Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 Things Other Parents Do That Drive Me Completely Bonkers

We all have them - parenting pet peeves. I could probably write a list of 200 instead of just five, but hey, I'm a parent. This is all I have time for. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

1) Anything that shows up when you go to ‘google images’ and type in ‘parent fail’. Yeah, you can do better than that. 

2) Why is your child at the park/library/play group with flushed cheeks and snot running down his face? I’m not unreasonable - I can understand that there are vital tasks that arise, and sometimes you just can’t avoid taking an ill child on a quick grocery run or some other essential errand. And I know Junior is probably a little whiny and cranky due to his illness, and you’re probably about to lose your mind from being cooped up in the house with him, but you are not winning any brownie points with the other parents when your kid is coughing his germs all over their kids during storytime. If the trip is optional, keep him home.

(And a special thanks to whomever passed on “the gift that keeps on giving” to my kids on our outing to the park last week.)

3) Lazy Threats. It’s none of my business how you choose to discipline. You are the parent, and I leave that entirely up to you. But here’s a word of advice – If your child is acting up and you say, “Sally Sue, stop doing that right now or we’re leaving,” and Sally Sue does it again….LEAVE. You are not going to convince Sally of the seriousness of your warning by allowing her to repeat her transgressions, while you stand there idly reiterating your requests.

She’s onto you.
4) Playing loud, really bad music in your car. It’s sad enough that your taste in music is so awful. Do you really have to pass it on to your children?

5) Making comments about another person’s parenting within earshot. We all have our opinions, but the polite thing to do is to keep it to yourself until you are someplace private (like in front of your computer, writing a blog).

This is especially true when your opinion is completely stupid.

Example: The summer when my daughter was about six months old, I was loading her into the shopping cart to go into the grocery store, and I overheard a couple passing by:

“It’s too hot out. That baby has too many clothes on.”

“Yeah…poor thing.”

Really? Cause she’s wearing a tank top and a skirt, and we’re walking from an air conditioned car into an air conditioned building.

Opinion = Stupid

Bonus Point) Don’t judge my parenting skills. I don’t judge yours.

Oh wait…oops. J

This post is part of the Listable Life series. Check out more lists here:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Good Days, Bad Days

The morning starts off great. Do dishes, wash laundry, baby takes first nap, toddler entertains herself…   
toddler in the sandbox

Baby gets fussy. Toddler keeps sniffing. Go into denial about the green goo leaking from her nose.

Scarf down lunch while the baby squawks grouchily from his papasan. Feed baby while toddler attempts precarious acrobatics. Burp baby and think he’s happy. Get squawked at again moments later. Toddler begins to feel effects of illness and eagerly accepts nap suggestion.
Attempt to put baby down for nap. Baby angrily protests. Try rocking. Baby continues protests. Give in and feed baby again. Baby slowly begins to drift off…

Toddler wails. Set down wide-awake baby. Spend ten minutes consoling sick toddler while baby cries.
Repeat past six steps.

Toddler gives up on nap. Baby finally naps an hour and a half later. For forty minutes. Squawking continues. Snot drips profusely.
Collapse on couch and pray for daddy to get home early.

In the beginning, this is pretty much how I thought all the days would go, for a while at least. I was sure that having two was going to wreak havoc on my life until I adjusted, and I wasn’t sure how long that would take.
But you know what? Days like these are rare. Surprisingly, the littlest munchkin has kept nearly the same routine since he was born, and my adjustment to two has gone quite smoothly.  So I didn’t mind when this day showed up. I’ve been expecting it.

Even the most consistent babies have their off days, even the sweetest toddlers get cranky, and even the best mamas get worn out. That’s what makes those good days so special.

Even little birds can’t squawk forever.

baby happy on his blanky

Monday, February 20, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday: Pinterest and Interests

I started to write a more personal blog post, and then I changed my mind. Whenever I get into those deeper thoughts, I start to feel like I’m whining a little, which I hate because I don’t have a single legitimate reason to whine.

