Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Resurrection Day!

Today changes everything.

It is the single most profound, important day for mankind. It changed the course of history. It changed the direction of my life and yours.

The cross is the common symbol for Christianity, and rightly so. At the cross, the work of Jesus was finished. He bore our sickness, our sorrows, our pain, our sin and shame so we would no longer have to carry it.

But that's not where the story ended. And there is an empty tomb to prove it.
"Because I live, you also will live." —Jesus (John 14:19)

This was the theme verse today at our church's Easter service. I love that this day isn't just about the fact that Jesus lives. That in itself is a glorious truth that makes my heart sing. But he didn't just do it for his own glory. He lives so that we can live. I mean, really live. Be fully alive and present, not weighed down by the cares of this world, but as overcomers, victors. Co-heirs in an eternal kingdom. 

Is there a part of you that needs to come alive? Lost hopes or dreams that you've silenced or buried under a mountain of stress and worldly burdens? Let Jesus breathe his new life into you!

Happy Resurrection Day!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A SAHM's life is the life for me.

This morning, asked me if I minded being called a stay-at-home mom (Or, SAHM, if you’re into that sort of thing). I love Babycenter’s knack for asking me questions that I was just asking myself recently (get out of my head, BC!).

I don’t really care whether what I do labels me as a stay-at-home mom (except that I would go crazy if I literally had to stay at home all the time). What does bother me is the general perception of what SAHMs actually do. It seems so many people think being a stay-at-home mom makes me spoiled, self-indulgent, unmotivated, uneducated or lazy, but I’m none of those things. Neither am I a daytime TV addict. I don’t even have cable!

I frequently get snippy comments from some working moms (another term I don’t particularly care for) about how they “work full-time, so they can’t x” or that they “don’t have the luxury of staying at home.” I had one person tell me, “Well, you have to think about the parents who actually work.”

Honestly, I didn’t realize my life was so luxurious. We make a ton of sacrifices so that I can be the person who raises our children. And while the term “stay-at-home mom” implies that I have a somewhat passive role, it’s anything but easy.

When I worked a full-time graphic design job, I would enter the office in the morning with some sort of game plan laid out for me. I had a pretty good idea of my daily workload and what my day would look like. I had stimulating conversations with educated adults all day long. I had plenty of great lunch dates with friends for mental breaks. I trained and supervised other employees who made quick, tangible progress. I received awards and recognition for a job well done.

Now, I am responsible for planning out every minute of every day so that my son and I remain productive. All day long I have conversations with a person whose vocabulary I can count on my fingers. Explaining simple tasks such as how to sit on a blanket requires thinking in the same realm as an 18-month-old. I wear the hats of a nurse, a chef, a financial planner, a penny-pincher, and a housekeeper, and I may not even get so much as a hug out of it at the end of the day. And just when I think I’ve gotten some things figured out, everything changes because my son has hit another developmental milestone. Doing what I do can be pretty isolating, and it’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had.

I’m certainly not complaining! I love my son so incredibly much and treasure my time with him. My life is extraordinary, but it’s not luxurious. We don’t opt for me to care for our kids because we can afford it. Because my husband and I feel it’s the right thing for our family, we make it work and trust God to provide for our needs. And we do without A LOT.

I honestly admire women who can have a successful, thriving career and then come home and keep their house in order and still make adequate quality time for their children. I seriously don’t know how they do it! From the moment I had my son, something inside me changed. I knew right then that there was no way I could still give 100% at my job AND be an excellent, engaged wife and mom. I didn’t have what it takes to do both. Sacrifices would be made somewhere, and corners would end up being cut. So I gave up the thing I knew I could live without.

But it’s worth it to me to be the one who teaches my child his colors or sees him walk or clap for the first time. It’s worth it to be able to introduce him to new activities and experiences that expand his mind and excite him. It’s worth it to stretch myself—creatively, spiritually, physically and mentally—because I’m devoting my time to raising up Godly men. It’s a thankless, misunderstood job sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Yesterday marks the 30-week point in my pregnancy, and I have to be honest, I’ve been so restless lately! The third trimester has hit me like a ton of bricks: I’m exhausted again, I’m starting to be pretty uncomfortable, and frequent sciatica flare-ups and aches are abrupt reminders that it’s time to slow down…and I hate having to slow down! I’m ready not to be pregnant anymore; thankfully, my doctor suspects Riley will come around the 37-38 week mark (Liam was born the day I hit 38 weeks), so that only leaves a couple more months to prepare for our newest addition. This week, we found this rug for his room, and I got started on some artwork for the walls:

Easter is probably my favorite holiday, and I’ve enjoyed getting into the spirit this year. My family celebrates Easter as a time to reflect upon the sacrificial and victorious account of Jesus, and in honor of the resurrection, I’ve been listening to this gem that was recorded live at our church back in September. Such a powerful album! Get it on iTunes here, or visit the Web site here.

I love the spiritual symbolism of Easter eggs, and I’d been searching with no luck to find a community egg hunt that would be appropriate for children under 2, so we held one at our house for Liam’s little friends. Only, the weather was yucky outside…so we moved it indoors! What a fun, crazy time! (Although Liam was more excited about eating blueberry muffins than hunting eggs.)

For refreshments, I decided to try a new twist on orange juice with a new recipe for sunrise punch that’s perfect for a breakfast or brunch get-together. It was delicious! If you'd like to try it, just mix together a 46 oz. can of pineapple juice, a 12-oz can of frozen OJ concentrate, and a 2-liter of ginger ale. It's so easy to make.

