Friday, November 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Life is rockin' edition ('cept for the coffee part)

Well, so there's this.

I mean...really!?!?
I think I have to quit drinking coffee.  I don't know how to do life without coffee and three children :(  BUT, what has started to happen is after drinking coffee, I am 'shaky' is the only way to describe it.  And I don't like the feeling. But I love coffee :(  We might be in for a rough week.
Speaking of rough weeks, say a prayer for us.  Tonight, er, this weekend we are 'breaking the paci' from the boys. I'm actually someone who wouldn't mind if my kids had pacifiers till they were teenagers (kidding, of course). I haven't worried about breaking the habit, kind of figured it's just too hard in a house where one child has one and the others can't.  BUT...Aaron has started chewing threw them, and it's such a choking hazard.  So, we are gonna take Aaron and Joey off of them and only reserve them for the baby. I think we are in for some long nights! Send good vibes.
I get to see a couple "O.A"s today (Original Alumni).  They are a couple who I worked for when I FIRST started in youth ministry.  At one of the first youth conferences I went to with teens I said to them, 'I think you guys should get married when you are grown ups' or something like that ;)  They got married a couple years ago!  Now, he is applying for a PhD in Jesus stuff and I couldn't be happier to know them!  I have not seen them in a couple years because they live out of state and I have canceled plans with them consistently through two years of pregnancy!  Anyway, totally looking forward to pizza with Gary and Jen.
how cute are they?!?!
--- 5 ---
I love that my friends are like family!  Look! These are some scenes from Thanksgiving.
Kel had the baby most of the night yesterday! It was so good to eat dinner with two hands!
My Ministry Partner, 'Mike' and my dad talkin' some Jesus
Tomorrow, for the first time in a LONG time, I get to go the Ohio State Game.  And, I get to go WITH the husband (that never happens, because usually only one ticket becomes available).  Now, Michigan is pretty terrible again this year, which is a HUGE bummer.  BUT, wouldn't it be something if beat Ohio State? Ruining their undefeated record?  Stranger things have happened.  And yes, I know B, it's probably not gonna occur :)  Hopefully it won't be a blow out.

Look it's my buddy.
Nice chocolate ring hot shot
You guys!  He is into snuggling me randomly. Or saying 'sit by me mama' or 'stay here by me' or 'hold me'.  It's so awesome. I can't even tell ya!  Cupeth runneth overeth....

Thanks Jen for hosting!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TTMT- Basement Edition (perhaps the most selfish one yet)

It's TTMT again (do you see what I did there?  With the letters?  It brings legitimacy to this very special day of the week...it's like WIWS, except everyone is helping me!).

This Talk to Me Tuesday is very 'Wilkerson Specific' but, we'd love your ideas/help.  First a story...

So, here's the thing...when we first bought this house, our basement looked like this...
Fancy Bar

Fancy Area
Then, one week before little A was born, we had a flood :( (so sad, right?!?!) and now it looks like this....
Glorified Storage Unit...

But, before you get Ra-motional (real housewives of New York- Check it!) about the state of our basement, wait for the good news...

The good news...
After getting out of debt (Thank you Dave Ramsey- Total Money Makeover- Look it up), and buying a van (which I am still lovin' on)...we now have some funds to 'remodel the basement'.  The goal is to create a playroom for all the boys God keeps giving us.  Our house is small, so a playroom will make the home totally manageable to live in until we die (if we so choose).
We are having our first (of four) estimate tonight.  I am so.freaking.excited.
Here's what we know (ish...assuming we can afford this, which is the unknown)
We would like to do dry wall, and carpet squares, knock out the bar and turn it into a reading nook, adn extend out the closet (which you can't see) for more storage.

BUT- Neither Aaron or I are good at design/creativity/etc...when it comes to space (lived here almost four years, still nothing on the majority of our walls).  SO...

Talk to me...
I need help with two things.  
1) Suggestions on how you'd remodel the space, with a limited budget
2)  Suggestions on how to properly decorate the most baller playroom ever, with a $500-700 budget (after we finish the remodel, I will get to make it a 'playroom' with that budget).  I'm talking ideas on play, storage for toys, cool things for little boys, seating etc....(we will have two couches- you can see them in the picture, but they will need cheap slip covers...I am willing to hear ideas on that as well!)

