Thursday, November 27, 2008

I want to look like you, mommy

It was just jeans and a burgundy long-sleeved T, but my daughter looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, "Mommy, I want to look like you. Do I have a red shirt?"

The question came as the day before I watched my 4 year old tell me a story with all the inflection and hand-motions of me at my best. It is inevitable. Our kids will naturally become like us, for better or for worse. It still happens to me. Before I know it a phrase or motion will be followed by my own sister looking and pointing at me, saying, "MOM!"

So what am I teaching? What am I passing on? Some things are not so good as I hear my daughter rudely boss her brother. I know she has heard some of these same comments or similar tone from my own mouth in moments of frustration. But then there are the things that warm your heart. Like the other night I had put her brothers to bed and was approaching her door when I heard her telling her baby doll, "It's true, the Bible is true. These things really happened a long time heaven." OK, so I had to clear up some theology, but it still completely melted my heart.

They will do what we do; it is inevitable. We better be paying attention.

If I am faithful with my moments, I will be faithful with my life.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My 4 year old daughter said the funniest thing tonight. We were driving down the road and I asked her to reach in my purse to find my cell phone. After a moment she said with such a confident, helpful tone, "If you need it, the pad for your overalls is in your purse." I thought for a minute trying my hardest to figure out what in the world she was talking about. Finally I asked, "My overalls? What is it that you found?" She pulls out a feminine pad (I'm trying to be discreet with my words) and says, "This...for your overalls." Then she proceeds to try to put it down her shirt. I realized that my sweet daughter thought it was a nursing pad and that my bra was actually called overalls.

The things they say...

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


neurotic - adj.: affected by neurosis
neurosis - n.: a functional nervous disorder without demonstrable physical lesion

I am functional and do not have physical lesions, but I wouldn't have defined my "condition" as a disorder. That said, I have come to believe that one of the reasons I have three young children is to break me from my neurotic tendencies. And I cannot help but be broken. In a house where my attention is continually demanded, petty neurotic behaviors have no place (and no time to be fulfilled). Let me give you an example.

When my husband and I were engaged, we registered for our everyday china in two complimentary colors. Prior to having children I diligently stacked my everyday china in an alternating pattern... behind closed cabinet doors. (Have you ever seen Sleeping with the Enemy?) I was able to keep this behavior hidden from most; except our occasional friends who would come for dinner only to peak into my cupboard of secrets when reaching for a bowl.

The other morning, I was hurriedly putting the clean dishes away while my coffee brewed. (I knew the day would quickly be in high gear and wanted to start it with an empty dishwasher... can I get a witness?) I paused as I realized that two blue plates were stacked on top of one another, and three yellow plates were likewise touching. What had happened? And when? I fought the inward pull to rearrange the entire shelf and felt a sense of pride as I closed the cabinet door without giving in. It was the same feeling I felt when I called my sister just to tell her that I had allowed my daughter to mix the play dough colors. What freedom. What rebellion.

So have I overcome this nervous disorder? Not completely; but there is hope... one plate at a time.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How did I let it get this bad?

I decided it was finally time...time to clean the Bling (if you are new to my blog then you may be unaware that the Bling, short for Blue Bling, is my minivan). I never actually made it to the exterior of the vehicle because the amount of sweat I had to put into scraping, wiping, and sucking up the interior left me exhausted. How did it get this bad? If you have children you have asked the very same question.

I am not sure what motivated me; maybe it was the crumbs that seemed to stick deep into my knees every time I knelt in the rear of the car to strap my 2 year old into his car seat, or possibly the portable, fold-up potty (which by the way is my most genius purchase) but today just seemed a little too used. It was time for Clorox wipes to jump into action!

So I took everything out...EVERYTHING! I lined it all up neatly in my front yard. In fact, if you were driving by you may have thought I was having a yard sale. I told my four year old that if she helped me she could keep any money that she found. So in the background of my deranged cleaning attack I hear my precious first born saying (over and over...loudly), "I found another money mommy. Now I have 18."

