Monthly Archives: August 2010

Talking to Myself

My friend Emily (aka DesignHER Mommaposted something on her blog that really intrigued me with a video about motherhood.  It’s not your typical “what to expect once the baby’s here” kind of thing.  They went and asked moms what they would tell themselves if they could go back before their first baby was born.

Here are the answers from a few moms:

And so I’m going back and having a little chat with that young, tired and lonely mama
and telling her a few things that I’ve learned along the way.

  • Get dressed every day(or at least every other day).  You will feel better.  I promise.
  • When you need a break, take it.
    Even if that means putting the baby in a safe place and walking outside for a few minutes.
  • When you need it, ask for help.  There is always someone who can help you.
  • It may take a while for you to fall in love with your child…but it will happen.
  • It’s perfectly normal to feel like this.
  • It’s ok to use anti-depressants if you need them.
  • If you don’t remember every milestone, that’s ok.
    But take time to close your eyes and memorize the sounds, the smells.
    You’ll forget that faster than you think you will.
  • Write, take pictures, journal, do whatever it takes to keep the memories…
    but don’t get so wrapped up in writing and picture-taking and journaling that you miss the moment.

I’m still working on some of those.  Aren’t you?

What would you have told yourself?
What would you tell new moms?

I would like to note that this video was made by Nummies, a company that makes nursing bras.
I was not, however, contacted by Nummies.  I just really liked the video and wanted to share it.

Sous-chef Smiles

This is my (not very well organized) kitchen.

This is my (not very well organized) kitchen with toddler sous-chef.
(Note the extreme amount of flour on the floor.  Approximately 1 cup.)

This smile ↓ makes that mess ↑ worth it.

Questioning Christianity

Lately I have been struggling with Christianity.  Not the Christ part so much as the “Christian” part.  Just this past week I saw two friends post similar things on Facebook, both referring to the fact that they hope that people don’t judge them and their faith based on the actions of other people who also claim to be Christian.


A few weeks ago at church I choked up as we sang the words to “They Will Know That We Are Christians By Our Love“.

“We will work with each other, we will work side-by-side,
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Oh, how I want to sing that with conviction.
Oh, how I want Christians to be known by our love.
Oh, how I want to be known by the love that I share.


I saw a tee shirt recently that read, “Lord, Save me from your followers”* and it cut me.
It cut deeply.
Mostly because it hit close to home.
And because I know the sentiment all too well.


Then I read this by Amber at The Run-a-Muck.  And I came back and read it again later.  And then I came back and read it again.  Four times I clicked over there and read her words, felt her words, surrounded myself with what she was saying.  And I was reminded that the holy spirit didn’t stop inspiring words once the bible was written.

Amber so often bears her soul, vividly and honestly sharing with others what she has learned, what she is feeling, what God is doing in her life.   She tells her story about being a guest at a mosque, something so different from her norm…yet similar in so many ways.  As they are called to prayer, she says, “I had to breathe funny not to cry, not to feel overwhelming pain and honor and shame all at once.”

And that?  That is where I am.  That is who I am.  I want so badly, so very, very badly to love my faith with reckless abandon…but I can’t.  I am held back, reserved because of overwhelming pain and shame.  I don’t want to be ashamed.  I am not ashamed of my beliefs.  I am not ashamed of what it really means to be a Christian.  I am ashamed of what being a Christian has come to mean to so many outside the walls of the churches.

But mostly?  I am ashamed of myself.  I yearn for change within the Christian church.  I long for unity with other religions and beliefs.  And yet?  Like a middle schooler who watches another girl get picked on and does nothing to stop it…I watch.  And I grumble under my breath.  And I say that I don’t want to cause a stir.  And while waiting and watching, I stand idly by and see person after person driven away from the church(and by the church I mean as a whole, not my own personal church), and I say, “It sure is a pity that other people have run them off.  I’m glad I’m not like them.”

But I am.
By saying nothing, I am.

Christ stood up for others.
Christ consistently strove for unity and peace.
Christ celebrated differences while bringing people together.
(Just look at the disciples…what a motley crew they were!)

We’re not all the same, but that’s supposed to be the beauty of Christianity.
By definition, we’re supposed to love the differences because we are supposed to be like Christ,
who loved no matter what.