I know, I know, not the most fascinating TTMT, but could you hook a sister up and suggest some things?  PLEASE?!?!?!?!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The gift...

...of brothers.
I have written about this before.  So first, my disclaimer.
I understand that many people feel the pain of infertility and posts like this are painful.  Please know, causing any pain to that reality is not my intention. I also know there are people who would like nothing more than to have siblings or give their children siblings and that hasn't happened.  The great news is, I have discovered, 'brothers and sisters don't always have to be blood'.

That being said...
I honestly think one of the MOST beautiful things you can do for your children, if you are able, is to give them siblings.  And, I know this is crazy town, but if you are able, having them close in age, even as close as we have chosen, is something I HIGHLY recommend.  I am AMAZED at how many diapers I change on the regular. I am OVERWHELMED by the amount of laundry that is necessary in this household.  But the moments that take my breath away make it all worth it.  Moments like these...

Yesterday, while feeding John Paul it became very obvious that Joey needed a diaper change. I had a tough call to make. I could wait on it, but then, it could turn into a disaster of mess and stress that I just didn't need. Or, I could stop feeding the baby half way through and go handle it.  As any mom knows, stopping a feeding half way through is never a good idea.  The ear piercing screams that usually result are impossible to ignore.  And yet, I discerned the mess that could come from Joey would be worth the screams. As I raced to change Joey's diaper, John Paul started with the blood curdling screams.  But the next moment was perhaps one of my proudest points of parenting yet.  Without being asked, Lil' A raced across the room, grabbed the bottle and began feeding John Paul.  I had to remind him to keep holding the bottle up, but John Paul was getting his fill.  As soon as I finished with the diaper change, I made my way back to JP and lil' A said, 'you do it mama'.  He wasn't feeding him because he wanted to, he was feeding him because he knew JP needed it.  le sigh...

I have moments like that all the time.

...Aaron bringing Joey his bear when he is crying after a fall
...Joey giving John Paul sweet kisses in the morning
...John Paul already looking up at his brothers with such admiration
...Aaron giving the babies his cars to play with  (when he is not freaking the freak when Joey takes them)
...Joey always wanting to sit next to his big brother when we watch a show
...Aaron telling both boys 'it's okay, mommy's got you' when they start crying

Watching these kids learn to love each other deeply, learn to protect each other, learn to play together and comfort each other is honestly the coolest thing (besides the saint making part) that I get to be a part of.

And I thank God for it.

The voices are few, but unforgettable.  The voices of people who are shocked and even disgusted that we would choose to have babies so close in age.  I just wish I could give them a glimpse into this crazy town and they would understand.

If you are considering a second, third, fourth child and you aren't sure you can do it.  Or you are worried about the work.  Or worried you won't have enough love for all of them.  Let me assure you, it will be harder work than you have ever experienced.  BUT, at the same time, you will be stunned by the ability your family has to grow in love.

 Now, some pictures to illustrate the awesome.

Meeting the third for the first time

They love to be near each other

This is how they prefer to sit...

Learning to feed his baby brother

Aaron likes to be swaddled like his brother

Given the choice, they always sit right next to each other

Brother's play

JUST STOP IT!!! I can't handle all the cute.

"Here brother, play with my cars"

Saturday mornings at the ol' house...

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Sistah edition

So, Rakhi wrote an excellent piece this week titled Celebrating the Feminine Genius.  It got me thinking about the women in my life who have made a significant difference.  And that got me thinkin' about my sisters. I really have the coolest sisters on the planet.  When I think about who they are and what they have accomplished it kind of, sort of, blows me away.  I fight with them a lot.  All of them.  Sometimes we go months without talking to one another (shocking, I know...given my rational and easily forgiving character).  But man, these woman inspire (see what I did there, with the 'man' and the 'woman'). I'd like to tell you about them.  First...Here's us
Picture taken by the one and only Rakhi McCormick

