This, here, is a Run Out the Clock Situation

It’s funny when Stanley says this on The Office, but not in real life people!

run out the clock

The scene: Picking up Josie and Cal from daycare.  2 hours and 23 minutes until bedtime.

Josie: I had a nice day!  I was the smiley face leader!  I shared with my friends! 

Then, she refuses to get in the car.  When I get a little stern, she screams.

Josie: Don’t look at me!  Don’t talk to me!

Like a champ, (ahem, Mother of the Year), I trick her into getting in the carseat and teach her why she has to be buckled up.  She belly laughs because she enjoys my story.  I’m hilarious, obviously.  I (naively) think that we’ve turned a corner that will give us anywhere from tolerable to amazing, heart-exploding moments the rest of the evening.

False.

The scene: The bathroom.  Josie is taking a bath.  1 hour and 37 minutes until bedtime.

Me: Josie, if you drink the water one more time, you’re getting out.

Josie drinks water while staring past my eyes into my soul with a smug arrogance only a threenager could pull off.  I pull the plug on the drain and try to keep my blood pressure down.

Me: Josie, get out of the tub or I will get you out of the tub and you will not like it.

(Nothing)

I wrap her in a towel and carry her, kicking and screaming, to her room. 

Me: You can come out when you’ve calmed down, dried yourself off, and put your pajamas on.

Josie screams, but after 15 minutes, is down at the dinner table in mismatched jammies.

And the night continued like this – Dinner (1 hour and 3 minutes until bedtime).  Teeth brushing.  (41 minutes until bedtime).  Toilet using (29 minutes until bedtime).  Everything you could possibly think of was a battle that I didn’t even want to be fighting.  (Is it bedtime yet?!?!)

Why does it seem like the world is absolutely ending when I try to wipe the mustard off of your face?  Unless you had serious plans to consume the leftover mustard in the overnight hours…

Why can’t you just go pee without first throwing yourself on the bathroom floor for 5 minutes?  I never have that trouble…

Why can’t you breeze through your bedtime routine so we can read books and snuggle and tell silly stories about school busses and spiders?  That would’ve been a much nicer end to our day together…

Even when I plopped her into bed, she refused a hug or a kiss.  Unlike her usual, “Check me LOTS!” she said nothing and rolled over.  I said goodnight and closed the door.

When I peeked in to check, she was already asleep.  Poor girl must’ve been super tired if she passed out a half hour early.  Probably better anyhow.

I wanted to tell her that it was all ok.  That tomorrow would be another chance to have a great day.  To be a good listener.  To be gentle and patient.  To be loving and kind.  I didn’t get to tell her that, but she wasn’t the one that needed to hear it.  It was me.  So I’m telling myself and I’m telling you that no matter your day, tomorrow is another chance.  To be the best version of yourself.

Even if tonight was a run out the clock situation at your house, tomorrow doesn’t have to be that way.  And even if it is, that’s ok.  You might not have control of it, and you know I don’t because I take up residence with a husband, a 3-year-old, a baby, and a tiny dog with a pinched nerve.  (What could go wrong?!)

But hope is for all of us.  Take hold, and take heart!  Tomorrow is a new day.

P.S. If you’re a regular reader and are now wondering what I could possibly give myself the Mother of the Year Award for tonight, it’s this: I “tricked” a wildly out of control Josie, who doesn’t like leftovers, into eating leftovers, by mixing BBQ sauce and mustard together for her to dip the very same meal she had last night in.  No cooking for this mama tonight.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.

8 Things I’ve “Counted” Towards Earning the Mother of the Year Award

Count everything!

I recently shared how I became Mother of the Year, which basically consisted of me giving myself the award every day for any reason possible.  And it got such great response, I thought I’d expand on my first idea of how to get started – which is, COUNT EVERYTHING!

It all began one day when Josie ate more ketchup in one sitting than I thought humanly possible.  At first I thought, “I am the worst.”  Then, in my desperate brain, I made the connection that ketchup is made from tomatoes, tomatoes are technically a fruit, so Josie just ate lots and lots (and lots) of fruit.  And then I sarcastically called myself Mother of the Year!

