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Showing posts from 2013

A Year of Learning

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If I had to sum up 2013 in one sentence, it'd be: A year of learning.


I've learned what it means to acknowledge my limitations and respect them in order to be a healthy person.
I've learned what it means to let go of self imposed expectations that are unrealistic and unyielding. 

I've learned what it means to accept, embrace, and love my child with a "special needs" diagnosis. I've learned that while his condition may affect some areas of his life, it is largely inconsequential to the amazing little boy he is.

I've learned that there are entirely too many kids fighting sickness, disease, poverty, enslavement, and other difficulties. I am praying for God to show me what I can do to help. Until then, I simply pray for them... 

I've learned to be honest with faults and share them with others.

I've learned to form amazing friendships with women I have yet to meet in person, but have a shared community of love and family through our similar life experien…

The Disconnect

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I never really saw her face.

From where I sat at Panera eating breakfast one morning last week, what I saw was the following: long, pretty, and stylish blonde hair. Complimentary accessories. Slender shoulders that led to a slender figure. And a trendy outfit. 

This is the conversation that ran through my head as saw the  back of this woman chatting with a companion. "Wow. I wish I slender like that. And her hair, its so long and pretty. My wardrobe has rarely looked as nice..."  Then followed, "I could look like that. I could work really hard, slim down, buy some new clothes. Then I would be a better me. A prettier and less frumpy me." "No, actually, then I'd be a version of her. I wouldn't be doing it because I want a better me. I'd be doing it because I'd be trying to look like her and what I believe is acceptable and pretty around me."

I have been lingering for days on my thought process that morning and the motivation behind my desire to…

Whiny Pants

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I complain entirely too much. I know I do. I'm sure somewhere out there in the FB world someone has chosen to hide all my whiny posts cluttering up their news feeds unnecessarily.

Can you blame them? I sure don't.
For those of you who read, respond, and encourage- thank you! 
I do so in part because- well- I've never been one to keep silent. Sometimes that is a blessing and other times it's a curse. That all depends on whoever is at the receiving of the conversation!
Sometimes I just want any mom out there like me, who feels like they'll lose it if they hear that musical toy play one more time, that they are not alone. I know I don't hear other moms whine or complain as much as I do and sometimes feel like a crazy-can't-get-it-together-mom. So I also share to commiserate with all you Mommas who LOVE your children and want to do right by them, but are going batty in the process! (Or you Dads, if that's the case)
Maybe I do complain too much about how exhausti…

Joel

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Sometimes my toddler drives me mad. I don't mean mad as in angry (though he does that also). I mean mad as in a bit crazy. This kid knows how to push my buttons and so he does on a regular basis. 

But, he's a toddler. That's what they do. They push buttons and test limits and boundaries. And it's my job to help define those for him. Over and over and over.
Occasionally though, I do what I ought to do more often. I take a step back and I look at Joel and the amazing little boy he is. This blog is not to complain about how tough the toddler years are. This blog is to recognize what  great kid he is and how proud I am to be his Mom.
Joel is compassionate. On occasion we'll be at a playground and some kid will get hurt (fall off swing, trip & fall, etc.). Usually, Joel stops, and with a look of concern I hear him as the kid, "you ok?"  The kid usually doesn't here him on account of his/her crying. So he asks again. After a second time of no response, Joe…

Inconsequential

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Our screen saver on our computer currently scrolls through photos and videos from our picture library.

A few days ago I stopped and watched footage and photos of Alvaro within minutes after his birth. I saw his little tiny face, wrinkly skin, and pouty lips. I longed to transport myself through the screen, pick up that 4 lbs 12.8 oz baby and hold him close, kiss his face, and just enjoy who he is.

I got sad as I thought about how sad, even devastated I was when I first found out he had Trisomy 21 (aka Down Syndrome). It was so unexpected. I had no idea what having a child with T21 meant for us, or for him. There was fear, anxiety, grief, and sorrow. I tried to force my heart to feel joy at the precious babe in my arms. All I felt was sadness and fear. And a fierce protectiveness to love this baby and allow him to be whoever God made him to be.

It's so strange, because now his T21 is so.... inconsequential. That's the best word that comes to mind. All the things I love about Alvar…

Obedience

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Sometimes, as I start looking back, I feel like God cornered me into a decision: obey or have it all fall apart.

I know, it sounds melodramatic. I'm sure I am being melodramatic. Despite that, here are the events that lead to that thought. This series of events all happened at the same time so to speak.

The pressure of keeping up with a new job was too much. I felt too distracted to be doing a good job at work, too busy at work to take care of my kids and home properly, and too fearful of letting down my new boss and my family by admitting I could not handle both. I was struggling with the fear of admitting failure....so I tried to work harder than ever at both, all the while compromising the ability to serve well in either arena. My current childcare situation would be changing shortly. The changes would dramatically increase and challenge what I could reasonably afford to pay for alternative solutions. The "backup plan" I had fell through. I felt stuck and sinking quick.…

Light in the Window

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Some weeks back I had the fortunate opportunity of going away for a Mom's retreat.

