Friday, January 17, 2014

True That

As of right now, I have 14 minutes to write this blog my own choosing, or I will sit here all the ding-dong-day trying to decide what to write....and then I will log off this laptop having written nothing. 

So here goes...

Christmas was great. New Year is here. Baby # 3 will hopefully cooperate and ahem, reveal it's gender on Valentine's Day. My house is a disorganized, beautiful mess and I am learning to be ok with that...although most days I have to constantly surrender that to the Lord. My kids are growing up SO fast...Blake will be 4 in March. Stop. No, really. We're talking about things like preschool and I am sitting here going, Um...did I blink?? Kelcie is a climbing, dumping, hold-her-own kind of girl...and going to be a big sister before her 2nd birthday! 

So the one thing that I keep going back to is how life just doesn't stop. No matter how much you think you're taking it all in, making the time count, doing your best to hold down the fort and Instagram it all into just keeps moving, at lightning speed. It's the busy-ness. It's the sleep deprivation. It's the incredibly looooooong days that feel like lifetimes...that add up into a month, a year flying by quicker than you can even imagine. 

And for what? At the end of the day, the only thing I will ultimately get to "keep" is what I did for the coming kingdom...His kingdom...and I really think that means I've got the world's biggest and most important job. I'm a mom. I'm either guiding and training, loving and leading these little hearts into a deep love relationship with God, through Jesus...or I am saying to them that other things are more important to me. 

So this year, I am asking God to show me how to love Him....what does that mean and look like? The first thing He's shown me is to love Him with my every day life and the minutes that matter in a big way. Minutes with my kids...loving them, teaching them...doing all the monotonous tasks of motherhood with a happy heart and a gentle spirit. And to not fill up my minutes with things that really have no's so easy to slide off into the ditch of social media, tv, "errand running" just to get out of the house...I have SO far to go! 

But at the end of the day, I can not fathom letting my life dwell in mediocrity. I can not handle the thought of standing at the throne of God someday and saying, "Well it had been a long day...and ya know, Honey Boo Boo was yeah, I didn't really feel like praying with my kids before bedtime that day." And frankly, true confession time, there are days where that is ME. 

I am seeking to be different and grow into a more mature, self-less, need-meeting person with the grace of God sustaining me. There are many days at this stage of life where I DO feel like plopping down on the couch and vegging out for 3 hours...but I don't want to have regrets either. And mostly, I just don't want to tell God with my life that what Jesus did for me on the cross wasn't enough. If my life is a thank you to Him, than I want it to be the best darn thank you I can give Him...and that takes more than a half hearted effort to "make it through the day". 

So on days like today, when I am eking out every last drop of Holy Spirit power just to microwave Hot Pockets for lunch...I am going to do it with a smile and a kind word to my kids. So that hopefully, what they will remember is not all the Pinterest worthy lunches of their childhood...but a gentle and loving example that leads them to love God and to love all the "others" in their lives in really big ways. 
Schooling mommy at Rescue Bot Memory

Showing off her mac & cheese smile

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wanting Nothing

There is SO much on my mind today...
alot of things I could write a blog post about all by themselves. 
This may come out a bit jumbled for that very reason! 
But today I just need to expressive...and put some thoughts out there. 

I'll start with the most prominent.
I have the blues. 
There. I said it. 
I haven't figured out if it's postpartum or "I live in Michigan" blues. 
There's a distinct lack of sunlight around these parts from November to, eh, April give or take =)
Some days I just wake up completely unmotivated, discouraged, exhausted, and angry. 
The next day I could be totally fine. 
I'm struggling...but staying afloat. 

This is new to me.
I have always been a deeply emotional person, but have not had this intensity of feeling before!
I'm thankful for the Word of God and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit...
it is such a comfort to know that I am not alone.
And on the rare day that the sun comes out from behind the clouds, I sit by our slider door
soaking in all the Vitamin D I can get!

So that leads me to yesterday and my thoughts on not being a perfect mommy...
Blake just had a really hard day obeying. 
He asks, "Why?" after everything I say really, everything.
Dinner time rolled around, and I- being the organized person I am- had nothing thawing.
Blake got upset about something ( thankfully I don't even remember what today!), 
and all of a sudden 25 minutes were spent calming him down, dealing with
the consequences of his choices,
reading the story of Jonah disobeying God,
praying a little "I'm sorry" prayer,
hugs and kisses, 
and I was back to the kitchen to work on dinner. 