Let me tell you about my sister, Katie.  She is a wickedly talented mom, no joke. She has five children- ranging from high school to preschool.  Oh, but wait for it...she works full time!  But she's not your average mom, nope!  She is a fantastic mother. I am talking about the type that does field trips for her kids, themed parties (just because), crafts and other kid-adventures.  Katie understands children perhaps better than anyone I have ever met.  She wrote this awesome piece last week on adoption, it made me cry.  Right now, one of her five needs a lot of extra love and navigating...her/her husband have been working so hard to love him correctly.  The other day, I was telling her how beautiful watching that process is.  I know it's so frustrating for her, but watching real love change a child is probably one of the coolest things ever to witness.  My sister Katie rocks!
Let me tell you about my sister-in-law, Paulette.  She is a mom of six kids.  She's one of those moms that makes me tired just thinking about her life.  Each of her older kids are involved in sports.  She shows up rain/shine to practices/games/etc...  She has pretty much been pregnant for the past nine years, but guess what?  You'd never know it.  This crazy girl is currently ROCKING the zumba scene in Massachusetts.  She is a teacher and her students adore her.  I love watching the routines she posts on facebook.  I cannot.imagine how much fun her classes would be.  And yes, you read that right, I said classes.  Crazy girl is teaching 5-6 classes a week...oh, did you remember she has SIX KIDS.  She has the bangin' body I only joke about having one day.  But, wanna know what I think is the coolest?  Her facebook has a diverse following, afterall- she uses it to promote her business.  But, even with that, she is unapologetically prolife, pro-woman and pro-family.  My sister Paulette is off the hook.
Let me tell you about my sister, Theresa.  She is honestly a woman that should be called a super hero.  Are you ready?  She has four children.  A three year old, a two year old, and...wait for it, 1 year old twins.  Her kids are stunning, and friendly and polite and fun.  That is awesome.  She is a doing good job raising four babies.  But, wanna hear something crazy?  She works FULL TIME as a teacher.  Everyday she wakes up, cares for her babies, goes to work, cares for those children and then, comes home to care for her babies again.  She isn't just 'a teacher'.  She is one of those amazing teachers.  The type of teacher who really care about her students.  One of those teachers that celebrates successes and cries with her student's struggles.  Can I tell you something else about her?  Her husband works the opposite shift, so they can keep their kids out of daycare.  Because of that, they both have to parent solo most of the time, and they don't get to see each other as much as they'd like.  But, they make the best of it.  They are the best marriage 'team' I have ever witnessed in my life.  Aaron and I learn a lot from them and their sacrifice.  My sister Theresa, she is really somethin' else.
Let me tell you about my sister in law,  Jen.  She has a strength that is rare and amazing.  I'm about to tell you something that will break your hearts.  Jen's first husband died in the most recent Iraq war.  He died fighting for this country, Jen had two babies at the time and was about to deliver her third.  Her kids were the same ages (approx) as mine are now.  Her life dramatically changed and she found herself a widow with three babies.  Can you imagine?  But guess what she did? She kicked life's butt!  She moved to Michigan, ran triathlons and began a design business.  Then, she met my brother and fell in love.  Can you believe they now have SIX KIDS!  But, like my other sisters...wait for it, she is still running that design business.  You NEED to go check out her facebook page, "Project Restyle". The things she is capable of doing with space/interior design blow my mind. I am not gifted in that way, so it's so cool seeing what she does.  My sister Jen is kind of a rockstar.
Let me tell you about my sister, Annie!  Here's the thing, being the baby of six kids by a lot of years (nine years between her and the next oldest) is awesome in a lot of ways, but it really sucks in a lot of ways as well.  She has been 'parented' by several sets of parents since she was a kid.  She has had to maneuver through all of our craziness and struggle to become independent, when all of us kind of want her to stay a kid.  Annie is the best aunt to all of her nieces and nephews (and lets admit it, we kind of have a ridiculous amount), plus, she kind of works her A$$ off.  She has a work ethic that isn't easily matched, currently she is a nanny who goes above and beyond the call.  My kids love her. SO.MUCH.  They light up when she comes to see them, or when she is able to take them on little dates.  She is a courageous girl, who does weirdly awesome things like tattoos and nose piercings.  My sister Annie is deeply sensitive and loves with fierceness.  My sister Annie kind of inspires me.
So, in three weeks, we are having our first ever SISTERS WEEKEND!!! In Columbus, Ohio (I know, gross, but it is a good halfway point).  I am so excited to spend quality times with most of these ladies...gettin' our drank on, gettin' our talk on, maybe even gettin' our tattoo on!  It's sure to be an awesome weekend!  What a blessing God has given me through my sisters!

