My #1 Son



There really isn’t anything significant about turning 8 and yet somehow Z is changing so much all of the sudden! It really snuck up on me, but I first noticed it when I did my run down of asking each of the kids to go potty before we let the house and Z requested that I NOT use the word potty with him. He says it’s embarrassing. Since then I have caught myself several times, but I am working on it.


We were at Ikea recently. J and I have always waited with great anticipation for each one of our children to be tall enough to get into small land. This last time as Z stood in front of the height marker I noticed that he is closer to being TOO TALL to get in than he is to being to small. When did that happen?


This photo is from last year when he turned 7.

Similarly, I asked him to pull up a stool to help with dishes the other night and he informed me he didn’t need a stool. I honestly did not believe him. I figured he’d be reaching on his tippy toes, but nope. He can stand at the sink and wash dishes perfectly fine without a stool.


There are tons of little things like this. For example I am glad Carter’s offers size eight now but this is a recent extension of their children’s selection. There are lots of stores that lump the size 8 in with the preteen clothes. So even shopping has made me realize what a big boy he is.


He’s still a young though and he is not afraid to hold hands, which melts my heart. Holding my child’s hand has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Physical touch isn’t my love language so I am a little surprised at how much warmth and connection I feel with this small gesture. Even just walking across the parking lot (when they aren’t trying to pry away and dart off) holding hands is the best feeling in the world. At the end of the last school year we were walking on the sidewalk holding hands and I asked him if he would still hold my hand in 2nd grade and he said “Yes. I will hold your hand in all the grades”. I know that’s not true, that would be weird. It was still sweet to hear along with seeing drawings like this


or school papers like this


or a Lite-Brite with these words.


Or notes in my pocket like this


He was the one that started me on this motherhood assignment. I call him my #1 son. He knows what I mean by that. It doesn’t mean he is above all the rest, but he was the first. I know he often feels slighted due to his siblings getting more attention at times and I remind him of the special place he has in my heart as my #1 son. I feel exceedingly blessed to have this precious boy in my life. 
IMG_1485Happy 8th birthday Z.

By |2015-09-04T00:02:00+00:00September 4, 2015|Motherhood, My Life|5 Comments

Living in Holland (Thoughts From a Special Needs Mom)

If you have a  child diagnosed with some form of special needs then you have probably come across the “Welcome To Holland” essay by Emily Perl Kingsley. Basically it compares the shock of finding out your child has a disability to the feelings you would have if you planned a trip to Italy, but landed in Holland. The idea behind the whole analogy is that Holland isn’t BAD it’s just different and may take time to readjust your original plans and learn your way around.

The comparison applies to my situation well. I thought I was raising a perfectly “normal” (for lack of a better word) child the first two years of her life before I learned that SJ was deaf. I was speaking Italian, bought all the guide books for Italy, and really believed I was in Italy until that point which I consider my crash landing in Holland.

I have known about SJ’s hearing loss for 3 years now. The 2 1/2 year mark was a significant threshold for me because at that point I knew that my daughter was deaf longer than I knew her as (I thought) a hearing child.

It really does get easier. I have an appreciation for Holland. I’ve met lots of new friends here and learned so much. I’ve got the Holland guide books and maps now. I might as well have a tshirt and bumper sticker declaring my loyalty to Holland! There are moments though. There are moments you remember this wasn’t your original destination. I am being candid because I know I am not the only special needs mom going through this.