Frozen tilapia was the first thing that caught my eye when I opened the freezer door. 
I decided to bread it in some cornmeal and pan fry it. 
Do you think the frozen fillets fit in the cereal bowls I'd filled with flour, egg, and cornmeal??
So there I am with the dullest knife we own trying to saw frozen fish in half
 so I can fit it in the dumb bowl and get it in the pan. And it occurred to me that when I had the thought 
"Maybe Josh could pick up Subway for dinner."
two hours before we hit meltdown mode, 
I should have just acted on it. 

Instead, partly out of pride and partly out of feeling like a big, fat failure, 
I chose to plunge ahead into dinner myself and not ask for help. 
Long story made the rest of our night kind of stinky. 
And as I sat rocking Kelcie before bed last night, I just started sobbing. 
I felt so discouraged. So up and down and all over the place. 
And I cried really, really hard for like 3 minutes and prayed, 
"I'm sooooo tired Lord! I don't even know what's wrong with me....this is ridiculous. I'm a mess. 
I just need to know we're going to be okay. Can you make my babies sleep all night??"
And on. You get the picture. (Pathetic...I know.)

They didn't. Sleep, I mean. I'm still just as tired today as I have been. 
My head is still pounding from either sinus pressure, the fact that I should get my eyes checked, 
or the tumor that my inner hypochondriac is convinced
I have growing in my brain. 
But for some reason when I got Blake settled in his Lightning McQueen chair watching 
Bob the Builder at 6:57 this morning, 
I came back into my bed and pulled up the daily Bible reading app
that I am at least 13 days behind on. 

I read for a little bit and came to this verse....
"Forty years you provided for them in the wilderness,
and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not become swollen."
It's found in Nehemiah simple, but it jumped off the page at me. 
It was as if God was saying to me, if He provided for the Israelites for
forty years without them having need of anything
surely He will provide for me today.

It was such a small little word of encouragement.
But it meant so much to me this morning. 
That still small voice whispering that He's there, that He knows, and that He cares. 
That's all I needed. 
Today doesn't have to be perfect. 
It doesn't even have to go well for that matter. 
It just has to be rejoiced in because it's the day that He made.
It's the day He's in complete control of. 
And He will provide for me so well, that I will have need of nothing. 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Being Intentional

I'm assuming it's a well-known fact that I am not a morning person.
I don't actively carry on conversations before 10 am.
Blake, however, is.
Just a few weeks ago I scored one of those "Light Up Alarm Clocks"
off of Ebay that are supposed to teach your child to sleep.
Somehow the magic green light that comes on ONLY at the
predetermined time set by the mamas and the papas
is supposed to keep your child in bed.
Blissfully sleeping until the light comes on and you hear their
angelic voices sing out "Mother dear, I've awoken!"
Glad I only spent $9.99 and not the forty dollars new that Amazon wanted.
We've (wait. I ) have still been up at least once every night since we got the clock
to tuck Blake back in and remind him that
the light is not green yet.
So here we are...Monday morning.
He's walking around with a poopy diaper that he's not quite ready for me to change.
(There are time limits on those things, kiddo....)
I'm finally in clean out and organize mode.
He's in plop a construction hat on mommy's head and grab her around the neck
while smelling like a landfill mode.
I'm washing bedding and doing dishes.
He's lining up matchbox cars and telling me to pick one.
Every time I pick one the conversation goes like this:
"I'll be this one."
"No, Fresco Boonie not workin."
"Oh. Francesco Bernoulli isn't working? I'll be Finn."
"Finn kinda broken..."
The point here is this...
Every day I strive to make a conscious, well semi-conscious, choice around 7:15am
to be the mom that God gives me an opportunity to be.
It's my choice.
Somedays it's the easiest thing in the world...
somedays it's not.
But everyday I get to choose whether or not I'm going to engage and be intentional
with my kids.
There are times that it feels overwhelming and exhausting to think about
meeting one more demand.
But I think what I'm learning, is that it is truly a choice
and if I choose to step into the ring
the rewards are enormous.
Just spending 15 minutes playing with Blake usually means his
little love tank gets filled and
 I can go accomplish a few of my to-do's for the day.
If I do it the other way around, I never seem to sit down and give him that time
that he so badly wants!
So I'm striving this year to be intentional with my kids.
To just be okay with sitting still and playing cars with Blake or
laughing with Kelcie and her vibrating rolly pig.
Because I know that the growing up will come way faster than
I really, truly want.
And when I'm left with more than enough time on my hands to have
a clean home and a coffee date with a friend,
I think what I'll want more than anything is just one more day
playing cars with a little boy in a stinky diaper.
Well, maybe not the stinky diaper part....just saying ;)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ready, Set, Rest!

