Memoirs Of A Modern Housewife

My life is nothing like the Bravo Housewives!

That Moment When: Pressured to Parent (A Certain Way)


The beginning of summer my family and my brother’s family drove over 1,800 miles in a surprisingly uncomfortable 12 passenger van with 4 adults, 2 teenagers, 2 school-age kids and a one year old. My five-year old, who absolutely hates being in a car for any amount of time threw us off guard as she pleasantly road in a booster seat from Minnesota to Memphis overnight. No whining or complaining to be heard.

This trip was one we were all excited about as we were seeing family who we hadn’t seen for as long as she was born, so over five years. I thought she would have some shyness, some apprehension but she welcomed her aunts, uncles and cousins with open arms. She laughed, played, and tried new things without a moan.

Day three, among the loud laughter and conversations, I could hear my child crying hysterically. I stopped what I was doing and ran out to find her with one of my aunts who was patiently trying to comfort her.  She was hysterical and I couldn’t figure out what had taken place because I couldn’t even understand her through the sobs.

That Moment When: Pressured to Parent

Apparently all the children received silly spray and she’d used all of hers as they were still running around playing with theirs. Everyone was trying to reason with her, tell her they would get her a new one, offered her drinks and other toys, etc. but I knew that the silly spray wasn’t the problem.

I was surrounded by family and some of their friends. People who have not been around my little one longer than a few minutes or days and I can tell by the looks on their faces that they assumed I was raising a spoiled, undisciplined child. You know the look. The look that says, “What are you going to do about the way she is acting…you’re the mom, show her (and us).”

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to the heat rising on the back of my neck; the feeling like I had to do something was becoming more and more intense with her wails. But I did something in that moment that I didn’t think I would under the pressure.

I waited to respond.

I thought about the day and realized that she’d been in the sun all day and played hard, harder than she ever had in all of her five years. We live in the frozen tundra and Memphis was 90 degrees by 9 am. She was flushed, sticky and I am sure everyone’s efforts were overwhelming her.  I was too busy interacting with my family that I didn’t notice that she hadn’t been drinking enough water and didn’t take a moment of rest, which for this child is a must.

I’d missed it.

This melt down could have been avoided and this super embarrassing moment was brought by me. Now I know she is responsible for her emotions (as much as she can be for 5) and we work on that daily. I also know that kids have to let off steam sometimes. However, if you have a high needs/sensitive child…you know that emotions are always overflowing.

I thought about how she must be feeling; physically and emotionally and began to ignore the spectators. I asked my daughter to come to me. She came and I pulled her on my lap. I wiped her forehead and started fanning her as she started to calm down and relax. I asked her to tell me what was going on.

She began to go on about the silly spray. I let her tell her story and when she was done I calmly validated that it sucked that she used all of her silly spray and was missing the “fight” with the other kids but that she chose to use hers before the planned fight. I also told her that she was tired, probably dehydrated and needed a bath and some quiet time. She protested but I assured her that it wasn’t a suggestion.

We packed up the family and headed to where we were staying. I put her in the bath with her little brother where I can hear them laughing and splashing. I had her take sips of water, lay on the couch and watch a show in the air-conditioned house. She slowly returned to the kid I know.

I had to remember that I know her and that no matter where I am and who is around me I am her mother and I know what’s best for her.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt pressure to respond or parent a certain way? Share your experience below in the comments, would love to hear from you!

Seed, Time and Harvest (Intro)


 

Seed, Time and Harvest (Intro)

Everything in life starts out as a seed and requires time before you can reap the harvest.

The type of harvest you receive depends on the seeds you planted, the conditions they were planted in, how you managed during the waiting period and how you handled and overcame adversaries.

In April I reminisced about my first attempt at gardening. My heart was longing for a new beginning, to put my hands to something and actually see my efforts flourish before my eyes.

If you have ever been in a season in life when you are reaping the harvest of bad choices, or were in a long process of trying to find out what the next step is, or what to do while you are waiting on God to direct your next step, you are in good company.

