Baby, family

Even “Big Kids” Need Mommy

Malachi 4:6a

He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their parents;

“You never spent time with just me anymore.”

He broke my heart.  In my rearview mirror, the look on his innocent toothless-grin face pleaded for my undivided attention.  Then the baby started to cry, and he reached over to soothe her.

He loves his baby sister.  Never once has he been resentful or jealous of her neediness.  He has such a helpful, kind heart for our new family member.  He begged for a sister.  He is a proud big brother.

But, he’s my first baby.  He was my one and only.  For the first five years, it was us against the world.  Us against the expectations.  And, we blew them out of the water.

Then God blessed us with a husband and a daddy.  And, he’s pretty awesome.

Then in June, our family grew by one more.

In my mind, I was still just a mother and a wife.  I spent the last month working on The Husband Project.  I made sure that I didn’t neglect my role as wife.  That’s the role I’ve been told gets neglected.

But, in the midst of being a “new” mom, I forgot to be a mom.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys are stuck in the middle.  Not yet a teenager, but not a baby anymore.  He can feed himself.  He can dress himself.  But, I forgot that this little independent person still needs me.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys need attention, even when they don’t cry and fuss.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys need conversation, even when it is about the design of his next birthday cake.

Tonight, I’m taking my little man out on a date.  Daddy is watching the baby so it will be just him and me.  One-on-one – to talk about spelling tests and Lego sets.. the things that really matter at this age.

Lord, thank you for blessing me with these beautiful kids.  Give me the wisdom and strength to raise them and teach them about your grace. Help me to remember to take time to love on them as individuals.  Amen.

 

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

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family

Husband Project: Week 3

This week was a lot tougher – I didn’t even get to do all of the projects.  I have noticed, though, that I’m redoing some of the projects from the first week, subconsciously.  I’m making a more conscious effort to “gossip” about him, wear something to impress him, and to pray for him more often (check out the new blog series, Revive Your Marriage, written by some of my favorite bloggers!).

Project 15:  What Not to Wear

Since the demise of my nursing bras, I’ve been trying to part with some worn-out favorites.  If I find something with a hole in it (not a mendable-ripped-seam kind of hole, but a worn -through-the-fabric kind of hole), I throw it away.  It’s tough to say goodbye to some oldies-but-goodies that have been in my closet for years.  I’ve been wearing my black cardigan, hole worn in the elbow, with the sleeves pushed up to hide the hole.  No black cardigan I find seems as comfortable or as well-fitting, but enough is enough.

Project 16:  Is It Getting Hot in Here–Or Is It You?

I remember my parents kissing goodbye everysingletime one of them left the house.  For some unknown reason, kissing isn’t part of our routine.  I’m just not touchy-feely.  I’ve been trying to be more affectionate.  I try to kiss him goodbye and kiss him goodnight (when I remember).  And, honestly, I feel so much closer to him and so much more in love.

Project 17:  Playing Hooky

I’ve been working in the evenings.  DH works during the day.  It’s great because we save on daycare costs, but it’s tough to give him some “time to himself”.  The first couple of days we were both back to work, DH stayed up late playing video games.  Usually, I would try to get him to come to bed, but instead, I gave him this chance to de-stress.  I’m still trying to arrange a night where he can come home and relax while I take care of everything else.

Project 18:  Dinner’s on Me

Like I said, I work at night and DH works during the day.  My best friend and her husband have done this since they were married — and I honestly don’t know how they do it!  We both want, so badly, to go out for the evening, eat at a restaurant, and just talk.  It’s only been two or three weeks since we’ve gone out, but it feels like an eternity.  I’m hoping we get a chance to go out this weekend.

Project 19:  The Service Here is Excellent

Today, I’m going to tidy up our room.  Rooming with a newborn means we have three-times the clothes, the blankets, and the socks that seem to hide in every corner.

Project 20:  Post-it Notes, Man’s Greatest Invention

We’re both exhausted.  We’re up late with the baby.  DH gets up early to get ready for work, while I feed the baby and desperately try to sneak a few extra Zzz’s.  I had every intention of leaving him notes in his car this week, but no motivation to get out of bed in the morning.  This one is still on my to-do list.

