Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm Back!

Happy September 1st! 

We just concluded our month of "fasting from media" and I have so much to share!
 I have funny stories, and lovely pictures and my heart is full. 

Before I spew pictures at you and tell you of our non-fast related things during August, I do want to share with you what this month was like.

The first week was pretty easy, it felt weird not checking my phone every few minutes and posting adorable pictures in various places, but it wasn't too hard. 
We left for vacation shortly thereafter, so not being online was pretty easy and refreshing.
The thing I missed most was immediately posting pictures from our trip. 

Once we got home, things started to be a bit more difficult. Facebook is my social outlet. As a Mom of three small boys under the age of 4, who doesn't work outside the home, social media is how I really feel connected. My Facebook page is private and I really only have those on there that I want to connect with daily. I started to miss that. I also missed hearing about what was going on in some of my friends lives like babies being born, and how surgeries went. 

I didn't make it through the month perfectly. 
I have to be real here. 
I may have let my boys watch Stanley here and there because otherwise I would have maybe locked myself in the bathroom for the day  five minutes....maybe.
I may have checked an email that linked me to an online survey for $5 of my time. 
 I may have looked on Facebook once or twice for a cancer update only to find myself looking at a friend's wedding pictures.
I promptly confessed to Trev and moved on.

It's not the letter of the law, it's the spirit of discipline
 and I wasn't about to flog myself over a misstep here or there.

I realized I checked my phone way too much, and I wondered how often my boys saw me with phone in hand while trying to "parent". I really don't want that to be their image of me. 

Things I didn't really miss: TV.
 I did miss sitting down after a long hard day with my sweetie and watching a movie, but we realized sometimes we just turned it on to have it on and we decided that wasn't going to start up again after August ended. 
We did watch the Olympics, and that was a real treat! I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to watch that. Incredibly inspiring and amazing.

The boys used to wake up, have a cup of milk and watch a show and then sometimes the TV just stayed on even after they left the room.
Jack hardly asks for it anymore, and now with school coming in a few days, I love that our morning routine will not consist of a show to distract him. 

I slightly missed Twitter and Instagram, but not as much as I thought the more the month went on.
While I missed the connection that Facebook brought me, I found myself not really caring to know who ate what for dinner and where they checked in each and every day (no offense!)

My mind was not filled with other people's business. 
When it wasn't filled with my kiddos and family, it was processing what God is doing in our hearts and lives and I spent a ton of time reading and writing 

Here are the books I read, in no particular order.
(These are affiliate links and if you click and buy I get a little reward)

Sacrilege: Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesus
Hugh Halter



I can't describe it better than this, so I borrowed this little excerpt from Jen Hatmaker's blog.
(no I am not obsessed, I just love her lots) Don't be turned off by the name....

If you’re just up to here with Christian rhetoric and the blah blah blah white noise of religion, please do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Sacrilege. Hugh says everything we’re thinking but are sometimes afraid to murmur out loud. He asks the hard questions and runs headfirst into the messy gray of life. Not to mention the rock solid biblical case he makes for living like Jesus really lived, which if you’ve paid attention to your Bible, can get you into trouble with religious folks but might get you a whole lot closer to Jesus.

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account
Miklos Nyiszli

I have always loved WWII history, and this book truly was hard to read. It was so good, and while it was the first book to make my stomach turn (that takes a lot) ...I really recommend it because it's important we do not forget.

The Circle Maker
(still reading this)
Mark Batterson

This book has encouraged me to pray in a way I never have before, and to dream big and pray big.
 I am starting Praying Circles around you Children next

Radical
David Platt
"In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus." 

The Middle Place
Kelly Corrigan


This one was a Jen Hatmaker suggestion (duh) and the author really is a great writer. I found it hard to read because it dealt with breast cancer and parents and it was a little too raw for me.
I picked it up on clearance at Barnes and Noble, and it does have some language just to warn ya.
She is a fantastic story teller and she describes that "middle place" where you still rely on your parents, but are a parent yourself and how interesting a place it really is. 

I realized my books were pretty heavy, so I needed some lighter reading.
I got a few free books on my Nook and read:

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oak, that was nice and light and easy on my brain.

I also read Jack London's The Call of the Wild which I had never read and I am thinking of reading it again, super quick read and it just kind of left me thinking. 

I am finishing up Ready or Not, There We Go! 
  Elizabeth Lyons


It's a book about the second to third year of twin life and while it scares me half to death, it has also encouraged me and given great tips!



I read fast. 


After this month I decided that I am not going to add the Facebook app back on my phone, and probably only check in there once or twice a week. My Instagram and Twitter will be off and on, and blogging will only be done when the kiddos are napping most likely.

It's kinda funny, I found that if I didn't reach out to connect via phone or text, I didn't hear much over the month from many people. I realize some were trying to respect my media free efforts, but still, kinda funny.
 I realized that there was a day not so long ago where we didn't connect each and every day and it was all the more sweeter when we did, and we caught up on a lot more and it was the important things, not the silly things. 


I want to thank my guest bloggers again, I so appreciate you filling the space for me and hope you all enjoyed them as well as some stuff from my archives. 
I have missed this little outlet and while I don't feel the desire to grow this blog big ( I very much view this as an online journal that I let you read) I do love it. I am praying about some other blogging opportunities that would be on a bigger scale than this.

Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about our vacation, Jack's 4th birthday, the twins turning 18 months, what we are doing in the month of September in regards to '7' an AWESOME giveaway and more!