Thanks Jen for hosting!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Talk to me Tuesday...tricky stuff edition...

The husband and I are pretty committed to living a simple life.  We live in a sweet tiny house just over 1100 square feet, we drive used cars and most of the clothes my children wear are hand me downs.  We talk about being satisfied with the things that we have.  We also make sure to give our tithe and spend time talking honestly and often about what giving generously looks like.  BUT, sometimes we ball out.

super fancy baller brunch
We love to travel.  Although children have changed that reality for us, we hope travel will always be somewhat a part of our lives. When we travel, we like to ball out.  We also love us a fancy restaurant occasionally.  We have some baller gadgets including a fancy tv, I have my fancy Iphone 4, and we are going to upgrade our Ipad to an ‘Air’ next Friday.  And here’s the thing…

As I have told some of you, right after I had John Paul, I was VERY overwhelmed with life.  I was recovering from the c-section and in a bit of pain.  Three kids in diapers and hormones were not working for me. Thankfully, that feeling of, ‘omg, I am going to drown in a life of diapers and crying’ went away after a couple weeks and we are doing really well now.  BUT, whilst in the crisis, Aaron tried to make me smile by getting me the best gift ever.  A two hour deep clean of our house by two people.  He saw a coupon for it and bought it to surprise me.  We cashed in on it a few weeks ago.


It was awesome.  You see, I am a ‘surface keep house clean-er’.  BUT, I am not good at the other stuff.  You know, the washing of the walls, the scrubbing of the floors, the pulling down of the cobwebs way up high in the ceiling lamps. I’m not good at the time-consuming stuff, and with three kids, it’s just hard to get good at it, you know?  So these cleaning angels come into our home, and two hours later it was like I was living in a different place.  At first it didn’t seem like they did a lot, but then I saw the shine, and the sparkles and the cabinets that had NEVER BEEN SCRUBBED and I was moved almost to the point of tears (kidding- kind of, okay, not at all).  BUT then, the husband said the most miraculous thing…he said, ‘you know, if you want to do this once every other month, I can make room for it in our budget’.  


At first, I said, ‘no- that would be silly, that’s what I am home for now’.  Then I said, ‘well, it could be cool’.  Then I said, ‘let’s do it’.  And then I said, ‘can we do it once a month instead?’.  However, after a couple days, I got to wondering at what point is excess sinful.

You see, I can get my house clean every other month (and I still might), but that is $150 we would be spending on something completely unnecessary.  $150 that could go to those in need.  $150 doing something I could easily do.  And then, I began to think of something I have struggled with before.
I talked to the ol’ ministry partner (he likes when I refer to him as such) Mike.  He reminded me that decisions such as where to spend money (after the 10% tithe and extra giving) really are a matter of conscience.  He said it is a conversation, one that happens between you and God.  Then, he said the worst thing ever… “I know you are looking for a black and white answer, but with stuff like this, it is a little gray, and you have to pray about where God wants you to put your money”.

I HATE things that aren’t black and white.  It makes life complicated.  SO, help me out…

Assuming required giving is already taken care of and over and above…

How do YOU decide what luxuries to afford yourself?  This can be as simple as new clothes, or getting your nail did, buying a fancy car instead of a used one, etc… How do we reconcile ‘treating’ ourselves to things, when we know that there are those in the world that would give.anything just to live in our lives of comfort?  How do you pray through ‘treating’ yourself, or your kids, to things that aren’t by any means needs (and lets not lie, most of our ‘needs’ are very much taken care of, so we all have area of excess)?   At what point is living with ‘baller’ choices sinful?  This isn’t a political question …TRUST THAT.  This is a personal question (which in my opinion is MUCH more important and not talked about nearly as much).  How have you discerned this in your own lives?  What conclusions have you come to?  