For example I have never babied or coddled SJ for her disability. She can truly accomplish anything she wants to do. She has been learning to swim this summer and let me tell you she is a champ. She fearlessly tackles this mission with great passion and fervency. She does so without the use of her cochlear implants so she is completely without hearing the whole time. I try to sit by the pool for a little break and she will tug on me and sign  “Practice! Practice! Mom, practice.” I see her going after it with all she’s got and when she comes up for air with the splashes of water blurring her vision I scream “Good job. Take a breath. KICK! KICK! KICK! You’ve got this!” but I know she can’t hear me. She can’t even read my lips or see me with the conditions that we are working with in that moment and I have felt helpless. Similarly, when my three kids are going to sleep (they share a room for now) I lie there in the dark with them for a while and Ezie says he wants to pray. After he finishes he wants his sister to take a turn. I tell him SJ can’t hear us right now because she doesn’t have her implants. If it were light it would be different because she reads lips so well, and with her implants she is just communicating non stop, but the next night we went through the same thing and Ezie said SJ needed to get her implants. He’s two and just starting to verbalize more himself, so it’s kind of heart breaking to hear him process all of it for the first time. Add to some of these emotions that SJ is starting kindergarten and she can’t go to the same school or have the same opportunities as her brother and it’s just another layer of Oh yeah, I was supposed to be in Italy.


I know I shouldn’t feel guilty sharing some of these stories, but I do because we are so blessed and I love SJ exactly as she is. We are to the point now that if I try to think of what life would be like if she weren’t deaf I absolutely can’t wrap my brain around it because it’s a part of who she is. It’s like trying to picture what she would be like if she had been a boy. That’s just not who she is and I don’t want to change a thing.

As far as the little bumps in the road, we can purchase special gear that she can wear in the water to swim with her cochlear implants on. We can make sure everyone takes a turn praying in bed before SJ takes her implants off. She goes to a phenomenal school, and will have tons of wonderful experiences this year in Kindergarten. These are really minor things, but as in the Holland analogy it’s different and it takes some getting used to.

I have a friend whose son just crossed the one year mark of being a double amputee and that family has the most incredible testimony.


I have loved cheering them along as I have watched all that their little man has achieved and I can’t wait to see what comes next. They have a caring bridge site where they post updates about Jude’s progress. Reading some of their experience has been like reliving my own. Even though SJ has artificial hearing and Jude has artificial legs there are just TONS of similarities.

I don’t know it all (that’s for sure) but since I feel like I am a couple years ahead on this journey I shared with my friend what I have come to realize after being thrown into the world of special needs parenting. I wanted to encourage her that just because it’s been a year doesn’t mean that you should be completely adjusted and move on. It’s been 3 years since SJ’s diagnosis and we are still in the transition stage. I look at the timeline like this Old normal, shock, transition (or adjustment, or adaptation), and then new normal.

processing stages

We spent just over two years living in the old normal, there was probably a year of living in shock and just doing my best to stay afloat. The last two years have been transition and we’ll be here for a while. I feel pretty darn close to “New Normal” but we still have such a long way to go. I feel like for us that will be when she goes to main stream schooling. I’m sure it looks different for everyone and more experienced moms could give a lot more insight into all this and the multifaceted layers. I am just learning, but this is my message for those in similar situations. Don’t feel like you have to rush into coping or adjusting. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times for some more than others, and somedays you are in Holland with a map from Italy. That’s okay, you will get there. I will get there. Our precious babies will get there and boy will we have stories of all the adventures we’ve had!

How Do I Know I am Done Having Babies?


J and I always wanted a big family. We were in agreement, but we never set a number. It seems for a lot of people they have always known exactly how many kids they wanted, but I never did.

Yet, here we are at baby number 4 and suddenly I know that I’m done.


This is actually SJ. I don’t have a sono of baby #4 yet.

It’s not that frazzled hair, bug-eyed mom staring blankly into space whimpering, “No more. Pleeease make it stop!”. I mean, I might look like that mom at times, but that’s not how I feel about it.

I’m going to be extremely candid and uncensored with my personal thoughts and feelings here, so please keep in mind that they are just that- personal. Every couple needs to follow their own path when it comes to bearing children; when, if, and how many. And sometimes that path is determined for you for various reasons. I don’t want my words to be hurtful, I am just expressing how it’s worked out for me at this point. That’s all.

There are a lot of reasons I feel like I am done, but the biggest is that I don’t want to birth children when I am over 35. There I said it. I said it to someone the other day who gracefully mentioned that ALL of her children were born when she was over 35. I hope I did a decent enough job of pulling my foot out of my mouth when she told me that, because I really do think she and other women like her are awesome. I know lots of people that have gone that route and I am all for it.

