Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time is Ticking Away

Like most moms... well, most women.... well, most Americans!- I don't have a lot of spare time on my hands. From the time I get up at 5:00 a.m. to the time I head to bed each night (hopefully by 10:30) I'm constantly busy. From taking care of my kids to my house to my volunteer work to phone calls that need to be made, errands that need to be run, spending time with my husband, to- God forbid- a few moments for myself; there's rarely a break!

But as I said, this is more common than not in today's day and age, and so I don't feel sorry for myself or think that I'm busier than everyone else, I just do my best and try to be wise with each moment.

And then there's this blog....

I immensely enjoy writing, I think I actually gain energy from it rather than lose. But with all the other demands on my time, most of them much more important than a blog, this priority often comes in last.

And that's okay. It's okay that there are a lot of other things that are more important to me than a blog. It's okay that anyone who does happen upon this blog and actually reads it does not get updates often. (I don't think anyone's life is so greatly enhanced by my musings that they are lacking something when they don't get to read my mind vomit constantly.) And it's okay that blogging be just a sometimes thing for me, as opposed to an every day.

I love to write! Hopefully there are a few of you out there who love to read this. And hopefully we can both come to the mutual agreement that a sporadic relationship between us is better than none at all.

See you next time...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Sick Computer (In More Ways Than One...)

On Sunday afternoon, my computer randomly started pulling up Internet Explorer pages with... shall we say, adult, addresses. It also began incessantly popping up a variety of windows posting messages such as, "A virus has been detected", "Click here to scan your hard drive", and "Would you like to fix this problem?" However, the titles and logos on the pop-up windows were unfamiliar.

Turns out, the websites popping up, as well as the various windows to "fix" a virus, were all part of- surprise!- a virus.


It took several days of calling Dell back and forth to get the problem completely cleared up. The end result was a laptop wiped clean, reverted back to all its original settings from the factory, the hard drive wiped clean.


There is one bright spot amidst all this sighing though! I discovered while not being able to use my laptop or the internet for four days how much time I actually spend on the computer! Wow. Eye-opening.

I suddenly had boat loads of free time in my day. I was surprised by the sudden inflow of time to spend playing with my girls, reading, even watching a movie. And the biggest surprise of all- get this- writing by hand.

Yes, it was shocking.

Honestly, I try not to spend too much time on the computer. I generally try to keep the laptop closed when my girls are up. I check it during nap time, and then when my husband and daughters go to bed, I usually have at least an hour that I can spend catching up on my social networking and a little bit of writing.

I guess my perceived minimal amount of time spent on the computer is what led to my surprise to begin with. Nevertheless, after a what turned out to be a blissful four days with no computer, I think I'll probably be cutting back even more.

I would much rather enjoy the here and now and these beautiful (short!) years with my girls, than be a productive member of the online community. And hopefully with my less time spent online, I'll learn to be even more productive with the time I do spend here.

See you around!- albeit a little less...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Visiting Disney World with a Baby Backpack Checklist

Just finished a great new piece on visiting Disney World with a baby. Here is the checklist I used to pack my backpack and fanny pack each morning to make sure I had everything I needed.

Backpack Checklist:
• Camcorder
• Baby Bjorn
• Snacks
• Bottle and formula
• Dish soap
• Baby food
• Ponchos and umbrella
• Sunscreen
• Kleenex
• Antibacterial hand gel
• Wet wipes
• Bib
• Spoon
• Sippy cup
• Diapers, wipes, diaper cream
• Changing pad?
• Pacifier
• Plastic bags
• Change of clothes for Esther
• Baby hat
• MP3 player
• (Glow sticks/necklaces)

Shoulder Bag/Fanny Pack Checklist:
• Park ticket/room key
• Driver’s license
• Cash
• Schedule/meal confirmation numbers
• Camera and batteries
• Cell phone
• Sunglasses
• Water bottle
• Gum
• Lip balm

Monday, August 3, 2009

Miracles Still Happen... and They Have Hands

"When it gets warmer and it rains- and it's not lightning!- you can go out and play in the rain."

This is the promise we have been making to Hope since May. Little did we know it would decide to stop raining in Wisconsin for about two months. The lakes and rivers have been down. All the grass is brown. (Well, except for the lady down the street who is obviously obsessive-compulsive about her lawn.)

Finally last Saturday- rain! It began to pour. It was daytime. It was not lightning. And it was warm. All Hope's needed criteria. She took one look out the window and blurted out, "Can I play in the rain?!?" So we sent her out, Minnie Mouse nightgown and all, and she fulfilled her summer dream. It was adorable and fun and very summer carefree-ish.

Being the typical mama that I am, I made sure I had the digital camera and video camera in hand, and captured precious footage of my three year old running through the rain, splashing in puddles, and laughing. I even enjoyed Violet not enjoying the rain. My husband, parents and I laughed as she would step out wanting to play with her sister, then feeling the wet, aerial assault would wrinkle her nose and run back in the garage.

When Hope announced she was finished, I grabbed a wet child under each arm and wrestled them inside with admonitions not to do anything or touch anything but go straight to the bathtub, which they did.

Fast forward four days...

My in-laws were in town from Ohio and we were heading out the door to watch an aerial stunt show at the country's biggest airplane convention.

"Have you seen the video camera?" I asked my husband.

He hadn't. We searched the places we would normally keep it, then all the other places we might accidentally set it down. Then, backtracking to the previous rainy Saturday, we looked all over the garage. Nowhere.

We left for the stunt show with no video camera, my husband reassuring me, "It will show up." But I had a fear taking root. A fear that I had set the camera on the bumper of the car. A fear that in the chaos of taking two kids in from the rain and giving them a bath, the camera had been left on the car's bumper until one of us drove away with it until it bounced off... who knows where. I wanted to cry- and couldn't. Just a small electronic gadget, and yet, the avenue of preserving my family's memories.

Looking back on my own childhood, my parents will tell you today that one of their regrets is that they never bought a video camera. They still wish they had moving footage of our family's memories. Knowing this, a mini-DVD recorder was something my husband and I sacrificed for when we were expecting our first child. We pinched our pennies and purchased that small electronic gadget... that would enable us to record and save priceless, irreplaceable moments in time.

After a week, we resigned ourselves to the fact that our video camera was lost. Maybe crushed on a road somewhere, maybe in some stranger's hands, but gone nonetheless. I contemplated making a flyer about our lost camera and passing it out around the neighborhood. After all, if the camera had fallen off the car, it couldn't have landed far, right?