Hook a sister up!

Thanks, once again for talkin’ to me on Tuesdays.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Good Will Parenting...

The following is a true story.

I have a funny story to share.  Something I didn’t realize I did, until I realized I did, last night.

A couple of days ago, my friend Shauna facebook messaged me and asked how much TV we allow our children to watch.  She remembered in the past, I mentioned I let our kids watch TV.  Shauna was trying to judge how much is too much for her little guy.  Anyway, it was one of those moments when I had to decide if I was gonna ‘keep it real’, or play it like I was a good parent ;)  I went ahead and kept it real.  The response is so absurd when written out!  Later that night, the husband and I were laughing about how cray cray it is.  Here is my response.

Oh, girlfriend..you probably shouldn't ask me questions such as this (no joke). Because, like, I am pretty sure people would freak the freak if they knew how often our TV is on. And, I'm pretty sure ‘Yo Gabba Gabb’ and ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ don't count as education. I feel guilty as well, and, in fact, just thought this week I need to really pull it back because I am finally not pregnant and I am feeling okay, so there is no need to have it on as much (I say this as my kids are at my feet watching a 'show'.)

So...to make you feel better. Our kids get up at 6:00 am- to buy us more time; we put a show on Netflix on the Ipad in their room (usually Barney or something awful like that). Then, Aaron gets up with them and they do their thing. From about 7:30-9:00 am the TV is on (they aren't necessarily watching, but it is on if they want to). I do try to turn it off until after lunch, but it goes back on from 11:30 am-1:00 pm (naptime). Again, they aren't just sitting in front of the TV, but it's on with kid shows. They nap and when they wake up from naps it's on for another hour (hence me typing this message) and then, we let them watch a 'show' before bed. I think that's like four hours total I am totally screwing them up.

AND, to make matters worse, lil' A can now count to 10. And he says his ABCs, Oh! And he knows freaking shapes. Please, ask me if I taught him these things? NOPE! Thank you ‘Super Why’ and ‘Little Einstein’s’. Here's the thing, I know we need to cut back, and I will now that I am not pregnant and feeling better. BUT, I also don't buy into the whole TV is ruining kids thing. I just don't. So, the last 9 months, we've really needed it....hopefully the next 9 we won't need it as much.
SO, I guess, the bottom line is, you can always say, 'at least I’m not letting them/him watch as much as Mary lets her kids!'

Okay, so that was my response.  It was good to see how ridiculous it has gotten. Now, in my defense, please remember for 8 months straight I threw up at LEAST once a day, I could barely get off the couch because of extreme anemia…and, then I was cut up and recovering from major surgery.

Anyway, here’s the funny.

Last night, I was thinking about how much TV I let the kids watch and I thought to myself like I always do, ‘Well Will Hunting turned out okay and he probably watched a lot of TV’. 

Do you ever do something, and you don’t even fully consider what you are doing.  In complete shock last night, I realized that often in my parenting, I think about Will Hunting.  And I think, ‘Things were pretty bad for him, and he turned out okay’.  Do you know who Will Hunting is?  A character, from the movie, ‘Good Will Hunting’.   In the movie, he had a really tough upbringing and has some emotional issues, but he is REALLY REALLY SMART.

Ladies and Gentleman, I realized last night, I self-assure myself that my kids will not turn out intellectually stunted because of my decisions by comparing them to a FICTIONAL CHARACTER!!!

The absolute best part of the whole story is, until last night, I didn’t even know I was doing it. Even though I do it pretty much once or twice a week.

That is my story.

That is my truth.

Now, you have my permission to judge. 

What SELFLESS love looks like

There's an article going around the Catholic blogging world about fostering to adopt that sat very uncomfortably with me for a whole bunch of reasons. It's National Adoption Month, and while I understanding lending sympathy to those who find themselves in tough 'fostering to adopt situations'...I think the picture painted was a tragedy. The children were victims in the story, NOT the adults who freely decided to adopt those beautiful children. My sister wrote a beautiful and awesome response and I encourage all who read the original article to read it.

Please Click and give 'er a read....