Perspective, people.

In truth, things have been quite awesome. I could probably use a little more adult time than I get, but Abram is a far easier baby than his sister was. And oh my goodness, he’s such a sweetie.

Perhaps I’m just a seasoned pro at this parenting thing. Yes. Let’s go with that.

Anyway, what else have I been up to? Well...

I joined Twitter. Then I deleted my account. It’s just as dumb as the first time I tried it. I realize it’s a useful tool for advertising and driving traffic to your website, but I just can’t get into it. Quite frankly, it bores me to tears. And I don’t see how my tweets could make any sort of meaningful impression in the world of tweeting. I’m a little late to the party.

(But no judgment here if you love your Twitter. My name is Rachel, and I’m a Facebook-a-holic.)

Now, Pinterest, on the other hand…I just joined, and so far, so good. There are so many recipes/crafts/projects that I’ve come across on the web in the past that I’ve wanted to try, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten about most of them. Now I can pin them, so there’s no chance of losing them!
So I can have all these boards filled with things that I will never expend the time/energy/resources/money on, and they will just sit there, mocking me.


See, what happens is something inevitably takes place that prevents you from following through with your grandiose plans. For example, you give birth too close to your other child’s birthday, so her birthday cake goes from plans for this:


to this:
Yes, it’s still a pretty cake, and more importantly, she got to help decorate it, which was no doubt more fun for her, but I’m thinking it might not belong in the pages of a party planning magazine. Still, it will be proudly displayed in our photo album for years to come.

And it came from a box, so it was delicious.
I guess it might not always be feasible to work our awesome ideas and plans into our lives, but regardless, we all love to dream about them. So I like to think of Pinterest as the place where we share our dreams. Kinda like Inception. Without the sinister parts.

What have you been dreaming about lately?
Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes Love Is Hard To See...

But that’s because it carries us.

Faith when a baby diesTwo years ago I was in a beautiful place – a church leadership camp in a snowy, pine-filled haven. Hannah was only two months old, but Clint and I had decided to brave the trip anyway. It was too great of an experience to pass up – fellowship with good friends, great Bible teaching, beautiful surroundings, snow crunching under our boots…

It had been a wonderful weekend; a much-needed, restful vacation with so much encouragement and food for our souls. It was perfect for our first real outing as a little family.

Most of the time I was lacking cell service, but I managed to catch a call from my dad. He told me that Riley, my sister’s one-month-old baby, was in the hospital. The details weren’t yet clear, but he was sick, and the doctors were running tests.

Concerned and unsure of how serious the problem was, I continued to pray for Riley throughout that evening. I prayed for my sister and her husband as well, that they would find strength and comfort and peace during such a scary time. Since our babies were only about a month apart, I could imagine the anxiety they must have been feeling.

Being in such a spiritually uplifting atmosphere, I found it easy to stay positive. Although I was worried, I knew that it was in God’s hands and that His plan is always perfect. I just hoped that this was a time when His plan would align with ours.

That night Hannah slept well. I remember mentioning that to a friend the next morning because I was so pleased to have gotten several hours of rest. I had really been struggling with the lack of sleep and was desperately hoping that this was a sign of better days ahead.

I had turned off my phone for the night because I’d forgotten my charger, so I turned it back on to see if I had a signal and if there was any more news. I had a text message and some voicemails. I opened the message first.

“Riley passed away this morning.”



But those words don’t do the feelings justice.
I don’t know how long I sat staring at the words on the screen as I tried to figure out what to do, as if doing anything could change the circumstances. Finally I asked a friend to keep an eye on Hannah and went to go find Clint in the boys’ cabin.

It was still early and most of them were still asleep, so I quietly made my way through the dark cabin until I reached Clint’s bed. I finally let the meaning of the words sink in as I spoke them: “Riley died.”
I buried my head in his chest as I wept. Then I went back outside and trudged through the snow until I saw a signal on my phone. I called my dad and stood alone in the middle of the cabins, in the midst of the pure white glow of the dawn, and we cried. There wasn’t much to say. All we could do was cry.