Imagine our surprise when my husband received a message on Facebook from a stranger saying, "I think I may have your video camera..." We were instructed to call the police department if the video camera was ours and they would give us the number for the person holding the camera.

Phone calls were placed and returned and I was overjoyed Friday when a woman came to our door holding our camera! She and her husband had been driving a mile from our home when they saw the camera laying the road.

Knowing nothing about video cameras, they eventually figured out how to watch the enclosed video to see if there were any clues such as us saying our name or a video showing the front of our house. The video of Hope and Violet in the rain showed our front yard, and they spent part of one day driving around the neighborhood where they had found the camera looking for a fire hydrant and large rock matching the ones in our yard from the video. They called the local police department, but no report had been filed. (The thought never even crossed my mind...)

It took a couple of days before the husband of this duo accidentally opened the door to the mini-DVD (knowing nothing about video cameras, this hadn't occurred to them before). Praise God I had written our last name on the disk, as well as the date I put it in the camera. Finally- a clue! They enlisted the help of a family member who was familiar with the internet and Facebook who looked up our last name and discovered my husband- located near where they had found the camera.

What followed was a Facebook message, several phone calls, and a joyous reunion! With a small... electronic... gadget.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Actions Really Are Loud

"I don't understand why you want to wear nightgowns to bed every night. I buy you perfectly nice pajamas, and you never wear them because you always want to wear nightgowns. If you want to wear nightgowns all the time, then I won't buy you pajamas anymore."

Thus I chastised my daughter one morning as we changed her our of her nightgown into shorts and a tank top.

To which she responded, "Do you know why I want to wear nightgowns to bed every night? It's because I want to be like you, Mama."


What parent hasn't had a moment like that? Looking with disdain on something your child is doing, only to realize that they are only trying their best to follow your example.

It brings such unexpected, maybe even unwanted, weight to our decisions as parents. Why should we bear such weighty responsibility? Is it fair that what used to be such easy, inconsequential decisions now are not so easy, and bear consequences? Is this what we signed up for when we participated in procreation?

In one word? Yes.

When you have a child, you suddenly have a tiny disciple. Someone watching you, following you, copying you. Whether you're aware of it or not, whether you intended it or not, whether you want it at all. Suddenly, everything you do... matters.


What's more, we can't even just tell our children the right thing to do. Or better yet, have them watch a video series, go to a seminar, and read a good book about "How to Be a Good Person". They won't be shrugged off so easily. Nope, they're becoming little versions of you.

The day will come when our example will matter less, our words and explanations will be understood a little better- though still not necessarily followed, and they won't intentionally try to be so much like us anymore. But today they are small. Today they are pure and untainted by life and experience and pain. Today they are learning all they know about life and being human from us.

So when you look past all the books and flashcards, when you silence the words and nagging, when you remove the clamor of voices and lessons:

What are you really teaching your children?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Joys of Genes

Apparently, my genes are stronger than my healthy habits. That is the sad discovery I made this week.

I have a family history of high blood pressure. Both my parents have high blood pressure, several of my grandparents. I grew up hearing warnings from my parents of my grandparent's unhealthy lifestyles that had led to their heart disease.

I never had a problem with my own blood pressure until I was pregnant with Violet. During my last two months of pregnancy my numbers would climb higher and higher with each visit. I went from being advised not to exercise anymore to being told to rest and sit down as much as possible to being induced for labor because they didn't want my blood pressure to rise any higher.

However, six weeks after delivering Violet, my numbers had gone back down and I was taken off the medication they had prescribed me after her birth. Having taken my blood pressure reading at several machines in the last sixteen months though, I was fairly certain my blood pressure problems weren't over.

So at my yearly physical on Wednesday, I wasn't surprised when the nurse told me that my blood pressure reading was high. My doctor sent me to the lab to have blood drawn so they could test to see if any underlying medical conditions were causing the high blood pressure. The tests came back negative, meaning I don't have liver disease or thyroid disease or any other condition causing my high readings. I was informed that I will be prescribed a daily low dose of a diuretic to help lower my blood pressure.

Now, I'm not a physical specimen of health, but I take good care of myself. I exercise four to five days a week and try to incorporate cardio, strength training, and stretching. I am not fastidious about what I eat, but overall I am a healthy eater. I rarely eat red meat, incorporate fruits and vegetables every day, lots of whole grains, etc. I get at least seven hours of sleep every night and don't have an overly stressed lifestyle. (Unless you count my two little ones as overstressed...) I've never even been a smoker.

Despite all this, in my late twenties, I am going on daily blood pressure medicine. Oh, the frustration! Despite all my efforts and prevention, my family's medical history has defeated me.

It just goes to show you... well, mostly me- that there are some things you can't control. Some things that simply are, and all we can do is to accept them and move forward. Taking a pill every day is not the worst case scenario in life, it barely counts as a blip in the story of me. So I will continue with my healthy living, and take a little pill every morning to help me along. (Oh yes, and I will blame my ancestors and Violet for laying this medical mantle on my shoulders. Grr...)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

De-Throning a Princess

I hate to admit it. But- at least in this area- my husband is right.

After observing a reoccurring pattern of behavior over the past year from Hope, I finally have to admit that after we visit with either set of grandparents, it seems that Hope has to be... deprogrammed.

Honestly, it's not through any fault of my in-laws or my parents. Yes, they're your typical doting grandparents, but they do abide by the rules of the house while they're with us and support my husband and I in any discipline we have to dole out.

Nonetheless, when my sweet, three-year-old daughter finishes visiting her grandparents, I now know we are in for two to three days of over-the-top whining and world class fits. Simple, although irrational, requests turn into all out mother-daughter warfare. Like today at the park. We were just finishing up a visit with some friends, Hope had been having a blast rolling down a huge hill numerous times. I told her it was almost time to leave, so she made her way over to me.

"I'm thi-hsty," she says.

"Okay, you have water and chocolate milk in the car. When we get there, you can choose which one you want."

"I want juice," she counters.

"Sorry, I don't have any juice here."

This doesn't deter her in the least. She only persists, louder, higher, and with longer words, "IIIIIIIII waaaaaaaaant juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuice."

"Hope. We. Don't. Have. Any. Juice." Mommy responds tersely.

