Love the following quote, and believe that God would do miracles if we attempted to live in this way.  I am constantly being reminded that parenting is just as much (IF NOT MORE) about God using Miller to “raise” me, instead of the opposite.  The way God uses my son to refine me blows my mind…

There is NO book on “Taming the Difficult Parent,” “Raising a Moral and Intelligent Parent,” or “No More Misbehaving Parents!” We have long been spooked with messages that our children will raise hell and havoc if we don’t raise *them* “right.” A paradigm of fear and anxiety of desperately striving to do it right, to being perfect, to raise perfection, pretending all is well when we suffer or struggle, projecting our pain and outward to others, including our small, open hearts–our children.
Imagine if we all woke up this morning and our children were regarded as loving experts on raising mindful parents, parents saw themselves as curious students as much as compassionate guides on the journey, all our mistakes were golden keys to the universe, and there was no painful struggle for power, obedience or peace in relationship. Wait…this IS the vision for all of us who are on the journey to create our “PARENT-digm shift,” as I like to call it.

LuParent2ParentU

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Thoughts

March 28, 2012

1. Don’t you hate it when you are in a public restroom and realize the paper towel dispenser was mounted too high? When you reach for a paper towel water drips back down your arm, getting your shirt, etc wet. Ugh, it stinks being shorter than average!

2. I think invisible fences for dogs are a great invention, but it still scares the poo out of me when a dog comes bounding down his driveway full speed while I’m running by. I keep telling myself, “There’s an invisible fence, he’s not going to attack you”, but my heart still races.

3. I went into “Justice” for the first time the other day to buy a birthday gift, since of course I want to be the “cool aunt.” If you don’t know what Justice is, consider yourself lucky. Anyway, I’m scarred for life. As much as I’d love to have a daughter, that store makes me want to be a mom of all boys!

4. Don’t let anyone tell you that sewing is easy. I just finished a three week sewing class and I’ve decided that I have a learning disability when it comes to all things sewing. I’m determined to be successful, but it is not easy!

5. When I drive by McDonalds and see so many cars lined up at the drive through I just cringe. I really want to get a mega phone and tell everyone that they are poising themselves, and even worse, their children. When I first thought about how good that would feel I realized I was an official crunchy Mama!

6. Happy Hunger Games. What an awesome movie!!! So want to see it again, which is saying a lot, since I don’t get to go to the movies often. It was just that good.

7. New fave product: Trader Joe’s lavender dishwashing liquid. Seriously, it smells so good….I feel like I’m at the spa every time I do dishes. For real.

8. So glad The Bachelor is over! I feel like I got a little carried away this time. Started reading blogs, and even read Reality Steve for the first time. Yuck, felt like I needed to take a shower after that whole train wreck was over.

9. So proud of the hubs for attempting 30 days without coke or sweet tea. He’s doing great so far. If you know him, you get what a big deal that is.

10. I love this idea of Positive Parenting that I’m learning more about. My tendency is to be such a rigid, controlling, “because I said so” kind of mom that I need all the positivity I can get.

Unfaithful

March 18, 2012

Dear Abandoned and Forgotten Blog of Mine,

I’m sorry it’s been so long. I’ve had so many good intentions, but to be completely honest, another has stolen my affection. I feel terrible admitting it, but it’s true. As much as I enjoy you, another grabs my attention and makes me giddy with excitement more than you ever have. What is this new love affair I speak of? PINTEREST. It’s just so sparkly and pretty, and makes me truly happier than anything else the internet has to offer. I sit down with all good intentions of writing a blog post, but then get distracted looking at all the fancies on Pinterest. There is only so much time in the day to waste on the world wide web, and I’m sad to say that I’ve chosen Pinterest over you for quite a while now. I can’t promise I’m back for good, but I’ll try. Pinterest and I are somewhat on the outs because of all the places it takes me. Places where only super moms exist. Moms that have a perfect life plus time to write and take pictures of every detail of the process by which they make their life perfect. Moms that let their kids play with messy, dirty things and make the OCD part of me feel terrible for not wanting a huge mess on my hands 24/7. Moms that only feed their kids flax seed and spinach. Basically, moms that wear me out. I’m also gritting my teeth at Pinterest for constantly flashing airbrushed pictures of perfect abs in my face, under the disguise of “motivation”. Abs that don’t exist, and are nothing of an “inspiration” to me or the pooch that continues to reside directly under my belly button after birthing a monster of a baby. So, due to Pinterest’s indiscretions, I’ve come back to you, my steady and faithful blog, that never makes me feel like a bad mom, terrible cook, or fatso. Thanks for taking me back with open arms.