I, like so many, yearn for tradition and a sense of belonging.
And frequently in my desire to find that belonging,
I alienate anyone and anything different from me, from my beliefs.

But I’m supposed to love no matter what.


I am not a perfect Christian.
I am not perfect in anyway.
But I strive, oh how I strive, to block out the noise…
To clear my mind…
To ask myself:
Am I doing what I should be?
What do I need to change?
How can I show love-true, unblemished, Godly love-to others?
I can’t do it on my own,
I know that much is true.


Oh God and Creator,
I want to be more.
I want to show more of your love.
I want to be more of your love.
I want to share more of your love.
I want to be more.
Help me to be more…
(even when I don’t want to)
(especially when I don’t want to).


*I later found out that there is also a book by this title.  I haven’t read it.

On the fourth

When I was pregnant with my first child, my obstetrician was expecting her fourth-the first girl after 3 boys.

At my postpartum visit, I remember chatting with her and I said,
“Well, you only have about 4 months left.  Not too much longer…”

I was a little taken aback by her response:
“Well, I’m actually hoping it crawls by.  I’m just not sure I’m ready.”

Being a first-time mom who couldn’t wait for Delivery Day from the moment the plus sign appeared,
I couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t want to hurry-hurry-hurry and have that baby already!

But now?  Now I get it.
As sick as I am some days and as many headaches as I’ve had,
I’m hoping that February is slow in coming.
I hope I make it to 40 weeks this time.
(I never have before.)

Even when I feel like complete and total crap,
I try to savor it.  Really savor it.
Because I know this is it.
I know that this is the last time.
And I don’t want to hurry-hurry-hurry through it.

And now, as I prepare to greet my fourth baby, I finally get it.
I finally understand what she meant.
I’m ready, but I’m not.
Just like with all the others, I can’t wait for my next ultrasound.
Just like with all the others, I have dreamed of names and personalities.
Just like with all the others, I am planning and preparing a room and a wardrobe.
Just like with all the others, I am itemizing baby necessities to figure out what we need.

But what’s different this time, is that I’m not constantly looking forward.
I’m not counting down to D-day.
It’s not all about getting to the end.

It has taken me four(five) pregnancies to realize that it’s not just about holding a baby in your arms,
It’s about getting to that point.
And remembering the feeling of little flutters becoming big kicks.
And remembering the tautness of  a belly during a contraction.
And remembering the reaction of the other littles as they watch the baby wriggle from inside.
And remembering  the stories the “big kids” make up about this new baby.
And remembering how it feels and how it makes you feel.
And remembering laying in bed, talking to your spouse about what’s to come.

So, yes, I am excited about having another baby.
And yes, I can’t wait to find out if there’s a he or a she in there.
And yes, I can’t wait  to swaddle her/him like a baby burrito and cuddle.

But I’m actually hoping time crawls by.

I want to enjoy being a mom of 3 for a little longer.
And I still want to coddle Asa, and let him enjoy being the baby for a little longer.
And I want to sleep through the night with no(well, minimal) interruptions for a little longer.
And I want to be able to leave the house with nothing but a diaper and sippy cup for just a little longer.

I’m ready, but I’m not.
I’m too busy savoring the journey.

Praying for JOY

We have friends who are leaving tomorrow to go overseas and be missionaries.
They are our age, and we share memories and friends from med school and residency.
They have five small children-the oldest is 8, the youngest is barely 3 months.
They have been planning this for months, years.
And tomorrow?
Tomorrow they will fly with 2 adults,
5 kids,
18 checked bags,
7 carry-on bags,
7 backpacks
and two strollers.

And you know what my thoughts are?
There’s no way I’d be able to handle that.

Their thoughts though?
Directly from an email I got today:

“We want our children to remember tomorrow fondly forever,
another milestone of God’s faithfulness to our family.
So please pray for JOY, pray for us to rest well,
pray for a smooth journey through customs with baggage and children.”

So if you could spare a few moments, could you please send out a prayer or two for this wonderful family.

And if prayers aren’t your thing…they also accept good vibes and positive energy.

Mouthwatering Monday: Chicken (or Potato) Makhani

Sometimes you invite someone over to your house for dinner and then you have to figure out what meat-and-potato kind of meal you are going to make.  No onions, no spices(save good old salt & pepper), no this, no that.  And that’s ok.  I’d rather know what they do and don’t like so no one has to suffer through a meal they hate.