What I envisioned and expected was to spend a weekend with other Moms (of children who have special needs) in some sort of hotel or inn setting. Probably sharing a room. I also expected to have some sessions for crafting and talking and whatever my past experiences of retreats have been. 
I hadn't expected to experience a weekend of such luxury. There were only 4 of us women present and we stayed t a luxurious upscale home on the beach. We're talking private pool, hot tub, and beach access. Full body messages, delicious dinners, and a wonderful evening boat trip. All were amazing. But the most luxurious part of all was the invitation to rest. I was asked to lay my burdens down and just rest. I slept in. Breakfast and coffee awaited me when I awoke. I took a stroll on the beach alone with my thoughts. Oh it was a haven to say the least.
We each had our own room. The room I stayed in had a beauti…

Crying in the Closet

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The more I swap stories with other Moms, the more I hear about the fateful day, when they ended up hiding out in the closet in tears. This story echoes from the lips of many Moms who have been in my shoes, at home all day with little ones. At one point or the other, these  Mommas are inundated to the point of desperation. Overwhelmed, they crawl into the closet, shutting out the kids, the world, and the difficulties of life, and relieve their stresses with a good ole fashion cry.

I have yet to go into my closet for this fateful cry. I have been close many many times, mind you. Usually, I end up picking up the phone and asking for help in the middle of tears. Or I may shut down entirely, experiencing a temporary moment of despair or the like. The constant noise of Mickey Mouse Roadhouse, cars crashing into walls, whining and crying, and the cranky napless children that perpetuate these noises often leave me feeling exhausted beyond belief.

The most incredulous part is that I am not the o…

Attn Walmart Shoppers

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Dear Onlookers at Walmart, 

As you stare at me with judgment because my kid is having a royal meltdown, you are welcome to spend a day in my shoes.
My toddler is teething his 2nd upper molars. I invite you to offer him several meal options all day, all which will be refused, because he is in pain. I invite you to stand in line while he screams in your ear because you are attempting to purchase the only food you HOPE he will comsume.
I invite you to continue to wait in line while he wails and scream and cries because he's so hungry he can't snap himself out of it.
I then invite you to drive home with your ears still ringing from his royal meltdown.
If you prefer to reject my invitation and stick with your lot, which includes being inconvenienced by this experience for 5 minutes, then please reserve your dirty looks for someone else. 
They are most certainly not welcome here.

Reality Check

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I have never, for the most part, thought that being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) was an easy job. But now that I am one, I have discovered some misnomers I had about it.



I used to say, "I could never be a stay at home Mom... I'd go crazy with boredom! I'm the kind of person who always has to be doing something."  For any SAHM I had previously said that to, thank you for not slapping me right then and there! Thank you for putting up with my ignorant comments. I have learned there IS no time for boredom and I can rarely seem to FIND a minute to stop and do anything restful if I stumbled over it.

I am surprised by how quickly my day flies- and in segments. Segment 1.: Wake up entirely sooner than you ever wished for because the kids are up asking for milk and needing to be changed. Segment 2:  Holy crap! It's 10 already!! (This said after finally being able to change out of pj's and have a quick breakfast.) Segment 3:  I blink, and it's 12.30pm Segment 4:  My ser…

Swinging

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So I'm a bit of a scardy cat. 

I'm afraid of heights, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of palmetto bugs (aka HUGE ROACHES), afraid of failing, afraid of hurting or disappointing others.... you get the picture.
Bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing- you will not find those on my Bucket list- no sir-ee.
Needless to say, I've never swung from a rope and jumped into a lake. We'll put aside that I've never had the opportunity to do so. If I had, I would've turn it down.
A couple of weekends ago, I was on a retreat. We were on a boat ride from the Amelia Island harbor headed toward Cumberland Island. 
We passed some people goofing around on a boat. One guy was swinging around on a rope, looking as if he was going to dive off into the water. But he didn't. He was just goofing around. 
Back and forth he swung, holding on tightly. He hovered over the water without a boat beneath him. He then swung to the other side hovering over his friend as sat and watched him and even gav…

Freedom in Truth

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I went through a crisis of faith several years ago. 

