Thursday, August 9, 2018

A New Thing

Shortly after Noah turned one, a verse from Isaiah captured my heart. So it's sweet to me that Isaiah 43:19 grabbed my attention a few weeks ago, right before Rosie turned one. 365 days of life with two kids, and I haven't quite caught my breath yet. I felt like in dark places after my first was born, God was close to me and drew near to me. I learned a lot of deep and meaningful things in the first 15 months of his life, and I don't feel like I've had that same experience this time around. Thankfully the lows haven't been quite as low, and I've certainly done a thousand things differently, too. But I feel like I also haven't had the highs, the breaks, the -- dare I say it -- rest that I was able to get during the day with just one kid. (My one-child past-self hates me for saying this, by the way, because nothing takes away from the fact that it was a HARD season. Yet, I find myself comparing now to then and wishing for old hard instead of new hard.)

I'm not saying God still isn't still present and with me now, but I guess I'm having trouble on my end. I have double the distraction and half the sleep. With Noah, I was certainly quite tired (don't hear me understating this because time and distance has taken the edge off), but after about 8 months, he finally settled into a nap routine and I had two "breaks" most days even though nights were still awful. But I cherished those two breaks! They allowed me to sit and waste time, to do physical therapy, to do a workout (yay endorphins), to journal and do Bible study, to nap. I'm still figuring out how to catch a break this time around. And I'm wondering why I think I'm entitled to one? The line between self-care and selfishness is hard for me to navigate right now.

With one kid, once we got into a rhythm, we could more or less plan on it sticking for 2-3 months until the next big change, at which point we'd have a week or two of frustration, an a-ha moment, re-calibration, and a week or two of adjusting to the new normal. With two kids, my Type A brain is reeling. (And it's "only" two kids!)

It's hard not to miss the downtime of morning nap. I dread laying one down only to leave the room to get bombarded by, "MAMA WILL YOU PLAY WITH ME" for an hour and a half while all I yearn to do is drink hot coffee and eat my breakfast in introverted silence. Sometimes I have it in me to sit down and engage and enjoy sweet one on one time with my firstborn. I never regret it, but it's the hardest thing to do right now, and consequently it almost never happens. So then I feel guilty, too.

It's hard not to miss morning walks. Noah and I took really sweet morning walks the summers he was 1 and 2 (they dwindled a bit last summer once the heat wave hit and I was in my third trimester). Walking with the two of them now is still better than not walking, but it wears me out for the rest of the day if we manage to do it! The heat is unbearable right now. Or maybe it's the humidity that makes it ungodly, but between that and almost pushing my own body weight when we walk, it's not as relaxing as it used to be. It's hard for me to admit that the season of little littles dwindles as my oldest grows too big for the stroller.

It's not at all helpful for me to compare seasons, but it's hard not to. There are wonderful things about not being home with just a baby all day. But the hard things stand out more right now. It's clear to me over and over again that my expectations are left wanting, yet I'm not quite ready to let go of them.

So... they tell you every kid is different, and I guess I'm just learning that in a tangible way. And each journey with each kid is different, too. With the first, every age and stage seemed distinct and surprising and new. With the second, the first year seemed more fluid and about 5 times faster. Some things are similar: both of these kids have a feisty attitude, they had major major sleep regressions from months 4-7, they didn't fall into a nap routine until 8 months, they don't sleep through the night until after a year. But the chaos and noise and NEED is compounded. While my heart is ABSOLUTELY filled with twice the love, I'm finding that twice the patience, twice the kindness, twice the energy... that's harder to come by.

I ended up crying at a playdate at the park last week when everything kind of accumulated. I forget to give myself permission to say that things are challenging. Like, I complain about them out loud, but I don't actually give myself grace for them! Life with two is hard. And it's been compounded by work stress for Ross and for me (another post entirely), by financial stress, medical bills, the fact that we built a new friggin' building in our backyard this winter in addition to all the sickness and sleeplessness. My car has had more in repairs than it's actually worth in the past year and a half, and the check engine light came on again. I LOST MY HEARING AID the weekend of my brother's wedding. Then I LOST NOAH'S HEARING AID a few weeks ago. Family drama with loose ends that leaves us feeling inept and unsure. Feeling completely invisible and not recognizing myself in the mirror.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a long-winded list of grievances. This... is where I am. A little bit of chaos with a lot of emotional responsibility mixed in. I want this to be my starting place. This holy, parched, broken ground where I NEED a new thing to spring up.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Recipes I Want to Make: Late Summer Edition

I'm in a serious food rut. I want to eat all the fresh produce right now, but dinner time is my least favorite time of the day and it's all I can do to get something edible on the table. I'm hoping to shake things up over the next few weeks, thanks to some of these ideas.