*Guest* Joleen from Beauty and the Beef

Today brings our last guest post! I found Joleen's blog when we were both still pregnant with our twin boys. Her boys are almost exactly a month younger than mine and it was so nice to be able to share in our journey. I love Joleen's heart and passion for her family. She has been such an encouragement to me and her boys (Winston and Abraham) are so adorable!!! I know you will be blessed by her today!



Heart Led Mama



In this age of social media in all its various forms, it can be very easy to have way too much insight into the lives of people that you would otherwise only be barely acquainted with.  We can start mentally giving criticism about the parenting of a former coworker or classmate we have not seen for years, even without ever having met their children, due to a comment they may make on Facebook.  We live in a time where the terms “intactivist” and “lactivist” are thrown about and people put such a huge amount of their identity not into just being a parent but howthey parent.  We can judge other people, can’t we?   I know that if I am being totally honest that I have to confess that I struggle with this compulsion to cast judgment.  I am a believer in Christ and I know that this behavior is rightfully called sin.  We can also compare ourselves to others way too much and falsely feel like we are failing.  We are called to live in freedom and grace but it can be easy to fall into a condemnation of our own making.  No one wants to either feel judged or inadequate as a parent. That is an awful feeling, am I right?


Several months ago, a friend of mine had posted a status update on Facebook that clearly criticized how an attachment parenting mother dealt with breastfeeding her toddler while also pregnant with her second child.  First off, we should all know to never use social media to criticize other parents even if we think we are making that person anonymous.  Needless to say, there were a lot of comments in response both in support of an attachment parenting (AP) model and against.  In speaking to a friend about the hubbub, I made the comment that I honestly do not know what camp I am in. I do not subscribe to a full attachment parenting model nor do I categorize myself in the cry it out school of thought. I espoused many attachment parenting principles such as breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, etc. but I was all about having a schedule and routine for my boys.  I also see many problems with child centered households and I feel that in order to serve my children effectively that I have to do what is best for my husband and me, building and protecting our family unit.   I never practiced hard core crying it out (CIO) sleep training but I did sleep train based off of instinct and assessing my boys individually. I am happy to say that they are great sleepers at sixteen months old but it was not without tears during the process that I was doing it the “right” way.  I told my friend that I am simply a heart led mama, a HLM if you will.  I have learned to listen to my own heart and conviction about how I deal with raising my children.

I know that as a first time mom to twins that I was obsessed reading everything that I could about babies, their milestones and being a good parent.  Ultimately though, I had to let that go because I was stressing way too much.  I had to follow my own heart and do the best I could for my children.  Parenthood is not a one size fits all approach.  We are all going to have different opinions on things like vaccinations, weaning, schooling and the list goes on and on.  The issue comes down to that a child is safe, nurtured and they feel loved.  I have friends with very different parenting approaches than mine and I realized that their kids have some great strengths that they developed from their parents’ influence.  It causes me to take a deep breath and realize that the kids will be alright.  I can try to control everything but ultimately my children’s lives are in the hands of God.  I am a guardian because as much as I love my kids, I teach them that their Heavenly Father loves them even more.  And if you are like me and occasionally get anxious about parenting choices, remember that prayer can be so freeing. Cast your cares before the throne of God. He knows your heart and if you are walking with Him then He is guiding you.  Be a heart led mama. 




Joleen blogs at Beauty and the Beef- go check it out and see why she chose that name :)



Looking forward to jumping back into the blogging world tomorrow! Thanks for reading along this month!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

*Guest* Sarah from Newborn Grownups

Sarah is one of my newest blogging buddies, she contacted me about an ad swap and I readily agreed! I love her blog, her boys are adorable and she's just so darn real. She is sharing today about a day in the life with her twin boys. Don't forget to swing by her blog after and browse around! 


I'm so privileged to be able to guest post on Krystle's blog today.  I think what she and her family are doing by trying to get rid of the "excess" in their life is awesome.  I admire her(them) a lot for that, as we also try to live a simpler life, less full of "stuff".  


We are Jeremy and Sarah.  
Adventurers and little kids at heart.
Married for 4 years so far.

Jeremy is a dreamer and a car enthusiast, who loves Led Zeppelin and hiking.
Sarah is a nurse and a vegan, self-taught cook/baker, who loves converse shoes and biking.

We welcomed identical twin boys to join us in this world 1 year ago.  (Judah & Foxx)
They are our everything.
We blog about our everyday adventures with our boys.

I thought we'd give you just a little glimpse into a typical day in our house. 

.........................................................................................................................................................

sorry for the awful picture quality...old school cell phone pic with poor lighting
0600(ish):  Baby boys wake up, come to bed with us.  When they were younger, the boys would snuggle with us and go back to sleep for a while longer.  Now though, we just get kicked in the head a bunch while they roll around on top of us.

0700:  After some bruises, we get up, go downstairs, change diapers and make the boys some milk.  Then the boys play for a while, happy and fresh-faced.  A little later, they'll eat some breakfast, which is usually a cereal bar and a banana (or other fruit).

Boys playing peek-a-boo with each other                                  


0830:  They play and play while I usually work on getting some housework done, or we sometimes to grab breakfast with friends, or run an errand or two.  

1100:  We then sit down to eat lunch.  Lunch usually consists of leftovers from the previous nights' dinner, or sandwiches, fruits, and veggies  (or whatever we can scrounge up, really). 