But something happened in that moment where I decided that I needed to call myself that every day so I don’t get bogged down with the meltdowns and the poopy diapers and the sleepless nights.  So I started counting everything.  This is good practice, so take note.

What Counts on the Road to Winning Mother of the Year? 

Everything.  Like these 8 things.

  1. The Generous Food Pyramid: Anything that is derived from fruits or vegetables counts in this category. Pickles are cucumbers.  Ketchup is tomatoes.  French fries are potatoes.  Peanut butter and jelly is the perfect combination of whole grain, protein, and fruit.
  2. Peanut Butter and Jelly: Here’s where it gets fun. Anytime I give Josie a PBJ I give myself Mother of the Year because of what I mentioned above.  Anytime she gets something other than PBJ for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I also award myself the honor.  Seriously, guys, are you getting this?  Being extremely, overly generous to yourself is what it is all about.
  3. The Donut Ninja: One time I promised Josie a donut on the road to see Grandpa and Grandma. The gas station we stopped at only had Donettes, so I bought the big bag (obviously), and passed her a couple.  Then, because I’m human and was pregnant at the time, I couldn’t stop at just 2, so I secretly reopened the bag without raising suspicion, and shoveled in one tiny piece of heaven at a time until my pregnant self was full of sugar and regret.  It was amazing.  I held conversation with her, and even reclosed the bag.  If you’ve ever tried to sneak ANYTHING (but usually food) past your toddler, you know what a victory this was for me.  It felt good.
  4. Reverse Psychology: Enough said, probably. But here’s what’s working for me now.  Josie’s potty-trained and very adamant that she is only going to use the bathroom when she absolutely has to.  But before bed, I really need her to go to avoid any nighttime wakings or catastrophes.  So most nights my line is, “You know what, Josie?  I bet if you sat on that toilet nothing would even come out.”  And like magic, she’s up there tinkling.  I act all surprised and impressed and she loves it.  The downside is, she will no longer just go to the bathroom without me making this big fuss.  But mission accomplished either way.
  5. Formula Win: Cal is on formula, which is another story for another time. But dang, that stuff is expensive.  And he has expensive taste which is even more expensive.  And as we were figuring out which formula to give him, lots of moms suggested this super ridiculously expensive can of formula that was $40.  $40!!!!  For less than a week’s supply.  And he hated it.  So I called the company and asked for a refund.  Turns out they can’t give me my money but they can send me 2 cans of what he uses now.    And just for fun I called the store to see if I could get a refund on opened formula.  Yes I can.  Boom.  Got $40 back in my pocket and 2 full cans of the good stuff for my little man.  Life lesson: It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  6. The Belle Dress: This one is actually legit.  Josie was going to her first theatre experience to see the musical Beauty and the Beast.  And I really wanted to get her a Belle dress.  $22 at Target, ugh!   I hardly spend that much money on any clothing items for myself.  But I just couldn’t pass it up.  I was like a kid on Christmas Morning, bursting with anticipation and excitement at the thought of giving this gift to her and then watching her wear it to the show.  (Spiritual side note: this must be a glimpse into how excited and delighted God gets when He gives us all the great gifts in our lives!) It was worth every stinking penny.
  7. Laughter is the Best Medicine: Punishing your kid is hard sometimes. But when I put soap in Josie’s mouth for talking back, I just can’t help it.  I grab the first towel/burp cloth/sweater I see, bury my face, and giggle.  And she doesn’t see me do this, so that’s why I earn the award.
  8. Leaving Cal with a Stranger: Josie really really wanted to ride the escalator at the mall. You can’t bring strollers on those things, so I had a dilemma and it must’ve shown on my face, because the Guest Relations lady left her nearby kiosk and offered to keep Cal company while I took Josie for a ride.  And I said SURE!  I left my child with a stranger to watch my other child hop on the escalator like Buddy the Elf.  It was awesome.