No really, it is. I love Christmas for so many reasons. Having Miller makes Christmas waaay more fun! I remember always having baby fever around Christmas…it just makes you want to have a family. And actually having one is even better than I imagined it would be. The best part is that it will only get more fun as he gets older and really understands what Christmas is about. I can’t wait!!!

One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating. I always loved putting up our tree, etc., but holy moly enter Pinterest.  Wow. I found so many fun ideas, and ended up meshing several of them together to come up with my mantle decoration. I love it. I’ll have to take a pic and post before I take it all down. Adam can’t figure out what’s gotten into me, as my crafty side has been in full force since before Miller’s birthday party. He thinks it’s hilarious, and loves to laugh at me when I get to working on something. Speaking of Christmas trees, is there anything more beautiful than a twinkling Christmas tree at night?  One of my favorite things in the entire world is turning out all the lights in the house and just gazing at our tree.  Man, we picked a good one this year too.  I LOVE IT!  It’s so cozy and sparkly. I am actually a Christmas tree snob. I always had a real tree growing up and I can’t imagine ever having a fake one. Some say artificial, I say fake. A real one smells so wonderful and is so fun to pick out every year. I have the best time making Adam pull out tons, before I finally pick the “perfect” one.  This year we took Miller along and for some reason whenever Adam would grab a tree to look at, he would laugh hysterically.  Oh my gosh it had to be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I guess he agrees that a real tree is the only way to go. And the best thing of all is that by some miracle, Miller has yet to really notice that the tree is up with all kinds of breakable dangly ornaments just waiting for his grubby little hands to attack. He seriously hasn’t pulled one ornament off the tree. WHAT?! This makes no sense to me, as this would seem right up his alley. I’m not going to say anymore for fear this will somehow jinx my good fortune! I also can’t figure out how people manage to do “themed” Christmas trees, like all red and silver, or another kind of color scheme. What in the world do you do with all the sentimental ornaments?! We have so many from trips, childhood, ornament exchanges, homemade ones, etc. I can’t imagine not having them all on our tree. I love pulling them out and reminiscing every year. I guess it’s what your used to, as I always grew up with a “hodge podge” tree. The messier the better if you ask me!

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is seeing Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” at the Ryman each year. We have gone every year since we’ve been married except last year. I can honestly say that this concert helps me to remember the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. The music and lyrics move me to tears every year. Speaking of music, I’ve decided that “Oh Holy Night” is officially my favorite Christmas song.  For the past few years I have been noticing the lyrics, and they are breathtaking. I hate how easy it is to get in a rut and not even pay attention to the words of the Christmas carols we sing. My goal this year is to really meditate on the sweetness of some of my most favorites. Speaking of favorites, the Mindy Smith Christmas cd rocks my world. Adam got it for me several Christmases ago and I’m obsessed.

The only thing that gets me stressed at Christmas are gifts. I get overwhelmed at all the money we end up spending, and sometimes I just feel so silly buying things for people who have plenty (myself included!) Plus I feel like many of the men in our family are so hard to buy for! We get SO MUCH at Christmas. With both of our parents being divorced and me being an only child…wow! Let’s just say that gifts abound. Now I hate to complain because I love me some presents, but sometimes it just feels so over the top. I’m hoping we can simplify as Miller gets older and we have more kids.

So I leave you with several pictures of the cutest little guy on the face of the planet….enjoy!

 

Three days and counting…

October 31, 2011

Oh my goodness my sweet boy turns ONE on Thursday. Everyone keeps saying how time flies, and asking if I can believe he’s one already. In some ways it’s gone by fast, but in other ways I feel like he’s been a part of our family forever. Thinking back to being pregnant and him being a newborn feels like a lifetime ago in some ways. I hope to write several posts in honor of Miller’s birthday week, so today I thought I’d start by writing about some of the ways my life has changed over the past year.