For me though, I will be turning 33 this month and so as far as I’m concerned this is it. Given my fertility history, if we continued having children I would be at least 35 when the next one would be born. I know that pregnancies after 35 are considered “high risk”, but that’s not even why I decided this. I just had a peace about having closure at this time. My body has been either pregnant or nursing for 8 years. After this baby I will have committed a decade of my life to using my body as a beautiful and miraculous source of nourishment. I feel a little sad about moving on from that season, but I know I’m ready. It’s not just about pregnancy either, these children grow up and I am considering my age when they graduate, and potentially have my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Only God knows the future. Children, health, and lives in general are all very unpredictable. So I realize my planning is somewhat futile, but I still like to dream about what lies ahead.

I look forward to soaking up every last bit of this pregnancy and turning the pages slowly as I close the chapter on this era.

I like that I know so many other moms that are at the same stage as me. I feel like there is a bond between us. If you know me, you know I never let conformity determine my choices AT ALL, but I have a lot of women I can turn to for support about this decision. And that’s a nice feeling.


Me and one of my closest friends when we were pregnant with our oldest sons (8 years ago). She has had 6 pregnancies and I’ve had 4. We are both feeling  the same about the next step.

The thought of missing the tiny toddler voices makes my heart ache, but I get a burst of excitement thinking of being able to ride bikes as a family, or travel and minister together, and play board games on a level that is fun for everyone involved.

My mind continues to waltz through visions of each season; from enjoying regular date nights with my husband again when we are in our
40’s, to planning weddings and welcoming grandchildren in our 50’s, maybe seeing the world in our 60’s, and then perhaps great grandchildren?

Who knows what will happen. Plans change. Circumstances change. Feelings change. Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” As far as what J and I have discussed though (and there was a lot of prayer and discussion), this will be my final pregnancy. The million dollar question is always How do you know when you are done? The answer is simple for me.

I know I am done because the thought of it is comforting.


By |2015-06-02T23:00:53+00:00June 2, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth|16 Comments

Mothers Are Like Clocks

Long ago, before we even had children we bought this large clock for our kitchen. It actually set itself automatically and changed when the time changes twice a year. It was just a simple analog clock, so I never did figure out how it could adjust the time like magic, but it was faithful to do so.

The clock moved from Texas, to Kentucky, and finally Ohio where it adorned our kitchen once more. It wasn’t the cutest or trendiest home decor item but it had an important purpose. Our son even learned how to tell time the old fashioned way thanks to that clock. I’ll admit that it had gradually sped up over the years to the point that I knew it wasn’t perfectly accurate, but it still helped me stay on schedule. It just kept faithfully ticking away.

That was until recently when the clock stopped.

I thought it was 12:55 pm for two hours before I realized what happened. I panicked and rushed out the door to pick up my kids from school. When I returned home I immediately went to change the batteries. The problem is that it still didn’t work. We tried different batteries. We tried reseting it. Even the fixer of our family couldn’t revive it. So we had to face the fact that after ten years of service to our family the clock had come to the end of it’s life.

Time of death? Unknown.
Bad joke. Sorry.

Anyway, into the trash it went and about a week passed by without the clock hanging on the wall. Even despite our phones, computers, and other various digital clocks I had relied on that one for so long that I thought I would loose my mind if it wasn’t replaced soon. I looked up at that blank spot on the wall probably 20 times a day. I expected to see the time only to be repeatedly disappointed. I feel lost when I don’t know what time it is.

Today we finally replaced the clock and life can proceed as normal.

With mother’s day around the corner this got me thinking. Moms are a lot like clocks. As a child you rely on your mother to keep time, to get you where you need to go, to maintain a steady rhythm, to be there to keep the machine running non stop… like clock work! Then one day you grow up and enter adulthood and you realize just how much you looked up to your mom. It’s in hindsight that you can fully appreciate the depth of what she did for you.

When I think about my old clock I see so many parallels to my mother.

