Motherhood Monday

My sixteen year old baby

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I had a bit of an emotional week. My baby sister got her license. Her and I are nine years apart, and the amazingly cute little girl on the far left of the photo is her. She was my baby.

Being the oldest you naturally think you’re the second mom (or as I’m learning with my oldest child, the second dad). My other sisters would describe me as simply bossy…and I was. But I love those girls more than they can know.

I was doing pretty good with her borrowing our SUV and going out, until I was standing there holding my REAL baby girl, watching my childhood baby girl drive away. The feeling of Amayah in my arms flashed me back to holding Emma at the same age.

That’s when I got choked up and thought “okay, life can slow down.”

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We’ve both grown up a lot from that first photo, a somewhat obsessed eleven year old gymnast and a toddler.

This was just a good opportunity for me to think about how much I love my sister, and also how much I want to treasure my kid’s childhood. It’s going really, really fast. And it scares me a bit.

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This was Emma with Caleb as a newborn. She hadn’t met him yet, so we drove to surprise her on her birthday and introduce the two of them. We had no idea then what good friends they would be now.

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Wow, she definitely grew up between my two babies being born.

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See what I mean about them growing too fast? We’ve almost had our little lovely for six months, which feels like two months! And don’t get me started on Caleb. Weren’t they JUST born?

Okay I think I’ve had my fill of crying for a while!

Reminiscing is so important because it reminds us of the beautiful people God has blessed us with and how we cannot take them for granted.

The three babies in my life are growing too fast (yeah, the one is now sixteen), but I’m aging at the same rate (yikes).

So with this perspective, I’m going to go have an awesome weekend with my family, loving and holding them.

Enjoy the ones you hold dear and celebrate their lives this weekend!

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Motherhood Monday

Hush Little Baby

After a long screaming fit from our little girl the other day, my husband and I decided to utter a word we’ve been afraid of speaking out. Colic.

There are varying degrees of it, and I know that Amayah would be on the lower end of the scale. Some of our friends have had a child or children that screamed constantly for months.

I’m hesitant to fully give up on searching for what might be upsetting her and simply label it as colic. Deep down I’m afraid something is really hurting her that we haven’t figured out.

We have found different positions that seem to make her less upset, so we can trade-off when my husband is home. But when it’s just me by myself, that’s when my son gets really frustrated and acts out a lot.

At times he is rough and he’s tried to pull her out of my arms as he cries, begging me to put her down. Other times he tries to be helpful and lies beside her rubbing her back saying “please stop crying Amayah”, or “I know, I know, baby, just settle down”.

I have felt like a really bad mom, not being what I want to be to Caleb, and not being able to problem solve what’s happening with baby girl.

The noise is absolutely maddening. When the two of them get going (him crying because she is, combined with the other norms of two year old tantrums), I have felt like I won’t live through the present. When I hear things like “you are doing the best job in the world”, I know in theory it’s  true, but pacing the floor day after day with screaming kids feels far from meaningful.

It seems that a majority of families will have at least one (sometimes more) babies that suffer from varying degrees of colic. Most often these babies settle when away from the house, and no one will even know they struggle.

So how do you get through? We are trying to educate ourselves since we have read some startling statistics about post partum depression and divorce that can come to a family trying to deal with infant colic. We will not become a sad statistic.

God gave me a little phrase the other day while I was driving with the two screaming babes that I have been repeating somewhat obsessively to myself. The crying is temporal, but the relationships are eternal. 

The crying is temporal, but the relationships are eternal.

One day this cloud will give way to the light of relationship with these kids. We purposefully dream of holidays, movie nights and family adventures. We talk of soccer games, dance classes, and kids clubs. We plan our fifth, our tenth, our twentieth anniversary. Looking to the future reminds us that we are family, not just ineffective baby consolers.

There are of course good moments, and moments of peace, but they do seem few and far between. Some verses I’ve been holding on to lately:

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

There is much more I could share from this time, but for now I’ll take your survival tips for colic!

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Motherhood Monday

Angry Mama

Over the last few months, I have surprised myself with how angry I have become in certain moments. I would not have described myself as an angry person, but parenting a child whose personality is beginning to blossom has started bringing out some of the worst in me. I can peg it on hormones, life change, exhaustion, and many other things, but the truth is it comes down to sinful handling of my anger.

Today for example, I just about had a full-blown explosion. Our house sale fell through yesterday, and so we started the cycle of showings again this morning. I was trying to get my son and I backed up and out the door by 9 a.m. so our realtor could have an open house. Every thing I cleaned he would pull out, grim his greasy fingers on it and throw it on the floor. He refused to eat his breakfast, and instead crumbled it all up in his hands and through it exponentially farther than ever before, coating my beautiful clean floors in toast dust.