One of these seasons and many others I did not mention can be times of uncertainty, confusion and frustration. I believe however with a different perspective during these seasons, that times of joyful-expectation and hope can be found.

Maybe that is why I appreciate the art of gardening. It begins with seeds of expectation and hope of what can be.Image  However, the process can be very unpredictable as you can’t determine weather conditions, what seeds will develop, and what problems may attempt to destroy all of your efforts (pests, diseases, too little or too much rain, the absence of bees etc.).

These things we have no control over but I am learning that, such as life, that the only thing I can control is how I respond when things do not turn out as I planned, or during the time of waiting when there seems to be no signs of progress. Do I press on or do I quit and forego the fruit of my efforts?

Over the next few weeks I will post about my gardening efforts but also how the experience has helped me to look at life choices from a different perspective.

 

The Courage to Cross The River


Last Sunday morning my pastor asked this question of the congregation: “Have you ever stood on the edge of a scary river crossing? The miracles are often where the river is.”

We were continuing our study on the book of Joshua, considering the courage it took for them to cross the river and how it was necessary to take hold of a better future.

Here we go. Another one of those moments when you feel like the stage lights are directed right at you, everyone can hear your heart beating a thousand miles an hour, and your mail is about to be read publicly. I am always looking for a “word” from the Lord but when it comes like this I immediately start to shuffle in my seat looking for the nearest exit. Sometimes I want to fold within myself and other times just lie across the floor and weep.

God has a specific message just for me.

Part of me likes to stay safe, on the shore of life. I hate surprises because they cause more anxiety than joy. I don’t want anything unexpected to happen…because that would mean I have to release some amount of control over my life. That anxiety I mentioned…has been an unwelcomed guest in my life for a few decades now. I could justify my fears and anxiety by the horrible situations that took place as a child, or the unstable childhood and teenage years or the hands that I have been dealt as an adult.

But God won’t let me camp out there.

He has placed inside of me dreams that are so big that I can’t even imagine them coming to pass in my lifetime. There are so many hopes that contradict my present situations. He won’t let me be content with living beneath what He has for me. And all He asks is if I would dare to cross the river.

God is such a gentleman.

Although I have certainly been challenged with my walk with Christ He has never pushed or shoved me into something that I couldn’t handle. And those times that I have let my anxiety and fears speak louder than Him, He reminds me that there is a next time, and that I am not a failure. We wouldn’t force our natural children to do anything that would traumatize them and neither would He. Even if we knew that crossing the river would lead them to everything that they have been asking and praying for.

There’s always a choice in life; to stay safe and in your same circumstances, or to step out and allow God to escort you across the troubled waters of life into your promised land. I’m going over. What about you? Have you ever stood on the edge of a scary river crossing?

20120503-085541.jpg

Five Minute Friday- “Perspective”


Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Click the logo and head back to Gypsy Mamma’s to read  the other girls 5 minute renditions on the same topic.  

Today’s 5 minutes is on Perspective.

i am awakened by big chunky baby thighs draped across me, my five-year old’s nose pressed squarely on mine. i am uncomfortable and want to stretch, yet I barely breathe in an effort not to stir them.

they roll around on the floor tangled in each other, laughs, hysterics, joyfullness, there is not a care in the world. i need to interrupt them because of a plan, but i give it a minute as to not stir them.

they are twisting in circles, arms stretched wide, often bumping into each other, giggles, squeals, i want to tell them to “be careful”, “don’t hurt yourselves” but i give it a minute…

big sister has captured the attention of the younger siblings. they snuggle in close as she reads the exciting part of their favorite story…they’ve heard it a dozen times. i want to give them a ten minute warning that it is bedtime but the looks on their faces, the warmness of them being together causes me not to stir them.

A Weekend of (in)couragement


(in)couraged Weekend

This weekend I had the opportunity to meet with a variety of women, women from all walks of life, different stages in life.