Needless to say, Hope's requests for juice only continued to escalate into full on screams, finally culminating in kicking Mommy in the leg for good measure.

The final battle of the war was waged by Mommy pushing a screaming and crying Hope, very quickly, in her stroller to the car where we proceeded home and Hope was put in bed for her nap with no book by a crabby mommy.

A mommy who spent the afternoon shedding tears in her room because she let her three year old get the better of her temper, and disciplined said daughter out of frustration, not love.

A truce was reached by both parties this afternoon when they each apologized, the smaller faction for her words and behavior and the opposing force for disciplining in anger.

Let no one ever say the dethronement process is easy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Sunburn

My beautiful, fair-skinned baby got her first sunburn today. In her three and a half years of life on this planet, I have managed to protect her delicate skin from the damaging assault of the sun's rays. The smell of summer in the Songing household is sun screen.

Hope went to a friend's house for the day. Today, which happened to be the hottest day Wisconsin has seen so far this year. Today, when Hope decided she would wear a strappy pink sundress. Today, when the girls spent most of the day playing outside in the sprinkler.

I instructed the friend caring for my daughter as soon as I walked in the door and dropped her off that Hope would need sunscreen while playing outside. I mentioned how sensitive her skin is.

And then this evening as I packed for an upcoming family visit I noticed Hope's arms we very... pink. I took a closer look and found bands of reddening skin on her arms, the back of her legs, and the back of her neck. My heart dropped.

I know it's just a sunburn. I know it's practically part and parcel of childhood. I know it is not serious and will be gone in a few days.

But to see that damage to my baby's skin, damage that has been avoided all this time, damage I wasn't personally there to protect her from; angered me, frustrated me.

And whom am I angry at? Not at Hope, who, up until today, did not even understand what a sunburn was. Not at my friend even, who did abide by my instructions to apply sunscreen to Hope. (Although obviously not thoroughly enough...!!!) Not at anyone really.

I'm just frustrated by the situation. I'm frustrated that tomorrow morning my little girl is going to wake up feeling like her arms and legs are hot, tender, and itchy and that I won't be able to take it away for her. And though I've prevented this situation all her life, I wasn't able to prevent it this time. I'm frustrated that she is hurt and I can't help her.

...And yet, I know that this is only the beginning. She is three years old. I have no idea the situations and problems that are going to arise over the coming years. The scraped knees, the sprained ankles, the fights with friends, the broken hearts... the complete unfairness of life.

As the years pass, Hope will face more and more hurts that I am not able to fix. Hurts much worse, and longer-lasting, than a sunburn. And as a mother, I want to wipe away her tears, and hold her close, and take the pain away. And I can't. I would take the sunburn myself if I could... but I can't. All I can do is comfort her and encourage her and try to ease the pain in the little ways that I am able. And I hope as she experiences the pains of life, that I can explain to her that this pain will pass, and life will go forward, and she has the opportunity to be better because of it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cheese Fest

Now you know that I truly do live in Wisconsin. Tonight, I took Violet and Hope to Cheese Fest.

We live in a very beautiful, family-friendly area of the country in northeastern Wisconsin, known as the Fox River Valley. It's a group of cities, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 75,000, grouped around one of the rare rivers that flows in a northerly direction, the 200 mile long Fox River.

Our area has an abundance of community events and family friendly activities, year round. In fact, Appleton (the largest of the Fox Cities) was voted by RelocateAmerica as one of the top 100 places to live in the United States. And when summer comes to the Fox Cities, we overflow with community gatherings. Oddly enough, though they begin with a variety of words, they all end in Fest. And it seems that each city, from the small to the large, has their own fest.

There's Jazz Fest, Paper Fest, Brewfest, Irish Fest, and Sea Food Fest; and of course, my very first "Fest", attended this very day. Cheese Fest.

My husband had plans to go golfing with friends, which he does literally once or twice a year, so I decided to get the girls out of the house for the night and invited a dear family friend to discover what the community had to offer by heading to the local Cheese Fest.

I was pleasantly surprised. For a village (not "city", don't want to upset the natives) of 11,000, Little Chute threw a pretty decent party, or Fest to be more precise. There was a large variety of children and adult rides, carnival games, vendors, food booths, and a stage for performers- which was still being set up during our time there. The most convenient description would be that it was a county fair on a smaller scale.

We rode a plethora of rides, ate hot dogs and bratwurst (a Wisconsin staple), and enjoyed the playground on the park property the festival was being held on. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and experienced a little bit of Wisconsin culture for under $20.

So what are you waiting for? Step out and see what's going on in your community! That yearly event that you always hear about, but never attend. Go this year. You never know what might be in store!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Movie

A child's first movie used to be a rite of passage. My older brother's first movie was Star Wars and my husband remembers going to the theater for the first time and seeing E.T. "Used to be", not so anymore.

Go to an animated feature at a theater now and you'll see children as young as a few months- even weeks- old at the theater along with their families. Not that it's a problem, sometimes if the family is going to see a movie, taking baby along is the only way to make it happen. But my point is that more often than not, children as young as one and two years old are almost as accustomed to making the trip to the movie theater as the trip to the grocery store.

Well, call me old-fashioned or over the top, but I was hoping my daughters' first "real" movie would be a special event they would remember for years to come. So we've been watching and waiting for the right time for Hope to go to the theater.

An obvious prerequisite was that she have the attention span to sit through an entire full-length movie at home. That requirement was only recently fulfilled. The next step was to wait for a movie to come out that my particular three year old would actually watch. For her, this means animation only. To her, real people= boring. To top it all off, Mommy (that would be me) is pretty particular about what movies Hope is allowed to watch at all. Even if it's a movie supposedly made for kids, I don't think a bunch of added-in adult humor, even though it goes over kids' head, is necessary. And although it's nearly impossible, we try to avoid toilet humor in movies. That comes naturally enough to kids already, I don't feel the need to encourage it further by providing my daughter with new material.

Hope's and my criteria was finally met with Disney's newest release UP!

We made a big deal with Hope about going to the movie theater. We talked to her in advance about how she would have to whisper during the movie because there would be a lot of other people there watching. We talked up the popcorn and asked her what kind of snack she would want.

All the preparation must have paid off because Hope's first movie was a success. A few moments were intense for her and she covered her eyes. The movie was during and past her bedtime as well, so she did get tired and was reclined in my lap by the time the movie was over. And due to her sensitivity to loud noises, Hope spent approximately half the movie with her hands over her ears. But overall, Faith thoroughly enjoyed the theater experience and our choice for her first movie.