I went back in my cabin, sat on my bed, and watched Hannah sleep. I had been so thankful that she was asleep. Now I felt guilty for wanting sleep. It felt like such a hollow reason to give thanks.
I know the truth. I know God’s love is unwavering. I know that each and every life is precious to Him and that our earthly concepts of love don’t even hold a candle to His. I know that like any parent, He does not want to see His children suffer. I know He doesn’t make mistakes. I know He gives abundantly.

But there are days when knowing doesn’t translate into trusting, days when faith is even harder than we ever could have imagined. That’s when all we have to lean on is the fact that He’s carrying us. He knows of trials; He knows of suffering better than any of us. So He also knows how best to carry us.
I wish I could take her pain away. I wish I could make it not true, that I could go back and stop it from happening. I wish Riley could still be here with us. But I am thankful for the love he brought into her life and for the love that he continues to receive.

Today of all days, I’m so very thankful for love. I know that Riley is celebrating Valentine’s Day surrounded by a choir of angels, in the arms of the One who loved him first.
Loss of a baby
In Loving Memory of Riley Andru
January 14, 2010 - February 14, 2010

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rugged Guy Meets Pensive Girl : A Love Story

Who doesn’t love a good survey? This week I decided to link up with From Mrs. To Mama for this fun Valentine’s questionnaire! I love getting to talk about Clint, especially since he’s not on Facebook for everyone to harass. ;)

How long have you and your significant other been together?

We just hit ten years a couple of months ago, though we’ve known each other for about sixteen.

rugged guy pensive girl love story

Holy cow, that makes me feel old.

How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}

I wrote a little about that on this post. I met his sister in sixth grade, and she and I became the best of friends! I was sort of “adopted” into their family over the years. He and I didn’t pay much attention to each other until one day…it just changed.

How long have you been married?

7 ½ years. We got married on the same day as these two , and we’ve outlasted them, so I guess we’re doing something right!

Where did you get married? Big or small wedding?

We had a lovely outdoor ceremony in our hometown…fairly small…big white tent…it was perfect. A true reflection of us.

Do you have any nicknames that you call one another?

The sweetest thing he calls me is “Love”. Makes my heart melt every time. “Good morning, Love!” “How are you, Love?” Never get tired of hearing it!

Usually I just call him “Clinty”. I’m unoriginal.

my rugged guyName 3 things you love most about your honey.

I love his sense of humor. He makes me laugh every day, even when I’ve had a bad day. I love that he is a man of integrity, a man who values truth and honor and does the right thing when others won’t. I love the sweet, tender side of him that comes out with his kids, and every once in a while, with me.

Tell us how he proposed.

We went out to dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant on our anniversary. He left to “go to the bathroom”, changed into a tux, and came back with a huge bouquet of flowers and the most perfect, beautiful ring.

He likes to tell people that I just said, “Okay” and had an extremely disappointing reaction. He takes this little joke so far that whenever something comes on tv about a proposal and the woman freaks out, he says, “Oh, so that’s what it’s supposed to be like.” HOWEVER, I would like to set the record straight in pointing out that I actually said YES, and it was quite enthusiastic for a mellow gal like myself.

Also for the record, I was onto him and nervous, and I had told him not to do it in public!

So sweetheart, if you are still dissatisfied with the way it went down the first time, try it again. And this time I promise to make a huge spectacle, complete with weeping and blubbering all over your shoes.

Give us one piece of advice for keeping a relationship strong and full of love.

To keep it strong - Communication. It may sound cliché, but there’s a reason it’s such a common answer. When you stop communicating, you run the risk of losing direction. And when you both stop moving in the same direction, there’s nowhere for you to drift except apart.