I have been doing alot of catch up lately it seems...
today I did some catching up on all the blogs I follow.
There was one reoccurring theme: 
Organization and Motivation for A New Year. 

Totally fabulous!
Except for one thing....
I'm pooped. 

Are you??
Oh, I'm motivated. And I'm obnoxiously organized (usually!)
But right now, I'm ready to rest. 
My kids are ready for rest. For a "normal" schedule to their day.
And I've decided that for the next few weeks
that's ok!
It's ok, because nowhere in the book of real life does it say
we must start every new endeavor, goal, diet, exercise routine, 
or anything else for that matter
on January 1st!

(picture taken by Blake's Auntie Bri...he and his cousin Jack, in full Christmas meltdown)

Sure it's a good thing to start fresh, and sometimes that's best to do
at the beginning of a month...or year in this case. 
But on the other hand, sometimes you just have to let yourself rest!
My kids have been sick...Kelcie's on meds for croup this week. I just took
our Christmas tree down yesterday and am mapping out
our new toy storage strategy. 
I'm determined to start eating healthy and exercising again. 
Piano lessons are starting activities will be in full swing...
and right now, I just need to catch my breath. 
A moment to savor the quiet of naptime.
A moment to drink a hot cup of coffee and stare out the window
at the blanket of white. 
A moment to say "Hi God...what's your plan for this year?", before I start running with my own. 

I so badly want to see and be a part of amazing things, the kind of things that
make you stop still and marvel at. 
But I want them to be God's things. 
So before I write out a huge list of everything I promise to accomplish in 2013, 
I want to hear what He's got to say first...

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare." ~ Psalm 40:5

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Story of Eliminating Artificial Coloring

I am in no way a trained medical professional. I am just a mom....a mom who knows her son. This is simply the story of our experience with artificial food coloring and how it affects Blake's behavior. This is not a science report or a petition going to the FDA. Please take it for what it's worth!!

Almost a year ago now, we made the decision to begin eliminating artificial food dye from Blake's diet.  Partially out of a basic feeling of  being
the world's worst parents with
the world's most strong-willed child. didn't witness the meltdowns :)

I remember going garage sale shopping with Blake last spring, and it was the first time I
literally saw the change in his demeanor and behavior
almost instantly after having artificial coloring.
I'd been toying with the idea of eliminating dyes for a few months, but hadn't really gotten
serious about it.
At least not to the point of being really careful and consistent.

But that day last spring convinced me!
Blake was getting antsy in the stroller, so I bought him a bag of M&M's from two little girls
selling candy at their mom's garage sale.
Like any normal 2 year old, Blake scarfed down his candy in
oh, I don't know...
sixty-four seconds??
Less than 10 minutes later we were in full meltdown mode.
I'm talking thrashing in the stroller, screaming at the top of his lungs, red face,
scary intense meltdown.

For those of you with a strong-willed child, or any toddler for that matter, meltdowns
are not necessarily all that uncommon.
(Ok, be real. They happen 12 times a day somedays.)
Call it mommy instinct, but I knew that what was happening with Blake
was not just a typical toddler temper tantrum .
I'm sure it was brought on by something me telling him
No and that not sitting well with his plans ;)
But I always felt like those times of normal toddler defiance were super
intensified and they escalated
beyond just your average tantrum.

So we started eliminating food dyes.
Fruit Loops and M&M's were the first to go.
Then mac and cheese colored with Yellow 5.
It was actually pretty easy to eliminate some things....
I mean blue cereal is kind of an obvious offender.

But over the last 8 months, I have been so surprised at how many things
 have artificial coloring in them!
Things like cake mixes, salad dressing, bottled juice, and even chocolate pudding.
There have been lots of times where I'll rack my brain trying to figure out
what Blake's had with dyes in it, because I can
just tell when he has them!
And there hasn't been a single time that I've thought "What in the world did he have?"
that I haven't discovered something I missed.
It's the blue dye in his toothpaste that I didn't think to check for.
It's the Red 40 and Blue 1 in his children's pain reliever and the cold medicine we gave him.
After all, what kid would take either of those if they weren't purple and grape flavored, right?!