I don’t know how she did it all- all the time, but it happened. Like magic. And if sometimes her timing wasn’t perfect it didn’t matter because she got the job done. She served our family faithfully. She was committed every second, minute, and hour of every day. Her purpose was and is invaluable.

She taught me how to cherish the time.

So this is for all the mother’s out there that are constantly running. To the moms that are a source of reliability and consistency for their families, and those who are trying to embrace every moment as time marches on. Your role in your family is obviously deeper and more intimate than any old clock, but maybe next time you look at the time you can think about the bigger picture because whether you feel it or not, I can assure you that you are appreciated.

 Happy Mother’s Day.
By |2022-03-15T22:46:04+00:00May 1, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Uncategorized|16 Comments

The Hardest Job on the Planet

I saw this comedian on youtube that was joking about how the statement motherhood is the hardest job on the planet is an exaggeration. He compares motherhood to coal miners dying of the black lung, implying that risking your life for a job would be harder.  I would never describe motherhood as life threatening, but in a few rare cases it actually is. The comedian then dramatically explains how difficult it must be to bend down and put a dvd in the dvd player while you are still in your pajamas. The most ignorant thing he said was how mothers can send their kids to bed ANYTIME THEY WANT so that they can have a drink and watch The Price Is Right.

Would’t that be nice!?

Now I understand how comedy works, and even though I think this guy has no idea what he is talking about I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that everything he said was 100% sarcastic. However, there are people out there that buy into his idea of motherhood as a brainless effortless gig and that is why I want to talk about it.

First off I would agree that there are plenty of more physically and intellectually demanding careers out there. Being a mom isn’t even really a job at all in my opinion. One reason is because unlike a job, motherhood isn’t just an investment of time and skill, it demands attention from ever fiber of your being.

During pregnancy a mother’s body will literally be stretched and strained to it’s maximum potential in order to create and sustain a new human. After her body pushes the baby out of her (something I’d love to see that comedian try to even fathom) then the child will depend on her for not only physical nourishment, but the love and care that has been scientifically proven is necessary for life. There will be times she will be stuck in a car with relentless screaming that could bring a soldier to his knees. She will clean up vomit and feceses more times than you can count. Her nipples will probably be bitten, her sleep will be stolen, and her hair will be pulled. All that and we aren’t even through the first year.

The challenges only increase as the child grows and it’s not a bad thing, but it certainly is NOT easy.

The emotional side of motherhood is far more intricate and complex than any job could ever be. Some people may feel like they are emotionally invested in their jobs, but mothers are attached at the core of who they are. When the child suffers the mother feels the same pain multiplied. The intensity of her passion for her children is pumping through her blood because those children are a part of her and share her DNA.

I could go on and on about all that motherhood entails, but I have already wasted too much time responding to a really stupid youtube video that was recommended on Facebook, and the only thing worse than that is that I also read a couple of the idiotic comments. Apparently there are a lot of oblivious people out there who really do think moms sit around all day playing Candy Crush Saga and snacking on sushi or something.

Just to be clear as I wrap this thing up, some women birth children, but never become mothers. Some women never birth children, but are the strongest mothers of all. It’s a relationship, a lifestyle, a gift, a sacrifice, and a calling, but not necessarily a job.  To say motherhood is job implies that you are paid, or that you can go off duty, or retire. So I don’t think that motherhood is the hardest job on the planet because that statement isn’t powerful enough to describe what being a mom really is.