As we’re about to leave I’m trying to find his sandals, and I’m completely over heated from running around our house which is sitting at about 28 degrees. I’m on the brink of tears from frustration, and I look in the fridge to get the sandwich that was in there for me to take with us. I couldn’t find it. My husband took it to work (which I do not blame him for, since I had it sitting where I would usually have his), and I was still trying to find this ridiculous sandal so I could let Caleb get his energy out at the playground before making him nap in the car.

Let’s just say things did not end well. After yelling at the air, sending a snappy text to my husband about the sandwich, I picked up my shoeless child, slammed the door and stomped out to the car. We pulled away, just to turn around and come back since I forgot my coffee.

Why do I get so angry? How can I be so furious with the ones I love the most, when in reality they haven’t done anything?

This is not earth shattering stuff. Every single person has days like this, where frustrating little things happen. They should not make or break your day.

Thankfully, after a little time in the car cooling down, apologizing to my husband, and cuddling my son, I had the courage to ask God to forgive me for my outbursts.

Honestly, I hate doing that. I am so embarrassed in front of the Lord, even though he is the one who sees the whole thing, and even worse than just seeing it, he hears my inmost thoughts! I cannot hide from him.

Psalm 139:7 says

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

What a gloriously wonderful, yes dauntingly terrifying statement. I can never escape his love, mercy and forgiveness, yet I can never hide my sin from this holy and awesome God.

Today’s Focus on the Family broadcast ended up being all about helping mom’s deal with anger. Turns out I’m not alone! In fact, toddlers and teens are said to be the most aggravating two groups of kids for moms!

I recognized today that I need to start confronting how I handle my anger and frustrations head on. God’s timing is so good. He brings conviction to our hearts, and then offers an avenue of hope and healing.

I’m not proud of my actions lately, but I hope my transparency can be related to. I’m going to be getting my hands on the book “She’s gonna blow!” by Julie Barnhill (today’s guest on Focus on the Family) and gain some wise counsel on this subject.

Parenting has already been way more challenging than I could have imagined, and I hope to stay aware of red flags that I’m seeing in myself now, so that my husband and kids don’t have to live with the current me forever!

May I be ever on the path towards this spirit filled description:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

 

Motherhood Monday

Soaking Up The Sunshine

This weekend we spent almost every moment we could outside. After not being able to go outside much last summer, we are taking advantage of the warm weather. 

Last year, when Caleb was a newborn, we weren’t able to go outside without him severely overheating. He would break out instantly in a heat rash, even if he was just in a diaper, and we were warned that having him outside would be put him at a risk of brain damage.

After a very long winter of pregnancy, it was hard to watch summer slip by out our front window. As winter started up again, I knew I would have to be purposefully involved in activities to not feel continually house bound.

Thankfully Caleb has outgrown that overheating condition already and he simply loves being outdoors. In fact, I think we are making up for last year since if he is ever inside he points, grunts and whines until we go out to play!

It’s funny the things you can take for granted. I can honestly say I am so thankful for every walk, outing and extended backyard play time. The freedom to soak up the sun is marvelous, and it’s a joy to watch Caleb discover the bugs, sticks, grass, birds, trees, pine cones and everything else that we spend our days exploring. This is such a fun stage with him!

There are many verses that come to mind, but a Psalmist always seems to be able to express the majestic splendor of creation better than anyone.

You take care of the earth and water it,
    making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
    it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
    for you have ordered it so.
You drench the plowed ground with rain,
    melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
    and bless its abundant crops.

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;

    even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
    and the hillsides blossom with joy.
 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
    and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
    They all shout and sing for joy!

Psalm 65:9-13 (NLT)

May you have a wonderful summer enjoying this beautiful world that the Lord created and sustains. May you make lasting memories that will warm your heart through the long cold winter!

Motherhood Monday

Let The Little Ones

This week I was reunited with one of my pastors from when I was a little girl. My conversation with him became the highlight of my entire time away. He told me that he had great joy in seeing me serve the Lord, because since I was a child I was on his heart and he prayed for me, believing that I would make it through the struggles and challenges he knew in his heart that I would have to face.

I have not seen this man since I was 9 years old and he has continued to pray for me. I was so blown away.

Over the years I have had many leaders and older christians come to me and say essentially the same thing. That I was placed on their heart and they’ve been praying for me. I know there was a battle for my life, that the enemy wanted to crush my spirit, but the Lord raised up men and women to war on my behalf for my salvation.

At church yesterday, our lead pastor spoke about baby dedications and the church’s involvement in the lives of kids. He asked if we could make room for children, and allow them to grow, have fun and be supported. He took a baby in his arms and committed to being there for him, and being a positive, godly influence on his life.