Summer Panzanella Salad

20 Minute Thai Avocado Salad

The Best Shredded Kale Salad

5 Minute Magic Green Sauce

Great Day Dressing



Spicy Fish Taco Bowls

Speedy Fiesta Bean Bowl

Zucchini Soba Noodle Bowl

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

8 Minute Pantry Dal



Vegan Cajun Pasta

Red Pepper Cashew Pasta



Vegan Gluten Free Blueberry Waffles

Endurance Crackers

Walnut Maple Cereal Bars

Almond Butter Fudgsicles

Blueberry Chia Pudding with Salted Seed Brittle

Mini Cookie Dough Fudge Pops (I actually make these without the cookie dough, with 1/2 cup chocolate chips instead of the other chocolate, and only 1-2 Tbs maple syrup. SO good.)





Wednesday, June 20, 2018

You Don't Have to be Blooming to be Growing

God, cast a vision for me in this crazy season. I'm loving these words right now from Coffee + Crumbs: Grow Your Hope with Ruth Chou Simons.

"As mothers, how can we grow our hope?"

"I think as moms we have a tendency to look at what's right in front of us. We're always attending to the next crisis. It's the tyranny of the urgent with moms, right? It is that child that's screaming, the milk that's spilled, the discipline that you need to really have the right words for but can't think of. And it's always that next big thing, where to send your kid to kindergarten, whether or not you're spending enough time nurturing their gifts, feeling mom guilt. There's all these things that we're feeling like we're always behind on. And I think one of the things that really causes us to grow in a season of motherhood, is to actually look always further and beyond, and to constantly consider that you're running a marathon and not a sprint.

For a long time, early on in motherhood, I kept thinking that I was going to arrive around the corner. I kept thinking, 'oh if I just read this book, get with the right playgroup, make the right choices, or just do it right today, train my kids to put away the dishes, tomorrow won't be that way. Or next week, I won't have to deal with this anymore.' And a few years in, I realized, no no no. This is a marathon. This is designed for me to press into the constancy of being pruned and changed in motherhood. And it's the marathon of my kids not arriving, and neither will I. And that's not to make us feel like, 'oh my goodness I'll never arrive.' But rather, the process, the progress, the in-between IS the thing. We talk about the journey is the thing. It really is, in motherhood. And I think sometimes we wish away that process and that season... thinking that if we just narrow on these few things and figure it out, then we will arrive and we can save ourselves some of that discomfort and this chafing of motherhood, the chafing of working with young ones who can't tie their own shoes and cry about everything. Really, that IS the content of your life. That is the very thing that you get to do right now, and influence, and build up. And so, I think we, as moms, there's a reason women in their 60s and 70s say, 'oh if you only knew how fast it goes,' and sometimes it's wonderful and sometimes it's annoying. I think that women who are older forget, and sometimes I forget as well, which is why I try to speak in a way that never undermines another season. But the reality is that we forget so easily that when you're in the trenches, you kind of don't know where you're heading. You don't really know exactly what it's going to be. And I know that older women are hoping to encourage that, but sometimes it's not just a picture you hold up. Sometimes it's actually holding that woman's hand and walking her out through the trenches.... You don't have to have the same circumstances to be going through the same life lessons."

Monday, April 30, 2018

Preaching to Myself

I'm sitting in the backyard shed. In silence. Alone. And I'm not even sure where to start. This moment was a looong 9 months in the making, and I'm fairly certain it can/will end at any moment. But I wanted to sit here with my cupcake and my nettle tea and my thoughts, because I'm behind on my thoughts. I'm not sure I knew that was possible, but as someone who needs to deal with emotions by naming them and moving through them, I can tell you it's been pretty chaotic for me to not have time to sit in silence and reflect.

And I've been wanting to reflect on a lot of things lately. So it surprises me that today's reflections are on body image of all things, since these thoughts seemed to come a bit out of the blue. I've been organizing and putting away baby clothes and maternity clothes over the past few days, and even though it's nice to see my old clothes in my closet, the reality is that I won't be wearing most of them any time soon.

It's funny, because my 17-years-ago-self would be really focused on sizes and numbers right now. But let me take a minute here: 17 years ago. Every time I think about this, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that the peak of my anorexia is now half a lifetime away from me. My past self never even fathomed all of the fullness that life beyond recovery held, and my present self is moved beyond words by the ways in which God pulled me from the muck and mire and set me on solid ground.

So anyway, it's hard to name what I'm feeling right now. I experienced a lot of freedom and healing in my pregnancy with Noah and the subsequent postpartum recovery I went through. I was in physical pain every day, and I felt like my body had come this far only to betray me. It took a lot of time and money and work and tears to move beyond that. But aside from the pain and physical recovery, there was also the ever-present bodily recovery in the sense of recognizing who I saw in the mirror. Just like the weight gain curve in pregnancy, I learned that my body had its own weight loss curve postpartum, and that I really couldn't comfortably and safely impact the progression that happened.