Now that Miller has arrived….

1. First and foremost, LIFE. IS. BETTER. Seriously, I describe those first few days in the hospital with him as being like Christmas. It was like I’d been given the best gift ever. I still feel that way. Life with him is richer, brighter, funnier, more meaningful, special and sacred. Thinking about all the things we get to experience over the years with our son makes my heart smile. Holidays, memories, traditions, and even the hum drum of daily life is way more exciting with Miller in our lives.

2. I’ve become the best multi tasker on the face of the planet. I was already pretty good at multi tasking pre-Miller, but my skills have definitely improved. Not that trying to juggle so many things at once is always fun, but it’s definitely a necessity as a mom.

3. I’m way more laid back than I thought I would be. If you looked up “Type A Personality” in the dictionary, my picture would be beside it. However, I’ve tried to live life more in the “gray” over the past several years, and becoming a mom was the true litmus test. I feel like I’ve passed with flying colors. Even though being a new parent is overwhelming at times, for the most part I have just trusted my God given motherly instincts and rolled with it. I have basically let Miller dictate his own schedule, and have tried really hard not to “control” him in order to make my life easier. I’m really proud of myself for not being over the top with things like schedules, food, sleep, germs, etc. I think it makes for a happy baby and a happy, peaceful momma!

4. I love my husband more than ever. Seeing Adam as a dad makes me fall in love with him all over again. That man loves his son, and it makes me so happy to see the two of them together. I can’t imagine the heartache of having a husband who is not invested in his children. I’m so thankful that I know I won’t ever have to experience that. Adam is more than willing to step in and do the dirty work. He “gets” how hard it can be to be a stay at home mom, and he is always willing to jump right in as soon as he steps through the door. I know it isn’t always easy for him, but he is the best dad on the face of the planet.

5. I see life completely differently. I feel like I see and experience life through a new lens now that I’ve become a mom. For example, the other day I saw a super pregnant young girl walking along the side of the road on a really hot day. I almost became overwhelmed with anxiety as I watched her. I immediately worried for her and her unborn baby. I wanted to rescue her, and ultimately, her sweet innocent baby that hasn’t even entered the world. Whenever I’m at a wedding I think about what it will be like when Miller gets married one day. When I see a high school or college boy, I wonder what Miller will be like when he grows up. Will he be responsible or rebellious?  Interested in sports or art? Shy or the life of the party? Whenever I hear of a tragedy involving the death of a child it takes on a new, painful reality. It’s like the joy and sorrows of life are magnified once you become a parent.

6. I’ve become a hippie. For some reason becoming a mom has made me want to be more healthy and mindful about how our family lives and eats. From cloth diapers to raw milk and homemade yogurt, I’ve embraced my inner hippiness. I love living life more naturally, and I feel so strongly about teaching Miller healthy habits.

7.  Love has been redefined. God has taught me so much about love since the day I first met Miller and my heart split wide open. The fact that He loves me even more than I love Miller blows me away. It seems impossible, and it is. I am loved in an impossible, yet perfect way by my Heavenly Father. It is too much to even grasp most of the time.

There are SO many other ways life has changed over the past year, but those were the first that came to mind!

I could just kiss those sweet cheeks all day long!

Thankful

October 19, 2011

Miller has been teething for the past couple of weeks, which means he sometimes wakes up fussy during the night.  I have been feeling so sorry for myself, especially since we have been used to a full night’s sleep for quite a while now.  I find myself arguing with Adam over whose turn it is to get up with him, and constantly feel like I’m the one doing more, sacrificing more, giving more, etc.  In my sinfulness I feel the need to “keep score” and work myself to death trying to convince us both that I am the more saintly one. But it’s such a terrible, selfish mind game because in the end we both give so much for our son. 