So there ya have it.  Mother of the Year.  You guys, we’re doing it.  We’re awesome.  And I’m pretty sure this list proves that.  What crazy ways are you earning Mother of the Year status?

Am I Going to Miss This Crazy Stage of Life?

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You’re gonna miss this.  That’s what they say, and what Trace Adkins so beautifully sings about, and the exact lyrics that I sing out loud at home any time I think about the absurdity of missing whatever chaotic thing is happening at the moment.  And then I burst into tears.

Tears of exhaustion from sleep deprivation, not knowing what the heck I’m doing and usually not even knowing how to pretend like I do, and frustration.  Tears of deep love for my kids and my life.  And just the smallest amount of guilt that I might not be mom enough because I do not think that I will miss any of this, and I think that real moms do.

Of coimg_4127.jpgurse, we are in the thick of it now.  A super sassy almost-3-year-old and an impossible-to-figure-out 7-week old.  And I keep thinking that maybe this newborn thing will get a little easier and it never does.  I keep telling myself over and over that this is a phase.  And someday I will look back on it.  Probably with relief.

I put it out there to my Facebook friends who are past this time in their lives.  Most said almost the exact same thing, coupled with some great advice – I’ll miss some parts and not others!

Lynne – “I miss the cuddles and sweetness of toddlers. I do not miss diapers, bottles and not sleeping! Each stage is wonderful and awful at the same time. I have enjoyed the stages my boys have gone through and going through now (for the most part!) I think of it more as savor the special moments. Don’t get too busy that you can’t enjoy your children. It’s hard when they’re so little. They demand so much more. Savor those special moments. And try not to let the nitty-grittiness of life get in the way.

Kelli – “There are things I miss and things I don’t–true of every stage. Despite being so demanding and exhausting, enjoy the moments. It really goes fast and contrary to what I thought it did not get easier! The older they get the bigger the issues, more impactful are the choices, hard to let them learn on their own when you have the experience. Keep praying and communicating…and remember you are not alone! Other parents face the same things, even if it doesn’t appear that they do! Talking with a mom who has kids a few years older than yours is a great benefit!”

Elizabeth – “This very particular stage you are in….helpless newborn baby, needy toddler, sleepless nights…NOPE, don’t miss that.  A few months out and the years after…yes I will miss those dearly. Pull my hair out craziness most days, but the toddler to preschool stage is the best in my opinion.”

One said, YES you will miss this! 

Sherree – “Yes, you will miss it terribly. This stage of life is where you still have control and the worries are far smaller than what comes later. It is replaced by attitudes, pimples, a driver’s license and dating.”

And her sentiments were echoed by our Radio Theology listeners when I asked for calls on the topic.   They all agreed that time goes too fast and I will miss this baby/toddler stage.  (You can listen to that below.  Spoiler Alert: at one point in this segment I may or may not get sassy with one of the listeners.  Oops!)

Then there was some talk and agreement that even if I will miss it, that’s the worst possible thing you can say to someone who feels like she is drowning, or maybe on good days doggy paddling in the endless ocean of toddler tears and baby poop.  (Wow, there’s an image for ya.)

lean-in.pngAfter processing and digesting all of this, the point, I’ve decided, is not whether I like or dislike this stage, or whether or not I will miss this stage.  But that I lean into my own life.  Actively participate.  In the good and the bad.  One of my favorite quotes from Ann Voskamp is this very idea.  “Joy and pain.  They are put two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.”  So when it is tempting to disengage and retreat from my own circumstances, I’ll always try to remember to do the hard work of leaning back in.

I might miss Josie jumping up and down, excited to see me after a day at daycare, but I’ll block out the meltdowns over leaving her at the top of the stairs even though she is fully capable of walking down them herself, not letting her sleep with a toy nut and bolt, or telling her yes for something she asked for and then somehow heard no or decided in a split second that having the very thing she wanted would ruin her life forever.

