And the Leaves Do Come

>> Friday, May 29, 2009

I have been waiting. Waiting for some sign that my spring is coming. That I am free to enjoy life and feel grateful for what I have without living in the shadow of what I do not.
I stopped by Micah's tree today. I hadn't been there since the week after it was planted. The last month has been very busy, schedule-wise and relationship-wise. Life is full and a bit complicated. But mostly just really full.
But today, when I walked up to the tree and saw all these beautiful leaves, I just broke down in tears. I was not expecting the tree to produce such beautiful signs of life this soon. I felt like God had just reached down and put His hand on my shoulder. See, there is lots of life even when you least expect it.
I sat with Caden down in the grass and together we played with flowers and watched a little frog.
Life is full. I mean, yes, complicated and not always easy. But oh-so-full.

Thank you, God, for the beautiful leaves on Micah's tree. Thank you for making a beautiful tree even more magnificent. Thank you for this sign of life. On the tree and in my soul.

It may sound weird to you, but seeing these leaves today renews my strength and my hope that I can live in joy. And that when the things in life that I depend on seem to be out of control, He is still in control - making my tree and my life come into full bloom.

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Stroller Envy

>> Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, the dreaded disease. Stroller envy. Have you ever caught a case? Is there any cure other than an indulgent purchase of a stroller that is probably more than you can afford and maybe even more than you need?

Whenever I am out, I am constantly checking out the double strollers that I see. Too wide... too cluncky.... too cheap looking... I love wearing my babies ( my toddler too). But there are just times when it is super convenient to let the kiddos ride in the stroller and not on mama. My very generous mother-in-law bought us a used double stroller (a sit-and-stand type) that I have used a couple times and have a terrible time pushing it around. It is ok in the mall. And I used it once at the zoo. But it is really hard on walks (heavy to push, doesn't turn well) and on any surface that is not flat and smooth.

So here is my dilemma... The stroller that I have long lusted after is on sale through Costco for several hundred dollars cheaper than normal. The Phil & Ted in-line double stroller is, well pretty. I love that it is not too wide and that is is good quality and that it is super light yet sturdy. But as I was reading about this stroller, trying to picture myself actually buying it since it is such a great price, I got this bad feeling in my stomach. Oh, no... this isn't what I need! The total weight limit is 88lbs. This sounds like a lot but when you break it down, the back seat can only hold 33lbs with 55lbs. in the front. You can use it with an infant carrier but I don't use that anymore. The rear seat turns into some sort of bouncer but Caden is going to walk any day now so that is useless to me too. AHHHH!! This stroller that I love and is now on sale is still impractical for me to buy!! I would be able to use it now (A LOT!!) and probably through next fall and maybe even into the winter. But I think that by next spring and summer, Caden may weigh more than 33lbs. since he weighs around 25lbs now. Lucas weighs about 35 or 40 lbs so maybe I would get more use out of it than I think. But still.... I wish I would have bought it a year ago or even at the beginning of spring. Then I would feel like I was getting my $300 worth out of it. Actually, I wish I would have invested in a really nice stroller when Lucas was born. It is just hard to have the foresight and the disposable income. :)

So, do I spend $300 and get a really nice stroller that I would get a lot of use out of for a relatively short amount of time? Or do I spend more money and get a stroller that I would use for a longer amount of time (ie: a more side-by-side with a higher weight limit)? Or do I use the one I have and stop falling prey to this "disease of the fortunate?" I have 3 strollers in my garage right now. And here I sit, trying to figure out if I should spend several hundred dollars on a new one. Kinda wrong on some level. I have been looking on CraigsList with no luck so far.

Do you have a stroller that you love? Or is there one you would love to have? Any advice on my current predicament? I welcome any comments or advice. Help me cure this disease.

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Sling Use #5,245

>> Sunday, May 24, 2009

If your shopping cart's seat belt is broken and you have a squirmy little munchkin in the seat, just put the sling around both them and the seat back and tighten and go. :) Voila! Seatbelt. Thank heavens for my sling!