I was angry at God. I wondered why and how my life could fall apart when I had dedicated it to serving him and sharing his love with others. 
I wasn't sure I trusted him. I believed He was real, but not so sure I wanted to be one of His followers. I was hurting and broken. 
So I did what many of us Christians populating the pews do on Sunday mornings: I hid. 
I didn't hide from God or avoid church attendance. I hid from what I perceived to be the judgement of everyone else. Too afraid to show my weakness and found wanting as a Christian, I plastered a disingenuous smile on my face.
People who knew me asked how I was. I said I was fine. That things were going well. I lied. I was sad, broken, hurting, and miserable. I was confused about what God wanted from me and disappointed about where I was in life. I isolated and withdrew from others.
I only shared my true feelings and state of being with very few. Mostly my sisters, my husband…

Under Water

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I took a deep breath and went head first underwater. I launched myself towards the bottom of the pool and started moving towards the other side. With my arms and legs I willed my body to move as quickly as
possible, all the while maintaining my held breath. Finally, as I opened my eyes and saw the bleary makings of the opposite end of the pool, I swam towards the surface and took a deep breath of fresh air once I reached it.

As I stood having successfully reached the other side, I thought about how long it had been since I had swam. Despite my efforts to swim fast and hard, I had forgotten about the weight and resistance of the water. I stood with arms and legs tired from my short sprint.
I've come to recognize that depression often feels like that same experience. I will body, mind, and heart to move through the motions of my life with familiar strokes. Instead of encountering ease, I find resistance that leads to a weariness I hadn't bargained for.
In my younger days, having ne…

Conspiracy

I'm beginning to think there is a conspiracy to keep me from sleeping. 
I'll review my last 3 hours and you can be the judge:
11.30 pm- Crawl into bed proud that I turned it before midnight.  Toss and turn for some time 12.40 am- wake up to my back pressed against something. 2 year old crawled in bed with us while we were sleeping. Toss and turn because 2 year old tosses and turns 1.15 am - ask hubby to return 2 year back to his own bed. Toss and turn to fall back asleep. 1.30 am - 7 mo old starts rousing on baby monitor 1.35 am- 7 mo old starts crying. Hubby goes to get baby  1.40 am- both children in tow- hubby found 2 yr old awake and in baby's crib, with baby! 1.45 am- prepare and give baby bottle 2 am- burp baby- put baby down for sleep 2.05 am- crawl into bed 2.06 am- 2 yr old tosses and turns bumping into me several times 2.10 am - baby starts making noises in bassinet 2.14 am - pat baby's back 2.16 am - crawl into bed  2.17 - get pushed around by tossing and turning 2 yr old 2…

Changes

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I wanted to entitle this blog: "When the Right Decision is the Hard Decision"  But - I don't like have long titles so I just entitled it Changes.

I resigned from a position at my [new] job this weekend. It's time for me to stay home to care for my children and household. 

I know its the right decision. In fact, it's the decision I want. The decision I have been coming to for probably some time, but was too scared to face.

If you're like me, fear can or has been the rudder that directs choices and decisions. I have been working on that not being the case for some time. But my default emotion when doing something new, that I or others are unsure of, is fear.

I am afraid of not being in control. I am afraid of what others think of me. I am afraid of disappointing others and letting them down. I am afraid of failing gloriously, miserably, or at all. Most of all I am afraid to admit that I can't do everything. That my capacities are limited and that I can not be a…

Twin Love

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"Do you honestly expect me to pay attention to every word you say?," my sister Arlene asked as she looked at me incredulously. I had just complained or whined that she hadn't listened or remembered something I had previously told her.

Before you jump to conclusions and think she was mean, the truth is she deserves compassion. All my family members do. Poor things. I talk ALOT. I talked even more when I was growing up. Always the chatter box. Always running my mouth. Regularly dominating conversations. That was me. And my poor family had no escape, especially not my older sister. We are 13 months apart, so she had been listening to me speak daily  from the day I developed my language skills until we no longer lived together (which was when I was 23!) Her question was as honest as they come. I couldn't blame her a bit and saw her point of view.

Needless to say, when she told me some weeks back that she loved to read my blogs, I was so honored. Here was someone who had mo…

The Phoenix

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For many people, thoughts of a phoenix evoke images of red, gold, and fire. For me, it evokes images of my sister, Johanna.
Let me explain.
Niki Fosters explains on www.wisegeek.com: “The phoenix is a legendary bird based in Egyptianmythologythat burns itself at the end of its life, followed by a new bird rising from the ashes. It is also extremely long-lived and able to heal itself spontaneously. The bird is a symbol of immortality, resurrection, and regeneration. In ancient times, it was incorporated into the mythologies of many cultures, and in the medieval period, it became a symbol of Christ.” 

In the Marvel Comic series, X-Men, we become acquainted with the fictional character of Jean Grey, a mutant with superpowers whose alias is “Phoenix.” Wikepedia describes Jean’s character formation as follows: “Under the authorship ofChris Claremontand the artwork of firstDave Cockrumand thenJohn Byrnein the late 1970s, Jean Grey underwent a significant transformation from the X-Men's wea…