Friday, August 14, 2020

The Beginning

My baby girl is now a high schooler. A newly-turned 14 year old. A 14 year old with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). As a parent, we want to shield our babies from pain. From falling off their first slide to getting their heart broken by a first crush. It's ironic isn't it? That all of that work to protect and constantly keep our babies safe, we can't shield them from this. We can't take away cancer. 

The hospital room is completely dark except the little blue and green light display on her iv pump, the glow of my laptop, and so many lights outside our window that Lucille Packard Children's Hospital looks like it's own city. 

I keep thinking about how to write out those first days. The moments following up to her diagnosis and the blur that happened after. The hows. The whys are another story. The whys I have learned to leave up to God. I honestly don't need to know why. Is that strange?  I think it's because I KNOW that He is good and gracious and merciful and just and compassionate and has taken the most heinous situations in our lives thus far and carved out masterpieces that we never saw coming. In all of this, I know that in my limited view, all I would have been capable of seeing is a piece of shit pile of driftwood. But even that I'm convinced, He could transform.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Freefalling into a Straight Jacket

It started with a dull ache. Like having a hair tie on your wrist too long. You absent mindedly put it there and just know that you will remember to take it off only to find your hand throbbing and an indentation the size of the Mississippi river underneath. Oops. I left it on too long. Only it was my life and it was choking me. The “perfect” family, house, car, job life was becoming a noose around my neck. It was the playing it safe. The not speaking up. The not taking risks. The getting in the water but not diving in. The existing but NOT thriving. The not truly living.

I didn’t know what needed to change but I knew it was something. So I prayed. I drank. I cried. I asked questions. Sometimes all at the same time. Why weren’t we truly thriving anymore? How did we get to a place that we were just going through the motions? There was so much thankfulness and we were #Blessed (you can punch me if that is ever my hashtag) but we weren’t living that way.

John had left the kitchen as a chef and had been working at Tmobile for nearly a decade and was miserable from not using his gifts. How had a few months turn into years? My job was tried and true but I was plagued with the feeling that I was settling. Wasn’t there more to life than this? I understand how melodramatic this may sound. Get over it and be happy right? But my soul knew there was MORE and I couldn’t rest until I found out what that was.

There was no real reason to move. No real reason to leave where we had lived since we had said our vows nearly 12 years before and leave a place that was filled with all of our family and friends. But we asked the bravest question that became a turning point in our lives. "WHAT IF?"

What if we move and it fails? What if we get to where we are going and we are miserable? What if we lose everything? What if we fail?.....
What if it was all worth it? WHAT IF?

On Jan 1, 2016 John and I were catapulted into asking those questions and agreeing that even if the risk of not knowing felt daunting, we knew that we had to risk it. It was time for a change. It was time for everything to change. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Alphabet Fun

How is it possible that our youngest is going to be a Preschooler this fall? After hunting for Alphabet sheets, I gave up and made some fun templates of our own. I think she will get a kick out of the Kimchi one!
A is for Apple

B is for Bacon

C is for Cupcake

D is for Donut

E is for Egg

F is for Fox

G  is for Gum

H is for Heart

I is for Ice-cream

J is for Jellyfish

K is for Koala

K is also for Kimchi!!!!

L is for Lemon

M is for Moose

N is for Ninja

O is for Octopus

P is for Pineapple

Q is for Queen

R is for Rainbow

S is for Star

T is for Taco

U is for Unicorn

V is for Volcano

W is for Watermelon

X is for X-ray

Y is for Yoga

Z is for Zebra

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bed time mania

9, 5, and recently a big 3 yr old who is just now letting mama call her a BIG girl instead of correcting me "No. I'm a baaabbbyyyy." Three very different ages. Three very different hearts, passions, and personalities. It's quite the miracle watching you each grow up and into your own. And as you grow, this mama grows too. There is something about being a parent that brings out the dali lama side in you as well as the OTHER side. Don't know what I'm talking about? Try putting three little ones to bed at the same time after 500079786756725786556 questions and see if you have any of your hair left.