By |2015-05-17T04:12:25+00:00April 9, 2015|Family, Motherhood|11 Comments

How To Never Offend Anyone

I feel like I have seen it all when it comes to online links
touting things you should never say.
What not to say to a mother of twins
What not to say to a single mom
What not to say to a parent that has adopted
What not to say to a person with an eating disorder
What not to say to a person with an unusual birthmark
The last one I made up, but the rest are real, and I could go on
and on.  The more of these taboo comments that I came across, the more
I became fearful of hurting someone’s feelings. I recently saw one that
should have been right up my alley titled 10 Things You
Should Not Say to Moms With Multiple Children
The picture that goes along with the post is a mom with three
children and a grocery cart. Hey, that’s me! I go to the grocery store with
three children far too often. I like to joke that I am in my 30’s, but I can
still turn heads. The punch line is that I turn a lot of heads with the way my
kids behave when we are out in public. I have had at least 100 strangers tell
me that I have my hands full. It’s true though. My hands are usually literally
carrying things and figuratively juggling things.
“You have your hands full” is just one of the things
the article considered “tactless commentary from intrusive
strangers”. Another statement you are not supposed to say to me or
other moms is “lots of helpers” along with “Enjoy these
days. They grow up so Fast.” And last on the list is “the silent stare”.
If you read the article it explains why you should not say/do these things, and
I get where the idea comes from because I know it feels redundant when you
are on the receiving end. I have even vented about the cliché
statements before. 
So I came up with this idea. Instead of having all of these
“things you should never say” lists to sift through online. I have decided to
just sum it all up into one nice little politically correct paragraph.

 If you find yourself in an environment that is also
occupied by a mother with children, or a person with a disability, or
someone who has experienced tragedy, or is breathing, then you shouldn’t say
anything, unless it is from an approved list of one liners preferably
customized by each individual that would be receiving the
comment. And be especially careful of how you look at said individual.
Don’t look for too long to imply staring, or too short to suggest that you
don’t enjoy seeing them. In fact I would avoid looking at them at all. Then
again that could be the same as ignoring them, which could be considered
offensive too. Instead you might want to try not being around people.

I’m being sarcastic of course. Hopefully you can see where I am
going with this. I understand why lists like this are such a hit. Some of them
truly do raise awareness about certain misconceptions. However, more often than
not we just want people to know what to say to us because we are insecure,
tired, hurt, or fill in the blank. I even considered doing my own list of
“What to say when you see a child with a disability” because my
daughter is deaf and has cochlear implants. It’s kind of hard to miss and I can
tell that some people feel awkward around us at times. The problem with my list
is that I would encourage people to talk with me openly about their thoughts
and curiosities. I love answering questions and educating people
on what the cochlear implant is all about! However, I have lots of friends
who are parents of deaf children and some of them do not like talking about it.
Or sometimes it depends on the day! So there is no list of do’s and don’ts
because there aren’t just “Parents of Deaf Children”-period.
It’s more complex than that.
Similarly there aren’t just pregnant ladies, or women
who have had c-sections
, or biracial couples, or introverts,
or working moms. There are just people! Individual people. 
Sure we all belong to certain groups and stereotypes, but that
does not define us. We are way too complicated to be narrowed down to a list of
appropriate conversations. We are all people that will offend other people and
will be offended by other people. On the bright side we are also diverse people that get to learn from one another. We get to share space and have community together. We engage. We form opinions. We form relationships and even friendships!  

I hate the thought that people would stop interacting out of fear of offending. Sure, there are going to be some jerks out there that say ignorant things, but isn’t there a Taylor Swift song about that? Shake it off, right? Because at one point or another, you will be offended. It’s happened to me. There are also comments that I just could have done without. For example when I was pregnant with a girl after I already had a boy I would have thought the whole world joined together to celebrate the fact that this meant I was done having children. Which, obviously didn’t stop me. Still, at the end of the day, I would rather be annoyed on occasion than disconnected for life. 

By |2015-05-18T04:21:22+00:00February 2, 2015|Motherhood, Special Needs, Uncategorized|14 Comments

Through Mother’s Eyes

This week I have been talking about books. As I already mentioned I recently read Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan and Surprised By Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker . The authors themselves and the main premise of each book is very different. However, they both take a deep and personal look at their mothers in hindsight after becoming a mother themselves. It is amazing what truths are unveiled to them that were there all along, but it’s different when you look back. It’s different when you are a mom.

