Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crying Eyes

She stalks the bars, pouring out tears & cries, hungry eyes hunting for open arms, a full breast, a smile. Simple comforts. 

She sits alone in the dark, willing deafness to her ears and callous to her heart. Anything to stop the rending of her heart strings. Tears drip from her chin like cold, lonely raindrops falling to the ground after the thrill of the storm has abandoned them. Her arms tremble with the need to still the cries. "It's for the best ", she tells herself. A smoky tendril of a voice whispers from the shadows, "You're a terrible mother. It's cruel. Have you no heart?" She hangs her head, beaten down by doubt & confusion. She lists in her mind,"Clean diaper. Full belly. Nursed both sides. Tylenol for teething. Gas drops for bellyache. We sang. We hugged. We prayed. We gave goodnight kisses." There's nothing left. Nothing more to give. Nothing but exhaustion & weariness. Fifteen long minutes. She dreadfully enters the room. Secretly, joy peeks through the curtain of her soul. She longs to gather that tiny body to her own. Kisses. Pacifier. Blanket. She leaves the room, heavy as iron. Only increased screams. Another fifteen minutes. Math seemed painful in school, but this math stabs its leaded tip into the soul. 

She sinks to her knees. Fingers her soft, velvety giraffe. Picks up her pacifier and sucks the solace of it. It's not mommy. She cries her disappointment to the empty room. She feels heavy. So tired. Her eyes slide shut. Nodding. Drifting. A wail loses its grasp and slips turbulently through her rosy lips, piercing the momentary silence. She holds steady, braced by a pudgy, ladybug-garbed arm. 

With every few seconds of silence, her resolve grows. Then the call of the child-trumpet crumbles her walls. She rebuilds. Head held a little higher. Love. She loves that little person. She desperately seeks success & courage for that little soul. 

"That's so wrong. You're ruining your child. You're selfish. It's unnatural. They need touch. They'll feel abandoned. They're only little once." She knows the arguments of both sides. "Spare the rod... Crying won't hurt them. 
Self-comfort. You need time for yourself, for your marriage. Structure." Two truths. Torn. 

Lifting the child into her arms, she feels relief. Together, as one... As they began the journey. They settle into motion, and the babe suckles. The satisfying weight of a sleeping child cancels the weight of despair. 

Having her fill, she lies down peacefully, her little chest rising and falling with the tides of Dreamland's seas. 

Mommy crawls into bed feeling warm, fuzzy, and thoroughly defeated. Tomorrow will be better. Or will it? 

Imperfection is inherent in us all. Still we strive. We search. It's the beauty of the human soul, created to seek truth. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Flying with a baby

I've learned a few things about flying with a baby. Recently, we went to Wisconsin and flew with an eight-month-old. A few easy tips I learned:
* ERGO or comfy carrier. I bought a used ergo carrier the day before our flight. It was awesome, both for the airport & our destination. Baby could be close to mommy & even sleep while we dragged ourselves & luggage from gate to gate. It also helps to have two hands free for boarding & deplaning!

* Breastfeed as much as baby wants , especially on landing & takeoff.

* A window seat affords much more privacy for breast feeding and offers a little more entertainment without disturbing neighbors. 

* Do your best to change diapers just before boarding. 

* Changing diapers on your lap if there's two adults is much easier than using the lavatory (so gross). 

* Bring plastic bags for diapers.

* Bring nicely scented sanitizing hand wipes. They're great for wiping down trays, walls, and armrests. They can also act as an air freshener if you have a stinky baby! Phew!

* Don't stress about the crying. It's only a few hours of everyone's lives & we can all stand to live outside our comfort zones once in awhile. 

* That being said, I don't think it hurts to over-prepare a little. 

I brought Tylenol, teething tabs, ear drops from the doctor, gas drops, and a few new toys. Some people recommended Benadryl, but I have a pretty laid back kid. I only ended up giving her Tylenol, and that was a half hour before we boarded. 