Even if you have a bed time routine down pat, it's what lies behind the scenes that to someone on the outside might seem a little schizophrenic. Like knowing that Ruby needs her 2 panda blankies, tattoo blanky, green blanky and her special stash of miscellaneous keepsakes and photos under her pillow. She doesn't know that I know but mamas always know. Eyes in the back of our heads right? Or Jasmine's Owl blanky , yo gabba blanky, strawberry sara mermaid, sofia mermaid, orange horse, bunny clover and 302 other stuffed animals that she needs in her bed along with her special pillow. It's knowing that the littlest girls will want the dress pjs instead of the many footed pjs and matching sets they may have to choose from. It's knowing that Nevaeh will always ask to stay up later to read on her own and know the exact time to turn out her lights and wake up in the morning and knowing that she will do both down to the exact second. It's knowing that Jasmine needs the ninja turtle toothpaste because the big girls toothpaste is too "spicy" or that Ruby gets her second wind RIGHT before bed time. Or how she will say that she doesn't need to go potty but then two minutes later it sounds like niagra falls. It's knowing that Nevaeh will ask for the right side of her shoulder tickled as long as possible opposed to her left because it's 'harder for her to reach on her own'. It's knowing how they love their bedtime songs and the order that they are sung. It's how when I go to leave the room after this seemingly seamless routine that the explosion of questions emerge. Another song? What are we doing tomorrow? Where is that thing? You know mommy that thing? The elusive thing that I need that I am crying about and just now decided I need? Because it's bed time. Oh and I'm hungry. Again.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Double Standard of Motherhood

Actual Conversation: "They are great parents." Response: "They are. When they are there. You know they BOTH work right?"

How did we get here? To this impossible double standard? We raise our girls to be all, do all, and be anything they want to be but we never intend to let them. Not REALLY. The reality is when our girls do speak up and are bold and are leaders they are seen as "bossy". When they do grow up and pursue their dreams, we tell them that they can be a CEO, a stay at home mommy, a artist, a engineer or serve our country. We tell them their voice is valuable but the true message they hear from their mothers, from their peers, from their school, from the media, from society, is:  Be bold but not too bold. Be pretty but not too pretty. Be confident but not too confident. Be strong but not too strong. Girls have a voice alright but they have already been taught to apologize for it, justify it, or downplay their talents. Again, we tell them they can be anything they want to be but never intend to let them. I could go on a billion rabbit trails like inequality or unequal pay but I'd like to dig dipper in regards to the labels we give our girls and the roles of motherhood that are often drilled into us so much that we don't even realize there is a discussion to be had.

I know. I know. I sound like a feminist. . . I am. If I was raising boys I would be looking at the injustices they are also facing.

But I'm not. I am raising three daughters with my husband and navigating what message I want to portray to them. How I want them to have a healthy outlook when it comes not only to their bodies but when it comes to who they are and the roles they will find themselves someday choosing. How someday they may choose motherhood and what that looks like.
I've been extremely purposeful about how I talk about my own image in front of my girls. They have NEVER heard me putting myself down in terms of how I look, weight, how my clothes fit, how my hair is, how I don't like this or that about myself. Not once. What they do see is me criticizing myself in terms of being a mom. A working mom. They see me in ways apologize for it and defending it to other moms, to friends, to family, to the church, to strangers, and to them. And you know what? It's NOT OK. It's hypocritical  and it's contrary to the very message we have been instilling in our daughters.

We don't question a Father's love or dedication to his children when he is a working dad. In fact, we don't even use the term working dad. We wouldn't even use it as a way to describe him. He works. He is a dad.

When a Mother works, she is labeled as a working mom. It's part of her identity. Inadvertently, her level of dedication and commitment to her children and her family is also questioned.

Picture this scene:

A woman is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and she has a toddler strapped to her leg. She receives a call. Dad has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the dad is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids? Or would it be a non-issue?

A man is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and he has a toddler strapped to his leg. He receives a call. Mom has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the mom is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids?