Spaghetti
raspberries

1230:  The boys take a nap after lunch, which can last anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours (naps are pretty inconsistent with our boys...its been super frustrating, but I think it's starting to get better).  

0200: After naps, we usually go out and do something, like bike riding, or hiking, or out for a neighborhood walk.


0330:  We'll then come home, grab a snack and sometimes run to the grocery store to grab some food for dinner.


0500:  The boys play with daddy when he comes home, while I make dinner.


Boys being silly in their hats.
0530:  Dinner time!  I love dinner time, especially now that the boys are completely on solid foods.  We can all sit down and eat together, and all eat the same thing.  (except for when Foxx decides he doesn't want to try to use a bowl and spoon.  He'd rather eat his chicken and dumplings straight off his tray, with his fingers)


0600:  Play a little more before bed.

Judah, practicing walking
0630: bathtime!


(that's raspberry juice on the sides of their legs)



0645: Read books, have some milk, rock, sing and go to sleep!


0700:  After the kiddos are asleep, we typically catch up on housework, wash and restuff our cloth diapers, blog, read, or watch a movie together.  We're typically in bed by 11.


Thanks for stopping by and checking out our day!  You can read more about our everyday lives over at  my blog, Newborn Grownups.  










Monday, August 27, 2012

*Guest* Sarah from Growing Pains & Little Cains


My next guest this month is Sarah from Growing Pains & Little Cains, she's a fellow twin Mama who also has an older singleton. Sarah is always an encouraging to me, and has some of the cutest pictures. What she shares today is such great perspective and honesty. I am so glad she is blogging here today!







Hi there! My name is Sarah and I blog over at Growing Pains & Little Cains. I am a mama of 3 littles: Malakai (3) & identical twins, Ava & Lillian (20mo). As you can imagine we have a very busy home full of lots of messes, tears, laughter & joy! My blog is a small glimpse into my heart and home as I am continually molded and changed from grace to grace. I am beyond excited & blessed to be a guest over here for Krystle! Truly looking forward to reading more about what God is doing in her heart & family when she returns, amiright?!

Today, I want to share a blog post I wrote a few months back that seemed to bless many women. It is something that I think a lot, if not almost all mamas deal with at some point or another. The title is, "Nope, Not Ever" and it is essentially about God's grace through our insecurities.


Dear 17 year old Sarah:

First of all, no matter how many times you say you'd never want twins, you will have twins and they will light up your world and you will be more than fine. Also, you will get your wish: your first born is a boy. As much as you love these little people- and trust me, that's a whole, WHOLE lot- there will be sacrifice. Your priorities will change. Your heart will change. Your body will change. 

Not to worry, this note is one of encouragement

As a mama of 3under3, your body will be stretched, worn, cut, pulled, torn, bitten... Your 17 year old self might easily look in the mirror or worse, look down at your 27 year old self in absolute horror of what you see.  In fact, you might wonder how you could ever allow this to happen. Mostly, you would probably wonder (as your husband so sheepishly (& innocently) will ask after your 1st baby), 

"Will it ever go back?" 

Proudly (and with a slight chuckle) I would tell you, 

"Nope, not ever." 
(at least not without surgery)

Consider them battle wounds. Battle wounds are not the kind of scars you hide. They are the kind you show off proudly. They are the ones you want everyone to know the story behind. (unlike the story you'll want never repeated about the car you will purchase and quickly wreck in a couple of years...)  In order to receive them, you endured a long labor, a sea of emotions, months and months of uncomfortable living, surgery & 

very. real. sacrifice. 

Fortunately, sacrifice is not with out reward. You are fulfilling a God given purpose. God created your body to carry those little people. Not only to carry them but to support them, nourish them, grow them. Walk in this body with joy.

PURE JOY.

Much of my words today are being written in faith because pretty much every morning (or at least every shower) I have to remind 27 year old Sarah of these truths. Our world would tell you that to be beautiful, you must be thin and not only thin but seamless. They would tell you not to let your children define you but they go a step further and tell you, in fear, to possibly not even bother with having those children because all they do is cramp your style. Steal your identity. Ruin your life. In faith and truth, I can tell you, those are lies. Don't believe them. 

As a woman, wife & mama:
 You are building something beautiful
Your opportunity is unique
Your calling is admirable

Never, never forget that you are doing a great work and must not come down. Not every moment will feel worth all those scars. Not every moment will even feel worth getting out of bed. Every day, mundane, ins & outs, necessary time. It is the time that builds your moments into days, weeks and years. Many, many moments will leave you questioning your sanity, your parenting skills, your abilities. You will even count down the minutes to bed time for your littles... and that's OKAY! 

In between all those crazy times, you will find these special moments. Snipits of time when you look around at the mess surrounding you and can appreciate what occurred to make the mess. The moments when you contemplate the miracle that each and every one of your babies are. There will be moments when your love for them makes your heart feel as though it may burst. Moments that make all the rest of your time complete.

So I tell you, appreciate who you are right now- at 17. Who you are and what you are doing is building who you will become. God has a plan for your life and it is good. When you are 27 and you look in the mirror, you don't have to look in horror. 

Love the pudge. 
Love the lose skin. 
Love the stretch marks. 
Embrace it even.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

*Guest* Jenny from Blessings and Raindrops


I don't even remember how I happened upon Jenny's blog, I was just hopping around like I do sometimes and then I saw her adorable twin boys, read their amazing story of their in-process adoption and pretty much just fell in love with her and her family. I am so excited for her to be writing here today, whether or not you have twins this is a must read. Great perspective and it sounds oh so familiar! Thank you Jenny for being a part of 3 Little Men & a Mommy today!