On a side note, if you're going to take your newborn to a movie with you, a few tips. One, make sure they're well fed and either rested or ready to sleep during the movie. Two, be prepared to feed them- breast or bottle- or have a pacifier handy, should they start to make their presence known in the middle of the movie. Third, sit near an aisle so that, should the previous two efforts fail, you can make a quick exit to avoid disturbing other theater patrons. Fourth, and finally, as a last resort, if your tiny movie watcher should become inconsolable, be mentally prepared in advance that you may have to leave the theater altogether and possibly miss seeing the whole film and waste the money you spent on a ticket.

(That being said, I suppose it's quite obvious that we had a family with a small baby sitting directly behind us during the movie that was not entirely respectful of those around her. She definitely stayed within the parameters of proper theater decorum though. Also, I say the above as that this is what I would mentally prepare myself for if I chose to take an infant to a movie theater. In reality, I've chosen to avoid all of the above and just not do it.)

All a child's firsts are new and exciting hurdles their parents leap with them. And Hope's first movie was a very fun one to leap. It makes me excited for Violet's first trip to the theater...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baby's First Hair Cut

Violet went for her first hair cut a few days ago at almost fourteen months. The only interesting news to report is how spectacularly uneventful it was.

If you know anything about Violet, you know that she is energetic, loud, active, and friendly. If any further description is needed, my husband and I often refer to her as Hurricane Violet. ...Enough said.

Even with Violet's amazing overdose of personality, it seems that she has the same gift as my eldest daughter in that she magically loses said personality when placed in a stylist's chair. Odd, but true. We sat Violet in the adorable chair which looked like a pink airplane in a kids' salon , and she went almost limp, stopped smiling, and just stared.

I expected tears, or a burst of hyperactivity, or grabbing of the scissors, or even a full-on tantrum. I didn't expect... nothing.

I wish I had more advice to offer, but as this is how both of my daughters responded to their first haircuts, I can only go on theory.

In theory, I would prepare your child for their first haircut by "practicing" at home. You may not think they understand yet, but no matter what their age, sit them in a safe chair and, holding a pair of real or pretend scissors, pretend you're cutting your child's hair. Before, during, and after the pretending, explain to them that they are going to be getting their haircut and this is what the stylist will do.

Another great survival tactic for a first haircut would be arriving at the salon a few minute early. Give your child a chance to look around, take in the new sights, smells, and faces. Talk with the stylist for a few minutes before they begin cutting your child's hair so your son or daughter can see that this is someone you are comfortable with and trust.

If the stylist will let you- and most will- hold baby in your lap while they're getting their hair cut. This will make them more comfortable, and you can help hold them still as well.

A little forethought and preparation will go a long way in making your child's haircut a smooth experience. Hopefully it's as uneventful as Violet's!

Jon & Kate Plus... Controversy?

Anyone who knows me knows I've been a huge supporter of the TLC reality television show Jon & Kate Plus 8 for the past few years. Like many other reality shows about big families, it's the premise that makes it intriguing: How does a young, normal American couple go about raising one set of twins and a set of sextuplets? But it's the specific people on this show, Jon and Kate to be exact, that have made it such a big hit.

As soon as I started watching the show, I immediately liked the young married couple on my screen. They were funny, quirky, and friendly. They were honest and candid about the difficulties of raising eight young children and were open with the fact that they, like all of us watching, are not perfect. But perhaps what was most endearing about the Gosselins, was their normalcy. They seemed like someone who could live next door to me, go to my church, or meet at a kids' play group. I always had the feeling watching the show that if I ever met Kate and could just talk to her one-on-one, we would be friends.

That being said, I've been as disturbed and saddened as anyone else with all the publicity surrounding the show the past few months. There's no need to recap it all here, suffice to say rumors of unfaithfulness have abounded- and been denied- on both sides of the marriage. The latest debate surrounding the show is whether TLC has violated child labor laws in the state of Pennsylvania. All of the gossip is mostly just what it seems- gossip. But there is undeniably some truth in Jon and Kate having marriage problems. This was confirmed from their own mouths on their season premiere Monday, May 25.

Jon & Kate Plus 8's season five premiere was one of the saddest shows I have ever watched. Towards the end of the episode, the producer interviewed the Gosslines sitting on the couch together, as they often did as of two seasons ago, and asked them questions about how their marriage was going and what was going to happen in the future. They were both very vague, Kate in an angry way and Jon much more apathetically. They even went so far as to bring up the actual topic of a possible impending divorce and the ramifications of such a move. But it was heartbreaking to see two people who were so obviously once in love and unified in raising their family sitting next to one another and talking about their marriage as if they hardly knew each other. It was like... well, something you would see on TV, or in a movie; except this isn't just TV, these are real people, real lives... a real family.

After watching the premiere, I couldn't stop thinking about the show, and the family behind it. Sadly, it took almost a whole day before it occurred to me to pray for the very real people behind all the tabloid headlines and gossip columns. And my heart ached for Gosselin family as I did.

I don't think there's any use in pointing fingers and casting blame. Everyone who has watched the show could make a list of where Jon and Kate has each gone wrong, and they could each make their own lists that would be even longer.

I do know that it's been apparent that the couple who just last season renewed their vows, publicly proclaiming to the millions who watch their show- and more importantly, their children- that they would always be together, has been growing apart the past year or more. By Jon and Kate's own admission, the increased popularity of their show, the release of two books (so far), the frequent filming, speaking engagements, and interviews has caused their lives to speed up to a frantic pace. It's been sad to watch the slow, but steady, decline.

As much as I love the show, and the Gosselin family, I can't promise that I will continue to watch if the couple continues on their current path. I will continue to love Jon, Kate, Cara, Mady, Alexis, Collin, Hannah, Joel, Aiden, and Leah and will support them with my prayers. And I will not spread vicious gossip and rumors about them that only assist in tearing down a family that is just as real and fragile as my own. But I will not watch a show about a marriage falling apart as my own personal entertainment.