If this scene was in a movie it WOULD be portrayed differently and the audience would also feel that. Either the mom is a do-it-all-be-home-in-time-to-bake-the-pie-for-the-school-fundraiser or the cold mom in a business suit who is putting work first and is unattached to her family.

I'm passionate (obviously) about this discussion. I'm excited about looking at motherhood differently and not unfairly placing labels and stereotypes into the category "working moms" or "stay at home moms". We are moms and we love our children. Period.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mermaid Birthday Party

Better late than never! In the Spring (ignore that we are now entering into Fall), Ruby kicked off her 5th birthday with a mermaid themed birthday party. I still remember her zeal after the party AND her sugar high. It looked like this:

Because what's a party without a treasure chest full of chocolate coins, gems, and jewelry?!?
The hope chest normally stores the girls dress up clothes but ended up working great as a treasure chest. All it needed was a pillow to prop up all the treasure and keep it from sinking to the bottom! The last touch was a piece of scrap gold fabric to give it some flare.
We gave the girls a map that big sister made and hid the chest in some bushes outside. It was quite the hit with the ladies.....


I have to say that this was the funnest activity not only for the party but something that our girls did OVER AND OVER. Hide the treasure. Find the treasure. Hide the treasure. Find the treasure. Fight over the treasure. Truce.

Before the guests arrived, Nevaeh helped me bury a grip full of diamonds (craft warehouse find) and gems (from the dollar store) in our sand box to have guests dig for treasure.
With all the goodies hidden, the kids spent forever tried to find their treasure and each had little bags to put them in to take home. The only thing missing was a bigger sand box!!!!
PEARLS (chocolate covered raisins)
 This cake cracks me up! We added shell rings around the rim to try to help this poor cake but there was no helping the mermaid. She looks like she has seen better days lol

For the wall back drop I used two sea table cloths (dollar store) and mounted them on the wall. I'm a big believer in using hall ways for art projects!
Each kiddo had a mermaid to decorate & a cup of sticker jewels to decorate their sea mural
The gigantic jewels were actually wall decals that and came on sheets (12+ to a sheet from the dollar store) that were cut out individually. They went for it until the wall was covered. We may have left it up for a week. . . or two.
And of course what's a party without a tan mermaid? Ha!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dear Mamas. You are enough.

It's Friday night and I'm beat. Burnt toast but in a good way. Yes there is such a thing. The girls are sleeping and I'm sprawled out curled up with a small glass of wine reflecting on how to keep my brain from being mush. At the end of the day, I find myself internally going through what I like to call the mommy grading checklist. Do something awesome, you get a plus. Hooray, you are a great mama. Do something crappy and you get a negative point. Let's see. How was today? ...Got the little kiddos dressed. Plus. Made breakfast that took less than 4 min but was still healthy. Plus. Told Nev to get hot lunch. Minus. Girls didn't kill each other. Plus. Ruby wanted to play a game and I didn't have time before work. Minus. Forgot to give Jasmine her tylenol. Minus. Came home late. Minus. Snuggles. Plus. Plus. Plus. Jasmine got ahold of mommy's wine glass because she wanted to "dip" her finger in it and spilled the entire glass. Minus. Minus. Minus...her new outfit is now in the wash machine.

Why do we do this to ourselves? The grading. The checklists. The your'e not good enoughs. I really have been challenged with this lately. Challenged with seeing myself through the eyes of how Jesus sees me AND believing it. That His grace is sufficient. That I can give him what I deem to be unworthy, unlovable, or inadequate and He can transform and make anew.

"My grace is sufficient for you." 
2 Corinthians 12:9

So for the mama that kissed your child's boo boo today, You are enough. To the mama that forgot your kiddos back pack, You are enough. For the mama that bought delicious twinkles instead of baking pinterest shenanigans that never turn out, You are enough. To the mama that is exasperated for telling their toddler not to eat bark chips for the millionth time, You are enough. To the mama that lost her cool and went ape on your teenagers, You are enough. To the mama that just needs a bath without little fingers under the door, You are enough.

Dear Mamas. You are enough. You are MORE than enough.