Now that Miller is nearing his first birthday (WHAT?!), he is developing quite a little personality. He is independent, opinionated and passionate. AKA he screams when he doesn’t get what he wants, throws his food on the floor despite my stern “NO”, wiggles out of my arms when he wants down to explore, refuses to stick to my newly imposed “schedule”, has decided to give up his afternoon nap, no longer likes any vegetables, etc. Again, in my flesh, I find myself frustrated and helpless, desperately trying to control my son. A part of me wants to say, “Seriously? I conceived you, birthed you, nurse you, change your stinky diapers, get up with you at all hours of the night, bathe you, clean out your waxy ears, let you pull my hair, poke my eyes, bite me, pull on my clothes when you want to be picked up, try to open the shower door while I’m showering, pick up after you (over and over and over again), wrestle you in an attempt to put on your clothes, learn to do everything one handed so I can hold you when you want to be held, sacrifice my own fall wardrobe to buy you new clothes, go months without a date night, etc, etc, etc……and this is all I get in return?! This isn’t what I signed up for!” Yes, that’s harsh, but on some days, totally honest.

THEN I stumble across this article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/notes-from-a-dragon-mom.html?_r=1.  And I feel like I’ve been jolted out of my pure selfishness into reality. The reality that life is so terribly fragile: my son’s life, my life, my husband’s life. I imagine living life in this woman’s shoes and I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. Everything I mentioned above goes from frustrating to fullfilling, from mundane to beautiful, from “woe is me” to “I. AM. BLESSED.” Every second of every minute of every day with my sweet boy is valuable, a gift, and oh how I want to treasure and savor it all. I think of a dear friend who should be potty training her two and a half year old, but came home from the hospital empty handed. Where there should be a sweet toddler’s laughter there is silence. I think of her and I think of all the “dragon moms”, and I am humbled beyond words. And it’s in those moments that I long to hear my boy cry out in the night, to grab at my legs wanting to be held, to throw his green peas on the floor.  Annoying whines become the sweetest melodies, and I realize that this season of life is perfectly wonderful, and I am so undeserving of this gift of motherhood. I beg God that I don’t ever wear the title of “dragon mom”, but would like to learn to live in the precious present as they do.

We got cable again!!! In honor of football season we now have Comcast for the next three months.  Although I’m super happy, I find that I really don’t have time to sit in front of the TV. I haven’t even set the DVR for my favorite shows yet. But there is a new one I’ll be recording…”Extreme Couponing”.  I was finishing up a late dinner in front of the TV last night and noticed it was on. After watching it for the first time I realized that it deserves a spot on my DVR list. Not because I really enjoy it, but because it’s like a really bad car wreck: you don’t want to look but you just have to. Wow. I knew the premise of the show but I was in no way prepared for the “extremeness” of it all. It is so shocking on so many levels.

Here are a few things I can’t get over:

1. This one woman clips coupons for 35 HOURS PER WEEK!!!!!! Most could make twice as much as she saves by actually working during those hours. Wow…wouldn’t you get permanent blisters on your hands after using scissors for that many hours?

2. Speaking of scissors, one lady had this huge industrial looking paper cutter for her coupons.  WHAT?!  That’s insane.

3. Every time one of these extreme couponers checks out at the grocery the register breaks down due to coupon overload. Meanwhile the couponer starts freaking out (we’re talking panic attack) while the manager has to check things out and figure out a solution. There’s this huge part of me that wants the manager to tell the couponer that she’s out of luck and can’t use all her coupons. Is that evil of me? Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.

4. I’m not going to lie, I think these ladies are literally addicted to couponing. Overspending is definitely something to be careful of, but obsessing over saving money can be just as much of an obsession.  Anything that gets in the way of relationships and interferes with your daily life is an addiction. Maybe I’ll start a rehab program for couponers in recovery.

5. Speaking of addiction, I think the “high” comes when these ladies realize they are getting something free. I’m not going to lie, that has to be somewhat exciting, but the way they act is just so over the top!

6. I don’t care if it’s free or not, I DON’T WANT 100 bottles of SunDrop. DISGUSTING!!! The majority of these coupons are for processed, sugar loaded, full of chemicals CRAP. These people are a slave to the coupon, and I guess their taste buds and health just have to adjust to whatever happens to be on sale. Gross.

The end.

