Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't stop believin'

This last month has been a hard one. I can honestly say that each and every day has been hard to some extent (except for the day I got to see New Kids on the Block finally.)

Last night I was on my way to Zumba, and I just started weeping. Uncontrollably. And what song brought it on? Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.  The beginning of the song talks about a small town girl, and a city boy, on one-way trains to anywhere. And it made me think of my parents, who sorta met because they had one-way tickets away from home, and long stories short they ended up in Wichita where they met and fell in love and got married and had me. And it made me cry. And it made me think about how life has us on all these crazy journeys that take us in all sorts of directions. But in the messiness of it all, we find our way, figure it out, and move forward. And it made me cry some more, because we are all on a journey, and it’s all sorts of levels of hard. So is yours. It’s a lot to carry sometimes. And it just made me cry.

I called my sweet friend who has loved me for half of my life. She was my mom’s co-worker and became close with my mom. I met her when she started going to our church and years later we became good friends too. I called her because even though we don’t talk a lot, I know she would be there for me in a flash.

Fifteen minutes later I showed up at her house and cried in her kitchen as she sprinkled pepperonis and frozen cheese on her home-made pizzas.  Then she took me out to her porch where I cried some more. People I have not cried like this in a long long time. She just smiled and nodded and listened as I talked about the struggles of being a good wife, a good mom, being good to myself, hardships with family and friends, financial struggles… all my worries and fears. She even let me swear a few times.
At the end of it all, in very few words, she encouraged me and sent me off feeling loved and understood.

The next day she called and checked in with me. She apologized for not having the perfect solution for me. But that’s when I got to tell her that she actually gave me the perfect solutions. And this is what she told me that I needed to hear:

No matter what: love, honor, and respect your husband no matter what.

Right your wrongs with your kids every time. Always go back and say sorry when you mess up. Explain to them that mama isn't perfect, and that even when you’re mad, you still love them.

(And this is the one that we laughed about since she meant one thing and I understood another thing!)
She said to have fun. I took that as like, continuing to do the things that help me self-preserve, like my 24 hour retreats and funday Mondays, time with girlfriends and date night with my man. FUN as in, fun away from my kids. When I told her that she said, “oh, well I actually meant have fun with your kids. Laugh! You gotta laugh with your kids.” Oh. Well, baby steps right?

Another important thing she reminded me, is that whenever my kids are "making" me angry, I have a choice in whether or not I am going to yell. Yeah. We have a choice. Our kids aren’t making us mad. We are choosing to BE mad and react the way we do. Ouch. Gotta work on that.

I sure love my Jilly. 

So, that’s where I am at. I felt the heaviness over me lift tonight, and I yelled less, and am choosing to speak quietly and gently to my kids. But it’s bed time now, so here’s where the real challenge starts:)

Good night everyone. I thought blogging would be easier once summer hit. Not so much. I need to do another beautiful mama post. Who wants to be next?

Until next time... Don't stop... Believin'... one day at a time friends. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

"He doesn't think he can handle it..."

I was at the little wading pool with my kids yesterday. I wasn't meeting anyone there and when I don't have a friend with me, I always scan the pool deck for who I may be able to connect with or chat with. Sometimes you can tell that other moms are doing the same thing and it's easy to start up a conversation over someone's cute baby, the fact that our kids are playing well together, or when my son picks up her son's scuba gear and has that mouth piece all up in his little not-teeth-brushed mouth. Ew. But whatever. Thanks for sharing?

Who feels like the coolest dude in the world? This dude right here.

his poor ginormous  little ears did not fit properly under the tight band.

I always feel a little bit first-day-of-high-school-ish when there are groups of moms who have each other to talk with, and I am all by myself. They are usually in some deep conversation, and I stand there pretending that I can't overhear them. I'm not trying to listen, but they also aren't trying to whisper. I overheard bits and pieces of a conversation that caught my attention and it got me thinking. I started thinking about how I would have responded to this mama had she been my friend. I felt sad for her. And then it made me think. A lot.

This mom had an infant in a baby bjorn, and a (I'm guessing) 2 1/2 year old. She was venting about how things were hard at home and in her marriage. Then she talked  about a wedding out of town that she told her husband that she wanted to go to. Without the kids. She said that husband said absolutely not, that "he doesn't think he can handle it." And she was extremely upset. She went on to talk about how she handles the kids on her own everyday

generally speaking...

When it comes to parenting, as moms I think know we believe that we know best in a lot of situations, so it's just easier and more time efficient if we just do it on our own. Dad doesn't dress the kids the right way, he can't pack a diaper bag, he doesn't know how to calm a crying child in the night, he doesn't know what to feed the kids for dinner, he doesn't know that the baby's onsies go in the white basket and the socks go in the brown one, he only buys frozen pizzas, juice boxes, and junk when when he goes grocery shopping, he doesn't know how to entertain them with out putting on a movie. Etc. etc. ETC. So it's just easier to do it ourselves.