I will look fondly back at when she took her first steps, but will erase from my memory the months of her spitting up all over the entire world (and somehow always on me and usually down my shirt, her spit up pooling in my bra).

I will try to look back at both Josie and Cal’s newborn phase with joy and gratitude, remembering that they were healthy babies, and will disregard how crazy I felt after the hours of sleep I missed feeding or comforting them in the middle of the night.

I realize in reading back through this that it sounds like I’m absolutely miserable, and that’s just not the case.  We really are doing fine, and much better than the last time I posted.  It’s the moments where I am miserable that all of these emotions come into play.  But I feel like it is so important to say out loud to myself and anyone else who’s in the thick of it, that it is ok to feel however you feel in the moment.  But keep leaning in. 

Why I’ve Been Hiding From My Own Blog

I started this blog because I really enjoy writing as an outlet for creativity and storytelling.  My highest goal is to share my story in order to create a community of women who may need to hear that someone else’s toddler picks up dead worms on the sidewalk in an effort to clean, kisses fish straight outta the pond, and throws fits at all the most opportune times.  That although I don’t sprinkle when I tinkle, I’ve lost bladder control far more than I’d like to admit during this pregnancy.  That most days I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing in motherhood, but I’m doing the best I can.

Aaaaaaand, I’ve only written about sprinkling whilst tinkling in the past month because we’ve just been going through it!  And what I actually feel and have thought that I should write about is a little scary… and not what you would expect from someone almost ready to pop out a kid.  But here goes…

Confession time:

  • I’m pretty terrified to have this baby: They say women forget the pain of childbirth because of the sheer joy of having brought a child into this world. It’s even in the Bible somewhere.  It is False. I remember every pain, every moment of chaos, every second of losing my mind to the point of spitting and yelling and ripping off my clothes (another post for another time, my friends).  So to know that at any moment this can and will happen to me again…you can see why I’m a little anxious.  (Million Dollar Idea: epidurals delivered to your house so your first bad contraction can be the last one you feel!)
  • I hate the baby stage: To be clear, I already love my baby.  And hate may be too strong of a word, but the baby stage is my least favorite.  Babies don’t do anything.  They aren’t interactive, aside from their smiles that come to save the day at 6-8 weeks old.  They can’t give you any indication of what’s wrong with them.  And the worst part is that you’re living with this tiny helpless human while you’re losing your mind with hormone shifts, night sweats, and no sleep.  Ummm, no thanks.  I’m not looking forward to this.
  • Josie’s longest phase yet about killed me: She’s just over 2 ½ and discovered that she has fears.  Specifically, wind and ants.  Seriously?!  And those fears have led to this stupid separation anxiety or something that made her scream as soon as we left her room at bedtime.  It was heartbreaking.  And although I can tell myself that THIS TOO SHALL PASS, not knowing when it would pass or how best to help her had me all worked up.  Seriously beside myself.  All day anticipating the screaming that would happen that night.  Sobbing as she was crying in her bed.  Mess.  And every night closer to bringing home a little baby.  (Update: as of writing time, we are 4 nights into peaceful bedtimes.  Thank you, Jesus!)

The combo of these three things, in addition to regular old life (full-time job, part-time job, wife, home remodel, a teeny tiny social life)…I was feeling really overwhelmed.  Emotional control has not been my companion during these last several months of pregnancy and change.  And while that’s fun for my This Week in Lisa’s Pregnancy segments on Radio Theology, it doesn’t make me feel “ready” in any way to have a baby.

Be it painful or smooth-sailing, It'll become part of my story.