Once everything was out and accounted for, and the surfaces had been wiped down, it was time to bring in the big guns...I borrowed my husband's shop vac! There is something about a shop vac that just makes me feel more powerful, like I am really doing a serious clean-up job. "Back up, I am turning it on!" I said to my daughter. And it felt so good. I was sucking up things I didn't know a vacuum cleaner could suck up. Crayon pieces and goldfish crackers, dried chicken nuggets (I think) and even a pencil were thumping loudly as they were pulled into the vortex. There was thud after thud as my cleaning frenzy continued. At one point, as the blood was rushing through my veins, I even tried to suck up a fly that had made it's way innocently into the van. "Watch out, fly, you are entering cleaning zone." Thankfully he was pretty fast.

Finally, it was finished. And despite the stains that adorn almost every square inch of the mats, my car felt clean. As we left for soccer practice my kids asked if they could have a snack, "Yes," I said with a satisfied grin, "but you may not eat it in the car...I just cleaned."

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Thrive not just Survive

Part of me feels a little famous. OK, maybe famous isn't the word, but my daughter thinks I am pretty cool. We found a VHS tape of me in a high school, church youth group musical. I had the leading role as "Christie," friend to troubled Thomas. Hailey has been watching it for 3 days now. Whenever she has TV time she asks to watch "mommy dancing and singing." As she tries to mimic my somewhat cheesy moves a smile creeps upon my face. I honestly remember every word of those songs. But for the life of me I cannot remember the depths of that young 18 year old girl. What was important to me? What did I spend my time thinking about? All I can come up with was..."ME." Wow, it was such a selfish phase of life. As I watch 18-year-old-me flinging my long curly hair I just think, "Oh, how you had no idea!"

How life has changed.

Bottom line is that I do not want my life to be in vain. I do not want to waste my days, flinging my hair and thinking of only me. I told a friend recently that I want to "thrive not just survive." So often as a mom of three little ones I live in pure survival mode. Then the Lord reminds me to focus on what matters: throwing the ball with my 2 year old boy, cheering on my 4 year old little girl as she makes up her 15th dance of the day, and relishing the precious laughter of my 7 month old little guy. Time flies. I don't want to look back on these days and think, "Wow, I sure was selfish back then...just thinking about me (or the cleanliness of my house...ouch, that hurts)."

Live fully in today.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Innate Differences

Boys and girls are just innately different, aren't they?! I speak only from my own experience of having first a daughter and then two sons, but wow, what a difference! I say this because of what happened today with Bryson.

I was about to take my two boys for a power walk when I realized both of the tires to my jogging stroller were flat (that should tell you how often I actually use the jogging stroller). I called my husband to have him explain via the phone how to use his air compressor. I was very proud of myself as I successfully followed his directives. As I finished up I peaked around the front of the stroller to see Bryson eating a large piece of foam...yes, foam! What in the world?! I realized that he had taken the cover off of headrest and proceeded to bite 4 chunks out of headrest. He just looked up at me with his big blue eyes, totally oblivious as to why my face looked the way it did: shocked, confused, and a bit irritated. What is the child thinking? He does get enough food.

My daughter would have never done anything like this. When Hailey was only 9 months old I could trust her with my jewelry box. She would sit on the bathroom floor carefully examining each necklace while I showered. Not once did she break or harm any of my most delicate pieces of fake bling. On the other hand Bryson just looks at my jewelry and it needs to be fixed. In fact most things in our home that are broken are due to his curious little hands.

Is it this way in other homes? From what I hear, I think it is. It must be one more evidence of God's creative design. These innate differences between boys and girls could very well be what leads to much of the tension between men and women. But despite frustrations and destroyed objects I have to remember that God indeed created with purpose.

So next time you have a heated "discussion" with your spouse, pray that God would help you see their perspective...because indeed "men are from mars and women..." you know the saying.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mommy, I'm scared

So I am addicted to (listening to it right now!). If you haven't discovered this gem you have to jump over to this site and type in your favorite artist or song for a personalized, FREE radio station. It is great! My favorite "station" right now is "Sara Groves" radio. She is a Christian artist with a natural sound.

With that said, the music was streaming at dinner (over the chaos; when my husband works nights I think listening to music gives me a sense of not being alone with three preschoolers.) A song titled It is Well by Jeremy Camp came on. It is an old hymn that he has redone but it just blesses me. There is one part that talks about Jesus' return. I said to my kids, "This song is talking about when Jesus comes back." My 4 yr. old said, "Come back where?" "To earth," I said. (Side note: I have a Masters in Divinity and my nerdy side loves to sit and talk theology....but it just doesn't work that well with a 4 yr. old!)