Why doesn't dad know how to do all of these things? Sometimes (NOT always) it's because we don't give him the chance to learn, try it out, mess up many times along the way, and finally figure it out. We don't trust that he is capable of doing it our way a good job. We correct him every time he is doing something "wrong." Honey, why did you put that shirt on the baby? It doesn't match his shorts... Don't use that sippy cup! Use the other one... Babe, use one wipey, you don't need seven, and don't leave the diaper so loose, make it a little tighter... So dad loses any confidence he had to begin with, and is left thinking well, if I do everything wrong, and she does everything right, then I'll just let her do it

And then we need a night out, or a weekend away, and we wonder why dad is hesitant. If they feel insufficient when we are around, why would they feel capable of "holding down the fort" when we are away?

I don't struggle very often in this area. From the beginning I have helped Matt to stay very involved in every aspect of parenting, he gives me plenty of time away, but there is still room for me to grow. Plenty of room. I started writing this post last night right after I sent Matt to the store with a list. The list had 10 items. He came home with seven of those items along with Reese's Peanut Buttercup cereal (don't even get me started on Reese's cereal) and granola bars (Kashi brand. Pumpkin flavor. Kid's won't even eat those!!), and a few other things that Were. Not. On. MY. List. I wanted to lose it. We are on a SUPER tight budget right now and we do not have money for processed sugar foods!!! And I chuckled to myself that I had JUST written about dads that go to the store for and come home with junk. It made me crabby for the rest of the night. And when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy... unless there is Reese's cereal in the house. Then everyone is happy. Except for me.

So what am I trying to say? Give dad some space to figure it out. They need room to mess up and try again. They need time and experience to build up confidence that they can function as good daddies. They need to find their own parenting style. Sometimes your kid is going to wear a mismatched outfit, get a bad haircut, and sometimes your kid is going to eat Reese's Peanut butter cereal. But it's not worth the fight. It's more worth it to let dad feel good that the kid is dressed, groomed and fed. And then maybe he'll be ready to let you leave the baby home with him. Or at least he'll be ready to let you leave while he and baby go to his mother's house to hang for the day:) 

Mama at the pool could have been dealing with a mess of other issues concerning her husband and need to leave for a weekend, but I think that this is a general issue that I have heard from lot's of fellow moms, and I think this is a place to start when trying to find a solution. Just my thoughts.

Alright, well I hope you all have a great weekend. 
Know what I get to do this weekend?
I get to fulfill my life long dream of seeing DONNIE WAHLBERG IN PERSON. That's right everbody, I am 30 and going to my very first NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK concert. I have been waiting 23 years for this. Since second grade. 


They will probably look this big  from where we will be seated, but that's okay. I've been waiting a long time for this. 

Don't worry, I'll do a full write up of my experience next week. Until then, I'm out. 

Oh wait, one more thing, in case you missed it, I got to do a guest post on my friend Lindsay's blog! I did my first DIY tutorial. Go check it out at http://realhomelove.com/little-glass-lantern-diy-by-guest-blogger-sierra/
I got to do a little glass lantern tutorial. Aren't these cute?!

Okay now I am really out!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

One day I'll be able to say, "I got through it."

Yeah, I swore I was back last week. Didn't follow through. Sorry. Wait, I'm not sorry for that :) Still trying not to say sorry for everything....

This summer has been a little rough. Honestly, lots of stuff going on. I need to not be under so much pressure. I have a lot on my shoulders lately and I need to remember to just breath and pray and trust that it's going to pass.

Matt's diabetes has been difficult for him (and all of the rest of us) to deal with lately. The spikes in his blood sugar have caused some irritability and moodiness. I am trying to be as understanding as possible. But it is hard. The doctor thinks he got pancreatitis a few weeks back and that this is what caused the major ups and downs. Before, he was able to manage his diabetes with some meds, diet and exercise. But not anymore. This week they put him on insulin shots. He is pretty down about it. Matt has type 2 diabetes. It's totally genetic. If you know my husband you know that he is just about as healthy as they come. He has always  put so much effort in to his healthy lifestyle, so this has hit him pretty hard. I think it just goes to show that we don't have total control over our bodies like we think we do sometimes. It sucks when we learn this the hard way.

So, I have been very busy lately, trying to be understanding, loving, and full of grace during this season. It is not easy to love your spouse through things like this when life is crazy and eventful on it's own.

At least it hasn't been for me.
And when I say love I don't mean "love ya"-at-the-end-of-the-phone-call kind of love. I mean total unconditional I-love-you-even-though-you-have-nothing-to-offer-me-right-now kind of love. I-love-you-even-though-you-are-crabby-at-me kind of love. I-love-you-even-though-you-are-too-tired-to-help-me-with-bed-time-routine kind of love. Selfless love. Through sickness and in health. Through it all I promised to love this guy.