How to Balance the New and Exciting with the Holy Crap and the Anxiety:

  • Tell someone: This week, as I felt like I was emerging from the (emotional) woods (mostly thanks to Josie’s tear-free bedtimes), I did an experiment. I told a guy I just met that I didn’t like the baby stage.  And you know what happened?  I got a high five and an “I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife.”  And we chatted about how the fun we have with our slightly older kiddies feels like the sweet spot.
  • Make peace: I’m about to pop. I can’t even change positions on the couch without sweating.  And there is a day coming in my near future where I’ll face all of the unknowns, probably at the same time.  This too shall pass, and be it painful or smooth-sailing, I will welcome it into my story.  And I’ll have a beautiful baby boy who we’ll raise into a wonderful man, and a big sister who will take this world by storm.
  • Take care: Through the roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks, I’ve practiced self-care by giving myself lots of grace in moments of chaos. I’ve gotten extra hours of much-needed sleep.  I’ve spent great time with friends and family while enjoying the break that extra helping hands provide.  I’ve pretended to nest (because the real pregnancy nesting thing must’ve skipped me).  And I’ve found a song that I sing out loud when I can believe the words and listen to when I can’t.

it is well with my soul

So friend, here I go, off into my last 4 ½ weeks of pregnancy (or less).  And I already feel better than I did when I sat down to write.  Sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation.  So if you can see yourself in any part of my story, I hope you feel encouraged and loved and inspired to hold your own confession time with a friend.  And if you can’t, share it with someone who may need some hope!

sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation

learn-this-one-skill

Moments that invite fear.

These have happened to me SEVERAL times in the course of my 2 ½ year motherhood.

  • Josie has a really high fever.
  • Josie needs discipline for the first time.
  • Josie’s room thermometer shows a one degree drop, meaning that she must’ve died and is a human ice cube chilling the room. (I didn’t say they were all rational.)
  • Josie is ready for her big girl bed a lot earlier than I thought (as evidenced by the fearless crib climbing).
  • Josie wakes up in terror with piles of barf on her bed for the first time.

crib-climber

Or the latest, this week.  Twice I had moments of fear (compounded by pregnancy hormones).  One was when Josie was crying in bed after we had said goodnight.  She was beside herself, but we had also been through 2 weeks of her using every trick in the book to get back out of bed once she was tucked in.  And knowing that every possible need of hers was met, we let her cry.  I hadn’t done this since she was a baby, and even then I didn’t ever let her cry more than 10 minutes.  And usually she fell asleep after 2-3 minutes, which still feels like a full hour.  So on this night, Ryan and I set the timer.  5 minutes.  We’d let her cry and then go from there.  But during this time, I was gripped with every possible fear:

  • She hates me.
  • I’m letting her down.
  • I’m scarring her for life.
  • She really does need something and her life is probably in danger. Even though I can hear her crying, somehow she’s already dead.  (Seriously.)

It took me a full two minutes to calm myself down, to start speaking positivity and truth into my chaos, and to switch from fear to faith.  And guess what?  It took Josie 3 full minutes before she was totally passed out and slept all night.  And woke up with her usual smile and affection for her mother.

The second moment this week took a little longer for me to move past.  We met Ryan’s parents for dinner to drop Josie off so she could spend the weekend at their place, and so Ryan and I could be productive around our house and have a date night.  I kid you not, I LIVE FOR THESE MOMENTS.  Dropping her off is one of my greatest joys!  Sounds a little harsh, I realize, but when you have loving family members that regularly pour into your child, you take advantage!  And I’m never worried, but as I loaded Josie in the car seat in her Gigi and Papa’s car, I kissed her quickly and ran for my life before she really had a chance to get upset.  Josie was fine, and hadn’t cried when Ryan said goodbye either.  In fact, she said, “Bye Daddy!  See you on Sunday!”  What a relief!  But guess who actually did lose her mind?  Me.  I was crying before I got in the car, my mind racing with worry.  Worry that she wouldn’t sleep well in a “big bed,” or that she would wake up and be a bother to them in the middle of the night, and worry that she would die in a car accident on the way down there.  Seriously.  Every stinking worry I could have, reasonable or completely unreasonable, took hold of my mind.  Until I made the conscious decision to STOP IT.  And move from fear to faith. 