A friend called the other day to tell me his big news – he and his pregnant wife were riding the wave of shock and elation after hearing two heartbeats during a recent ultrasound. Twins.

As I congratulated him, I was reminded of that exact moment for my husband and I. The moment our world was rocked.  The moment we watched with tears streaming down our cheeks as the doctor pointed out the two heartbeats on the screen. We had prayed for a baby for so long and we were over the moon as we learned that God had granted us with a double blessing.

I immediately felt sorry for all of the other expecting momsin the doctor’s waiting room because the chances were high that they were only expecting one baby. I’d always been an overachiever and, I’ll be honest here, this whole having-two-babies-thing felt like the epitome of overachievement.

I also distinctly remember the moment fear snuck in. I woke up in the middle of the night a few days after that fateful ultrasound paralyzed with fear as I imagined myself fumbling with attempts at necessary new mom activities like carrying two babies around the house, feeding two babies, or my biggest fear of all – going out in public by myself with these two little people. 

And, I remember the moment that true panic settled in. We finally brought our boys home after four weeks in the NICU. We were on cloud nine. We were home with our precious, perfect sons. We had waited for this moment for so long. Our babies looked so angelic. They smelled so delicious. They napped throughout the day and we snuggled with them close, breathing them in and memorizing every single feature on their innocent little faces. Then, night fell. And, with the coming darkness, we felt something shift in our home. The peace and serenity that we had experienced for those precious few hours started to dissolve. We panicked as we faced our first night alone with the boys. The next nine hours passed in a blur. We were confronted with the fact that our little angels had turned into screaming monsters.  It was a very long night. And, it was the first of many. 

Fast forward to today. My boys recently turned two-years old so I am clearly now an expert on multiples child rearing. {Sarcasm}.

The truth: I survived that first year and am finally able to put a coherent thought together and I thought I should do my best to share my lessons learned as a momma to two little miracle babies. I created this list to help prepare my friends for the ride of their lives.

Most importantly, friends, remember that the first year with twins is far from easy. It is just plain hard. But it will be, by far, the most rewarding year of your life.

Okay, now on to the details…

Survival: The first few months, you are in what my husband and I called, “Survival Mode.” Do not exert energy on any activity that is not critical to the survival of your little tribe. Everyone {including momma} needs to eat. Shamelessly enlist friends and family to prepare meals for you. Freeze meals. Order take-out. Do whatever you can to ensure you are feeding everyone. Drink a lot of water. Sleep whenever and wherever you can. And, do not believe for one second that you will be able to “nap when the babies nap.” That is nonsense that moms of singletons throw in your face to make you feel even crazier than you already do. These babies do not sleep at the same time. There is always someone who needs to eat or get a clean diaper. Just try to sleep whenever you can. Go ahead and enlist your 91-year-old great-grandmother-in-law to come and hold babies while you take a nap. {Nope. I’m not kidding}. I had a strict rule that if you have arms or feet {sleeping babies in a car seat can be rocked with a foot, thank you very much}, you were allowed in my house to help. And, while you rock {whoever you are, it doesn’t really matter as long as you are rocking/feeding/changing a baby}, I sleep. Period.

Crying: They will cry. A lot. And usually at the same time. And, you will be alone with them when they cry. At the same time. Friend, I’m warning you now; these two teeny, tiny, wobbly little humans will bring you to your knees. Your heart will break when you come to terms with your physical inability to calm both babies. You will cry and you will do your best to contort your arms and legs into bizarre positions in order to attempt holding and feeding two newborns at once. {I had success holding one while resting one in the crook of my knee while bouncing my leg and rocking my arms. I pumped and bottle-fed… I was never able to master the art of tandem breastfeeding. More power to you if you can figure that one out}.  And, even though I couldn’t stand it when people told me this, I’m going to say it: it is okay if they cry. It’s okay. Let it go. Let go of the guilt. I promise you that they will soon become these little people who can feed themselves {yes! It is amazing!} and they will not remember which baby you fed first at 3 am when they were five weeks old. They won’t. I promise. {Okay, I don’t know that for sure, but I’m about 99.9% confident on that one}.  Just focus on the most urgent need first. Then, move on to the next baby. All the while praying that someone will miraculously drop by to see if you need any help {Thank you. Thank you. Thank you God for all of the merciful “drop-ins” during my first few weeks home alone with the boys}.

Transporting: You can cancel your gym membership {as if that didn’t already happen the second your doctor gave you the order to stop working out during pregnancy with twins – or was that just me?}, because you will be doing some heavy lifting. Lugging two car seats from point A to point B is a workout. Those things weigh a ton. Then, add the weight of the babies. You are easily benching 450, girl. {Give or take a pound}. You are super woman. You rock. {Oh, and the trick to getting the babies in the car is to load them up inside. Leave one on the floor while you put one in the car and then go back for the other. Bonus points if you have a black lab who keeps watch over the baby sitting inside by himself because you will worry that your newborn has unlatched himself and jumped out of his seat in the forty-five seconds that you were away. You will. It sounds crazy but you too will become a frantic basket case when running on two hours of sleep. Just trust me. Lack of sleep can turn the most sane, calm momma into a full-blown crazy person}.