And you know what doesn't help? Family Pictures.
Our awesome church puts out a photo directory every few years. The last photo we took was so goofy and lame. It was from 2008 and Nunie (our now deceased dog) was in it. Max was like 10 months old. I swore this one was going to be gorgeous. (Okay really I just wanted to make sure that I was gorgeous in the picture.) I blow dried and straightened my hair for the first time this summer and wore a nice white shirt with a new scarf I got (church has central air so I thought I would be safe and not too hot.... wwwrrooong.) Matt wore dark gray. Eli wore a white dress shirt. Gabriel wore an olivey green western-hipster type shirt, and Max? Pick and choose your battles, right? A tuxedo shirt. rolled up to his elbows. With a black bow tie. Yep.

The appointments were backed up and so we had to wait about 30+ minutes.
So my kids were squirrely. I was sweaty. And Matt? YEah.

my bangs actually looked fine here. but nope, they acted a fool
by the time the camera started snapping. 

So I'll just say that on the way home I was just about in tears. Why do I care so much? Is it because we get a free 8x10 with a swirly blue background? No.  Is it because my bangs did not lay right? Well sorta, no. Was it because Max looked like it was the end of the night on his wedding day? No.

I think it was because as moms, we want the dang picture to just turn out right so that we can look back and see that these were happy years. We don't want to look at the picture and be reminded of how much work it was to get screaming sweaty kids in to clean clothes, of how we hated our bodies and hated the effects of Minnesota summers on our perfectly coiffed hair, of how we were mad at our husband for not putting the right shoes on the toddler... etc. etc.

I talked to my mom last night and she said it was the same story for her back in the days of family photos when we were kids. She said that she still looks back at them and cringes at her hair or her "chubby cheeks" (oh stop mom! You were beautiful!") When I look at those pictures? I think, wow, mom looked so nice, grace was so goofy, Gil thought he was too cool, Sam thought so too, and David looks goofy because he was trying to look too-cool just like the older boys. And I was just straight up TOO cool for that. And my dad? He looked so sweet, and so proud to be sitting next to his lovely wife and crazy, exhausting children that he loved so much. I don't remember mom and dad hollering at us to get dressed and brush our teeth  because we were late, or the stress of the family piling in to the car. I do remember that my mom let me wear my favorite green corduroy shirt in 7th grade though :)

So I need to chill. Easier said than done, but I do. Everything is going to be alright. Preach it Bob Marley.

Someday I am going to look back at the cheesy family photos and with happiness and relief, I will be able to say,

"I got through it."

And I will be able to tell other mamas, "you'll get through it too."


Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm back, I'm back.

I took a little time off from the blog. I just needed some space. And I needed to focus on my family. And my house. And my marriage. Blogging wasn't really getting in the way of all of these things, but it was just one more thing on my mental "to-do" list.

Over the last couple of weeks, the kids and I have stayed busy playing with friends and going out and doing fun stuff. Matt and I have been on lots of dates. I've gotten to spend time having meaningful conversations and fun nights out with my good friends. I may have even danced to a Ciara song and/or sang (loudly) along with TLC to the scrubs song. And there may or may not be footage on my iPhone to prove this.

Me and little sister at a wedding last weekend.
 P.s. I finally got a pair of cowboy boots.

Luckily Hil knows the scrub song too, so she did back-up.
This was taken after we sang. We are way hotter when we are
pretending to be the girls in the TLC music video. Duh.

But I am back. I am stronger and happier. A lot has been accomplished in the last couple of weeks. A lot has been learned. A lot has been worked through. It was a time of refinement and revelation. 

And now I am ready to start sharing again. Next Monday I will continue on with the healthy family traits. I have a couple of beautiful mamas to share with you this week! One is an amazing photographer and has  interior design skillz that would blow you away. The other one is a full time stay-at-home-mama that works full time, from home! She is pretty amazing. Can't wait to share them with you.

Today I am starting another Whole30. If you are wondering what it is, you can check out the plan here. Basically it is an eating plan containing only meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils like coconut for cooking and olive for dressings. The last one I did was great. It was hard but it was successful. I lost over 15 pounds and felt wonderful. What is the hardest part for me? I can't use sweet creamer in my coffee. UUUGH. Now I have to use coconut milk. UUUUgggghhhHH. But I am going to keep it positive, and say this is going to be great. And I feel like if I announce it on here, you all are kind of keeping me accountable.

Bed times have been going late 'round here since summer started. But it's been fun doing fun family stuff until 9pm at night. Like last night, we headed out to Lake Johanna at 8pm. We met my mom and her husband and we ate watermelon and popsicles while the kids splashed in the water. It was so fun.

I think that is it for now, nothing too exciting. Lot's in store for future posts. Don't worry, this won't turn in to a food blog while I am trying to get creative on my whole30 challenge.

I am currently obsessed really having fun making videos with Instagram's new video option. So, I will give you a few sweet videos to see what we have been up to lately. The editing options turn life's most mundane tasks and happenings in to the sweetest memories that I will weep over someday.

Eli and his sink bath

Just another typical day at our house

Daddy getting his workout in

At the lake last night

Well, thanks for checking in with me. Hope you all have a great Monday.