I had my first market of the season on Saturday. It went fine, I suppose. A bit disappointing, but overall OK. It is so hard for me to remove myself from the product. I put so much of my time and energy and heart into these slings. I take time away from my babies or from the sleep my body needs to sew them and make them perfect. I pray over each sling while sewing it- praying for the mama and the baby that will get to use it and enjoy it together. Then when I am at the market and people don't respond as I feel they should to this product that I value and love, I feel personally rejected. I know that is a bit dysfunctional and probably says something profound about my character flaws or overall emotional health. But, mostly it just feels like a let down to have put so much in and get so little back. Looking over my numbers from the previous two years, the market in May has historical low sales. But I was hoping for more and felt a bit let down. I had the thought while I was there that maybe I should just buy some chickens and sell eggs. The egg people seemed to be having a good day. Or maybe I should learn how to make cheese. Or handbags. Both of those items seem to be big sellers. But my heart wouldn't be in selling cheddar or tote bags. My heart is in babywearing and teaching moms about how awesome it is. I love showing a mom how to put her baby in a sling instead of that dreadful "very popular carrier that will remain unmentioned." I love to hear her say how comfortable it is and how cozy baby looks in the sling. I love teaching people about how great (and convenient) it can be to have your baby close and nurture them in that way. That is my heart. That is why I do this and not sell cage-free chicken eggs. I have to remind myself of that when the sales disappoint me. So as to not paint myself as this altruistic saint, I do this to make extra money for my family too. Which is why I get bummed on days like yesterday. Oh well, just pick up and get ready for June. Right? One silver lining.... I won't have to sew as much to get ready for my next market. :) And I spent about 5hours staring at this hottie boy in the BBQ ribs booth just across the aisle in my line of sight. I am a mother of three... I should be ashamed of myself. But if you could have seen his cute little- um, smile. :)

Anyway, I hope y'all have a great Memorial Day and celebrate our great country. And the men and women who have fought to make it so great.

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Oh Heavens!!

>> Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Need a laugh? Caden got so tickled the other day when I was just saying "oh heavens!" to him. I promise it will make you smile.

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Psalm Sunday- What is Love?

>> Sunday, May 17, 2009

Disclaimer: I have never claimed this blog to be a place of blind sappiness where I simply blab away about the cuteness of my boys or how great life is. I mean, my boys are certainly ultra-cute and I feel SO blessed to be their mother. But to drip on and on about how swell motherhood is would not be an accurate picture of my reality. So if you are looking for a blog that is happy-shiny-life is all roses and puppies, you might want to move on. That is not my blog, and not this post in particular.

I have been thinking a lot lately about love and what it means to give love to others and receive it for myself. I love my boys, I love my Hubby, I love my family. But the expression of those loves are all very different. And what do I need from people on order to feel loved and appreciated too. I don't have all that figured out, but what I do know is that at this point in my life my "love-needs" are changing and growing.
My need for Hubby's love is not the same now as 10 years ago. When we first started dating, the feelings of love were tingly and exciting. You know what I am talking about. I felt pursued, desired, ... loved. Now, three boys and 10years later, love feels and looks a lot different. I struggle at times to still feel loved. But, what is love really? Is it the spark, the sizzle? Is it Hubby going to work everyday to provide security for me and my boys? Doesn't it need to be a good mix of practical and romantic expressions of love? Again, I am still very much in the midst of trying to figure that all out while keeping proper perspective. But through this process, I feel like God is trying to teach me something bigger about love.
Ultimately, Love is sacrifice. It is putting the needs and desires of another ahead of your own. This past week of being in Florida with my family was somewhat of a sacrifice for me (although I was at the beach so there were definite perks too), but I did it out of love for my boys and for my family. Love is dropping the plans of my day to go to the aid of someone who has needs greater than mine.
I am learning too that I depend too much on Hubby and others to make me feel loved. God loves me. He is my All. Or at least He should be. His Love is always perfect, always exactly what I need at all times. And when I feel like Hubby's love or my family's love or my friends' love for me falls short, God's love will never fail. He is steadfast and faithful and unfailing.

I love the verse in Psalm 36 (vs. 9) that says "in Your light we see light."
In my current funk, I SO need His light to keep my on the right track.

Oh Lord, be my light and my source of true love. And teach me how to love others truly too.

Psalm 36

An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful;
he has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course
and does not reject what is wrong.
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!

Hungry (Kathryn Scott )

Hungry I come to You for I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know Your love does not run dry
And so I wait for You
So I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees, offering all of me
Jesus, You're all this heart is,living for.

Broken I run to You for Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know Your touch restores my life
So I'll wait for You
So I'll wait for You

Hungry I come to you, for I know You satisfy

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Mama needs a New Washer

>> Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey y'all~

I don't normally put these things on my main blog page, but I thought you might want to know about this.

Frigidaire is having a contest where the prize is a free Affinity Washer and Dryer, their newest luxury appliance. Our washer and dryer is SO-VERY-OLD and we are SO-IN-NEED of replacements!! I bet you are too! And these look fabulous!
All you have to do is go to their site, register and fill out a quick survey asking you what 5things you would do with a free hour or time. It takes 5 minutes and you could win a free washer and dryer. Seems worth it to me.

Take a minute and fill out their survey. And if you win, maybe you could do a load of laundry for me! :)

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Sweet Dreams

While we have been in Florida, Caden and I have been sleeping on a queen air mattress and Lucas has been on a twin air mattress right next to us. I have been putting them down at the same time, in the same room but on their different beds. Tonight, I came in to check on them and this is what I found. Lucas had crawled up onto the queen mattress and fell asleep holding Caden's hand. He really does love his brother, even if he knocks him over and pushes him out of the way about 20million times during the day. This bodes well for days to come - both their love for each other and the fact that they have been sleeping in the same room! :)

Oh, how I love these boys! My mommy-heart is bursting about now.