As I have been thinking about this, I’ve asked myself what would have happened if those people who prayed for me, would have ignored what was being placed on their hearts. What would have happened to me if they had brushed me off as “only a child”? What would have happened if they prayed for me once, then when I was out of their lives, forgot about me?

I don’t know what would have happened, but I know that I want to be obedient to praying for a child. Not simply my own kids, since that is easy to be burdened for, but for whoever the Lord asks me to commit to pray for.

What if we could see an entire generation of kids raised up to be anointed, empowered, equipped leaders because us a little bit older than them took the time to pray for them? Would we do it?

My hearts cry is that people would be burdened to pray for my son. That Caleb’s destiny would be fought for by men and women who love the Lord. I hope that he has many godly people he looks up to and wants to be like.

The leaders that had the most impact on me as child, were the ones that took the time to talk to me. I remember my senior pastor in Nanaimo, BC, patiently answering the questions of an 8-year-old girl wrestling with why I needed to pray if God knows my thoughts. He is still a man who I deeply love and respect today.

I am thankful beyond what words can even describe for the people who God has brought into my life. I know that I do not simply receive it for my own purposes, but so that I can do the same for others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

As the Lord brought comfort to my soul through the prayers of many saints, so I now must be an instrument of comfort to the many kids who will not have some one fighting for their salvation.

 

All praise and glory be to the One who orders our steps and watches over our lives!

 

Motherhood Monday, Uncategorized

“Just Wait”

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately that have gone something like this:

Person: “Is your baby walking yet?”

Me: “Not quite, he’s getting close though!”

Person: “Just wait until he’s walking! Then your life will really get crazy. You’ll wish he never learned how to walk.”

Since having Caleb I have been introduced to the worlds of parents who always think they are one harder and more challenging step in front of me.

I quickly realized these people will say that about every single stage:

“Just wait until he’s on the move”

“Just wait until he’s on solids”

“Just wait until he starts walking”

“Just wait until he can talk”

“Just wait until he starts school”

The “just waits” started to drive me crazy! Each stage that should have been exciting was met with well-intentioned parents who tried to put fear into me.

This is why I will never say a negative “just wait” statement.

No matter what you do, or how much you dread it, your baby is going to learn to walk, talk, run and jump. In fact they won’t even stay babies! Dreading the future won’t change a thing and it robs you of your joy in the process.

I feel it is much more helpful to say a statement like this to a mom whose baby is about to start something new, like crawling.

“Wow, this stage definitely holds some new challenges, but it sure is exciting to watch them find their independence.”

We’ve acknowledged the truth of the challenge, while recognizing the joy of the new action. We have also instilled a positive comment in this already over-thinking mom and filled her with a bit of confidence that she can handle each new phase that comes her way!

I don’t know why we do it. I’ve caught myself about to make a negative statement like that to a mom with a baby younger than Caleb. Usually its rooted in my own insecurity. My competitive nature starts to overtake me.

1 Peter 3:10 says

If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.

Discouraging words are not of God, and not only rob others of enjoying life and having happy days, but rob you as well!

Life might seem to get a little busier, but it sure is a joy to watch my son grow and discover!

Just wait until your baby turns one…it’s so much fun!

Motherhood Monday

Toddler Transitions

I’ve heard a few times that at eighteen months children develop their will and can start being willfully disobedient. While I’m not expert in child psychology, I do have an almost one year old and I do not believe that anymore.

We’re had an interesting month with Caleb as he’s started throwing his food, screaming when he isn’t getting his way, and all the other normal things that come with transition to toddlerhood.

That said, because it’s normal, doesn’t make it any easier on the first time parent. We have spent many evening talking about whether Caleb is getting his way too much, if he demands too much attention, and praying that he doesn’t become “one of those kids” who people label a spoiled brat.

With so many different philosophies on raising kids and many books, programs and guides to go with them, we find ourselves crying out for wisdom.

I read in 1 Corinthians 1:30

 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.

I was so encouraged by this! Not only am I one with Christ, which I of course knew already, but Jesus is wisdom itself!

Knowing Jesus means that I know wisdom. Phew. I can breathe a sigh of relief now. And don’t you love how the verse says “for our benefit” God did this? He knew we would need all the help we could get, so he made Jesus not just the savior of the world, but wisdom itself.

God you’re too good.

I’m still nervous about this toddler transition. But I was nervous about the baby transition. And I’ll be nervous about the elementary years, and the teens years. This I am thankful for: I have a personal relationship with the saviour of the world who is wisdom, and I’m going to make sure I tap into that wisdom as much as possible!

 

How was your transition to the toddler years?