She had a little pain, but nursing did the trick. 

I know there are a ton of other tricks, but these are the ones that helped me the most. 

There was a little baby two rows up from us and he screamed most of the flight. The parents were great from what I could tell. Poor, sweet baby. 

There's a HUGE difference between children in need & unruly parents

with minions! ;)

Just my two cents!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


We are having a snowstorm! At first I was expecting the typical light dusting that is washed away in a day or two by rain. Boy, was I wrong!


Thursday morning:

Thursday afternoon:

Thursday Night:

Showing Addie how to eat snow. 

She thinks her daddy is funny. 

Friday night:

Steve celebrated his snow day off from work by building a second home. 

Hope you all have a safe & warm weekend!

Friday, January 24, 2014


That's the acronym I repeated the entire walk today. 


I asked Steve to give us five words for a photo scavenger hunt. Here's what we found:

Green moss. 

Happy baby. 

Sharp plant/Bigsby Goes Punk. 

Sweet Home. Where Steve grew up.

Hobo. Lives in a park with her dog begging for money and has hat hair. We had to get a little creative for this one. 

Any creative ideas for our next walk??

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Urban Craft


Glorious, golden sunshine!

The single most valuable word in the Pacific Northwest in January. 

Addie & I took Biggs for a walk. More out of necessity than pleasure. However, we had a great time! It started out gray, windy, and glum. The first five minutes weren't fun, but once my legs warmed up and the wind died down, we found ambition. And warm sunshine!

I had heard of these Free Libraries. You can find one near you at the official website: http://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/

We found one near us!

We found a few other things on our walk:
• 1 orange & black striped bouncy ball
• 1 Golden Book (Little Free Library)

• 1 Bald Eagle flying overhead
• 1 Cluster of gumballs from a tree. 
• 1 Giant handful of twigs
• 1 Branch of cedar
• 3 Pinecones

I made the wreath with only what we found on the walk. No wire, glue, or string. There is natural beauty in an urban setting. Sometimes you just have to put the pieces together. 

Now take a hike! Or a walk. ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Giving Up

Happy New Year! We pray you have a very hopeful, blessed 2014!

The words "resolutions" & "goals" are flying around like a swarm of bees. The intention is sweet success, but we are more often that not left nursing the sting of our failures. My strategy this year is simplicity & grace; choose two or three simple things to work on and allowing myself grace for the rough days. Acknowledging I'm in a huge growth phase of life being a new mom & getting in the swing of the "stay-at-home" portion of my job is key.

This brings me to the giving-up part. Instead of giving up my goals, I need to give up something I don't want in my life. Selfishness. Anger. Fear. I have an incredibly hard time trusting God. I know he's faithful. Loving. Gracious. Attentive. Perfect. Yet my heart whispers, "What if..." My heart is a pessimist. An ugly, cowering, sniveling, small-minded doubter. I hate that. I want to be beautiful from the inside out. To myself. Nobody else sees into the mirror of my soul but God & myself. Only we know the true hideousness that lies within. I want courage, faith, and joy to illustrate who I am to the world. Honestly. No more faking it. You never truly make it when you fake it. Ask Steve about tofu cheesecake.

It reminds me of this dairy-free adventure we've been on. My preference in most cases is to go without. My mother-in-law is the fiercest supporter you'll ever meet, and she's determined to make every Sunday meal kosher for me. Sour cream & cream cheese are the hardest to imitate. Our phrase for a successful dish has become, "It's not horrible..." I can laugh about that. Now, how heartbreaking is it to look at the poor imitation our lives are and say at the end of the year, "It wasn't horrible." How depressing! I want better! I want the real thing! I want life. Thriving life, not survival.