Leaving the House: It won’t happen. There will always be someone who spit up and needs an outfit change. Or someone who needs a diaper change. Or someone who needs to eat again. Just take each day in stride. If you are able to walk the twins to the end of the driveway in their stroller, count that as a success. Remember that this is just a short season of life. This too shall pass.

Going out in public by yourself: This will cause serious anxiety. Trust me. Just avoid it for as long as you possibly can.

People say the wackiest things: You will get stares and questions that will literally make your jaw drop. People will ask if your boy/girl twins are identical, they will ask if they are “natural” {don’t even get me started on that one}, everyonewill ask if twins run in your family {an unveiled attempt to be subtle when asking if you conceived with the assistance of fertility specialists}. Just smile and be thankful that you aren’t a famous person that has to deal with the paparazzi every day. Your babies will grow up and become less fascinating to passing strangers eventually.

Write everything down: You will forget which baby you fed at the 3 am feeding. It’s inevitable. {And, on that note, wake brother up after you finish the first feeding to keep the babies on the same schedule. As awful as the thought of waking a sleeping baby is, it’s the best option if you hope to get any sleep between nighttime feedings}.

Let go of expectations. I mean it. Let ‘em go.

Count your blessings. Marvel at the miracles in your arms.

Slowly, you will gain confidence in your ability to parent these two little people. You will laugh with them and chase after them as they learn to crawl and then walk {in opposite directions, of course}. You will watch their individual personalities emerge and you will be in awe of their devotion to one another. You will be overwhelmed with kisses and hugs at the end of a long day.



Friends, you are about to enter a pretty exclusive clubconsisting of parents of multiples. You will be amazed as you learn that there are other parents who understand where you are and who will encourage you as you wade through the murky waters of those difficult first months. These parents will stop you on the street and remind you that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” and you will not believe them {in fact, you’ll laugh and think that they have completely lost it}. And then one day you realize that it has happened. You have emerged into that light. And all of the hard work and all of the tears and all of the sleep forgone has brought you to this place. And, you will be oh, so grateful.









Jenny Marrs is a momma to two-year old twin boys and she chronicles their antics and adventures on her blog, Blessings & Raindrops. Her family is also currently on a journey to adopt a little one from the beautiful country of Ethiopia. You can read more at http://www.blessingsandraindrops.com/

Monday, August 20, 2012

*Guest* Kelli from Living Life with E's


I have been following Kelli for as long as I have been blogging, really. She is a twin herself, and has three adorable children. She is an encourager in it's truest sense and a great writer. She blogs at Living Life with E's I know you will be blessed by her today, and don't forget to go check out her blog! Thanks again Kelli for being my guest today!




Thinkin’ and Feelin’!

When I originally thought about my guest post for this blog, I thought I would write about being a twin, for sure. Because, that would just be fun…giving my perspective on being a twin for a blog belonging to the mother of twins, great fit…I thought.  I could write about all the times we finish each other’s sentences or how my husband still has a hard time telling us apart over the phone…and we have been married for 12 years!  I could write about how I was the flexible, more laid back one and she was more rigid and determined. I could write about how when people ask me what it’s like being a twin, I am not sure how to answer that question because….well, since I was 2 minutes old I have been this way so I really don’t know any different!
Kelli and her twin :)

But then, there He goes again…with His way of making my mind completely devoid of anything except for what he wants me to write about.  There He goes again with the gentle prods of a Father pushing me in the direction He wants me to go rather than just allowing me to do my own thing…which I am so much better at doing, really.  Until today, I had my post all planned out, you know the twin post…but my mind can’t complete it because it’s not what I am supposed to write about.  So, I give in God…I’ll write what you want me to…fine, have it your way!  I sound like my 5 year old right now, but in some ways I guess bending to authority just doesn’t ever get any easier. 


I was in a church service this past Easter Sunday, we were out of town and it wasn’t our home church.  So, I was a little distracted by the enormity of the sanctuary, how much I liked the music, and goodness…I should have worn a camisole under my shirt because every time I lean over, well…it’s just too much! So, I don’t remember a whole lot about the sermon, but one thing the pastor said has stuck with me since that morning, he said…”You’re feelin’ what you’re feelin’ because you’re thinkin’ what you’re thinkin’ …which then causes you to act the way that you act!  At first glance, you probably don’t see anything real profound to that statement, so let me show you what he meant.

The alarm goes off, I get out of bed and stumble over to my desk and begin my time alone with God, but it’s cut short because the littlest of my angels has decided he needs to get an early start to whatever mischief is on his schedule for today…I instantly think, “gosh, I never finish anything!”.  I change his diaper and head off to my beautiful 3 year old daughters’ room and smell something that should justify a big biohazard bag over our entire two story dwelling and I think to myself “that Miralax, it’s either all or nothing and I will never be able to potty train her, it’s just overwhelming…and with the Down Syndrome and low tone, I can’t do it!”.  I clean up the “mess” and start making breakfast when my oldest decides to completely disobey my simple request and ends up in his room, and we are only 20 minutes into the day…I think to myself “why won’t he obey me, I must be doing something wrong, I must not be a good mom if he can’t even do what I ask”.    For an instant I escape in my mind to the beach and watch the waves crash on the shore leaving a scattering of seashells, some whole, some broken…and I think how nice it would be to be there, by myself.  I am shaken back to reality by the thought of “how could you want to be anywhere but with your kids, they are a blessing…and shame on your for wanting to be anywhere else but here!”  And the day goes on…just like that, and I wonder why I feel terrible about myself as a mother and as a person.   Before lunchtime, I am feeling depressed and overwhelmed.