(FYI:  I hate sea food.  I’m not allergic to it, I just hate it with a passion.  I have suffered through 2 sea food dinners before because I didn’t want to offend my host.  It’s not fun, and I don’t want to subject others to that.)

But sometimes you invite someone over for dinner and you know that they are open for anything, and so you scan through your recipes for something you haven’t made in a long time, but something really good.  Something different.

That happened to me recently and when I decided to make chicken makhani. (I actually ended up making potato makhani because I was out of chicken.)  I called my friend and not only was she ok with the selection, she was excited!  And I was excited that she was excited!  I don’t have many friends who are willing to try Indian food, but I really love it.  I dream of a perfect plate of basmati rice with those little threads of saffron smothered in so-hot-my-eyes-water vindaloo.  Marshall, however, isn’t a fan of burning off his taste buds and crying through dinner, so when I cook Indian food I a)make a milder sauce and b)take a few American shortcuts.  And while the end result isn’t authentic, it tastes pretty darn good(if I do say so myself).

So, without further ado(could I have possibly written a longer intro??), my makhani recipe:

  • 3 TBsp butter
  • 1 onion(chopped)
  • 2 tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 1 TBsp tomato paste
  • 1(15oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1(14.5oz) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • Homemade Spice Blend: 1 TBsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Approx 2 cups cooked chicken or cooked potatoes, diced

Melt butter in pan.  Add onions and cook until golden(about 5 minutes).

Add garlic, tomato paste and spice blend.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add cream and stir well until heated through.

Add chicken and/or potatoes.

(Often I make this a few hours ahead of time and leave it on low in the slow cooker.   That gives the chicken or potatoes time to absorb all the flavor.  But it’s still good if you don’t have time for that!)

Serve over hot basmati rice and enjoy!

For more Mouthwatering Monday recipes, visit Rachel at A Southern Fairytale.


I expected to cry when I took you to school the first day…but I didn’t.

I expected to tear up the second day when I dropped you off simply because you cried on Monday…but I didn’t.

I did not expect to have a catch in my throat when I pulled away from you this morning at the drop off line.

I did not expect to see you smiling and wildly waving goodbye, blowing one last kiss.

I did not expect to look in my sideview mirror and see you looking so grown up and so tiny all at once.

Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear.

Oh, how true.

Time?  Do me a favor and please slow down.

The Little Guy

When Carter was born, I was a nanny and he had constant attention from the girls.
By the time they went to school, Lydia was around for him to play with.
When it came time for them to start “school”, we were in a place that took children as early as 6 months old,
so they both went to “school” together.
When we moved here they were both old enough for the preschool program.
When they were in school, they were both in school.
When they were at home, they had a built in playmate.

But now there’s Asa…
A big boy in so many ways, but still a baby, too.
Old enough to know that he’s all alone,
but not old enough to go to our local preschool.
Constantly walking around calling for his big brother and sister,
It’s pitiful.
He misses them.
And while I love to read books and cuddle and play,
I can’t spend every single moment catering to his every whim.
(I did that yesterday and it didn’t go well for either of us…
especially once the big kids got home and he thought I was 100% his
and he had no interest in sharing HIS Mommy with anyone else.)

So we’re trying to strike a balance.
And we’ll get there, I know.
But I keep swinging from frustrated with him to sad for him.
I know he’s lonely, but he’s going to have to learn to entertain himself a little bit.

Right now, though?
One more book.
And then I really am going to work on cleaning out that closet!

A Thousand Words Are Worth A Picture

My big kids are at school and my littlest is babbling quietly in his bed.  Ahhh…the joys of school!

But I have to admit that as I sat down at my computer, I was overwhelmed with the desire to look at our pictures from this summer.  I have said before that July was probably my least inspired month of photography.  It was hot and I didn’t feel good.  But I’m glad that I kept on clicking, but I did get a few pictures that I really, really love.  But one of the things that I didn’t capture was our picnic.