I don't feel I have a place to advise the Gosselins. After all, I don't have a television show, a published book, or even sextuplets or twins. I can't say what I would do if I were in their position, because I'm not. It's easy to say from the outside in what the answer is, much more difficult when you're in the middle of the storm. I can only say, from my limited and humble perspective, that I hope with all my heart that Jon and Kate would end the show before they would even consider ending their marriage. I do know that no television show, no book, no speaking engagement, and no amount of money is worth the price of a marriage.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My husband and I take turns putting each of our girls to bed each night. It gives us a few minutes totally one-on-one with each daughter every other day, and neither of us has to bear the burden and time it takes to put both girls to bed. ...It works for us.

Frustratingly, but not surprisingly, both girls want mommy to put them to bed every night. You would think after being with mom all day, they would have had enough and would be clamoring for a little space. But no, Violet weeps when Daddy walks away with her saying, "It's bedtime! Say goodnight." And Hope pouts and sulks as Daddy takes her downstairs saying, "I want Mommy to put me to bed!"

This is slightly hurtful for Daddy, and maddening for Mommy.

As we finished a final snack this evening, I announced to Hope that it was Daddy's night to put her to bed. Preparing her in advance usually helps the process. However tonight, she said, not unusual, "I don't want Daddy to put me to bed!"

I took a moment to explain to her that Daddy enjoys spending time with her at night; reading with her, and praying before bed. And I told her that it's hurtful to him when she tells him she doesn't want him for bed time. I added that there are many children whose fathers don't want to spend time with them or aren't able to tuck them in, and she should be thankful for what she has.

To which she announced, as only a three year old can, "Then I just don't want anyone to take me to bed!"

So I (maturely) retorted, "Fine. Then why don't you just go to bed by yourself tonight. You can put yourself to sleep."

She of course didn't like this response, but I think I was sulking even more than her.

My kids, and many of the current generation, are extremely blessed and don't even realize it. They have more material goods than they know what to do with; are warm, well-fed, and protected; and many have a multitude of people in their lives who love and care for them. Yet the blithely walk through life feeling, not only entitled to it all, but demanding even more.

I'm glad that my children have a beautiful home, have never gone hungry, have too many- it seems- toys to play with, and a family who is absolutely crazy about them. I'm thankful they've never known what it means to be in need. But at the same time, I would prefer they show a little gratitude for it all.

Let me be clear, Hope is a sweet, loving, and thoughtful child. For a three year old, she does very well at saying "thank you", oftentimes even unprompted. And both her dad and I are extremely thankful for our blessings, and do out best to show that gratitude.

But still, we're talking about tonight's conversation.

Is it necessary for one to go without to realize what they have been given? Are the only truly thankful people those who know what it's like to have nothing? Do we only appreciate that which we've worked for?

And, if the answer to any of the above questions is "yes", how do you go about instilling those lessons in small children?

I don't have all the answers. If I did, I suppose I would be writing a book and not just a blog. I do know there are other ways to teach children gratitude, such a volunteering to serve others and being an example of gratitude to your children.

In the end, my children are still... in process. I don't have any definite results to show for whatever theories I may have. I am simply doing the best I can, day by day, hour by hour. Sometimes, like tonight, I come to a point where I am not sure what to do. And then, apparently, I ask myself (and you) rhetorical questions for which there are no definitive answers.

By the way, Hope and I ended up talking things out, about being grateful and all. I think she's getting it...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Many Shades of Mommy Friendships

It is valuable and necessary to maintain your friendships after you become a mama. And no one friend category is more valuable than another, all are necessary.

Friends who have children around the same age as yours are a great source for talking about the ages and stages your kiddos are going through. There is something so valuable and comforting about bemoaning the frustration of potty-training along with someone who is also bruised from banging their head against the wall.

Then there are friends who have children just a few years older than yours. These friends are a valuable source of wisdom and insight as you grope aimlessly ahead for how to handle your children. They also are wonderful for giving some perspective when your current child-rearing issues have you in a dark, motherhood fog.

Another valuable source of friendship is those friends who don't have children. With them, you can stop being "mommy" for a little while, and just be... you. Refreshing. They are also a reminder of life before kids, which is important to remember. You are still that person and you need to stay in touch with her.

Make sure you take time to make and maintain each of these friendships. Play dates are a great way to spend time with mom friends whose children are close to your child's age. Other times, you can leave the kids home with hubby or, if you must, head out while the kids are in bed to spend time with friends. Or meet and spend time with other moms by joining a moms' group of some sort. Look up what is available in your area online or ask around.

One possible benefit of having close friends who are moms is trading babysitting. A friend and I do this weekly, and it's been a wonderful experience.

Today I took my girls over to her house for the day. They arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and I picked them up at 3:00. I was able to spend the day catching up on a myriad of volunteer work I do, most of it on the computer. You forget how fast you can work when you get used to having little ones running around your feet during every daily task.

Next week, she will bring her daughter, who is one year older than Hope, to my house for a day for about the same amount of time. It's not much more work for me to have one extra kiddo in the house and my friend gets a day to spend running errands or with her husband or even catching up on chores around the house- without a preschooler underfoot.

Ah, friendship. It can't be recommended highly enough...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Facebook Pet Peeves


I'm going to let you in on a secret. I've only told one other person this. You can't tell!

It's my pet peeves on Facebook.

You see, I can't post them on Facebook, because then my Facebook friends would know that sometimes they get on my nerves. I can't post a link for the same reason. I can't post any of them as my status because that would create the very real possibility that I would lose all my Facebook friends.

It's a difficult pickle to be in the middle of.

I will share them with you, but you can't tell. This has to remain just between us, our little secret. And if, by chance, you have committed, or do commit, one of the following pet peeves of mine while on Facebook; don't worry your pretty little head. Pet peeve literally means "a frequent subject of complaint", and for me is more of a redundant annoyance. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I annoy you too.

So, without further ado, here are my Facebook pet peeves.

1. Using Your Status to Respond to Another User
A status update is basically supposed to answer the question "What are you doing right now?" or "What's on your mind?" If you want to address someone specifically, write on that person's "wall". Go to their page, leave a message. This is how you communicate a personal note to someone on Facebook. If you want to leave a truly personal message that no one can see, use the tab that says "Inbox". But please don't update us with, "I know! I was just thinking that when we were at the mall Friday. You are so right."

2. Posting Someone Else's Picture As Yours
Your profile picture is to show your friends what you look like, give them a little reminder of who you are with each message you leave. I know your kids and your dog are "sooooooo cute", but really, I want to see your face when you are addressing me. I know maybe you don't have a current picture or are not happy with the way you look right now or are on a diet, but you know what? Join the club! ...And while you're at it, put a picture of yourself for your profile pic.