I am like a sports commentator giving a play by play on each and every situation throughout the day, the problem is…the commentary isn’t accurate, it’s false and it only serves the purpose of drowning me in a huge pool of discontentment with myself and whatever situation I find myself in.  Is anyone else out there being served an oversized portion of false thinking?  According to the pastor…It’s no wonder I am feeling and acting defeated some days…look at what I was thinking about!

So, of course, being that God is as amazing as He is…he has been showing me a verse and it keeps popping up all over the place.  You see, He has to do that for me to “get it”…he has to beat me over the head 101 times before I finally see it and say “oh, I guess that’s what you’ve been trying to tell me!”

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

My God, who loves me enough to give his one and only son to die on the cross for my sins, NEVER thinks of me the way I think of myself.  He loves me, all of me…even with all of my shortcomings!  So, how are you feeling today?  Do you feel defeated, fat, guilty, depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, or ugly? Check-in with yourself, what are you telling yourself as you go about your daily routine?  What do you tell yourself when you don’t accomplish your goals for the day?  What do you tell yourself when you step on the scale and it doesn’t reveal the number you wish it did?

So, what do I do about these thoughts that creep in so fast and furious?  Well, I am working on “taking them captive”…. and beating them down with the truth.   I think it’s a bad habit that we develop, a bad habit of allowing our thoughts to define who we are because we start believing them.  We assume that because we thought them…well, they must be true!  But the reality is, sometimes we can’t help it when a negative thought about ourselves occurs, but we can choose not to indulge it and we can choose not to believe it, we can choose to see ourselves as a forgiven child of God that was bought with a price…a huge price!  After years of believing whatever negative thoughts creep into my mind about myself, I have a long way to go to change this habit of mine, but I think the journey will be worth it!


Kelli is a wife and mother to the "E's" (Ethan & Emily and the newest addition since starting her blog, Chase!). In her words: The ramblings found on this blog run the gamut because...well, my emotions are that way. I started writing here as a way to keep our family and friends updated on the progress of our youngest who was unexpectantly born with Down Syndrome. Now, I write to advocate, connect, and share our experiences as we travel the path that was chosen for our family. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On The Business of Raising Boys






*Originally Posted on May 11th*
This is a huge responsibility, this raising of boys.
We are raising the next generation of leaders
We are raising future husbands and fathers.
We are raising boys that will someday have a wife that they need to love, cherish, respect, and adore.
We are showing them, with our love, how to be a team.
How to talk to one another..........


Read the rest of this over at (in)courage where I am beyond excited and honored to guest post today....

Monday, August 13, 2012

A dose of encouragement....

I've been sensing a lot of discouragement amongst my friends....blogger friends and non blogger friends alike. And it's not just friends, it's my mommy friends. And I think that Satan does a pretty good job of playing the discouragement card, the "you're not doing good enough" card...and society plays right along with him.



*Originally posted November 2010*

Mom's, you and I have the hardest job in the entire world. We work harder than anyone else and we don't get paid with money. We go from sun-up to sun-down and in between. Showers become a luxury, sleep is intermittent, reading a book that isn't parent related is few and far between and dates become less and less often. And none of us would change ANY of it.

But that doesn't mean we don't have days where we are just downright exhausted, discouraged and hard on ourselves. The kids are grumpy, or you feel like they are on time-out all day. They don't stop crying, your house is a mess, dinner isn't ready and you can't remember if you brushed your teeth.

But who is putting that pressure on you?

Is it your husband? I sure hope not. I'm guessing, and hoping that he appreciates all you do and understands the hard work you put in day to day. If not...maybe it's time for some prayer in that direction and a calm and collected conversation :)

Is it your friends? Kid less friends? Well....don't even give their opinion the time of day because it doesn't matter. To quote Joey from Friends, " It's like a cow's opinion....it's moo" :)

Is it your extended family? I think sometimes those women forget what it was like, and they have short term memory...so don't worry about them.

Is it other moms? Your friends that have kids?  Maybe it's not direct pressure...but it's blog posts or Facebook statuses. Because let's be real...not many Mom's will post that they have spanked their child, or done time-out 15 times or that their child is being a brat. It's usually the good stuff...They seems to have it all together right? They are lying. They aren't being honest, because they (like you) put pressure on themselves and feel like they need to look like that have it all together. They don't. Nobody has a perfect child. NOBODY does and if they tell you they do...they are bold face lying. They might have it easier at the moment when you don't....but believe me they will :)

Guess who that leaves? YOU. You are putting WAY to much pressure on yourself! We expect too much of ourselves, especially new moms. And it stresses you out and your kids feel it and react to it and it's a vicious cycle.
Meltdown moment x3

We aren't meant to do this job alone, we have to learn to rely on God. No, you might not get that 30 minute devotional and prayer time in, with your nice cup of coffee like you used to. But nowhere does God say that is the only way to lean on Him. With every breath you take you have to ask Him to give you strength, patience, energy and a positive outlook. I'm talking every. single. breath. He wants you to ask Him, to lean on Him and rely on Him to get your through your day. I honestly don't know how you would without Him.