What’s the reoccurring theme here?  My first thought, in ALL of these scenarios is “I’m not equipped for this!”  Sometimes it is specific: My middle child, peacemaker personality is not equipped to be a consistent disciplinarian.  Sometimes it is vague: I’m not equipped for motherhood in general.  If I’m feeling this way as the mother of ONE TODDLER, how will I feel as the mother of 2?  As the mother of teenagers?  As the mother of grown children? 

But this is the trick, the key.  The speed with which I move from fear to faith directly correlates to the amount of joy I experience as a mother. 

Some thoughts on Fear:

  • Silly, irrational fear: Don’t stay here. Don’t live in this place.  Shut it down and move on.
  • Fear of inadequacy in a moment that doesn’t really matter: Figure this out quickly.  In the case of walking into Josie’s room at night and finding piles of vomit on her bed for the first time, I was paralyzed for 5 seconds before my instincts kicked in, and I moved into action.  We may not have handled this perfectly, but we did the best we could and in the end, it doesn’t really matter how we dealt with the barf.  Josie was safe and well-loved.
  • Fear of inadequacy in moments that do matter: Discipline. First, know that there’s a phase of “new stuff” every 3 weeks in a kid’s life. As soon as you get used to one thing, and feel like you’ve got it under control, your kid starts biting or hitting or talking back.  Something totally new.  This has happened to me so many times.  And the key I’ve found is that the more prepared I feel for each situation, the less time I spend in fear.  So, as soon as Josie started biting, I did some research, I asked friends and family for advice.  I chose a course of action, and moved forward confidently.
  • Reoccurring fear: Whatever this may be for you, take the time to dig into it.  Don’t ignore fear and pretend like you’re not experiencing it.  Set aside some time when you’re not crippled by said fear, and figure it out.  Get to the bottom of it.

Some thoughts on Faith:

  • Faith in yourself: When you become a mom, you really do get this instinct and are equipped along the way for what your tiny might throw at you (literally or figuratively). Take heart that you’re doing the best you can!
  • Faith in God: I really believe that God not only chose Josie to be my child out of all the millions of sperm and egg combinations, but also that He cares for and provides wisdom for us to parent her.
  • Faith as a Verb: This is the big one or me.  When I say faith, I don’t mean this abstract, just pray about it, just push fear aside and hope for the best!  Faith in action.  Equip yourself!  Read and research!  Ask for help from trusted sources!  And make sure you’re setting aside time for yourself so that you’re joyful and reenergized when these situations come about, not always drained and at your wits end.   

This isn’t easy.  Moving from fear to faith is super hard and takes lots of practice.  But it’s a skill worth learning – for your sake and for your child’s sake!  The more I practice this, the more confident I feel.  The deeper joy I find in motherhood.  The more freedom I feel to practice self-care and pour into people and things other than my child!  And as my family grows, and our lives transition over and over and over again as we raise our kids into adults, I hope to look back at this time in life and know that every step along the way I did the work to be confident and prepared in the next step.

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Ramblings of an Over-Apologizer: Sorry, I’m Not Sorry.

Something I’m working through…

Ryan and I both work full time, but my job is a lot more flexible than his. So getting our daughter up and ready and to daycare in the morning and back home again at night has fallen to me 95% of the time. Ryan’s been unemployed since December 1st (his company moved to Memphis) so in this interim, he’s been home and more available, which is amazing. Throughout this time, my job has been more demanding and I’m either leaving earlier or getting home past bedtime, so he’s been handling lots of the Josie things.

Here’s the hard part to unpack.  I’m feeling extremely grateful to Ryan for stepping up in this way when he can.  I’m grateful for the time off he’s had and the extra hours we’ve had with him around the house.  But my first impulse is to feel guilty and apologize to him because he has to do these things. 

thankful

First, the guilt.  I don’t know where this comes from, because I’ve never been a fan or a victim of “mommy guilt.”  Anytime I leave Josie for almost any reason, the most guilt I feel is that I don’t feel guilty for leaving.  Especially since lots of the times I’ve left her for any length of time, it’s been for vacations or time away that fills me to the brim, which in turn, makes me a better mom. (Self-Care!  Hello!)  Is the guilt over Ryan getting Josie up, ready, and out the door because I feel like it’s “not his job”?  Or it’s a “mom thing”?  I don’t know.