Project 21:  Car Chases and Karate Chops

DH has wanted The Jerusalem Countdown for the longest time.  We bought the movie last week, but DH says he hasn’t been in the mood to watch it yet (back to school is so stressful for us).  Last night, when I usually complain, whine, turn over, and go to sleep, I actually stayed up and watched King of the Hill with him.  Honestly, the show isn’t nearly as awful as I made it out to be.  DH fell asleep, so we only watched one episode, but I’m going to yield remote control more often.

 

So, the project is over.  But not for me.  I still have unfinished plans and bigger-and-better plans for some of the projects.  I really enjoyed the book and the challenges.  In this new season of our lives, when everything seems hectic, crazy, and unorganized, this project was a much-needed chance to reconnect and grow together.  I would recommend it to all of my married friends 🙂 and I can definitely see myself doing the project again in the future.

 

This post is part of the Husband Project Series.
Make sure you check out all three weeks!
Week 1Week 2, and Week 3

family

Husband Project: Week 2

It was the last week of our summer vacation!!  Which meant DH had a lot of his own plans that interfered with my project plans, but oh well!!  I had things planned all week but almost everything got pushed to Friday.  We had a lot of fun as a family this week, though!!

Project 8:  Location, Location, Location

I wanted to cook his favorite meal and eat it picnic style, outside.  DH wanted to go to Friendly’s and get a Buffalo Chicken Supermelt.  So that’s what we did!!

Project 9:  Hi-ho, Hi-ho

All week long, I tried to watch for ways to help him.  I came up with nothing.  He spent most of the week helping ME get the house back in order before everyone headed back to school.  I’m so blessed 🙂  His first day back was Friday, and he didn’t get a chance to take the garbage out before he rushed off to work.  Finally a chance to help him!!  I took the garbage out (which I do occasionally on busy Fridays), but this time, I didn’t text him to tell him that he forgot or that I took care of it.

Project 10:  Dress to Impress

I made sure that I actually got up and got dressed this week.  There were too many days this summer spent in PJs.  It’s nice once in awhile, especially on sleepless nights with a newborn, but I was feeling lazy, sloppy, and gross.  I was also pretty excited to go through my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, so I tried to wear something cute everyday.

Project 11:  Stress-Be-Gone

I tried, and tried, and tried to find something that causes him stress.  Everything I thought of was something that causes ME stress.  And, since he was on a cleaning spree this week, he took care of most of those himself.  Money is probably the biggest stressor I know of, so we talked about it, a lot.  We talked about how worry and faith don’t mix.  We talked about how God takes care of us.  I do the budgetting (hooray, math skills) I let him know where we stand (how much we saved on groceries since my post-partum freezer cooking session!!!), and he asked if we could go out for dinner together on Friday night.  That’s a big deal for him, because spending money in a restaurant is tough when he’s stressing about money.

Project 12:  Gotcha!

He had a hard time leaving us on Friday to go to work.  I think he came back in to say good-bye three or four times!!  I told him I think he’s a great daddy and that we are so proud of him.

Project 13:  On My Mind

Since Friday was his first day back, I took a few quiet moments at different times during the day to pray for him, his work, his students, our marriage, our children… but mostly just  saying a big THANK YOU for being blessed with such an amazing guy.

Project 14:  Move Over Rachel Ray

I made him some General Tso’s (finally!!).  It was yummy, and just as time consuming as I remembered, but still yummy nonetheless.  The prayer for today was, “Dear God, I pray that my husband knows my love for him by my efforts not just the results.”   AMEN!!  He asks for this dinner almost weekly, and I always find a way to push it to next week.  I’m glad I took the time to make it this time.

Bonus Project:  A Gift for Both of You

My nursing bras are already starting to fall apart.  Not that they were too sexy to begin with, but they were in pretty bad shape.  Before our dinner date, we went shopping, and I got some new ones, in fun colors (actually, his favorite colors).  He hates that I wear clothes until they fall apart, so it always makes him happy to see me buy new clothes.  I was super uncomfortable in the old ones, and the new ones are cute– added bonus!!