I think the relationship you have with God takes on a whole new look when you become a Mom. Sometimes it's hard to figure out, and it has changed so it doesn't feel the same. But if you accept that it's different, and learn how it is and how it works and how you communicate with Him now, it can be incredibly amazing and satisfying. I think it can be downright exciting...if we'd let ourselves realize that's what's going on here!!

I don't have all the answers, I have days just like all of you. Lots of them. But I know we're not meant to live there....there is an abundance of life we will miss out on if we allow ourselves to get downtrodden over life and the endless days.

                                                                       Deep breaths.
                                                          Fresh perspective.
                    Constant communication with Jesus.

And darn it....stop being so hard on yourself! Hugs to you all. You're loved and you're amazing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A little bit of the heavy stuff....

My Mom was diagnosed with cancer one year ago today. 


Since then she has endured 3 surgeries
2 staph infections
4 months of chemotherapy
35 days of radiation, going in Monday through Friday (7 weeks)
Losing her hair
Major neuropathy
Excruciating Headaches
Extreme Fatigue
Countless pills
Would Vac
and she is now in remission


I am so grateful for God's hand on her, and our whole family through this past year. It has been incredibly difficult and there is still healing to be done from her latest surgery, but God is good and has been so faithful.
This is the post where I shared about her diagnoses last year.....
*Originally posted August 2011*





I've known some amazingly fabulous women in my life.

I know of a woman who has spent most of her life in the ministry, standing by her man in the toughest seasons, knowing God had his hand on them the whole time.

I know of a woman who lost her husband to a motorcycle accident, leaving her alone with two young girls to raise. Her strength and positive outlook on life is infectious.

I know a woman who lost her husband to a freak accident, leaving her behind with 3 very young children. She could easily have a "woe is me" attitude, feel sorry for herself that she is doing the hardest job on earth all alone. But she is full of joy. She is not negative. She is such an amazing example.

I know of a woman who has lost several babies before they were born. Sure, her heart aches. But she still trusts in the Lord to provide for her another baby someday, believing in His promises to her.

I know of a woman who watched her husband die of cancer not too long after his diagnosis, and then after he was gone, she herself was diagnosed with cancer. I saw her fight the fight and trust in the Lord to heal, and He did. And he brought her a new and fresh love.

Faithfulness.
Joy.
Peace.
Steadfast.
Courage.

These women are truly amazing and I know I can learn so much from them.

I know of another woman. One whom I love more than any other woman. One whom I treasure and respect and try to model myself after, as a Mom and as a wife.
She was just diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday.

That woman is my Mom.

To say this has rocked our world is an understatement.
The shock of just saying those words

breast cancer
hasn't fully set in.

But I can tell you one thing.
We have peace.
A peace that surpasses all understanding.
All of us.

We are scared
confused
anxious
yes.
But we are hopeful
trusting
peaceful
and joyful at the same time

HE allows us all of those things.


The prognosis looks good as it was caught early and is relatively small.
She meets with the surgeon this week.
(*updated* it was not small and easy like we were first told)

We are confident she will be okay.
More than okay.


This little poem/devotional pretty much sums things up.

STREAMS IN THE DESERT - AUGUST 9TH


I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the “God of all comfort” was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
As the earth needs the clouds and sunshine,
Our souls need both sorrow and joy;
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.
When He leads through some valley of trouble,
His omnipotent hand we trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us,
Are part of His lessons in grace.
Oft we run from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener knows
That the deeper the cutting and trimming,
The richer the cluster that grows.
Well He knows that affliction is needed;
He has a wise purpose in view,
And in the dark valley He whispers,
“Soon you’ll understand what to do.”
As we travel through life’s shadowed valley,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses,
Are blessings just sent in disguise.
So we’ll follow wherever He leads us,
Let the path be dreary or bright;
For we’ve proved that our God can give comfort;
Our God can give songs in the night.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday to the little man who first stole Mama's Heart

We are camping today and are planning to celebrate Jack's birthday while we are at the coast! 
After we return we are having a Cars themed party with friends and the rest of the family. 
(I think that Jack's love language is Cars- Disney Cars that is) 

Oh, and green balloons because green is his favorite color and he will tell you that often. 

I honestly never knew that this kind of love could exist.
I am beyond blessed and humbled to be this boys Mama. 
I cannot believe it has been 4 years since I first held him. 

Happy Birthday sweet boy, you are my sunshine!









I never blogged Jack's birth story so I am going to indulge myself and do that now. That way, when I print this blog into a book I have it here as well as my journal.................




I was so very done. It was summer, it was hot and although I made Trevor turn the AC down to 62 degrees I was still uncomfortable (while he was donning socks, sweats and sweaters). I had felt him "drop" only a few days prior. It was extremely uncomfortable and there was an obvious physical difference in how I was carrying him. My OB confirmed this at my appointment and we scheduled the next appointment for the following week. I was 36 weeks so we would start seeing my OB every week now and I was excited. He said at this point, Jack could come any day and I was determined that be sooner than later!
Nearly there!

36 weeks 2 days: I walked Target and the Mall, moved some furniture and was seriously trying to get this kid out. I even drank a bunch of Raspberry Leaf Tea (now, some of you may say "well, that's what did it!" but I know many a woman who drank boxes of that stuff with no change and also it didn't give me contractions. I told my OB about the tea and he said it didn't cause me to go into labor early...especially since my water broke spontaneously )
The next day I was scheduled to walk Ashland and up and down the hilly streets with my best friend.