The conversation continues, "Why will He come back to earth," she innocently asks her mother who hasn't talked to many adults all day and needs some intellectual conversation. "He will return to bring all who love Him to heaven," I said as I held back a Calvinistic debate. "How will we know He is back?" "Well, the Bible says that there will be heavenly trumpets that sound and then Jesus will meet us all in the sky," I say, "Do you know how a trumpet sounds?" Hailey and Bryson then blow their imaginary trumpets. "How will we get in the sky?" she asks. "I guess we will have new bodies that somehow fly." Silence falls across the dinner table...this is a rare occasion. Hailey looks up at me with her big brown eyes, "Mommy, I'm scared." "Oh baby don't be scared, mommy is with you. And when it does happen daddy and mimi and pawpaw will all be there too. You won't be alone." "Mommy, I'm scared." Then Bryson, the 2 yr old says, "I sared." At this point I can't help but laugh. "Guys, there is nothing to be scared of." "I don't want to fly," says Hailey. "God knows you perfectly," I say, "Maybe He will send you a helicopter." "I'm scared. I'm scared." "I sared. I sared. Fly. No. Fly. No." "OK, OK, everyone calm down. There will be no flying tonight, we are going to just go take a bath. Is everyone ready for a bath? How about some ice cream?"

I think I will hold off on more end time conversations.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

That's a diaper

Funny thing happened...

As I have mentioned before I am a "cloth diaper convert," meaning that I switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers 5 months ago, just after my 3rd child was born.

So, I finished working out the other day and went to pick up my kids from the gym daycare to find my infant with a cloth diaper snapped around his neck...yes, his neck. Why, you ask, would a bulky cloth diaper, faintly stained in one area with poo, be snapped around his neck? This was my question as well. However, I held in my hysterical laughter and simply asked, "Was there a problem?" "He was drooling so much that I thought a bib would help," said the childcare worker. "Yes, a bib would be wise, " I said. ("But this is a diaper!" I thought.) Trying not to embarrass the woman, I simply said my thanks and led my three children outside.

Once we were out of her sight I unsnapped this monstrosity, allowing my son's poor neck to see the light of day. I looked at him and said, "I am so sorry." He just smiled at me and did the baby dance.

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God made me this way

Wow, talk about my daughter getting me right in the heart. The other afternoon just after a quiet nap time [Side note: Isn't nap time the greatest "invention"? I honestly do not know that I would make it without nap time.] As I was saying, after nap time my two eldest and I had congregated around the microwave where popcorn was a' poppin'. The serene moments that I had just been savoring not 15 minutes prior were now replaced with loud demands and vies for attention. I said while cringing, "Could everyone please use a little bit quieter voices? Mommy's ears need it to be softer in here." My daughter quickly replies, "But mom, God gave me this voice and it just happens to be loud." I totally stopped in my tracks. Wow. "You're right," I said, "God did give you that voice for a reason."

So she has been listening! I keep trying to teach my kids that God has made each of them so special; that no one else in the world is like them. He has made them with great purpose and they will only be fulfilled as they walk in His plans for them. So she hits me with, "God gave me this voice..." I guess I should accept that her "inside voice" is more like an "outside voice." Maybe she is going to be a street preacher.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grocery Store Experience with Preschoolers

Longest break entries for the month of June! Life with 3 little ones steals away all time!

I just have to document my grocery store experience today with my almost 4 year old, almost 2 year old, and 6 month old. WOW! Talk about pushing my patience. It began with piling into the cart with the attached blue "police car" in the front. Not only is this contraption impossible to steer, I am sure it is just swarming with germs. So we reach the deli and my 4 year old is bellowing, "I want a cookie!" "How do you ask?" I reply. (How often do I say that each day?) So after giving my kids a cookie that is as big as their little faces, I think, "Surely that will last our entire trip to the store." What was I thinking? Aisle 2 and they are both saying (loudly), "I WANT TO GET OUT." Are you kidding me? We just got here. We are only on aisle 2! I still have to get juice, cereal, meat, household supplies, frozen items, dairy products, and things for the birthday party. Are You Kidding Me?!

