28 March 2010

happy 1/2 birthday, sweet madeline!

Just look at that radiant smile!  Looking at you reminds me of how blessed we are to have you in our life!  Right now, I am watching you grow and change before my eyes with mixed emotions.  Excited for the little girl you are with your contagious giggles and lovely heart, but sad at how quickly the time is passing me by.  Some of the things I'm watching you do right now include:  learning to assert yourself with others by setting boundaries when you feel hurt or have your space invaded; growing in your love of reading books and learning about new things; developing your love for art and music while you continue taking classes in both; dancing in the delight of your imagination by playing for hours in your room with your dolls because you say you don't feel lonely in your room with all your dolls surrounding you; watching you swing outside by yourself, singing and playing in your imagination while taking a walk in your "secret garden"; laughing to myself while listening to you "talk" on your play cell phone and carry it with you wherever we go, carrying on conversations with people that I've never heard of and imaginary friends I'll never actually meet.

I'm realizing that there will be times when you won't want me as close or you won't want to share your best and worst moments with me and that I need to stop more often, look at you and tell you just how much I love you.  Even more, I need to speak your love language more often:  quality time is what you desire most.

I love you, sweet child.

belly shot - 21 weeks

It is such a delight to watch Madeline fuss over the baby, now knowing that it's a girl.  She's constantly asking me how "baby love" (that's the nickname we picked for her) is doing, while rubbing and hugging my belly.  Even Grant and Evan have been showing interest in mom's big belly!  Grant says that he will take care of and feed the baby for me; Evan watches me drink chocolate protein drinks and asks for some.  When I tell him it's for the baby (because I don't want to share!) he says, "I have a baby too....can I have a drink of your soda?"

I've started the insulin shots and packing on the weight, which was really getting me down.  I realized that it's a lack of control over my food.  I HAVE to eat a certain amount of food, every three hours, prick my finger to check my blood sugar, and give myself insulin shots which force me to eat more carbohydrates which cause me to gain more weight.  Then I remembered:  This is my last pregnancy.  I am supposed to be round and chubby, and I want to enjoy every last minute of my last experience of carrying a child in my womb.  The days just fly by so quickly and I forget that I'm pregnant until I feel a cute little wiggle inside of me and smile at the thought of another baby, another life inside of me.

I'm reminding myself to enjoy each moment.  I'll never get them back and I don't know if I'll have them tomorrow.

27 March 2010

adversary or advocate parent?

I read this blog post from Sally Clarkson regarding adversarial vs. advocate parenting and it has been weighing heavily upon my heart.   My normal response would be to focus on my negative parenting habits, beat myself up for a few days, fall into a depression, be a "better" parent for another few days, blow it with the kids again, and return to my old ways but feeling even more defeated as a parent.  But yesterday as I allowed my mind to review parts of this article, I asked the Lord, "If this is something you want me to improve, you need to show me the way.  I have no idea how to parent."  The last two weeks I have felt the Lord calling me to a different approach with my kids.  This may be the first step.

24 February 2010

22 February 2010

you've watched the "Cars" movie too much when...

You over hear your two-year-old say, "She likes me for my body!"

20 February 2010

rethinking my game plan

I have a super adorable child who hugs and kisses me without restraint, who asks me to sleep with him and sing songs until he gets sleepy, who says, "Okay, Mom" when I ask him to do something.

Then there's the other side of Evan.

If you tell him "no" when he has his mind on doing it anyway, watch out.  I took all three kids to the eye doctor for Madeline's first eye exam.  We hadn't been there even 10 minutes when Evan got upset because, well, now I can't even remember what it was that bothered him so much.  I told him to settle down and he looked at me, pointed and said, "No chocolate YOU!"  He was letting me know that I was not getting any chocolate for the way I was handling him.  And what could I say to that?  What I wanted to do was hand out chocolate to the other kids and eat a handful of it myself right in front of him and then see what his response would be.  That was my childish fantasy - mostly because I was embarrassed of his behavior because of how it was reflecting on me.

He calmed down for a little bit until it was time to clean up the toys and leave.  He started screaming, swinging at me, stiffening his body, and then proceeded to take off both of his shoes and throw them.  And I'm trying to pay for the doctor visit, gather the other two kids, protect my growing belly from the flying shoes, and inside I was seething that this little monkey was acting so wildly.