LEFT side, people

September 16, 2011

Dear walkers, joggers, etc. in my neighborhood,

Did you not get the memo that the correct way to walk/jog/stroll or whatever the heck it is you’re doing is FACING oncoming traffic, AKA the LEFT side of the road? I thought this was a given. I feel like I’ve know this for my entire life. Seriously, I think I came out of the womb knowing that you never, ever walk on the right side of the road. If you didn’t get the memo, stop and think for a second, and maybe you will realize that facing traffic is the easiest way to make sure you don’t get rammed by a car that doesn’t see you. Or, maybe you should stop and wonder why all the other walkers, joggers, etc. are on the other side of the road than you.

And just so you know, if I come towards you on my morning run, massive jogging stroller and ADHD miniature schnauzer in toe, I will NOT move to the other side. That would be your responsibility, since you are the one on the wrong side to begin with. Seriously, I will run smack into you before I consider giving you the right of way. Consider yourself warned.

Sincerely,

Worn out mom trying to get in a work out at 6:30 a.m.

Fun Memory

September 1, 2011

I love reminiscing, and lately I’ve been thinking about a fun trip that Adam and I took around this time last year. Are we just poor, or are vacations EXPENSIVE? We have been on weekend getaways here and there, but last year felt like a real vacation. We celebrated our fifth anniversary with four days in Savannah, and then spent the remainder of the week at St. Simons Island with friends. We loved Savannah; it is the neatest city!!!! It is impossible to describe, with its history, diversity, AMAZING food, shopping, and charm. The way its laid out in little squares is so unique and fun to explore. I was pretty preggo and Savannah is pretty hot, so we had to take breaks a lot so that I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out 24/7. But I think being pregnant made the trip so much more special. One night Miller was moving and kicking like crazy! It was one of the first times that Adam really got to feel him move in my belly, other than little kicks here and there. It was so neat. We stayed in the cutest inn and walked everywhere. On the night of our anniversary we ate at the most amazing restaurant, “Elizabeth on 37th” (http://www.elizabethon37th.net/). It was in this old historic house and the food was so good! Adam also surprised me with a necklace I’d seen at one of my favorite shops forever ago. He had it engraved with a “M” for Miller. I had been hoping he would get it for me, but he kept throwing me off with hints that he’d gotten something else instead. I was so happy when I opened it. What a fun trip!

love all the spanish moss on the oak trees!

on our bus tour of the city

Our cute little inn, right on Reynold's Square

This is where Forrest Gump waited for the bus.

our anniversary dinner

showing off my necklace

Baby Dedication Celebration

August 13, 2011

I’ve been meaning to write about Miller’s baby dedication for awhile now. This was such a meaningful experience. I love how our church does baby dedications. Adam and I, as well as the other parents, met together with our extended families in a separate room before the service started. Our pastor and pre-school minister talked briefly about the importance of raising your child to love Jesus, and then Adam and I shared our vision for Miller as he grows and matures. This is what we shared, meaning these are qualities we would like to see Miller posess when he leaves our home in 18 years:

Christ Follower.  We want Miller to have his very own unique, intimate and authentic relationship with Jesus.  Because of his relationship with Christ, we pray that Miller will love others with a tender and compassionate heart, seeing them through Christ’s eyes, with a desire to be used by Him to help others find healing, redemption and restoration.

Brave.  We pray that God instills a heart of bravery within Miller, giving him the courage to fight for what is good and true, regardless of the risk.

Passionate.  We want Miller to have a wild heart, full of adventure.  We pray that God gives Miller the desire to fully pursue all that makes his heart come alive.

Wise.  We want Miller to be a seeker of Godly wisdom, with the discipline and determination to discern truth and act on what is right.

Authentic.  We want Miller to be honest, open, real and genuine, not afraid to be transparent and vulnerable along life’s journey.  We also pray that Miller pursues emotional and spiritual health.

Unfortunately, the festivities started extremely close to Miller’s bedtime, so he was a bit grouchy and fidgety throughout the night, but the great thing about family is that they don’t care…they think he’s adorable no matter what! Love it.

Before the big event. Does this guy look smug or what? It's almost like he's saying, "Ha! You think I'm going to be an angel, but you have no idea..."

Our best family picture of the night. Miller was determined not to look at the camera.

the fam

This kid's got an attitude. He must take after his dad...ha!

This one about sums up the night!