Our Wednesday morning Baby Praise class also had a small egg hunt this morning during class time. I think Liam had fun, although this time, he was so overjoyed to run around outside that I had to help him focus on hunting eggs.

P.S. Don't you just love his new blazer and hat my mom bought him? I know it's spring, but his new duds are perfect for the cold weather we've been having, and he wears them so well! And who can resist elbow patches on a little boy? 

My husband has the day off Friday, so we're hoping to do something special with Liam. At this point in my pregnancy, reality is hitting me that there won't be too many more moments just the three of us, so I really want to make the most of these next precious weeks with Liam. Did any of you moms feel bittersweet emotions about adding to your brood? What did you do to make the transition easier for your firstborn?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A stick and a rock.

I love that my son doesn't need flashy toys or expensive technology to be creative!

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous outside, so we headed to the park for about two hours in the afternoon. The park in Trussville is really cool; three separate playgrounds with a surplus of slides and swings, climbing structures, etc. What did my kid want to do? Well, he ran around the perimeter track, chasing leaves in the wind, until he found a suitable stick and a rock. And he didn't let go of either. Who needs fancy playground equipment when you have a stick and rock?

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with technology. While I don't know how I ever lived without my iPhone, I refuse to use it much around Liam, and I don't let him play with it, either. It just feels like this villain that tries to attack my quality family time, and I don't want to teach my son to be glued to the phone when he's older. So I'm overjoyed when I see my son using his imagination to turn a boring old stick into a sword, a broom, a walking cane, and whatever else he was using it for that I couldn't figure out. 

That beloved stick brought out a mama bear moment in me, by the way. At one point I watched as an older boy grabbed Liam's stick right out of his hand and replace it with the boy's pitiful little twig he was playing with. Liam handled it like a champ; he just accepted the twig as his new toy, but some protective instinct came out of me. 

I looked at my friend (and new mom!) and said (very loudly, where the boy could hear me), "Did you see that kid take Liam's stick?" 

That caught the boy by surprise, and he looked at me. I said to him, "Well, that wasn't nice. Are you going to give it back?" 

Well, I must have scared him, and luckily his mom was already in the car getting ready for them to leave, so he ran off, stick in hand, to the car. That was probably best. I couldn't believe that came out of my mouth! Maybe I should have taken my cue from Liam and just let it go, or maybe it was the pregnancy that had removed my filtering system. Or maybe, as a mom, I wanted to use the opportunity to teach another kid proper playground manners. I'm usually quick to encourage Liam to get over it when someone acts in an unfair way toward him, but I was defending him before I even knew what was happening!

Have you ever had a mama bear moment like that? I'd love to know I'm not crazy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Liam Lately...

Happy 18 months, Liam!

I’m sitting in my room drinking (decaf) coffee, and I can hear Liam in the kitchen during his playpen time talking on a pretend phone (a truck, clapper instrument, toy remote, or just his hand—anything is a phone these days!). This is his conversation:

“Hello? Yeah.

Huh? Oh, yeah yeah yeah.

Ooooh! Yeah yeah."

*babbles through a question*

*laughs hysterically*

"Huh? Oh, yeah yeah yeah."

*laughs and babbles some more*

"Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bye. Bye……..Bye." 

Gosh, I wonder who he is talking to, and what in the world they are talking about!

It seems like just last week we were celebrating at Liam’s first birthday party, but yesterday we were at his 18-month checkup…where does the time go? He is growing up so fast that it’s becoming harder to keep up with all the changes, so here is a snapshot of Liam lately: 

Stats: 21 lbs, 1 oz (he’s jumped from the 2nd percentile to the 13th!), 32.5 in. tall, staying consistently in the 60th percentile. (He’s built like his daddy!) 

Total teeth count: 12. He just got six teeth in the past six weeks, including four molars. 

Favorite character: Curious George. (“There’s that monkey!” is one of his current phrases.)

A close second: Elmo. My mom introduced them. (He calls him “Melmo.”) 

Favorite foods: breakfast! Muffins, multigrain waffles, whole wheat cheese toast, oatmeal, bananas, pancakes, and Greek yogurt (“Go gur”). He’s going through a picky phase, but I can always count on him to enjoy breakfast foods. He also loves Chick Fil A nuggets. (Who doesn’t?) I’ve started making fruit and veggie smoothies with yogurt and multigrain cereal to fill in the gaps in his diet. 

What he’s saying: Mama, Daddy, Pawpaw, Laney, Rudy (his uncle), bye, hello, bubbles, yogurt, water, waffles, banana, thank you, more, ball, baby, yeah, Elmo, oatmeal, bear, squirrel, blue. And some phrases: “Bye, love you,” “There it is!” “Go go go,” “Clean up, clean up” 
What he’s signing: All done, more, thank you. (We’re still working on “please.”) 

Current obsession: dogs. He barks any time he sees a real dog, a picture of a dog, a stuffed dog, or even hears the word dog. The boy needs a puppy! 

Random: He does a mean downward dog, and he loves to “swim” in the bathtub (he glides on his stomach from one end to the other). No matter where he is or what he’s doing, the second he hears the garage door open in the evenings, he drops whatever’s in his hand, straightens up, and says “Daddy!” Then, he runs through the house to the basement door and stands there until his daddy comes up the steps. It’s adorable watching those two together!

What a fun age! Of course I think my son is the cutest in the world, and he’s got such a dynamic personality (which I think he gets from his mommy!). He’s definitely a flirt and a charmer and rarely has a shy moment. I can’t wait to see how he grows over the next six months and how he embraces life as a big brother.