“Yup, we’re bringing the beach house to you with the goal of connecting women beyond the blog post! How? Well, with a day of (in)courage meetups – think mini beach house parties – all around the country and globe and a webcast for everyone to tune into. A local meetup on a global scale; friends will gather to watch live webcasts of (in)courage contributors and community, connect with one another, and discover new friendships they didn’t know were right around the corner!”

It was something I signed up to attend a few months ago on a whim. It was probably when I was feeling really disconnected, lonely and wanting face to face fellowship. It was a leap of faith for me as I would be going to an unfamiliar home to meet women I have only known online.

Some of the anxiety of meeting new people was lessened because we already had a few things in common. Most of us were writers and grew to know each from reading and commenting on each others’ posts. Most of us were mothers, married or single and more importantly (I believe) we all had enough faith to step out and believe that God would show up in our gathering.

He did not disappoint.

The night before I received an email from someone who works in the birth community with me. She had noticed my name on the invite list and asked if I was still attending. Boy was I happy she emailed me. I honestly forgot that the Meetup was this weekend in-spite of several daily emails leading up to it. I get so many emails that I have become desensitized to them. I was also planning a much-needed afternoon outing that day with my husband after some doula consultations. I was torn because I know how important our time together is (it’s really rare with three children and we have to plan for it) but I also knew how much I was struggling with isolation and was challenging myself to step out and make establishing and growing friendships a priority.

Mr. Incredible knew that as well and without a blink encouraged…no insisted that I go. The last few weeks and months I have had at least one kid joined to my hip while they were recovering from surgery and he knew I needed the fellowship.

So I went. Nervous stomach and all.

There was a lot of us showing up at the same time. As we all nervously and quietly took our shoes off, placed on name tags and slowly made our way to the kitchen where let’s face it, is the best gathering place of all, I immediately felt at ease. I was in good company. There were a lot of us meeting each other for the first time, a lot of us not knowing what to expect and a lot of us who were looking for God to move on our behalf in the area of friendship.

After I greeted the hosts and grabbed a plate I looked for a corner to stand back and observe in. There was another woman in a great spot so I asked if I could share it with her. She warmly made room for me and we began to chit-chat. A few minutes later, the colleague who’d sent me the email the night before came over. We greeted each other and introduced each other to the women we knew.

So far so good.

There were over 30 women in attendance at this home and you can imagine the volume of laughter and banter. Soon we made our way to where we were to watch a sequence of webcasts. This event was being held all over the world at the same time that was really cool to consider.

There was about two and half hours worth of videos that we watched. Every once in a while there would be chuckles in uni-some, random sniffles and the clicking of tweeting or note-taking. I hate crying in public and I did everything I could to avoid it. You know that “look up at the ceiling” thing? Did it. The “hold-your-eyes-open-as-long-as-you-can-without-blinking” thing? Did that too. I wasn’t too successful as a few tears did manage to escape. There were some stories of friendships that really pulled at my heart and a story of a woman who lived her life avoiding the very thing she longed for. Community through friendships. Secretly that is the cry of my heart. I may not mention it often but it’s there.

When the event was over we exchanged email addresses, twitter handles, and blog sites. I actually ran into a few familiar faces and it was really sweet to reconnect with them. I am optimistic about the new acquaintances that live although not super close to me, close enough to meet for coffee or a playdate.

When Mr. Incredible picked me up, he asked me how it went. I began to sob and cry for at least fifteen minutes while he drove trying to explain how great it was through my blubbering. Luckily he “gets” me and didn’t need translation. He also gets that for me to be the best mom, wife and child of God I need interaction outside of my four walls. It is outside those four walls that I can be challenged when I am being stubborn or unreasonable with my husband. It is outside of these four walls that I can be encouraged that I am the best mom for these children that God has trusted in me. It is also outside these four walls that I can allow God to love and speak to and through me, use and grow my gifts and talents and where “iron can sharpen iron.”

God values friendships. He wrote about it a lot.