3. Incorrect Spelling and Punctuation
We are officially living in the era of text messages, Twitter, and non-stop connection to technology. I understand many people use Facebook through their Blackberry, iPhone, or other similar device. But Facebook is not a text message, it's a social networking site. And if you want people to be able to read your statuses, posts, and messages as you intended them to be understood; pick up a third grade language book and relearn the use of commas, periods, and capital letters. A few basic spelling lessons wouldn't hurt either.

4. Inviting All Your Friends to Participate in Every Application You Use and Sending Meaningless Cyber "Gifts"
When I first joined Facebook, I read over a friend's personal information and was surprised at her final message of- "Please do not invite me to join the mafia, become a zombie, or take a quiz about your favorite TV show. I am on Facebook to connect with you personally, and do not have time to dig through endless invitations to waste my time in a variety of ways." I marveled at her rudenessa and didn't fully understand what these invitations are she was referring to.

Now I do.

So Facebook Pet Peeve #4 is when Facebook Friends invite me to use every useless application that they choose to waste time on. I don't need to take three minutes and go to six different screens to accept a little stuffed dog that doesn't actually exist. Friends who excessively use these applications crowd up their contacts' home pages and litter their request boxes.

5. Spouses Writing Sentimental Messages to Each Other
Gag! Listen, I'm a big fan of marriage and love my husband fiercely. And I'm all for occasionally proclaiming for the world to hear, "I love my spouse! I'm so thankful for them. He/she is amazing." But constant status updates of "I'm waiting for my Pooky to come home, I'm so lonely without him. I'm can't wait to smother him with kisses!" And "I'm the luckiest dude on the planet- my wife is so hot! She looks great in anything- and nothing..."

Yuck. Keep it private. Please.

6. Becoming a Fan of Everything
Being a fan of something or someone on Facebook used to be cool. You could show your style and personality by proclaiming your love for a certain band, author, or television show. But it seems things have gotten out of control. I have seen friends become fans of "hugs", "sleeping", and "God".

I'm all for God, but do I really need to become His fan on Facebook? What's next, being a fan of breathing?

7. Extreme Facebook Narcissism
It's true that social networking and blogging (hmm... am I going to insult myself now?) have fed an ever increasing obsession with ourselves in the last few years. And for those who truly believe their lives are fascinating enough for everyone else to care about on a constant basis, Facebook can be an all too easy platform for self-promotion on a stage built ever higher and higher by themselves.

Facebook is an quick and easy outlet for the self-obsessed. There are status updates for them to proclaim their own brand of deep thoughts, endless quizzes for them to take and publish to show the world more and more of how fascinating they are, and even notes to be published and forwarded to display their vast knowledge and experience. The most recent culprit I've seen is a list of the BBC's Top 100 Books in which Facebook users could mark those they've read, loved, and want to read. It includes books ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter to
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I'm sorry, but what is this except a list to proclaim to everyone else how intelligent and wide-read you are?

If you were really smart, you would know that your life is not that fascinating. And your Facebook "friends" are more interested in proclaiming their own perceived notoriety than in reading about yours.

There you have it! I've given you seven, but we all know the list could go on and on. You're welcome to comment with your own Facebook pet peeves. Let's enjoy our annoyances together!

Well, now that no one is left to read because I've offended them, I guess I will bid myself adieu!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

I decided tonight that you should never base what movies you see solely on other people's opinions of them.

I watched a movie tonight that several friends of mine had seen and raved about. I ended up being a little disappointed with it... The cast was stellar and their performances were applauded. The story line was creative and engaging. It wasn't any of those things.

You see, I have this idea that what you put in comes back out. It's not so novel, really. I mean, if you pour milk in a glass and then spill the glass, milk will come out. If you pour vinegar in a glass and spill it, vinegar will spill out, not milk.

That may all seem very elementary, but to me the same principle applies with our hearts. The things that you pour in are the things you read, watch, listen to, talk about. The things that come out are your words and actions and attitudes. You get out what you put in...

When we were first married, there was a sitcom my husband and I enjoyed watching reruns of. It was a popular show, still is, about a family with several children. However, in this particular show, the husband and wife were often very demeaning to each other. After months of watching it on a regular basis, my husband and I noticed that we were making cutting remarks toward one another. Now, humor has always been a common bond between us, but never at the other person's expense. This was different.

After a little thought, we asked, "Do you think that show is influencing the way we talk to each other?" It seemed silly, but we decided to stop viewing the program for awhile and see if it made any difference. Oddly enough, the demeaning humor seemed to fade away.

Now this isn't to say that we never watched the show again, or threw our TV out, or any other extreme response. We still occasionally watch the aforementioned sitcom. But the principle is still important, and it's what remains pertinent in our lives.

The whole concept may seem silly or naive to you. That's okay. It works for us. And for me, I would rather be naive than fill myself with debris to be poured out later on those around me.

Do you not like the things that are coming out of you? Your words? Actions? Habits? Attitudes? Take a close look at what's going in...

"You will harvest what you plant." Galatians 6:7

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kindred Spirits

"I've always dreamed of having a 'bosom' friend...a true kindred spirit." Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

I am lucky enough to have found my "kindred spirit", as Anne would say. We met in college, and although we got on swimmingly enough there, we have only grown closer as the years have passed. Friendship is something that can't be planned, conspired, or forced. But when it grows on its own, it is a miraculous and beautiful force.

Unfortunately, my best friend and I live about thirty hours apart, if you were to drive the span. Even if you fly; it takes about three hours, usually two separate flights, and most often over $250. At best, we see each other twice a year; more often it's once. This can pose some challenges! But when you are truly committed to a friendship, it is possible to keep the relationship alive; despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Here are a few ways my kindred spirit and I make the distance seem smaller:

1. Weekly Phone Chats
This has to be very intentional, at least for us. We talked about the possibility of calling each other once a week and settled on a day that is easiest for us to squeeze in a chat. Our weekly talk usually takes place on Saturday. First thing in the morning or right before bed at night seem to be the most common phone tryst times. We have been having these weekly chats for so long now, they are a part of our regular weekly schedules.