ADOPTION IS A GIFT By Katie Reynolds

My sister and her awesome son Keegan

Thursday, November 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Good Stuff Edition

I was pretty blown away by the, 'Talk to Me Tuesday' Body Image Edition reaction. I even cried at some of the messages, emails, texts, etc...that were sent.  Obviously, I do not stand alone in this area. I loved so many of the suggestions.  My favorites?  Prayer, buying clothes that fit, trusting in the words of others, etc... And obviously, the health suggestions.  SO, wait for it.
Wednesday, I made some decisions.  Here we go.  My 'goal' is going to be to lose 1 pound a week for the next sixty weeks. I am going to work out three times a week and be careful about what I eat.  Aaron and I came up with a good plan for a really convenient time to work out (for me, for him it's a pain, because he will have to come home from work and fly solo with the kids).  You guys, I went to the gym last night and worked out for the first time in almost a year. It felt so good.  I mean so freaking good. It is hard to describe how awesome it was to treadmill/elliptical it up without pain from pregnancy or pain from c-section recovery.  Plus, it was quiet, just me and my iphone music player.  So awesome. I may/may not have called Aaron on the way home and started crying because it felt SO good and I felt so hopeful we can make this whole, 'healthy lifestyle' work.
My iphone.  You guys, who knew it is also an ipod?  Um, not me!?!?!  Oh, and I am trying to figure out this cloud thing. It scares me, but I think I like it.  I am assuming I can put all pictures from my iphone on to my actual computer through this huh?  Crazy!
So, I got a little nervous about the winter, in the ol' house, with three little ones.  So, I did some pinteresting.  And I got some great ideas.  AND, check this out!!! I was fancy, and I made a hibernation kit to get us through. I am psyched about it.  CHECK out this SAHM :)

Aaron and I went and saw, '12 Years a Slave' on Saturday night. I can't say I liked it.  I actually hated it, but I think everyone should see it (adults).  I didn't cry during it, but I couldn't stop crying after.  Wanna know how to sum it up?  Here is my husband's facebook status from a couple days later...

"So Mary Wilkerson and I saw 12 Years a Slave on Saturday night. What an experience. I recommend it. It's different than most movies out now because it's intense in that it draws you in and it's very historical. The events happened. It gave a true portrayal of what racism truly is and how people were intentionally held down systematically. With the modern advances it's easy to forget that part of our history and what we as a society are capable of. Now that I have children, I think a lot about legacies and what I'll be passing down to my children. However, that film made me remember the legacy that was passed on to me by generations before me. I can only imagine how crazy my life must be to my great-great-grandparents in terms of the opportunities I've had."

It's crazy that Aaron's history is now my children's history and that it is a history so painful and yet from a people so strong.  Crazy.
Look- a baby!  Mine.  He's my favorite.  Well, one of my favorites.

Aaron and I had a rough week of squabbles this week.  Real rough. In an attempt to make me like him more, he wrote something nice on facebook.  I made sure to let everyone know he was trying to crawl out of the doghouse.  My friend Mario's response, might have been my favorite thing ever.  And totally true, and totally hilarious.  Ready for it? Here we go.
"A blog will be written in 2 days about all of this and include the following:  1. Mary getting upset and perhaps losing her cool and despite that 2. Aaron being the best husband ever.  All will be well :)"
- Mario Amore

Thanks Conversion Diaries for Hosting!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Talk to Me Tuesday...Body Image Edition

I have something to tell you.  I have never really struggled with body image.  That’s a true story.  It might confuse some of you who know me, because I have never been…how you say, ‘thin’ or the ‘standard of beauty’.  But, although there have been times in my life when I have desired to be healthier, or had to lose a bit of weight for one reason or another…body image is never something that has stopped me in my tracks.  I don’t buy into most popular standards of beauty, and although we all have things about ourselves we’d like to change, it’s not something I used to stress over.  For me, a bangin’ body is a solid size 12, and 160 pounds…which I know would probably terrify more than one of you who read this blog.  Beauty is so subjective, so I have never really wasted a lot of time on worrying I wasn't fitting into a standard.

Until Now.

