04 February 2015

That Time I Had Three Kids

The other day I got my feel of what life is like with three kids. A friend of mine works over an hour away from town, and has a little girl S's age, so I offered to watch her from time to time, when her schedule overlaps with her husband's schedule. Her daughter came to hang out for the morning -- and it wasn't half bad. She arrived just after breakfast time, and the kids got started on playing right away. It was actually a nice break for me -- I was able to get some laundry done, read a news article, and pick up a few things around the house while my kids were entertained by someone "new" being in the house.

Midway through the morning, I told the kids it was time to clean up some messes, and load into the car. We hit our first roadblock, and it was with our own kid, Over booster-seats. S was mad that I asked her to sit in the middle/spare booster, and not her "precious" princess booster. So she ran laps around the house, throwing herself down on the gas, kicking and screaming and crying, in front of her friend, until I told her I was leaving, and climbed in the car. She quickly changed her mind and came running to get in and get buckled.

I was just shocked she would do it in front of her friend -- must mean she was comfortable, at least.

Once everyone was loaded in the car, and calmed down, we headed to town to run an errand and get the kids lunch. We hit up McDonalds so they could eat AND play, running off some built up energy. Not really sure how they do it -- no naps, early wake ups, plenty of playtime around the house, and yet they STILL need to get out and run like crazy!

Once I got word that my friend's husband was home from work, we headed towards her house. The girls had such a great time, and L even had a good time playing superheros and princess, and having a tea party/picnic with the girls. And all three kids have already been asking if its time to have another play-date yet.

Overall, three kids wasn't so bad at all. They all entertained each other, played well, and got along great. Although, I know if they were all my own kids, it wouldn't have worked out that way AT ALL. Props to you Moms would more than one or two little ones to bring with you!

03 February 2015

We Need To Break The Stigma


We were sitting around the table at Chick-Fil-A, my fellow MOPS leadership members and I. We were talking about jealousies, and how Satan uses them to his power and tries to break our spirit with his non-truths. We shared about having to work hard when others get things handed to them. Comparisons of every nature. Being robbed of joy in the everyday moments because they may not be as grand as others' moments.

Somehow, we got on the subject of American Sniper. Everybody and their mother has seen the movie lately -- as they should. Not only is it an amazing story of an American Hero, but I think it sheds some light, subtly, on some issues that many people don't often recognize or understand. When I mentioned the comparisons between M and Chris Kyle once he was home -- quiet, withdrawn, overprotective, the table was silent.

I wasn't saying it for the attention, or the comments. I don't talk about it because I want others to feel bad for us, or throw us a pity party. It's nothing of the sort. I talk about it because ... well ... because its just our everyday life. Living with a service-member who is affected by anxiety and ptsd isn't easy, but its our norm.

So when one of my girlfriends said something ... I honestly didn't know how to respond. She said "After watching that movie, and seeing what its like, not just for the soldier, but what his wife and family have to deal with as well? I have so much respect for you. You are incredibly strong. I don't know if I would be able to do it."

I just kind of .. shrugged my shoulders. I mean, I appreciate someone acknowledging that it may not be easy, and having respect for what we deal with. But ... what do you say? Other than, "Thanks ...", which really, just sounds ... strange.

I love my husband, that's all I do. Nothing different than any other wife, really. Sure, my husband isn't EXACTLY the same man I married these days ... but I don't fault him for it. When you are put in this kind of situation, you have a choice to make. Do you break your vow of "for better or worse"? Or do you put on your big girl panties, and learn how to love this man in front of you in a new, different way?

Clearly, I chose the later. And I will make the same choice every day, for the rest of our time together. I love my Veteran -- all of him.

30 January 2015

Life is Picking Up

Wow -- is it really Friday already? At least the week went by fast, given that it's a long work week/weekend for M. Which means we have to find our own entertainment while all our friends are spending time together as a family.

We spent most of the week just ... living. Preschool. Dance class. Church. S's "social" schedule these days seems to make up the majority of my time spent out and about, and with summer {somewhat slowly} approaching, it will probably just get busier. With hopeful swimming lessons, and either t-ball or soccer for both kids, it should be plenty of fun, and keep us busy.

M and I also spent some time mattress hunting. We've decided that after almost 7 years of sharing a "full size" bed, its time for an upgrade. Given that our bed is a hand-me-down many times over, and is who knows how old, its long overdue. We have our eyes on a king sized bed ... and are now just patiently waiting until its sitting pretty in our bedroom.

Today should be a good kickoff to the weekend. We're watching a friend's little girl this morning, so the kids will have an extra playmate to keep them company. Running a few errands with 3 kids shouldn't be too difficult. I hope! And then maybe I'll take them to an indoor playground to run off some energy before dropping the little girl off, and sending my little ones to their rooms for some quiet time.