2. Keep a Memory Book
In junior high, a friend and i passed a notebook back and forth almost daily with short notes we had written to each other the evening before. These notes usually consisted of complaining about teachers and classes, gossiping about friends, and analyzing guys. Immature, I know.
But the same concept works with my best friend and I across time and miles. We share a book of our favorite memories together and take turns keeping the book and filling it in between visits. We've also each added favorite quotes, photos of shared memories over the years, and even cards we've written to each other.

3. Face-to-Face
Phone calls, e-mails, social networking, and memory books only suffice for so long. Nothing can replace face-to-face contact. Make sure you squeeze in quality time with your dearest friends regularly, even if regularly means once a year. This may be difficult, but certainly not impossible. My mom and her longtime best friend have been meeting together at least once a year since their initial separation after high school. It's been over thirty-five years and they're still going strong.

If you haven't found your kindred spirit, you have my sympathy. But don't give up hope- you never know where one will pop up! Keep cultivating the friendships that you have, and forming new ones- and you're bound to find that one who seems knitted to your very soul.

Marilla Cuthbert: [to Anne] "I think you may be a kindred spirit after all."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Visiting Schools

I remember the episode of Full House when "Jesse" and "Rebecca" applied for a prestigious preschool for their twin sons, who were only about two at the time. There were long applications to be filled out and an interview process and whole thing was just... over the top, to say the least. I remember watching it the first time, not even being a parent yet, and rolling my eyes. How ridiculous, I thought.

My time has come.

Living in the suburbs in Wisconsin, there are not many- if any that I know of- prestigious preschools to be found. Still, there are choices to be made about my daughters' school career. And even though Hope is only three, and won't attend an official preschool until the fall of 2010, the time has already come to start weighing our options. So although shopping for a preschool and multipage applications for toddlers still seem ridiculous to me, it seems it's one of the many necessary evils of parenting I have discovered along this journey of motherhood.


We visited our local public school, which offers free, public pre-K for four year olds (two and a half hours, five days a week), a private Christian school, and a charter Montessori school in a neighboring city.

No school is yet a clear winner. Each one has it's positive aspects, and one or two negatives. The Montessori school was completely different and unconventional, but I immensely enjoyed the teacher we talked with; so I need to discover more about the Montessori system overall. The public school has excellent facilities and opportunities, but my concern is that Hope will receive enough individual attention and be challeneged enough with the larger class sizes and "one-size-fits-all" approach to curriculum in public schools. And I have a great appreciation for Christian schools, and believe they can be right for some families, but aren't sure that it's right for ours.

And even in the midst of all this decision making, I sit back and look at the big picture and think, picking a preschool should not be this hard! It's almost silly. Not many of our parents worried about where to send their children to school. There were only one, maybe two, options and everyone just kind of marched to the same drum. I can't even imagine having this conversation of picking a preschool for my daughter with my grandparents! Oh how they would scoff at the idea of something so "trivial" being made so complicated.

In the end, we will pick the school and system that seems best for us and our family. And we won't scorn another family for making a different decision. Different schools, different systems and styles work for different families and children, and that's okay. Rick Warren said, "Tolerance means I treat you with respect even when we totally disagree on a particular issue. You're a child of God. You're worthy of dignity. We may disagree, but we're going to tolerate each other, and even more than that, we can be friends."

And I will be encouraged by what I've read from other mommy bloggers. This is not a life or death decision! If we pick a school and don't like it, we always have the option of trying something else.

Thank God. Because I don't want to get too obsessed, like Jesse and Rebecca...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moms Don't Have Time to Get Sick

I got a cold from my daughter on Sunday night. I thought, "No big deal, she just had a runny nose and cough. It only lasted two or three days. I'll just suck it up and pull through."


So far I've had a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, an extremely sore throat, sinus congestion, and drainage from my nose and throat causing, finally, a cough. How did Hope make it look so easy?

On Monday I tried to rest and take it easy. We turned on cartoons for the whole morning and just sat around. I took a generic Claritin which, sadly, did absolutely nothing. However, I still had my chin up, I was sure Tuesday would be better!

I woke up Tuesday morning with a killer headache from stuffed sinuses and a piercingly sore throat, cancelled an appointment I had that morning but still pulled myself and kiddos out of the house for a meeting I had organized with some other mommies. At this point I'm now on Benadryl, so as I hung out with my friends and tried to keep my kids in check, I felt like my head was stuffed with cotton and I could fall down into a deep sleep at any moment.

By Tuesday afternoon, I grew tired of attempting to rest and recover. I realized- as I always do after more than one day of being sick- mommies don't have time to be sick!

And on another note- sorry to you working moms, this is just an aside, you honestly do have my utmost respect- this is espcially true for stay-at-home moms. Here's the deal, if you are a full-time working mom and have child care set up for your children, you just send your kids off to their normal care and go home and rest. Easy peasy! This doesn't work if you're a stay-at-home mom, you get sick and... you're still at work. It never leaves or gives you a break. The same tasks and routines that were there yesterday are still there today. Everyone still needs your help, and the ones who are shorter than waist high don't seem to care that much about your sore throat and runny nose.

So just like Clair Huxstable (on the episode when both her and Cliff got the flu at the same time), I have decided that I'm done being sick. Tonight my husband took the girls to church and left me at home all alone. I have two blissful hours of peace and quiet. And then? I'm done being sick. Sorry, body, but you have to suck it up now. Get back to work! Virus, we can meet again in say... seventeen years?

(For evidence that I truly do feel for sick moms and believe that we should use common sense and take care of ourselves, see How to Take Care of Your Kids When You Are Sick.

Monday, April 20, 2009


My parents just left this morning after a four day visit. I'm always a little sad when they pull out for the five hour drive back to Minnesota. I enjoy my time with them so much, it makes me miss them more when they are leaving than I do when we're apart.

Granted, my mom is one of my best friends. We talk on the phone almost every day, even if it's just for ten minutes, to check in on each other and keep up to date on the other's life.

I love seeing my parents playing with my girls. They have an obvious affection for each other, even though they're only together ever two or three months. I makes me excited for the day- far, far away- when I'll have grandchildren of my own.

Both of my children's "sets" of grandparents live out of state. Our home is in Wisconsin, my parents live in Minnesota, and my husband's parents abide in Ohio. It makes staying in touch more difficult, and doesn't allow for the wonderful grandparent benefit of free child care; but we make it work and manage to stay close emotionally despite the miles.