I carried him out of the office over my shoulder while he screamed profanity (two-year-old style, of course, telling me I could have no chocolate) and I was thinking of how I was going to handle him once inside the car.  I couldn't lecture him because he can't listen that long or comprehend paragraphs of how he needs to change his behavior.  I didn't want to resort to a swat because he was beyond out of control and it would have done no good.  I was wondering what my other two were thinking of the situation - was their baby brother getting away with murder when they know exactly how they're expected to behave.  I sometimes condemn myself because I lack the energy to be consistent in disciplining and guiding this little one who has such life and energy inside him, while at the same time has so much anger and frustration when he doesn't get his way?  Which is every single day, by the way.  No exaggeration.

I went to the library today and picked up a copy of The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. Dobson...already read the intro.  He says that most of us feel bewildered when we find ourselves watching our little ones fight against us and we wonder how we got here.  He says that reacting without a game plan is like landing a plane at night without runway lights.  How true.  I know that books don't solve everything, but hopefully it will help shed light on how I can better deal with and handle these daily meltdowns.

My other resolution is to pray for him every day.  I have been praying for him before he wakes up and after he falls asleep at night.  They're short, simple prayers:  Lord, please give me wisdom in connecting with Evan.  Help me to discipline and guide him without crushing his little spirit.  

18 February 2010

hard to admit

I have a short temper.  I hate to admit this because it goes against my perfectionistic tendencies and it forces me to once again face one of my worst attributes.  But it is something that I am working on, only with the help of the Lord.

I've been reading Neil Anderson's book on anger and realizing that I have forgotten who I am in Christ.  I am no longer a slave to my sinful nature, I have been promised that I am a new creation in Christ.  I am under the authority and power of Christ.  But there is still a spiritual battle taking place for my soul.  This is where I have become discouraged and allowed myself to stop fighting.  I still slip up but I am experiencing a new freedom in my relationship with the Lord.  I will make mistakes, but I don't have to wallow in them.  I confess them, ask for His forgiveness, receive it, ask for forgiveness from those I've hurt and continue to walk in His Spirit - not my own strength.  It's been a very freeing process.  I still hurt when I allow my anger to get the best of me, and, in turn, to hurt those around me who I love so much.  But I see that it is much less than even a few months ago. 

But I didn't realize that Madeline has also seen a change in me too. 

Madeline: "Mom, you haven't cried in a long time."
Me: "I haven't?  Hmmm...when do I usually cry?"
Madeline:  "After you yell at me."
Me:  "Have I yelled at you?"
Madeline: "No...not for a long time."

That conversation was both difficult to swallow and encouraging at the same time.  It's hard to face our sin, but easier when looking back on it realizing that the Lord is helping us progress in His perfect time.

17 February 2010

a good cry

Yesterday, I wrestled Evan down to give him a haircut.  I pulled out Nathan's clippers and forgot how much pain they seem to bring to my boys.  I think they get stuck and sometimes pull their hair.  That's when the screaming starts.  Haircuts for both boys end up being almost $40 a pop, so I thought I'd be a great money-saving-mom and do it myself.  What I didn't prepare myself for was how strong my 2-year-old is.  Wow.  He was all over the place and I was determined just to finish, hug him after it was all over and give him a few pieces of chocolate.  And no, I see nothing wrong with bribing my children with sweets.  Right in the middle of our wrestling match, Evan tries to push the clippers away and accidentally knocks the attachment off the clippers, sending the clippers up the side of his head, almost resembling a little lightning bolt strip of hair missing.  I sat there shocked - listening to my son scream, the clippers still going and staring at this horrible strip of hair missing from his head.  It was too much for my pregnancy hormones to handle.  I grabbed the phone and called Nathan at work and cried my eyeballs out for about 5 minutes.  Thankfully, he didn't laugh at me until much later in the day after he got home, when I was able to laugh at it.  He was trying to be so encouraging when he actually saw Evan's hair - "It looks really good.  You can hardly see it."  Even though he called Evan "Lightning McQueen" for the nice lightning strip on the side of his head.

Grant asked, "I thought you were going to cut my hair, Mom?"  Nope.  I'm going to splurge on haircuts from now on.  Mommy's hormones can't deal with wrestling matches and lightning bolt strips on the side of the head.