an unwanted (and seemingly unwarranted) time out.

On occasion, the normal sounds of dinner on the stove can be heard – but again, only if you listen really closely. Otherwise, the beeps of a microwave reminding me the baked beans are ready is normal for us.

The night brings a quiet, again with the fans and the occasional snores. The middle of the night cries are lessening which means a new norm is coming.

The sound of silent is my greatest reward because I know it won’t last long and I don’t really want it to. But for now, I’ll enjoy the quiet as I know our normal is always on its way.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Christ is Born!

Luke 2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

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O Holy Night. Play it loud before you go to sleep tonight. *Advent on MG*


Above version by Folk Angel featuring Jeff & Jourdan Johnson

Oh Holy Night
(Cappeau de Roquemaure)

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

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