Here are a few ideas that work well for our family:

Regular phone calls. As stated, I call my mom regularly. I also make sure I get to talk to my dad every week or so. I also call my husband's parents about once a week. Since our parents aren't around to see our children's everyday lives, I make it a point to catch them up on new skills the girls are developing or funny things they said. They really enjoy hearing updates.

In addition, as soon as Hope could hold the phone without eating it, I began holding the phone to her ear to hear her grandparents' voices. Of course, she didn't talk back to them till much later, but I still feel it's beneficial for her to grow familiar with their voices at a young age, and they feel like they're connecting to her. Now that Hope is three, she can carry on two or three minutes conversations over the phone with her grandparents all by herself. And Violet is just starting the listening phase of phone conversations.

E-mails and Social Networking. Personally, I am much better at keeping in touch through writing than with phone calls. Subsequently, I attempt to e-mail our parents or contact them on Facebook once or twice a week. Facebook is also a great place to update them with photos or short video clips of the girls.

I even let Hope e-mail her grandparents occasionally. She pretends to type as she says out loud what she's "typing". And as she finishes each sentence, I re-type under her line what she said out loud. Her grandparents enjoy reading her messages, repetitive and pointless though they are, and she loves it when they write her back.

Web cams. Two or three Christmases ago, we bought both sets of grandparents and ourselves basic webcams. We hooked these up to our computers and now have the option to chat over the computer. This is fun for the girls because they can see their grandparents' faces as well as hear their voices. You can communicate with built in programs on your computer, use Yahoo, or even try the newer and extremely popular Skye.

Good, old-fashioned face-to-face visits. The drive from our house to my parent's is about five hours, to my husband's parents- nine. Not convenient, to be sure, but not an impossible distance to cross. It's obviously much easier for two adults to pack up and take a short road trip than it is for a family of four with small children, and so our parents commendably make a great effort to head to Wisconsin at least four times a year. We make the trek to their houses about twice a year each. Altogether that's a minimum of six face-to-face visits each year!

We even have, twice, gone on a group vacation- our family and all four grandparents. It's been a wonderful experience! Granted, this won't work for some families, but it may be an option for yours.

Sadly, grandparents are gone now, my husband's at work, and all the kiddie responsibilities fall to mommy. And on that note- I have to go! Violet is- loudly- calling!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Joy of Purging

Yesterday I performed what, sadly, has become a ritual for me since having children: the organizing and purging of toys.

How is it that you have a baby, and within a few months their toys seem to multiply faster than rabbits? And not just in their sweet little nursery, this accumulation cascades into every room in your home! I find toys under the bed in my room, we keep toy boxes in the living room- since that is where the girls usually play, and downstairs in the family room there is yet another shelf containing baskets with- gag- more toys!

I should also mention that I already go to the trouble of not keeping all my children's toys out at once. You may have read that kids are more apt to play with their toys when there is less available to them. Mandi of Family Bliss says, "Given too many choices, kids actually play less with their toys. " Rotating toys keeps them interesting to your children, increases their creativity, and keeps your home neater.

Every three to four months, it seems I grow weary of stepping on plastic pieces as I make way through what is secretly intended by my children to be a mommy obstacle course. I gather a garbage bag, a storage tub with toys that have already been put away on the last round of organizing, and a box in which to put toys we can donate.

All toys from a fast food kids' meal go in the trash. Toys that the kids still enjoy, but seem to have grown tired of go in storage for a few months, till the next round. And toys they've outgrown, or never liked to begin with, go to Once Upon a Child or the Goodwill. (And since I'm addressing this issue, let me give a shout out to Once Upon a Child. If you have one near you, it's a great place to take your children's clothes, toys, and equipment that are still in good shape. They'll go through what you bring them, take what they feel they can sell, and give you a portion of what they'll make from it. Granted, it's not what you could make selling it yourself, but you do save yourself the hassle and time of selling it yourself.)

The whole process took me a little over an hour. We ended up with a box of toys to get rid of, half a garbage bag full of junk to toss, and fresh toys out which the girls haven't seen since Christmas. They feel like Mom went on a shopping spree for them, and all I did was some creative switcheroo!

I've heard of many families who do something like this by organizing their toys into several groups- making sure to include a variety of types of toys in each group, putting these groups into storage bins, and switching bins every one to two weeks. This is a great option, but for me, too much work.

And let me tell you- there is a sense of satisfaction and joy that comes from a good purging of accumulated "stuff". Henri Frederic Amiel said, "Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty."

Let freedom ring!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My First Blog


Here I am, blogging for the first time. I've been writing in some form or fashion since second grade, and most recently have been trying my hand at publishing "hubs" at HubPages. As I have gotten back in the practice of writing regularly, this creative release- for me-has stirred the need to write more. But since I don't always have time to put the amount of effort I feel is needed into a full-fledged Hub, or article, I need a more casual, laid-back outlet for my writing. I hope this blog will meet my writing outlet needs while simultaneously being a helping hand or a kind smile to another mom out there reading my work.

And why don't I have time to put more time into my writing more regularly? To put it in only two words: Hope and Violet.

Hope and Violet would be my daughters, ages three and one. They are currently in bed, as is my husband, who works quite early in the morning at a second part-time job. And this peaceful time of the day, which not incidentally is my favoritel time of the day in this house, is about the only peace this house sees all day. It's the only time of the day that I get to sit still without constant pulling, interruptions, referreeing, or waiting on someone.

Let me begin my first blog by saying that I love being a mom. It is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done, yet it's also the most amazing. There are moments, I'll admit it, every day, that I wonder what I've done with my life and miss being a "productive member of society". As many times as I groan during the day, bemoaning the current state of my life, I try to intentionally acknowledge that I wouldn't trade these girls for anything I had before them. When I get tired and frustrated, I do my best to remind myself that in just a few years, I'll be missing these moments when they were so small.

I'm not going to make light of motherhood by saying, "It comes so naturally!" Most of it doens't. I find it to be a constant learning process, and I am learning and doing my best, one day at a time.

I am a fan of all moms. I think women who have chosen to pour their life into the nurturing of another human being are amazing, no matter in what details they go about said nurturing. I believe all mothers deserve respect and honor and support. My desire is that we would draw together and support one another in this journey of motherhood.

So join me on the journey! We're all muddling through this together, we might as well join hands. As we battle through each day, caught in the mire of the monotony of daily life and making the most minute decisions that could each potentially have an eternal impact- we need support. Let's mother together!