 

This post is part of the Husband Project Series.
Make sure you check out all three weeks!
Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3

family

Husband Project: Week 1

I picked up the book,  The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man–on Purpose and with a Plan, a few months ago– one for me and one for my best friend (she agreed to be my accountability partner for the project).  It didn’t take me long to read the book, or to think of ideas for each day.  But, I wanted to wait until we had settled into our new “family-of-four” routine before I started.  (And, I wanted to fit into my old jeans for one of the projects!!)  I wanted to do all 21 days at once, without missing a day or taking a break.

The baby is eight weeks old, so I think I’ve waited long enough!

 

Day 1:  30 Minutes Is All It Takes

I had a meeting after church, so he took the kiddos home.  This is how I found him when I got home two hours later…  I was starving, and normally I’d wake him and do the “What are you hungry for? I don’t know, what are you hungry for?” dance.  But, I let him rest for 30 minutes, instead.  I made his favorite sandwich, with some of his favorite snacks:  chopped ham, swiss cheese, mustard, baby carrots, and pretzels.

 

Day 2: Back in the Day

We used to fish together a lot.  When we were dating, I bought a pink fishing rod, got my fishing license for the first time, and learned that sun fish will stab you if you don’t hold them right.  Two years ago, my in-laws bought us fishing licenses as a Christmas gift.  We didn’t use them.  Not even once.  We planned to, but something would always come up.  So, when my uncle invited us to go fishing at his pond we happily accepted!!

I caught more fish than he did 🙂  I even caught a catfish so big that it snapped my line!  But, I don’t like to take the fish off the hook after I catch them, so I have to yell for help every time I catch a fish and DH has to gets to rescue me.  Most of the day, I sat with the baby, reading my book, and I let him relax and enjoy the quiet.

Day 3:  You da’ Man

Proverbs 31:11-12 says, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  This is something I struggle with, a lot.  It’s easy to not bring him harm, but am I always bringing him good?  All the day of his life?  I’ve been working on this:  complimenting him both in front of and behind his back.

Unfortunately, DH caught the stomach bug that I had over the weekend.  We got home from a long day of errand-running and grocery shopping, and he headed straight to bed.  I tidied-up the house, packed up the kids, and left him some peace-and-quiet.  We stopped at McDonald’s for some Family Night $2 Happy Meals, and then we headed to my parents’ house for the evening.  While I was talking to my parents, I noticed that I was doing it again– not building my husband up with my conversations.  I remembered the day’s project and made a conscious effort to change my attitude.

Day 4:  Heart vs. Stomach

A food project?  Did I mentioned my husband has the stomach flu?  Just the thought of candy would have made him sick.  In this case, the stomach won.  I picked him up some Chocolate Cow Tails later in the week.  He was watching the baby while I made a quick grocery trip.  He was so frazzled when I got home, so he really appreciated the treat!

Day 5:  E-flirt.com

This worked out perfectly.  DH had to go to work on Thursday for a training (our first day apart for awhile!).  I sent him a quick “miss you” text around lunch time.  I think it made a good pick-me-up during his boring seminar!!

Day 6:  A Little Hands-on Attention

Our son had a sleepover at my grandparents’ house, so we got to sleep in later than usual.  We spent the morning snuggled in bed while the rain poured outside.  It was nice to relax together!

Day 7:  Trophy Wife

I wore my pre-pregnancy jeans for the first time in 11 months.  Enough said.

Bonus Project:  Do Your Homework

I’m reading Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman.  We listened to a set of audio CDs from Dr. Leman during our premarital counseling — and we both loved them.  I’m not finished with the book, yet, but I really like it so far!!

 

This post is part of the Husband Project Series.
Make sure you check out all three weeks!
Week 1Week 2, and Week 3

family

Meltdown

That photo sums up my evening pretty well.  BEFORE the magnet melted, it hung on my range, to remind me “GREASE FIRE:  Turn Off Heat.  Cover Utensil With Lid.”  Just so you know, the reminder magnet does no good if it’s on fire.

I have been miserable with allergies & asthma for the last few days.  I came home to a messy house, full of things too heavy for me to move alone (28 weeks pregnant tomorrow!).  There was so much clutter that I couldn’t sit down on either couch.

So I started to clean.

There I was stomping around, huffing and puffing, being a martyr about the housework, If I have to go to work, why do I have to clean the house all by myself?  How will I be able to take care of another child on top of all of this without help?