To keep it full of love – Always look to the ultimate example of love – Jesus Christ. Perhaps it’s another cliché, but for another very good reason. There is no love greater than God’s love for us.

Show us a picture of what love means to you.

Oh, how can you choose just one? But this one sure makes me happy:

nothing like a mother's love

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Toddlerisms: Treasure Seeking

One minute your child is learning to speak, and you are so excited when she puts a sentence together.

“Mama, tawbitties ah gone.” (Tawbitties = strawberries)

Then the next thing you know, she is turning her language into creative play – and you no longer see a baby before you, but a child at the beginning of her journey through imagination.

“Mama, wook! I found a treasure map. I needa find the treasure chest!”

Your jaw hits the floor. That was practically a paragraph. With proper grammar. Subject-verb agreement and all.
Not only that, but it’s so…creative. So inventive!

(Okay, she probably just got it from Dora the Explorer or Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but let me have my mommy moment here.)
toddler treasure map
Hannah checking out her treasure map.
(It's actually a P90X workout schedule. At least it's getting some sort of use.)
She’s like a sponge, soaking in everything she comes in contact with. Every word she says, she’s heard before. Everything she does, she’s seen before. But now she’s learning how to make connections and turn those memories into something new, into something special that’s just for her.
Is that exciting or what?

<insert annoyingly awkward pause in true Dora fashion>


And just because he's so ridiculously cute, check out this handsome little fella:

handsome fella

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Growing Up and Learning Independence...And Mommy Is Too

A few days ago I was holding Abram while he slept, and as I watched the rise and fall of his chest and traced the outline of his sweet face with my finger, I began to cry.

The thought hit me so quickly. I didn’t even have time to process it before the tears welled up.

Someday you won’t need me like this anymore.

It took me a little by surprise. As someone who grew up with a shy, reserved nature, I understand the importance of my children learning to be independent. I know it’s best for them that they don’t need me forever and that I give them the tools they need to be self-sufficient. My job is to teach them how to make the right choices, not to make the choices for them, and I know I will be so proud when I see them branch out on their own a little more with each new achievement.

my babies are growing up

So a thought like this is just not one I expected to have out of the blue. I’m truly so excited to see their independence blossom. I guess I’m just having a hard time imagining the changes that are to come.

Someday you’ll be all grown up. Someday you’ll fall in love, and she’ll be the one you lean on. Someday you won’t be small enough to fit in my arms, and they will feel empty.  
Sure, I’ll always be their mama, and I’ll always be an integral part of their lives. But gradually their reliance on me will lessen (as it should), and they’ll be living their own lives, caring for their own families. I will have done my job.

I’ve had the time of my life raising Hannah. Now, with the addition of the new guy, life has gotten a little fuller and certainly a little crazier. But even on days when he won’t nap and she won’t stop talking and I have yet to get to the dishes or laundry or bill paying or tax filing, it helps to remember that thought.

Someday you won’t need me.
Not as much, anyway. And as it starts to happen, it will be nice. For a while. I’ll feel freer…more relaxed…have more time to myself.
I’ll sleep all night, watch tv without background noise, finish an entire workout without interruption, make a sandwich whenever I want (and actually eat it myself), take a trip to the grocery store without worrying about diaper bags, car seats, and extra snacks, sit down to write and finish a sentence…
It will be nice. For a while.
And then one day it will make me sad. I’ll feel that familiar ache – the one I feel when I watch them sleep, when she says, “I wuv you, Mommy”, or when he flashes me his gummy grin. I’ll long to go back to these days of chaos.

Because they make me who I am. They make me complete.

I know I can’t spend my whole life aching, so I try not to think about that part of the future, that distant day when I’ll be looking back fondly instead of looking ahead eagerly. I’m all too aware of how quickly time passes.

enjoying precious time with children
All I can do is relish this time I’ve been given – this beautiful, precious time with my family. Right now they need me more than ever, and I’ve got a job to do. I want to do it well.
Someday you won’t need me this much, but right now you do.

And I need you, too.