Second, the impulse to apologize.  Note: I said impulse, not that I once actually apologized for any of this out loud.  And also to note, Ryan NEVER made me feel like he was even owed an apology. He loves his tiny one.  People!  There’s nothing to apologize for in this situation.  Ryan is her father, not some guy who’s doing me a favor by “playing house” every now and again.

And I know I’m not alone in this.  I put this out to an online self-care group I’m a part of and I got lots of responses from women that said they do the same thing but can’t truly identify why.

So here’s what I started doing in my brain: 

  • Re-framing the situation: As I said above, Ryan’s her father, and every part of raising her falls to him just as much as it falls to me. Enough said there, but that’s tough to always keep top of mind when we tend towards more traditional roles in the family (Me: cooking, cleaning, laundry…Him: outdoor chores, house maintenance, spider killing).
  • Voicing my gratitude: I started telling Ryan THANK YOU for doing all of the things he did. That’s way better than hearing SORRY a million times for no reason.  And who doesn’t love to be on the receiving end of gratitude instead of negativity!
  • Allowing myself space to feel awesome: Keep pushing away negative thoughts. I didn’t love missing all the time I did with my family, but it was easy to leave knowing that Ryan and Josie were having awesome daddy daughter bonding times.  And fun to fall more in love with the guy I married, who does love his family in lots of great ways.
daddy-daughter
Throwback to the cutest Daddy Daughter picture!  Oh, the good ole days of baby-open-mouth-kissing!  Photo credit: the fabulous Tina Cornett Photography (Nashville friends, check her out!)

The good news is that it’s becoming easier and easier in this particular situation to show gratitude and not apologize.  However, it opens up a whole other realm of noticing when I apologize for things that I don’t need to!  (Flash back to why I sucked at radio sales: Me: Here’s a list of sponsorship packages I think would really be great for you.  [Client hesitating for .3 seconds]  Me: Everything’s negotiable. Never mind.  I’ll show myself out.) 

Why do I feel apologetic for voicing my needs?  Why does guilt stop me from communicating my desires or expectations?  These are all questions I’ve been rolling around in my brain lately.  I wish I had some wisdomous thought to tie this post in a perfect little bow, but like I said, I’m just starting to work through this.  What are your thoughts?  Can we just commit to working on this together?   Can we talk about it below?

When Your Dreams are Delayed

My plan was to run a sprint triathlon.  Two, actually.  Plus, I wanted to get certified as a group fitness instructor so I could return to my glory days of teaching step aerobics!

aerobics

Then one day, I was sitting at my kitchen table and turned my upper body to see who was walking in my front door, when BOOM!  I tore a ligament in my shoulder.  (Isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?  The absolute stupidest way to sustain an injury?)

And thus began the summer of pain.  Of nursing a bum arm while carrying a toddler and a diaper bag and a work suitcase and a wounded spirit.

Here I was, without my main source of self-care – training for a race!  See, when my self-care stops, I’m the absolute worst version of myself.

By the time we figured out my shoulder was torn, and that surgery would be the best option, I found out I was pregnant!  Great news…just poorly timed!

big-sister

So now I wait.  The tri season has passed me by.  First trimester nausea and fatigue have set in.  My shoulder still gives me trouble.

What do you do when you have to wait on some dreams?