In Baker’s memoir, Surprised By Motherhood, she looses her mother when she is 18 years old.  Nearly two decades later she is looking at her young daughter and she begins to see herself through her late mother’s eyes. So much healing takes place in that moment. It really is a moving story that I highly recommend. That particular part of the story truly resonated with me. Because in that moment she feels like she has a glimpse of what her mom felt. It is then that she knows that she was loved and she knows that she was known. She couldn’t have experienced it in a way that was so intricate or detailed until she applied it to the relationship she has with her own daughter.

I didn’t loose my mother, but I did loose a brother. Zeb was diagnosed when he was 3 years old. He had Leukemia. He died when he was about to turn 7 and I was 9. We were very close. I grieved the loss of my little brother, the baby of our family, my best friend. I had closure though. I knew he was in Heaven, and the way that I missed him evolved over time.

Then I became a mother. Sigh. Motherhood changes everything doesn’t it? And much in the way of these two authors who saw their mothers in a different light after having kids, I did as well. I understood now the price that she paid, willingly and lovingly, to raise her four children. I also felt like I had a new understanding, although I could never know completely, about what she went through with my little brother Zeb. I hesitate to say that it opens up a wound, but the good news is that God is gracious and merciful and that His presence is a balm for these feelings. He can soothe even the deepest abrasions.

You see, I lost a brother and that was tough. I cherish the memories I have of him. However, I pray that I will never know what it is like to loose a son. As a young girl I had NO idea what my parents went through. Looking back at it with my new perspective as a mom I have to grieve all over again. Every once in a while I will hear stories about that time in our life. I treasure these stories. It’s a part of my life and I want to know everything there is to know about my brother Zeb. I take it all in. Even the hard stuff. It might be stories about his treatment, the chemo, and bone marrow transplant. Or pictures of how young my mother was when she had to endure all this at the age I am now. Or just the look in her eyes when she talks about it. The wholeness and peace that comes from above, along with the empty space that never goes away. And you never want it to.

It’s been 23 years and she does cry every once in a while. Now that I am a mom I totally get that. I am sure she’s crying right now reading this (I am too). It’s weird the way life imprints dates, ages, places on your heart so that you can’t go pass them without tripping a wire. I am sure all of us have those times that serve as a memorial. For me, I think of my mom when my children (especially my oldest son) turn 3 and then 7. Z is seven now actually, and there was one night in particular, after putting him to bed and watching him drift to sleep, I just had to weep over the thought of what that would be like to lose him. I certainly don’t want all this to come across as an obsessive state of hopelessness and depression. It’s quite the contrary. On the occasion that these memories do arise I am reminded of the Savior’s sacrifice. I am reminded of the promise and the hope that we have through Christ. It’s also like rereading the living testament that my parents walk out daily as they prove the redeeming and powerful love of God in the midst of the storms. Lastly, I am honoring a precious little boy’s legacy.

As I read Lisa Jo Baker’s words and saw the healing that was evident through the pain. I also saw that at work in my own life and I am sure it can be true for you as well. We all experience different forms of loss and grief, and the way we grieve is as diverse as each one of us.

To bring this back to becoming a mom and seeing our moms in a new light I would like to share this little quote from Glitter and Glue,

“And it occurs to me that maybe the reason my mother was so exhausted all the time wasn’t because she was doing so much but because she was feeling so much.”

I don’t like to describe myself as exhausted, but if it looks like I am I can attest that this would be why. As these authors have described being a mother means feeling deeply. It’s braving the unknown only to feel your way through it. It’s not always easy, but of course it’s worth it.  

By |2015-05-18T04:22:53+00:00January 17, 2015|Motherhood, My Life, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Be There

I don’t know about you but I’ve had a lot of teachable moments in the past 31 days and I’m sure my children can say the same. In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve failed miserably practicing what I preach this month. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been focusing on it so much that I’ve made myself over think it, or maybe I’m just noticing it more because I’ve been writing about it. One thing is for sure though the enemy loves to tear us down and make us feel like we’re not good enough. I’ve had several people from friends, to my own husband and my mother tell me (in reference to this series) how they feel like they are not parenting the right way or that they didn’t do things the right way when they had a chance. 