I have a close friend who I do not have the privilege of seeing as often as I (and she) would like. It’s nothing personal just life. Family life and other things scream for our attention and sometimes it’s just really hard to align your schedules. We occasionally catch each other on the phone but mostly live on texts, emails and blog posts. One day I left her a voice-mail and said, “it’s been too long…I just gotta get a look atcha.” She loved that statement and I believe it spoke to her because social media is wonderful and it has its place, but there is nothing like a real hug. Locking eyes with someone. A side squeeze. A warm hand on the back. And seeing someone share your pain and joys in their real life tears.

What about you? What do you do to seek out and cultivate friendships in your life? I’d love to hear about what you do.

Also, if you are interested, the dvd’s from the weekend are available for purchase here.


Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause – Post-Operation Update


Today is day five for Beaner’s recovery from his surgery. It has been a long week as you can imagine and I thought I would show in picture how the day went.

The night before his surgery he couldn’t eat after 10pm and couldn’t nurse after 3am. If you have been following this story you know that he was still waking up several times a night to nurse. Not being able to nurse him meant a long night for all of us. Beaner woke up at 3:30am as usual and became a little hysterical because he was exhausted (like he usually is) and didn’t understand why I wouldn’t nurse him. Mr. Incredible very patiently packed him up and drove him around town for about 45 minutes. Driving a kid around to get them to sleep was a first for us. Although he did not cry during the drive (Mr. Incredible could hear him babbling and talking in the back) it did take that long for him to fall asleep. When they returned home he woke up as soon as he was placed in the bed. This cycle went on for hours. So Mr. Incredible stayed up with him allowing me to catch some sleep before the big day.

Blood-shot eyed and exhausted we made the hour-long trip (because of traffic) to the Children’s Hospital. Beaner was in good spirits in spite of the lack of sleep and was very calm during all the pre-op procedures.

Beaner and Papa (and Clifford) reading before the surgery

Beaner not sure

Beaner getting Prepped for surgery

The surgery center had everything covered as far as trying to make us feel less anxious. We had the opportunity to speak with everyone who would be involved in the surgery. They were all very patient as I continued to ask the same questions in different ways (just looking for consistency ; ). The surgery center and staff were incredibly kid-friendly. There was a lady who came and tried to show Eli what would happen to help him sleep and then let him play with a mask, etc. There was also a sweet volunteer who brings her dog in for the kids daily. The little details really made a difference in our experience.

Who is controlling this thing?

Beaner trying to make a break for it

Beaner and Maggie the dog

Facebook Post:

“Our sweet little boy is in surgery now, thank you all for your prayers. We’ve had quite a little journey to here and believe that God has been leading and guiding us throughout.”

We waited in the family room as we tried to distract ourselves with nervous jokes and people watching. The surgeon came out, told us everything went fine, except that Beaner had some bronchial and vocal chord spasms. He didn’t go into detail about the spasms and we were just happy it was over and couldn’t wait to see our boy. He was still resting and a nurse would come to take one of us to see him.

An hour went by and just as we both noticed how long it’d been a nurse came out. She acknowledged that it was taking a little while for him to wake up (it usually averages around 30 minutes), but not to worry because his vitals were fine and that he was resting peacefully.

Another half an hour went by (making it 1.5 hrs post surgery) and just when I was about to go and find out what was going on another nurse came out and asked for “Beaner’s mother”. Before he finished that short statement I was practically on his back trying to get to the recovery room.

In the recovery room Beaner was still sleeping with a nurse at his bed-side observing his vitals. He was propped up to help him with his breathing but was looking great. She said she was having the hardest time waking him up and was hoping I could help. I began to stroke and kiss his cheeks in a way that he knows. No budge. I scratched his head and called his name a few times, still no movement. The nurse suggested wiping him with a cool cloth and grabbed one as I continued my efforts.

As I wiped his face and called his name he began to squirm and as soon as he locked eyes with me he almost jumped up (he didn’t know he had monitors hooked up to him). She asked if I wanted to nurse him and I said yes and got comfortable. She brought him to me, still hooked up and he nursed like usual. I am not sure he was aware of what had taken place but I know he found great comfort in having me there when he woke up. That was one of the things I kept asking about. “Could I be there before he wakes up.” The answer was always no, in case they had a hard time pulling him out of the anesthesia or in our case, the spasms.