Here's to hoping your week was easy-paced, and relatively stress-free. And that the weekend ahead holds fun times, friends and family, and a relaxing wind-down. Here's to another week ahead!

28 January 2015

2015 Reading List: Half the Sky

Its seems like every year, I start off in a good reading groove. As the months go on, I slack off a bit ... or a lot. Summer comes, and I pick it back up again. But then in the Fall, its just gone. Completely. I don't pick up anything until Christmas time, or later. But this year? It's going to be different. {I think.} And so far, so good. I just finished my second book of the year, and we're on a roll.

Half the Sky is an intense read, honestly. If you are interested in social science, women's freedoms around the world, or just want to be downright SHOCKED by how some societies treat their females, pick up this book, now. Or even better, watch the documentary by the same name, on Netflix. You will be amazed. Saddened. And quite possibly driven to do something yourself.

Kristoff and WuDunn, the authors of the book, have spent much of their adult life traveling around the world, living in China, and other developing, or third-world nations, exposing whats really going on that doesn't typically make the news. Everything from sexual slavery, genital mutilation, raping, abusing, and mis-educating women are covered in the chapters of this book.

The greatest part though? The chapters aren't just filled with statistics and information. They actually put a name and a face to their stories. You are introduced to women who have been to Hell and back, seen the darkness that you can only imagine in the horror stories, and lived to tell about it. And many of these women have turned their lives around and are now successful. Its incredibly inspiring.

By far, my favorite stories are those about micro-financing. Organizations that give women tiny loans, educate them on different issues, as well as teach them skills that will help them build their business, and then watch as they go out into their own worlds and utilize these new skills. They farm, harvest and sell crops at market. They create embroidery and other handiworks, sell them at market, and take the profit to pay back loans, invest in their childrens' educations, and save money, becoming self-sufficient.

Its a great message that not only are women capable, they can come back from nothing, and rise to the top!

As heavy as this story was, you can bet my next read will be something light and easy. But I don't doubt that this one will stick with me for a long while.

21 January 2015

He Knew I Needed Her, More Than I Needed The Quiet

{Bonding with my wee-babe, circa 2010}

I was looking forward to the time alone; I was counting down the hours.

Ever since the night before, when I heard those magical words, "I think I'll take the kids and Dad to breakfast in the morning, that okay?!" I was elated. I can't tell you how infrequently time absolutely alone in the house happens. Early mornings and naptimes are no longer my own -- since my kids don't sleep. By evening time, I am exhausted, and can barely sit on the couch and stare into space without falling fast asleep.

To say I was over the moon is an understatement.

So when he told me that there was a change in plans, and instead he would bring them a little breakfast treat, and pick up just our son, leaving me at home with our daughter, my heart sank. I had it all dreamed out in my head: I was going to read, in the silence. Maybe have a mug of cocoa. I wasn't going to clean. I wasn't going to shower uninterrupted {although that would be nice, too!} ... I was just going to enjoy some me-time.

He came home, gave the kids their treat, and bundled our son up to go crow-hunting. The boys were off -- and I was left at home, alone, and with my daughter. Suddenly, I felt myself getting emotional, and excused myself to the bathroom to cry.

One of those emotional, ugly cries. I felt so convicted. Here I was, given the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with my first born, and I was sad about it? What was wrong with me? And that's exactly what I asked God in that moment: "What is wrong with me? I have this time with my sweet girl ... and I'm crying?! Why?!" Not only "Why am I crying?" but also "Why didn't I deserve that alone time? That precious me-time I never seem to get anymore?"

And you know what happened?

Suddenly, things became so clear.

I got up from my porcelain throne, wiped the tears off my face, and went to join my girl. I took her in my arms, and hugged her, silently. Rocking her back and forth, I told her over and over how much I love her, "even when I'm not the nicest mom ... or the most fun mom. I love you then, too." She told me she knew that, and she loved me too -- "now can we do something fun?"

You see, God knows. He knows what we want ... and he knows exactly what we need. He knows the things deep in our heart, and the things we'd rather not face, as well. And when we need it the most, he gives us a swift {albeit gentle} kick in the pants, getting us to man up, and giving us exactly what we NEED most.

I wanted time alone. But what I really needed was time alone with my girl. A chance to laugh and cuddle and bond some more.

We painted our nails, drank some hot cocoa, watched a movie, and played a few games. We even got out a Melissa and Doug sticker book and decorated the pages of Fairies having tea parties and dancing in the rain. And that little girl of mine smiled. And laughed. And loved.

I sure am glad that I have a God who knows the insides of my heart, my wants and desires, and chooses instead to give me what I need most of all.

I am so glad he gave me that time alone with her.