That is not the result I was going for when I set out to write about Teachable Parenting. And this is what I would like to say to everyone that is reading this: 

Stop beating yourself up. I am talking to you. You, wiping your child’s nose. You doing the dishes. You getting disapproval from others because you let your child sleep with you, and you getting disapproval from your child because you won’t let them sleep with you. You who are late to get your child to soccer, and you who feels bad that you can’t afford soccer. To the bottle feeders, and the breast feeders, the loud mom, the mean mom, the Pinterest mom, and the laid back mom. 

You are enough. 

Please be encouraged. You are doing an amazing job. Your sacrifice is meaningful. You are capable and equipped. You are chosen. You are qualified. You can do this. 

To sum it all up I’d like to leave you with some advice from a young man who spent most of his life in prison. I met Brandon Young this past Sunday when a ministry group called Hope Royale came my church. The men were different ages and had different backgrounds, but their commonality was that they had all spent a good deal of time in jail and now have come to a place of restoration with powerful testimonies to share about their journeys. At the end of the service a panel was opened up for question-and-answer time. We were all encouraged to ask them anything we wanted. It could be about drugs, alcohol, jail, suicide attempts, anything. I hesitated because this was a big group and we had to speak into the microphone, but then I thought why not, this is a great opportunity for me. So I stood up and I briefly mentioned the project I’m working on about parenting and my question was “What advice would you have for parents? What one thing would you say to help them steer their children away from such hardships? Brandon looked me in the eye and he just simply said, 

Be There.

As he paused my eyes began to well up with tears with the gravity and complexity of the statement. He expounded just a little bit by saying “My parents weren’t perfect, but they weren’t even there. Just be there for your kids.” I thought it was interesting this 24 year old young man would say he didn’t need perfect parents. He just needed parents that were there for him. 

I’d like to repeat what I said that the father shared with his daughter at her 16th  birthday which is that no matter where she finds herself he will be there for her. Just like Christ promises us, just like the prodigal son. Hopefully our children don’t have to go through all these dark struggles that we so strongly want to keep them away from, and there are things we can do to help them for sure. Of course  listening is important, chores are important, our words are important, our actions are important, but after 31 days and tons of tips telling you what I’ve learned about Teachable Parenting I’d like to leave you with one simple piece of advice from my new friend Brandon. 

Just be there for your kids.

 Be There.

This is the end of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable parenting click HERE.
By |2015-05-18T04:42:43+00:00October 31, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|8 Comments

The Helicopter Has Landed

A couple years ago I sat in a waiting room watching a woman fold a million tiny origami
stars. Maybe a million is exaggerating, but she was working on it for a long
time. I asked her what it was for. She said it was her son’s homework assignment
and it was due tomorrow. I don’t remember all the excuses, but her main one
was “He’s never going to use this skill. I mean, if it were important I would
want him to learn it, but this is not something he’ll need to know in the real
I get it. I am not judging that woman, who knows what she
was going through. I could tell she wasn’t proud of it herself, but her
reasoning was lame. Her son may not ever craft another origami star in his
life, but will he have deadlines, tedious projects, assignments that take
precision and focus? He probably will and bailing him out is not going to help
I never thought I would be the helicopter or drill sergeant
parent, but I have to tell you it does crop up. There have been a number of
times I have seen my son on the play ground with kids that I had a bad feeling
about and I would just go into mama bear/eagle eye/ lioness
/whatever-other-strong-animal-image-you-can-think-of mode. It’s hard not to
swoop in and rescue.  I knew this was a
tendency of mine and when reading descriptions for “the three damaging
motherly stereo types” from Wild Things it was confirmed. I saw that out of The Man Hater, The
Mother Hen
, and The Overly Bonded Mother I related to The Mother Hen a little
more than I wanted to admit. I think it’s natural and good that we want to
protect our children, sometimes that what we’re here for. We have to watch out that we aren’t being over involved though. Out of the three books
that I’ve been referencing they all mention the dangers of both hovering and controlling, and how they ultimately teach children to operate on the basis of fear and shame.
If we want responsible kids we have to give them more
responsibility. I went to a conference about this last year at my son’s school.
The advice was let them do their own laundry, walk to local destinations when possible, and
let them fail assignments too. I have already talked about how it’s okay formistakes to be made (especially when the price tag is low), but it bears
repeating because if we can’t shield our child from the pain of failure and suffering
in the world, what we can do is teach them how to cope with it now.
I’ll end with this excerpt from Wild Things “ If we don’t
allow the boys we love to suffer with the disappointments of life, we undermine
their manhood by sending them messages that say, “You’re weak. You can’t handle
life”. Intentionally or not, by our words and our actions we communicate to our
boys that they’re not capable or responsible.”