Turns out, having three kids in three years changes one’s body in lots of ways.  Obviously, there is weight gain.  It’s been hard to get any ‘pregnancy’ weight off…because I keep gettin’ pregnant J  But it’s not just that.  It’s the shifting of the body, I can’t handle.  Too much weight in certain places, not enough weight in other places.  It’s the stretch marks and weird skin gatherings.  It’s the scars.  It’s the clothes fitting in some places and not others. It's having to buy clothes that settle awkwardly on this new body of mine.  It’s all that and more.

And the thing is, it’s actually kind of ‘freezing’ me in some ways.  My desire to get fit or eat right is being compromised by the voice in my head that is telling me how good I don’t look.  For the first time, and this is where it gets real, about a month ago, I told Big Aaron to stop looking at me, with tears in my eyes, because I felt embarrassed about what he saw {Sidenote- Aaron has NEVER made me feel that way}.  Sometimes, like this morning, when we are snuggling, all I can think about is the ways that I don’t like my body instead of enjoying extra hugs from my husband.

I don’t say this seeking a bunch of affirmation, I promise. I say it, because from what I hear on the street, body image issues are something a lot of women struggle with.  And some men too.  I am sure some of you have found good and healthy ways to respond when those ugly voices start gnawing at you. I am not, in this post, looking for suggestions on how to lose weight, live healthy, etc… The thing is, I have this sneaky suspicion that even when I get my size 12 bangin’ body back, scars will still be there, body shifts will still be there, etc… these kids have changed my body in some ways I don’t totally love, and no amount of weight loss is gonna change that. 
What do YOU do when you struggle with body image?  When you are constantly aware of your imperfections?  When the way your body has changed, kind of bums you out?  What things do you read?  What things do you say to yourself?  Do you talk to God about it?  How can I manage some of the new insecurities this ‘new norm’ in terms of body have brought me?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes-

So, I gotta tell you, I am having a weird reaction to the pictures everyone keeps posting about the Pope embracing that man, the one with the boils all over his body.  Now, let me be clear, I am not judging those of you who have been moved by the imagines, I get it, which is why I am saying MY reaction is weird.  But like, to me, for some reason, it is seeming like people are saying, 'look, the pope would EVEN hold and embrace someone who is repulsive'!  And, I don't know, I just think 1) we shouldn't be shocked 2) it can't feel good to him that everyone is celebrating the fact that his 'repulsion' is being embraced.  Don't be mad it me, I called it a weird reaction.  anyone else? No?  just me. okay.
Another social media weird reaction...everyone keeps sharing this thing about marriage that states 'Marriage is not about you'.  And people were like ROCKED by it.  Not to be all like 'THAT GIRL' but for real?  This is news to you?  Followed by...no freaking wonder the divorce rate is so high.  Wow, that sounded sassy.  I know some people shared it because it was exciting to see it in print, but to me it sent all kinds of red flags that people were so shocked by this.  I read the article three times, no joke, trying to see what was so revolutionary about it.  Enough of THAT GIRL.
So, I had an insightful conversation with my ministry partner the other day.  SNAPCHAT is the bees knees (yes, I did just say 'bees knees) with young people. And it is super dumb.  And it is really only a 'thing' for getting into trouble with the illusion of privacy.  BUT, some kids use it in ways that are not inappropriate.  Which doesn't take away from the dumbness of the app.  So, we were discussing, and started to think a bit on how drastically social media has changed our reality.  To the point where we can't even see the appeal of something that SO MANY young people (easily 75% of teens I talk to) think is SO AWESOME.   And the thing is, it doesn't matter if we don't get it.  To them it is important, so to us...it needs to matter.  But, I guess what I am saying, is the divide is getting bigger.
That's a lot of heavy.  One more (maybe after this quick take, no one is gonna want to read my blog anymore?!?!), then I promise light and fluffy stuff.  Have you ever felt completely validated by something that you always suspected, but it didn't seem like a lot of other people thought?  One word.  Medjugorje.  Carry on.
Our ipad is shattered.  Started by lil' A, and completed by me. Now, you fantastic moms are not going to relate, but those of you that use parenting short cuts are totally going to appreciate this next part.  We have found a routine 'round these parts that really works.  Part of that routine, is between 8:30-9:30 am 2/3 of my children sleep and the other 1/3 plays on the ipad (apps and youtube) whilst I drink my coffee, work emails (work!?!?! more on that later), read the news, blogs, etc....  It has been awesome.  It has made my mornings so smooth, by 9:30 am we are all ready to go!  So, our ipad is shattered.  I have been severely off my game this week. sad.
BOLD MINISTRIES continues to be awesome and I continue to be just a bit over committed to it.  Like, more work than SJN ever was overcommited.  BUT, darn it, I love it so much.  SO, say a prayer.  Husband Aaron and I are continuing to discern and discuss what this might mean and how to go about next semester.  Speaking of the ol' husband.  He is the best.  I 'worked' Mon, Tues, Wed and by today kind of had it.  I called him and was sassy and nasty. I may/may not have hung up on him after a tirade about how he didn't understand my life.  Followed by feeling like crap and apologizing five minutes later.  And he, well, he was just perfect.  Instead of freaking the freak on me, he was calm, he told me I am doing a good job, he told me we would have to figure this out and he would support me in trying to get it figured out.  Please don't tell him I said so, but he really is the best.
I know I am suppose to 'play' with my toddlers and keep them engaged.  BUT, I don't love messes and short attention spans, so sometimes we struggle around these parts.  BUT, today...I hit a major score.  I am not sure if someone gave me this idea or if it was sheer brilliance.  First, we tore pages of construction paper while naming the colors.  We let them fall all over the ground.  Then, we gathered them up in a pot and stirred them.  THEN, we served our 'soup' into bowls.  Repeat process. again. and again. and again.  Best. activity. ever.  Craft, sensory, colors...best mom ever?  I think so!  Oh, and I made dinner every.night.this.week. BOOM. Drop the mic.  And...I'm out.