By aisle 4 I have threatened multiple consequences but how am I possibly going to follow through. I just want to get out of here. Aisle 6 everyone has to go to the potty. Seriously?! So I fight the cart all the way to the back where the restrooms are hidden and release my 4 year old and 2 year old from their seats. We spend the next 10 minutes in the restroom as I try to convince my 2 year old that he really does need to "go potty" so he doesn't have an accident; all the while holding my poor 6 month old in one arm who has heard way too much "loudness" for a baby. Finally we make it back into the "police car", but I neglect the seat belts this time. By the end of the dairy aisle both of the older kids are hanging out of the car. Literally standing on the doors to the car with their arms propped on the roof. By the chips at the front of the store my 2 year old is standing...yes, standing...on top of the police car. Can you picture this with me? Being the calm, sane stay-at-home mom that I am I politely ask him to get off of the car or I will have to belt him in.

Can't I just go to the store and get groceries???

So we make it to the check-out line, like a traveling circus. I allow the two eldest to put items onto the much for the chips that are now completely crushed. As I pay I look over to see my 2 year old on the wheelchair at the front of the store. The following thoughts go through my mind, "Can he hurt that? No, I don't think so. He is fine...he is quiet. I wonder if they will say something to me?" All of our items get bagged (yes, I remembered my own canvas, earth-friendly bags) and as we proceed to the door my 2 year old decides it is time to flail. A kind-hearted lady sees my situation and asks if she could please help me push the cart to the car.

I know they say that I will miss these days...but I just don't know.

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dead Stumps

Finally! Yes...I take big breaks between blog entries! Life just happens.

A Quick Lara ("quick" because I am tired and must go to bed soon):

There is a house in my neighborhood that has a dead tree stump in their front yard. What makes this stump so noticeable are the plants that have purposefully been planted in a neat circle around the dead tree stump. Did I mention it was dead? To top it off (literally) there is a ceramic dog sitting on top of the stump. WHAT IN THE WORLD?!

It reminds me of life. No matter how much we "decorate" or try to camouflage the dead tree stumps in our own lives, they are still dead. Why not just dig them up from the roots and plant grass? In my own life I see certain mindsets or thought patterns that are "dead" and need to be replaced with thoughts that are "true...noble...pure...lovely...praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8). Thoughts that are alive and life giving.

Let's uproot those stumps!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Did I say that?

As a mother do you ever have those moments that you stop and think, "Did I just say that?" or even better, "What did I say?"

Last week I went with my kids, my sister, my niece, and my mom to pick strawberries at a local farm. As we were waiting to pay for the strawberries my middle son started messing with a trailer hitch as only a 2 year old can do (by the way, the best way my mom describes him is that he could tear up an anvil). I look over and he has pulled a big, metal, rusted thing off of the trailer hitch. So I quickly say to him, "Put that...thing...back...over there." I had no idea what it was or where it went. He just looked at me with his big blue eyes as if to say, "Mother dear what in the world are you talking about." My sister and I couldn't help but laugh as once again it came out of my mouth, more stern this time, "Bryson, put that...thing...back!" What was I talking about? I don't know.

Then the other day my daughter carried a small green New Testament Bible to the car saying she wanted to "read" it. How sweet! My angel daughter wants to spend her time reading the Bible. I must have really raised her well. Then within less than 60 seconds of her brother getting into the car I hear her yell, "GIVE ME THE BIBLE, I HAD IT FIRST...MOM HE IS TRYING TO TAKE THE BIBLE....WHAAAAAAA!" Then from my son, "BIBLE, BIBLE, BIBLE, BIBLE, WHAAAAAA!" Then out of my mouth comes, "NO ONE IS GOING TO READ THE BIBLE IF YOU BOTH DON'T STRAIGHTEN UP!" What in the world was that?! Are you kidding me?

Today another instance occurred: as I was getting dressed, (trying to find something that fits from my "regular" clothes after having my third baby), I looked over at my 3 year old daughter and asked, "Does this look OK?" What am I thinking? Have any of you ever actually seen a 3 year old pick out her clothes. There is a whole new standard for matching from a preschooler's mind. My fashion sense has really declined.