My husband arrived home, sick, and promptly went up to lie down.  I felt my martyrdom creeping back up.  My feet are swollen, my back hurts, and I can’t breath.  I just spent my evening cleaning and now I’m cooking.   — but I bit my tongue and he trudged up the stairs.

My son and I had a lot of fun cooking – chopping artichokes, squeezing the mayonnaise bottle, and sneaking pinches of Parmesan cheese from the artichoke chicken topping!  I added a tablespoon of oil to stainless steel skillet and put it on the stove to heat up for “1-3 minutes” (per the directions in the recipe).  We continued “tenderizing” the chicken, and having a little too much fun.

My amazingly gifted seven-year-old photographer snapped this one while we cooked.

The next thing I knew my son was yelling, “MOM! SMOKE!”  I ran to the stove to move the skillet to a cool burner and it burst into flames.  I screamed for my husband.. and screamed again… and again.  In the meantime the smoke detector went off and my son ran upstairs to get my husband.

There it was again.  Martyrdom.  Why didn’t he come down sooner?  Why wasn’t he there to help me?  I didn’t say anything — we worked together to open windows and get the smoke out, then my husband went back up to lie down.

At least I’m improving…  I kept my thoughts to myself and avoided an pointless argument with my husband.  But, inside, it felt like a meltdown.  I felt so stressed and helpless.  Negative thoughts build in my mind until it overwhelms me.  But, the only person I was thinking about was me.

James 4:6-7 says “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  

God favors the humble.  

  • I am too proud.  I need to remember that I am human; a human who makes mistakes.
  • My son just wanted to play.  I need to remember I’m raising a human; a human who makes mistakes.
  • My husband just needed to rest.  I need to remember that I married a human; a human who makes mistakes.    

I love and care for both my husband and son, but did a horrible job of showing it today.  I’m going to be doing my best to think about their feelings and motives before I get upset (to avoid another meltdown).

How do you deal with the feeling of being helpless when homemaking becomes overwhelming?  What has been your best idea to keep from becoming overwhelmed?

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment, make my day!!
devotions, dinner, family, resolutions

New Years Resolution Check-Up: Dinner as a Family

My New Year’s Resolution was to eat dinner together around the dining room table.  
I cook dinner most nights of the week and we do eat together as a family every night.  However, most of the time it’s in the living room, off the tray table, in front of the TV.  But, the important part is that we are still eating together.
Why I want to do it:
Statistics show that eating as a family lowers all kinds of risk factors in kids:  risk of being overweight, risk of eating disorders, risk of drug and alcohol abuse… the list goes on and on.  My primary reason for choosing this resolution is more selfish:  I have my great-grandmother’s antique dining room table and six antique chairs purchased from our church… and I LOVE antiques.  I’d love to put them to use!!!  I also have great memories from growing up and eating at the table every night.  Dinner was served at 5:00 pm.  We always had a meat, potato, and vegetable.  We always sat in the same chairs.  We all helped clear the table.  Mom cooked.  Dad washed the dishes.  One of the kids set the table while the other one got everyone drinks.  The event was filled with tradition for us.  And, I would like for my children to experience something similar.
Eating at the table forces us into a routine:  setting the table, eating, clearing the table.  Without a routine, the work doesn’t get done.  The kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes and the table is cluttered.  

Eating at the table (and preparing to eat at the table) promotes teamwork and responsibility.  You can’t really teach a child to “set the table” when dinner is served buffet-style and eaten from a seat on the couch.  

Eating at the table encourages communication between family members.  It’s far too easy to sit in silence in front of the tv– but our dinner table is always filled with heated discussions.

Spark the conversation:One thing we started doing as part of this resolution is to use the “question jar” idea.  You fill a jar with conversation starting questions and each night you pick one out.  I recently attended the Real World Parents Seminar where I learned about a twist on this idea.  Mark Matlock has categorized 55 of the Proverbs into different themes and has created a card for each Proverb in the Wisdom Deck.  As a family, you can discuss which theme you think the Proverb belongs in and why, if it belongs in more than one, if you agree with what the card says, etc.  So, not only are you sparking conversation at the dinner table, but you’re also exploring scripture!!

Do you do devotions as a family?  When do you do it?  Do you use a devotions book?
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