Remember yesterday when I said some of my favorite pictures were the mental ones?  Yeah…I realized that I should write some of those down.  I want to remember it all, but I know I won’t.  So now…I share with you my mental picture of our picnic:

The kids begged all summer for a picnic, but it was just SO BLASTED HOT that I couldn’t make myself sit outside.  So I pulled out one of my winter tricks: we spread out a blanket in the living room and had an indoor picnic while basking in the sunshine coming through the windows.  After our wraps and chips, we watched the clouds through the big arching window and nibbled on strawberry Milano cookies and drank pink lemonade.  Life is sweet!

(And just because all that led me to another mental picture, you get a bonus “picture”.)

Not long after that day, we went to the beach.  On our way to the villa, we stopped to grab a few groceries.  I let each kid pick out their own snack.  Lydia went in search of “the cookies in the paper bag”.   She didn’t even care what kind.  Carter took 10 minutes to choose from the huge Pepperidge Farm selection they had and settled on the basic sugar cookie.

Sometimes I get annoyed with him because he can take forever to make a decision.  But that night we weren’t in a rush and I let him take his time.  Watching him glance back and forth from this package to that, watching the wheels turn in his head…I want to remember that.  Forever.


Pepperidge Farms sent me free strawberry Milano cookies, which were delightful.  They filled my tummy, but not my brain.  The opinions you see above are completely my own unbiased opinions.

A Day of Firsts

Your first day of Kindergarten.  Your first day of “big school”.  You are so, so ready.  (I am, too!)  We walked into the brand new school and you led the way to your classroom.  You feel safe here already.

How did you get so big?  When did it happen?  I thought I was watching, savoring it all…but sometimes the biggest changes in life are actually just a culmination of gradual little changes.  And somehow in all the watching and waiting, I missed it.  I missed the moment when you became a real “big” kid.

We dropped off your stuff in the classroom and headed to the cafeteria for breakfast.  I showed you how to go through the line.  How to get your napkin, your milk, your tray.  We found you a seat and I realized that you had never seen a milk carton.  After showing you how to open it, we started to walk away.  “Bye, buddy!  We love you!”  “Bye!”  And it wasn’t until I reached the door that I heard you running up behind me.  “I need a straw”, you said with tears brimming in your eyes.  “Baby they don’t have straws here.  Just drink out of your carton.”   “But I need a straw.”  “Well, they don’t have straws, babe.”  “But…but…but…”  You cling to me.  This isn’t really about straws, is it? Walking back to your seat, I show you how to drink milk out of carton and then we really leave.  You wave and although I think I can sense a little hesitation in your goodbye, you mean it this time.

I have to admit that I was a bit caught off guard by having to leave you sitting alone in the lunchroom.  I didn’t expect to leave you without a specific adult being in charge of you.  A lot of other parents stayed until their child(ren) had finished breakfast, but we had to go take Lydia to her school.  I am confident that you figured it out.  I know that there were plenty of adults in there, but it still felt weird.  I hope you figured out what to do with your trash and how to get back to your room.  I can’t wait to hear all about it this afternoon.


Confident, you chatter away on the way to school.  You tell me and your dad that God is following you to school, but when we ask what you mean, you brush us off.   I can’t help but wonder if it’s true that children are closer to God than adults.  Somehow I feel the answer is yes.

Quiet, but still with a pep in your step, you walk down the hall.  “I see the ladybug, Mommy!” And we find your name and hang up your bag.  Walking in the door, you squeeze my hand a little tighter and I can feel the anxiety begin.  “Hey, babe.  Why don’t we go color? Look!  Mrs. H already has crayons out.”  I say a few things that make you giggle, get a kiss and start to head out the door.  And I see the tears beginning to well in your eyes.  Trying so hard not to cry that you can’t even speak…I know, little one.  I know.  I know how it feels.  You come in for one last hug and nestle into that sweet spot just inside my neck and I breathe in your sweet smell and take a mental picture.  For all the pictures that I take, some of my favorite ones are only in my head.

I leave you behind, crying.  I feel a little guilty about it, but I know you will be fine without me.  You are strong.  You are “big”.  And you did, after all, tell me that God was with you.


Asa is searching for you both.  He keeps wandering down the hall and knocking on your doors.
We’re gonna have a big day, he and I.  And I can’t wait to pick you guys up and find out all about your day.
But first?  I’m gonna take a nap.  🙂

I love you both!
You are my sunshines.

And I do miss you…a little.