That night I couldn't sleep. I was lying in bed realizing I wasn't totally sure what I needed to pack for the hospital and so my plan was to print off a check-off list and tape it to the door into the garage so we could make sure we had it all. I fell asleep maybe around 2:30am. 

3:30am...GUSH. I was startled awake by my waters breaking. There was no mistaking what it was, I never once doubted. It was the craziest feeling ever. I jolted Trevor awake and then called the hospital. My water was clear so we were okay to take our time. Trevor jumped in the shower and I started packing the remaining items and called my parents. My sweet sister answered the phone and just knew. I told her we'd update them once we checked in.

At this point I wasn't having the typical contractions, my back was killing me (since he was early, he was still "sunny side up" or OP and I was told this is the hardest kind of labor there is...as if any kind isn't hard?!) It honestly was feeling like that kidney stone pain and I would hold onto the door and bend over wondering "why is this in my back?! is this labor??" I told Trev to get moving because I was hurtin'. After a few more warnings, we headed out. 

Trevor totally sped. We didn't need to, but the adrenaline and excitment was too much for him ha! We got checked in, answered the gazillion questions and then we headed for a walk around the hospital to get things moving. I was dialted to about a 3 at this point. 

After our walk, both sets of parents were there waiting for us, eager for what this meant! A first grandchild for my parents, and second for Trevor's. We were laughing and smiling and in pure bliss. 

I decided to get into the tub in my room, to help relax my body and it worked. I was calling my friend Helen who was out of town (darn her!) to let her know what was going on. Then I tried calling my friend Kathleen (who I was to go to Ashland with) and I couldn't talk through my contractions any longer. At this point I was still having horrible back labor and regular contractions. 

My OB came by, and checked to see that I was around a 4. I asked for an epidural (I was so afraid I'd wait too long!!) and he laughed. I was still talking and breathing through my contractions and so we waited. I hopped back in the tub, back out, moved around...Trev put pressure on my back etc etc. 
It didn't take long until I was crying and couldn't talk at all. My OB is the only OB in town who does his own epidurals, so I didn't have to wait for them to page an anishtealogist and I was so greatful for that. He popped right over from his office, and administered the perfect epidural. Immediate relife. I joked that if this was what it was like, I'd have 10 kids now!

I relaxed, and had a few visitors. My Mom braided my hair for me and we visited. I was given the tiniest bit of pitocin to make sure things stayed the course and soon after Trevor laid down to rest, I was fully dilated. 

I had the best nurses, and my OB is just amazing. I could feel the pressure of the contractions, but without the pain. She asked if I could endure it, and let my body labor down, I wouldn't have to push as much. So I did....I let my body do it's thing and while I could feel the intense pressure of each contraction I didn't feel the major pain that goes with it, so I felt very much in control. My OB had finished his work day, and was sitting in my room doing some paperwork and then, BAM! It was time to push. I was given such clear instruction, and again could feel the pressure, so I pushed very well. I did better with three shorter counts than the typical count to 10 push and I think I only pushed off and on for about 45 minutes (??)) and then in a blink of an eye I heard, "don't push!" and then out he came, screaming and slippery and they laid him right on my chest just like I wanted. I was crying. We were crying. First thing I heard was the nurse say, "He has a dimple!" and I just kept saying over and over again, "I love you baby"!
First Moment Together

Because I was 36/3 days they had the respitoraty therapists ready to go in my room. We all thought "how strange" since everything was going so well and beautifully, but I am greatful that is procedure. It was evident that Jack sounded funny while breathing. They had us skin to skin for about an hour thinking maybe that would settle him down, unfortuanatley it didn't. They were going to have to take him to the NICU. 
I literally thought my heart broke in two. Our family hadn't been let in yet because of wanting to make sure things were okay, and now here he was, being stripped from me. I wanted to nurse him, but because of his breathing issues that would have been a poor choice and although I didn't understand at the moment, it was the right call. 

They had Trevor go with the nurses, and I asked for only my Mom to come in. I sobbed. It was a guteral cry that shook my core. I was shocked, confused, angry. After awhile I was wheeled into the NICU. I could hardly see from the tears and my eyes being so puffy and what I saw was so hard to look at. My beautiful firstborn boy, hooked up to tubes and wires. It was too much. 

We were taken to the recovery wing where I got to work pumping. I pumped like a mad woman, beaming with pride at the drops of "liquid gold" Trevor would walk down for me. We requested that only donor breastmilk be used until my milk came in, and thankfully that wasn't long.

Jack's lungs just weren't developed yet, so they intubated him and coated his lungs with surfactant. Less than 24 hours later he was off all oxygen and breathing help. Next step was learning how to breastfeed, gain weight and get rid of the jaundice. He didn't have a great latch, so we sought the help of the nipple shield and it was the key. He ended up being in the NICU for a total of 7 days, most of which were spent dealing with jaundice. The last two nights (days) we actually got to room in with him, which was so lovely and usually they just do the night before you go home, but we had the best NICU nurse who fell in love with our little family (she actually got the be the twins nurse too!!) and we were spoiled.

After all his stuff was removed


The start was rough, and not at all how we imagined. The labor and birth itself was near perfect and wonderful. My water broke at 3:30am and I had him at 4:47pm that night. I loved it. I wish so much that he didn't need the NICU and our family and friends could have flooded the room after he was born, but I am so thankful we delivered where we did, and the help he needed was right there immediately.


Rooming In