This book is written for caregivers of boys, but it applies
to girls as well. I want to see my children be stretched to their fullest
potential, even if it hurts to watch (gulp). Will you join me?   
This is day 23 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.
By |2015-05-18T04:46:15+00:00October 23, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Being Fun and Unpredictable

I’ve given a lot of information over the past 21 days of this series. It’s been a little overwhelming for me and hopefully not too much for you. I feel like a lot of it is freeing and I am very passionate about the idea of Teachable Parenting, but I never want to come across as preachy. You can get so wrapped up in the “how to” parenting stuff that even the gentle discipline approach can become a beating for the adult. It’s not supposed to be that way.
Children are a lot of work, and it can be exhausting.
For the people that comment nearly everyday “You look like you have your hands full” or “they sure are strong willed aren’t they” All I can say is yes.
Yes I do have my hands full and yes they are strong willed, but I’d rather full than empty. I’d rather strong than weak.
It’s not as bad as it may look in passing. I get to have a lot of fun with these little fire balls. So, today I want to share a parenting tip that is more about enjoyment together.


In Wild Things the book recommends changing it up, being unpredictable or risk being dismissed. They give a story of a mother that made spaghetti and meatballs for her husband and two sons (ages twelve and fifteen) and served it on the patio behind their house. In the middle of dinner
she picked up a handful of spaghetti and chucked it at the boys. The salad and meatballs shortly followed. Both boys were so amazed that they just sat there,
stunned at first, and then began laughing harder and longer than they ever had in their life. None of their friends believed them when the boys told them what
had happened. This mother was neither predictable nor dismissed. She was a hero.
Now, I am not suggested scoring through pinterest for calculated ideas on how to be the unpredictable mom. I think you need to be yourself and I think you need to have fun with your kids in whatever way shape or form that looks like to you. Not everyday is going to be fun. You are the parent not the BFF, but the point is to lighten up from time time, especially if you feel like your home is becoming a purgatory.
My latest crazy fun family time which I haven’t shared on this blog yet, was the Color Dash Bubble Bash that I did over the summer. It was also a beautiful lesson in paying it forward because BB4K is an organization that helped fund my daughter’s summer therapy this year at her deaf school. Not only were we able to give through the money raised for the event, but we had blast! The event happened over a month ago and they haven’t stopped talking about it since.
That wasn’t some creative idea that I came up with and it doesn’t have to be. Or if it is like the spaghetti thing than that’s great too. Or it could be spur of the moment thing. Another recent super, crazy, fun activity was when my husband and son were flying a glider in the park and my husband decided to tape his phone to the plane to see video from the planes perspective.I gripe about my kids in a light hearted way because I want others to know that for most of us motherhood is not a cake walk and it’s normal to feel like your are loosing your mind. It’s also normal to feel like you are experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings everyday through the beautiful children He’s given you. They are a lot of fun, and sometimes it’s up to us to join in!

I previously mentioned the post I wrote called “Turns Out Mom Was Right” and I share some of her more unpredictable moments, which turned into unforgettable memories. I also explain why these experiences meant so much to me.

Think back to your childhood when did you see your parents kick back and loosen up? What were the times that you laughed the hardest? What kind of fun traditions or wild spontaneous memories are you building with your children?


I think you know what the next teachable parent challenge is! Have fun…

By |2015-07-25T10:53:20+00:00October 22, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments
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