  1. Dig a little deeper: What’s hiding underneath the dream?  For me, it’s a desire to help women achieve healthy relationships with themselves and those around them – specifically through fitness and self-care.  Figuring that out helped my patience!
  2. Don’t force open doors that are closed: I spoke with the group fitness leader at my gym, and she said I could just apply and get trained to be cycling instructor (they are always in need of the early morning instructors. Yay!)  But when I got pregnant, I had to face the facts.  As a fatigued mother of a 2-year-old, growing a human in the dead of winter, I would not be able to tear myself out of bed at 5 a.m. in the snow and the cold to teach a spin class.  Let’s be serious.  Keep the door closed.
  3. Worship while you wait: What I mean is, while I’m waiting I can still takes steps towards my dream!  I can impact women with storytelling on a blog!  I jumped at the chance to co-host a new radio show on the most listened-to station in Indy!  I created an at-home pregnancy fitness plan to begin as soon as I believe I could do it without barfing.  And these decisions are in themselves an act of worship to the God who created me for the dreams I have now and those I don’t even see yet.

Whatever you do (I’m talking to myself here), don’t let the pause button actually power you down.  Carry on my friend!  Your dream-come-true day is coming!

 

You Learned All of That from a Sprinkler?

Yep.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.  This rush of wonderful feelings.  And I wished I could stop time.

My husband and I set the sprinkler up for my almost-2-year-old daughter Josie for the first time ever.  We stripped her down to her diaper (and eventually stripped that as well), and helped her enjoy cheap summer fun.

josie-sprinkler-edited

So as we ran back and forth, she learned her teapot could catch some of the water, and that sometimes the sprinkler doesn’t show mercy, and I just stood there in the back yard, soaked and happy, and realized a million things at once.  Here are just a few!

I hope, as a mother (and a human), I remember to:

  • Be Present! Nothing was distracting me from this fun, and I’m so glad I didn’t think that checking my Facebook feed was more important.
  • Be a Kid at Heart! Sure, there’s more hours in the day that I have to be the parent, but when I get to be a kid with my kid, YES!  I ran through the sprinkler and giggled more times than she did.  And I was probably more disappointed when we had to shut the thing off.
  • Be Adventurous! Adventure might be as small as putting on a swimsuit and running through a sprinkler with my kids, or as big as chasing dreams and exploring the whole wide world, but in any case, I want to keep reaching for it.  What’s more, I want to instill a sense of adventure in my daughter.

all-done-in-love-sprinkler

2 quirky things, and 1 real thing that brings me JOY

What brings you joy?

I’m not talking the big picture JOY, just the little everyday moments of joy that you can pick out from the chaos and feel slightly okay about life (that’s the bare minimum – hopefully, it’s not that bad!)

These are the important things, the milestone moments in each day.  Some are felt deep, and some are just silly.

My quirky joys include:

Opening a new jar of peanut butter.  There’s something about that first scoop with the knife, and the many possibilities that one action can create, artistically speaking.  The first time it happened to me (or the first time I noticed the pure awesomeness of this occasional occasion), I thought to myself automatically – it’s going to be a great day!  And guess what?!  That was almost 15 years ago, and now every time I open a new jar of peanut butter, I say to myself, IT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY!

Drinking coffee from my Scotty’s mug.  I ordered coffee once at Scotty’s Brewhouse. (Special shout out to the Totchos!  My life has been changed forever since discovering I could dip tater tots into nacho cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, bacon, and sour cream.  I digress).  I fell in love with the mug!  It’s not especially pretty to look at, but I just liked how thick it was, and how the coffee slid over the rim into my mouth. Anyway, every morning that I reach into the cupboard and grab that mug among all the others, I say, IT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY!

And speaking of coffee – that brings me to my real joy.

Drinking coffee from a real mug (not a travel mug) at my kitchen table, while my world is still sleeping. After I became a mom, I quickly discovered that alone time comes at a premium, and by the end of the day, that alone time means I’m escaping my life to venture into the lives of my favorite Office or HIMYM characters.  Fun, but not exactly refreshing or re-energizing.  Now, I set my alarm a little early every morning to make sure I get a full cup in before the babe stirs.  I create the space in my day to set my mind on the day ahead.  To say a prayer or fit in a little devotion time.  10 minutes is all I need to make a difference in my whole day.  Life-changing stuff.

I’m a firm believer that the more we look for joy, the more we find it – in the extraordinary and in the mundane.  And the more we find joy, we find ourselves!