So for all of you moms out there thinking on your feet, you are not alone!

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Preach it, sister!

From 4/16/08

How life has thrown a major curve ball! Without being too detailed, in order to be respectful to those closest to me, I just have to say that life is all of a sudden very different and extremely challenging. Despite the heartache and turmoil, God is showing Himself to be so faithful.

The fact is that we live in a fallen world, and there is an enemy of God that wants to kill, steal, and destroy anything and everything that is true, virtuous, and right. But the awesome thing is that God is bigger! If we just keep our minds set on Him, we can stand strong no matter what comes our way! No matter what!

I don't mean to preach, I just can't help but express praise for the One who is being my Rock through a really crappy time (yes...crappy; you have to keep your humor, right?!)

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Big Spinning Bottoms

From 5/1/08

You can tell by my lack of entries that life can get pretty busy being a mommy to 3 little ones. But I do want to do this blog thing. It really is a bit therapeutic. So... what to talk about tonight. I don't think I will lay such a heavy topic on you this time. Instead let's talk about spinning in circles.

My 20 month old son is a real trip. I mean he is super funny for such a young guy. The things he thinks of blow my mind. The other night after bath (oh, yeah, quick side-note. As I have said before I have "gone green" in some ways and am using cloth diapers for my two boys. Well at night you really have to pad those little behinds or else there will be leaks. So I put three layers of organic cotton and fleece, topped with a PUL cover. After all that is strapped on I stretch their pj pants over this monstrosity of a diaper. And I tell you it is hysterical. My middle guy waddles around his room with the biggest bottom you have ever seen on a child. The song, "Baby Got Back" just seems to stream through my mind. And no, I no longer listen to rap music. But in college I am sad to say my music choices were not very uplifting or God-honoring.)

So back to spinning. Picture this bottom heavy toddler starting to spin in circles. This is the guy who has absolutely no fear. So he is spinning around his sister's room until before I can say anything...or catch him...he falls head first into the wall. Yes, the wall. He looks at me stunned for just a split second then gets back up, bottom and all, and starts spinning again. I mean, didn't he learn: spin too many times, lose balance, smash into the wall. Seems pretty logical to me. But no, he continues to spin and topple into a few other pieces of furniture before deciding he was "all-done".

I remember doing that as a child. Do you? I would spin and spin and then stop only to have my mind keep circling. There has to be a lesson in that. I am just to tired to think of one.

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Cloth Convert

From 3/21/08

The amount of time between these posts shows that I have three kids under age 4. Man, how time seems to fly.I know this is going to sound strange to some of you, but I have recently become addicted to cloth diapers! My sister "converted" me from disposables and I love using them. I know that sounds so weird, I mean it is pee and poo we're dealing with, right?! But for some reason knowing that I am helping to keep God's beautiful earth beautiful (even if just a little), while putting such soft cloth on my babies' bottoms, makes me happy. Plus, there are so many cute diapers! I had no idea this industry even existed! Not to mention the overall savings (as long as you don't go crazy with the designer fluff).Since my "conversion" I have come to learn that disposables actually live forever in the landfill and that the amount of diapers from one baby would fill the inside of a house from top to bottom. That is a lot of trash! So if you want to know more check out a couple of my favorite sites for dipes:,,, and

I really don't intent to use this blog as a pulpit. :)

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The Blue Bling

Wow, I am actually blogging. Is that even a word? I decided to start my own blog because there are just moments in life that need to be documented. For instance, a few months ago a major event happened in our family: we bought a mini-van.

This might not be a big deal for many of you, but for me it was serious business. Since high school I had always declared that I would never drive a mini-van. No offense to you mini-van moms to-the-core. But being pregnant with my 3rd child forced us into this vehicular decision.

As I was driving this used van around town for the first time--which I affectionately named "the Blue Bling"--I had my moment. Was there any way I could still be hip--or at least think I was hip--while driving a mini? Deep would be a tough calling.

But now I must admit, with three kids and three car seats, I kinda like this reliable, fully-paid-for Toyota. We have our portable potty and carpeted floor, so in many ways it is our traveling home--I just need a fridge. I do not get many looks of admiration as I drive down the road, but that is OK. I have been humbled.

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