There's alot of days where I struggle with this.
I don't think for a second that every time Blake has a meltdown
the colors of the rainbow are to blame.
In fact, pretty much having eliminated all artificial coloring from his diet means
the poor kid's got no excuses :)
Well, except for the occasional sugar overload and the understanding that
he isn't quite 3 years old yet!
In that sense, it's actually been easier as a parent to train and
discipline through those tantrums
now that we know we've done what we can
to not add "fuel to the fire".

But I still have a hard time, especially this time of year, when there are
so many treats and special snacks that we just have to say no to.
Is it the end of the world? No.
It's not a peanut allergy that could cost our son his life if we're not careful.
It's not a milk or egg or gluten allergy that could make him really sick.
And yet, in some ways that's how I have to think of it.
We have to be the ones to do what's best for our kid
even when it's hard.
Even when we feel like we're big meanies for not letting Blake
drink chocolate milk and eat candy-coated everything.

I'm thankful that it's getting more popular to color things naturally.
I'm hopeful that more and more manufacturers will head in that direction.
 I'm thankful for the support we've gotten from our families and for the
others out there who know what I'm talking about because they've
seen their kids have the same reactions.
I'm hopeful that someday (like when he's 15), Blake will be able to have the
occasional Mountain Dew and candy bar.

In the mean time, I'm just grateful that God allowed us to find a solution that works.
And I'm so encouraged that when we pray for answers,
God gives them!
And Pepperidge Farm, if you're listening...
thanks for those beet-juice dyed goldfishies.
They are a certain little boy's go-to snack.

For more information on artificial dyes, check out...

Friday, December 21, 2012


Do you ever argue with God?
I have found myself on so many occasions the last few months literally arguing with God,
as if I somehow know better than Him.
As if my own insecurity, fear, stubborn nature, or lack of time, motivation, and discipline
will somehow sway His mind...His plans...His purposes.

I argue with Him because on one hand I feel compelled to write. 
 To try to be an encouragement to other mama's out there who
might be going through the daily joys, struggles, and insecurities that
I am with my own kids.

I want to listen to that still, small voice that says to just
be real and be me. 
On the other hand, I argue all the fine points of why this is a bad idea. 

I don’t have all the answers. I'm sleep deprived. 
I don't remember to take my camera to huge family parties, 
let alone drag it out for the day in, day out stuff. 
I'm new at kids still drool and don't know their ABC's. 

This little blog space is a love/hate relationship for me. 
I love to write.
I hate feeling dumb. 

And I feel dumb when I write and nobody comments.
I feel dumb when I unintentionally sound like someone I am not.
I feel dumb when I freak out that someone from Russia viewed my blog
and I convince myself someone's coming after me. 
(Postpartum hormone anxiety....true story.)

But at the same time, I want God to use me.
In His way. His time. For His glory.
I don't think I have unique, new thoughts to share.
But I have a huge desire to write about being a mom.

Awhile back, I saw an episode of the Duggar's show,
19 Kids and Counting...
long story short, they were visiting a church that hosts a mom's group called
It stands for Building A Legacy Out Of Motherhood. 
I was intrigued. 
That's what I want for my kids. For my life. 
Not to be some well-known, hugely successful person.
But to leave a legacy for my kids.
I don't really even know what that means exactly....I just know that I want my kids to grow up knowing
they are loved, they are precious, they are created for a divine purpose.
They have a choice to love God, love others, advance the Kingdom of Christ, 
to do justly, love mercy...

 This is me obeying. 
I encourage Blake, all day it seems, to not be stubborn and just 
choose to obey. 
I'm going to try. If I write once a week, well okay then!
If somebody is encouraged, inspired, drawn closer to the
heart of an amazing God...
then praise to His name. 

If I fail in my own eyes, or the eyes of others...that's okay too. 
He is the hurricane. 
I'm barely a breeze.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Girl

We welcomed our little girl just over two months ago!
Kelcie Makenna
7 pounds 11 ounces. 20 inches long

We are in love with her newborn smell, her sweet sweet smiles, her dark brown hair and soon to be eyes.
I have spent the last 2 months soaking up her sweetness and cherishing 
the little girl God gave me.
His love is unfathomable...she is my proof. 

There is SO much that God has been doing...working on me about...letting me experience since I last blogged. I don't know what the future holds...I am itching to write again, but finding the time to devote to this little space has come in second place to just
living life.
But my hope is to pop in every once in awhile at least, and see what God uses me to say and share. 
More thoughts...but for another day!
*Love & Blessings*