I totally see God’s hand in that situation. It was something that was really on my heart to do, to be there when he woke up. Even though it was against protocol, the situation allowed for me to be there. I’d requested the same thing with Poots over a month ago when she had her surgery and wasn’t able to do so. Having to comfort and reassure her after the surgery took hours. She was distraut and heartbroken and I didn’t think I could handle that again.

Facebook Post:

“Surgery went well, he had some unexpected reactions to the anethesia, but they got it under control. Doctors said he had unusually large adenoids like Maya. Ear tubes were inserted, and not a moment too soon because he was on his sixth ear infection in six months. Lip tie was clipped also (the least invasive of them all). Overall, he’s doing well and snuggling with mama and daddy.”

Post-Op, beaner snuggling with mama

Beaner and I spent the night at the hospital because he was so young they wanted to monitor him for 24 hours. We snuggled a lot. By the evening his pain was being controlled well and he even ate a soft meal. By morning I think we both were going stir-crazy and couldn’t wait to get home.

Facebook Post:

“<—this lady is excited about the new possibility of sleeping more than 3-4 hours a night…(it’s been like this for about 15 months) – the thought of it makes me a little giddy ; )”

The next few weeks will let us know if the surgery was beneficial. It is still hard to tell now because he is still in a bit of pain that is waking him up at night and he may be teething on top of that. I am glad to have gone on this journey, to listen to my instincts and trust God to guide us. Deciding to have surgery on your kids is never easy, you’re always questioning if it’s the right thing to do. I do believe now it was.

Has any of your children had to have any major surgeries? What helped you before, during and after?

MOMH Update April 12-23, 2012


Seed, Time and Harvest

I have a desire to garden but I have been trying to deny the urge. I really enjoyed my square foot gardening a few years back, I called it “Garden Therapy”. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed the labor of getting on my knees, playing in the dirt, watering and even weeding. Every morning when the sun would rise I would jump out of bed (sometimes still in my pajamas) and look at what had grown. I was like a little kid checking on it every few hours. It helped me appreciate being outside no matter what the temperature or weather conditions were because I knew the sun, rain and even wind was purposeful.  Read more…

Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause – Post-Operation Update

Deciding to have surgery on your kids is never easy, you’re always questioning if it’s the right thing to do. Today is day five for Beaner’s recovery from his surgery. It has been a long week as you can imagine and I thought I would show in picture how the day went.

Read more…

(in)spired Review

I know from where I have come from. It is a place that is a thorn in my side keeping pride at bay. It is a past that is only seen on the likes of Lifetime Movie Network, a past that makes me cringe at the very thought of my children inquiring about, a past that can leave me awake at night, a past that threatens my future daily. But God…  Read more…

A Woman’s Design

If you are or have had a great experience with a local midwife (home and hospital), Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Childbirth Educators, Lactation Specialists and other professionals that work directly with pregnant women, in the East-Central Metro area please send me a note at natalia@awomansdesign.com. Would love to connect with you (or them) in the next few weeks to have trusted resources for my clients.

Seed, Time and Harvest


I have a desire to garden but I have been trying to deny the urge. I really enjoyed my square foot gardening a few years back, I called it “Garden Therapy”. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed the labor of getting on my knees, playing in the dirt, watering and even weeding. Every morning when the sun would rise I would jump out of bed (sometimes still in my pajamas) and look at what had grown. I was like a little kid checking on it every few hours. It helped me appreciate being outside no matter what the temperature or weather conditions were because I knew the sun, rain and even wind was purposeful.

Square Foot Gardening 2

Garden Therapy

 

I also had containers everywhere with  every herb I could find and every time we opened the patio door you would get hit with a mint or basil smell. Because we have a limited outside space right now I think I may focus on doing some container gardening mainly.