(yes John, I DID just steal your line.  Happy Friday (almost).

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Talk to me Tuesday...people of faith edition...

Today is a fun and I wasn't even aware of it until this morning.  In today's readings, the Scripture Aaron and I chose to have read on our wedding day was read!  This was our specific reading...
"Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor."
You see?!?!  It's my blog name!  Our friend Father Steve wrote on my facebook wall, 'Happy Blog Name Day!".  And, Father Paul apparently gave a shout-out in his homily (pretty much famous eh?!?!).

But here's the thing, had I been at Mass (which I wasn't), there is a good chance I wouldn't have even heard the reading.  Wanna know why?  Because I have three beautiful blessings from the Lord who ensure that Mass is no longer even kind of about me paying attention.  Getting there is a fiasco, we end up frazzled and let's not lie, our little angles sometimes are the opposite during the sacrifice of the Mass. I would like to give you a glimpse of our current worship.

On Sunday, we went to a beautiful Church in Greektown Detroit.  We meant to get there early so that we could go to confession.  That didn't happen.  BUT, we did get there on time.  SCORE!  We get to a pew and the first thing that happens is we misjudged the width of the pew, and the car seat went tumbling, off the pew, with our baby in it (strapped, praise Jesus).  It was pretty much downhill from there.  Crying, whining, taking kids out of the Mass for discipline in a relay-race-like rotation.
"Tag, you're it- take Joey in the back"
"Tag, you're it- if you don't get this kid out of here, I am going to lose it"
It was by far the worst behaved the little freaks  angels have behaved.


I see you, expert parents, who have toddlers playing Mass in the family room during the week, because somehow you have gotten your babies to not only pay attention, but to be able to mimic the movements of the Mass!
I see you, parents who's children are sitting quietly on your laps, either sleeping or staring.
I see you aunts, uncles, friends, who enjoy bringing children you love to worship services as I once did ("I can't believe you don't adore taking your kids to Mass"-I think was an exact quote of mine to my sister with three children...before I had children).

What are your tried and true secrets for making Mass more enjoyable with babies?  What tricks do you have?  What do you do during the week, to encourage good behavior on Sunday?  What do you bring with you?  HELP!!!!

Something to note, we don't bring snacks and we don't love the cry room.  I'd kind of like to avoid both of those things, but I am open to you telling me I am an idiot.

That is all! :)