Here's the answer. God. Knowing Him. Trusting Him. Believing His words are true for ME, every day. This morning, Addie & I were running errands. I'm not a stay-at-home mom. Not yet! Haha I want to teach her generosity. She's six months old. I want her earliest memories to be that of sharing & caring for people. There was an older lady on the corner with a cane, sitting on a five-gallon bucket. "Homeless. Hungry. Please HELP!" There are a lot of beggars in our city, especially to this small-town girl from rural Wisconsin, but this woman surprised me. It struck me, "That could be my mom in a few years." With the way health care costs are rising & the state of federal healthcare reform, my parents could end up on the street like that woman. It's wrong. We are to love our neighbors. Care for them. Feed them. Clothe them. Smile & talk with them. Addie baby, this is how the world SHOULD be. But it's broken. We need to bind up each other's wounds with the healing gospel of Jesus' love as we minister to physical needs also.

I decided to run to McDonald's across the street. I didn't have cash & I don't give money anyway, but we could help her start her New Year with a hot breakfast and coffee. We pulled through the drive-thru with our order only to see another msn begging on another corner. It's so prevalent! In a world that screams for equality, the easy answer is to do nothing than to help one, but not another. There I was, trying to teach my oblivious six month old generosity, and I was torn between two hopeful hearts. I had pancakes, eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, a hot coffee, and a tight budget. Lord, I thought you only said the lady? What do I do now??

"Do you like coffee?" I asked the man. "Oh sure!" He replied. I handed out the coffee & hashbrowns, feeling sad I didn't have a hot drink for the lady anymore. "Have a blessed New Year" he said. I pulled the car around the block to where the lady was sitting at a stoplight. As I was waiting to pull up, a younger woman with a styrofoam cup walked up to the lady and handed her the piping hot beverage. I wanted to shout for joy! That's my God!! He is ALWAYS faithful! I stopped at the green light and handed out the breakfast, grinning from ear to ear. The lady was very thankful and blessed me, wishing me a Happy New Year. If only she knew that what she gave me was worth much more than my meager offering. Truth. Faith. Proof of my God's perfect plan.

My efforts to teach my daughter are often redoubled by God to enrich my faith & love for Him. I must give up myself to receive God's blessings. You can trust this: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

"My God is so big! So strong and so mighty! There's nothing my God cannot do." - Ruth Harms Calkin

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Praising It Through

Some days aren't worth it, it seems. There are days, weeks, months, even years when you wish you could rewind or call a "do-over". There are times that are so trying that you wish you could be in any reality except the one you're in. But you can't. The way I've found to make it through the PITs of life is to Praise It Through. It's cheesy, dorky, and maybe even childish, but it works!

One of my biggest struggles in recent history was when I was pregnant with my first child. I'm a very impatient person. I had quit my commuting job at seven months. I was bored and lonely at home alone all the time. I wanted to be finished. I wanted the prize at the end of the race. Little did I know then that my finish line would move 10 days past the due date... 

Instead of focusing on my slow waddle, my swollen feet, or the ever-present exhaustion, I decided to praise God for the good stuff. I kept the list on my phone so I could add more whenever they popped in my head, or grab a quick burst of encouragement when I was feeling desperate. You can do this for any stage or circumstance of life. This is my example. 

Joys of Pregnancy
Feeling baby move.
Being really close to meeting baby.
Joy of others sharing my excitement.
Listening to my husband talk to the baby.
Eating fruit!
Being healthy & mobile.
Learning to be a great mom.
Dreaming about our future as a family.
Working with the pup to prepare for baby.
Decorating baby's room.
My mom is coming to visit!
Being a part of making my husband's dreams come true: being a father.

This little exercise was a life line of hope for me. I still enjoy looking at it when I'm thinning down my "notes" app on my phone. I'll be deleting old grocery lists, research notes, and questions for the doctor when this little gem pops up. It reminds me of how faithful God is to bless me, and how easily I forget the benefits of living my life for Him.

I hope this helps you out during this stressful season of holiday baking, shopping, and working overtime. I hope it's a season of joy as you Praise It Through.

Note: I just burned the sugar cookies writing this post...

* My kitchen isn't full of smoke
* My husband will eat almost anything
* If he won't, the dog will...