Herb and Flower Mix

Melon

Herb Mixture

 

Another bonus was that my children grew to love it. In the beginning (the hard work phase) they helped because I asked but didn’t know what to expect. By the end of the summer they were running into the house to tell me what had grown overnight, would take turns watering the plants, didn’t mind weeding and even oversaw newborn bunnies that were born in my oversized squash area.

Planting Seeds

"Larry" the cucumber

Poots watering

Another reason I enjoyed gardening is because it correlates with life. Everything in life starts out as a seed and requires time before you can reap the harvest. This is true whether you are expecting a good or bad harvest. Every seed has the potential to grow. Over the spring and summer months I will post about our gardening efforts but also how the experience has helped me to look at life choices from a different perspective.

Harvest Time

 

I hope you’ll join me and if you have any good tips please post them below, I’m still a bit of a rookie ; )  

Second garden

 

(in)spired Review


(in)spired Review

I know from where I have come from. It is a place that is a thorn in my side keeping pride at bay. It is a past that is only seen on the likes of Lifetime Movie Network, a past that makes me cringe at the very thought of my children inquiring about, a past that can leave me awake at night, a past that threatens my future daily.

But God…

Reminds me that I am forgiven, I am made whole. He sees my inner beauty, the beauty that He designed. Something so precious that no one can ever take it away.

Redeemed - In All Things-Medium Gift Bag with tissue

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

I am really thrilled to share the REDEEMED collection by DaySpring with my readers.

I received the items to review a few weekends ago and I wanted to take the time and exam each item…

First~ Anything that can remind me about what God says about me is a plus.

Second~ I am in my early thirties and I personally like the design, kind of warm and homey. My teenage daughter thought it felt “older”.

Redeemed - I Am Found - Pillar Mug

I love my morning coffee and my evening chamomile tea. And whenever I am starting something new I like to commemorate it with a tangible item to inspire me; a new journal, pen, mug, etc. How perfect are these to remind me that ‘I am Found, Redeemed, Transformed and Treasured”!

Redeemed - I Am Found - Teacup with Lid

Redeemed - I Am Found - Teacup with Lid

The teacup with the lid was my favorite. Such a simple detail made it feel even specialer…is that a word?

Redeemed - I Am Found - Teacup with Lid

I also received this gift bag with paper. Convenient and cute! I love when my to-do list gets streamlined.

Redeemed - In All Things-Medium Gift Bag with tissue

This mama has post-it notes everywhere and on everyone…

And this collection wouldn’t be complete without the inspirational memo pad. I’m still old-school. I love to write a handwritten note when appropriate and these little various sized sticky notes (that accompany a pad) will be an encouragement as I return mail and send a special note to someone who needs to be uplifted.

Redeemed - Love One Another - Memofolio

This collection features jewelry, home decor, bags, accessories and more. I encourage you to head on over to the REDEEMED collection by DaySpring! Seriously, head over there now through April 30th, select items from the Redeemed Collection are available at 20% off.

I would love to hear about how the Redeemed message has blessed you! Leave me a note about what God has turned beauty into ashes in your life.

*** Please note that DaySpring gave me the free products to review and that all opinions stated are my own.***

Love, Marriage and Finding Our Way


Love, Marriage and Finding Our Way

Mr. Incredible and IThe longer I am married and a mom the more I realize that my family is unique (as all are) and that we shouldn’t try to mold our lives to fit others’. Before, when we were trying to make any decisions we would measure them against what others have done and succeeded in, and in some instances that is a necessary and valuable method. Our problems stem from always using that method. The truth is, my husband and I both bring to our marriage our individual upbringings, ideas, dreams and behaviors. Throw in the mix, three children who have their own personalities, needs, temperaments and you don’t have cookie-cut answers. They require examination from all angles sometimes, wisdom, prayer, most of the time patience and sometimes a leap of faith.

I love a comment Jessica from the Leaky Boob made about their decision to continue to have more children in spite of her horrible history with hyperemesis graviduram, “Every one of us has a different path in life, the choices may appear the same but the reality is with our various circumstances and priorities we can’t imagine making the choices someone else does and we have to just figure out what works for us in our situation.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

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