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus

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What we've been up to...

>> Monday, May 11, 2009

playing with Auntie by the pool

playing in the sand with Pa

Auntie's law school graduation (or should I say Dr. Auntie- she got her JD)

more swimming

mommy and her boys on the beach in Ft Lauderdale

So far, this vacation has been lots of sun, sand, and celebrating. And we're only half done! Yipee!

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Beach Bound

>> Thursday, May 7, 2009

My sister is graduating from law school this weekend!! Hooray!! It has been a long, challenging journey for her with lots of speed bumps thrown in her way. And yet, she has persevered and we are all SO PROUD!! To celebrate, the boys and I are going to Florida tomorrow to be with her and then spend a week on the beach. What a self-less sister I am? :) Another bonus, I will be with my mom on Mother's Day this year for the first time in 10years!

Life has been so busy and complicated lately that I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to some beach therapy. Being on the beach, for me, is like letting out one big exhale. It is letting go of all the tension, the stress, the guilt, the worry. It is like breathing in peace and rest. I just SO love the beach and I am in need of it's therapy. I love my life, I really do. But that doesn't mean I don't need a break from it from time-to-time. And now is definitely one of those times.

God is teaching me so much right now- about being a good wife and a good mom and being true to myself through it all. It is hard for me not to lose myself in taking care of the needs of others. I tend to judge my self-worth by the happiness of Hubby and Lucas and Caden and my family and friends. This makes it so easy to keep adding things and adding things into my life, thinking that the next thing I do will truly be the thing that makes me happy. Makes me have value for being just me. But with God's help, I am really trying to learn to find my joy in Him and the things He blesses me with. Not in whether or not Hubby is content or Lucas has a good discipline day. Those are not the measures of my worth.
This is another reason I am in need of some beach time. I need to step away from daily life for a bit to be able to see it clearly and put things into some proper perspective. Hopefully, I will come home refreshed and refocused and ready to embrace life with joy, no matter what.

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures we had done of the boys. Theya re just so stinkin' cute, I can hardly stand it!! A friend of mine took these and she is fantastic!!

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Waiting for the Bloom

>> Monday, May 4, 2009

When I first visited the tree, I did not see what I had expected to see. Although, I am not exactly sure what I did expect, I was still caught a little by surprise. It was smaller than I thought. There are no leaves. It is small and bare.
"It will grow," Hubby said. "The leaves will come."
I know that. But I was really hoping for some leaves now. I am ready for spring. I need signs of spring.
We stood around the tree, remembering and longing, with many of our close friends and family. It was rainy and chilly and the skys were gray. "What a beautiful tree," they all said. And I agreed. It is beautiful. It is just not what I expected.

Kinda like my tree-Micah's tree- life is what it is. (that is profound, eh?) I am not sure what I expected life to be like but this is not exactly it. But it is still beautiful. Hard, exhausting, and full of ups and downs. But beautiful none-the-less. I have a place to sleep and food to eat and a husband who loves me and three amazing boys and friends who support me and a God who holds me and lifts my head. Beautiful.
It is all about my perspective. When I get two hours of sleep and Lucas won't stop whining and Caden is not content to leave my side and marriage feels so complicated, life feels so small and bare. Where are the leaves, the signs of spring? When I wake up in the morning and I have two beautiful boys snuggled close at my side and the sun is shining through the window and I don't feel tired, life feels in full bloom. But even in the moments when I am overwhelmed by the richness of the life God has given me, I still feel a bit small and bare. I get too easily bogged down by the hard things. I can't keep my focus on Him and the eternal. My priorities are often out of wack. I let the fatigue and busyness keep me from appreciating. I see myself as that small, bare tree. Waiting, hoping for some leaves to bud soon. Watching for the bloom of spring in me.

My last five years have been crazy- full of life changes and adjustments. Moving, babies, new jobs, mourning, rejoicing, counseling, fear, joy... But that does not make me unique. I am not the only one who has had her life turned upside down and had to pick things up and figure out how to move on. I am just not sure I have done it well. Which brings me to here. This place of gratitude but discontentment. Motherhood is hard, marriage is hard and yet both those things are what make life so rich. Thankfully, God does not see my bare branches. He sees me in full bloom. I am exactly what He expected. No more, no less. He knew I would have these challenges and these joys and is holding my hand and leading me through. Have these five years been God pruning me, cutting away what I thought were my leaves only to leave me more bare and small? Has He been preparing me for my true Spring?

Life is what it is. Sometimes sad and disappointing. But also full to the brim. Sometimes this tree seems small and bare. But it will grow. The leaves will come. Spring will come.

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