I gained 30 pounds in 38.5 weeks of pregnancy with Noah, lost 15 pounds (7lbs 8.7oz of that was a bouncing baby boy) within a few days of delivery, and pretty much hung out there for 7-8 months. I lost maybe 5 pounds around that point, another 5 pounds after 14-15 months when Noah started sleeping through the night, and another 2-3 pounds when we weaned at 26 months. For much of the first year with Noah, I was run into the ground. I've talked about this plenty of times before, with the house under construction, the colic, the pain, the postpartum anxiety, the sheer sleeplessness, the anemia, the fatigue. I was trying to work out and take care of myself, but I was not quite sure what that really meant and it took quite a while to find a new normal.

Before getting pregnant with Rosie, I was still technically hanging onto the last 3-5 pounds, but as I told a friend, I really had neither the time, nor money, nor f*cks to give at that point. I was happy and comfortable and active. I was a little softer than before (literally and figuratively), but I fit into most of my old clothes and I was mostly just so grateful for a body that allowed me to carry and birth a firework of a baby, to breastfeed him as long as I wanted to, and to carry him around and play with him and take long walks and snuggle at naps.

I gained 30 pounds in 38.3 weeks with Rosie, and again lost 15 pounds right away (7lbs 15.3oz of sweet baby included). But post-Rosie, getting "back into shape" hasn't really been a focus, in a good way. I was meticulous about physical therapy in pregnancy and postpartum since my first and foremost goal was to avoid another painful recovery if at all possible. I stayed on top of acupuncture and herbs. I focused on lots of nourishing and healing foods. And I'm grateful that purely focusing on replenishing and restoring has brought me this far. Physical recovery has been so different this time. I've been so grateful for that, I didn't really care about anything else. But the fact of the matter is, I sit here 9 months out a solid 15 pounds heavier than were I started 18 months ago, and much more... stretched out... than I was after the first baby. So yeah, the weather is warming up and I'm not wearing layers and sweaters and vests, and I'll be honest, I'm realizing it's been a while since I really evaluated the situation in the mirror.

I'm a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding in 4 weeks and I'm honored and psyched to be a part of their big day! But I took my dress to the seamstress this weekend and had to face the fact I'm also the mom to two babies on earth and two in heaven and I'm 5 years older than all the other (childless) bridesmaids. Let's be honest. I've lived a whole lot of life in those 5 years. Life that I'm grateful for and overwhelmed by and wouldn't trade for the world, but life nonetheless. And it shows.

It's hard for me to express this in a non-navel-gazing way: how I am so thankful for life right now and every single thing that brought me here, but how I also maybe wish I looked a little more familiar to myself. And that really is it. It's not about being a certain size or weight, but being at home with myself again. I've grown a little detached in the chaos of adjusting to two kids and getting through the long winter.

A friend recently shared her pregnancy news on a text chain with a few of us, and she was asking about weight gain. Everyone was sharing their stories, and I said, "I gained 30lbs on the dot for both of mine, but they were both 1-2 weeks early. With Noah I gained really rapidly in the first tri, then stalled in the second, then gained steadily in the third. With Rosie, I gained nothing in the first tri (so sick), gained really rapidly in the second, and then stalled a bit between 25-35 weeks. I panicked a bit both times because it wasn't a perfect linear progression. But your body does what it needs to do, and all you can do is eat as healthily as appetite allows, and be as active as you have the energy to be. Pregnancy and postpartum was/is redemptive for me in learning to trust how God made my body. With both kids, I lost 15 pounds right away, and the other 15 pounds seems to hang around for a good year. I'm in the middle of that now, but trusting and remembering that it goes away (fairly) easily when I start sleeping through the night again and having more energy during the day."

Really, though, other friends' answers were better for me to hear. Emily said that after having 4 babies, "I honestly feel more at home in my body even though it's a far cry from being in shape. After seeing the healthy humans I made, I see it in a much more positive light."

Alison's response stopped me in my tracks:


"I truly view my body differently since being pregnant and breastfeeding. Your body is literally giving life to another! That is so amazing! It definitely helps to put the gaining weight part of it into perspective. BUT it is still hard! And it's okay to feel those feelings of grief. Some seem to get right back to themselves after birth and that just wasn't me. I definitely hold onto weight while breastfeeding and my supply is very sensitive, so I couldn't make any big changes to my diet or activity level while nursing. I am done nursing [my second] and just now feel like I 'have my body back,' so to speak, after almost 4 years of being pregnant and breastfeeding.
They have been the most precious years and I obviously would not trade them for anything, but it doesn't mean that it's not hard to give that part of yourself up. But I'm learning, too, that that's motherhood! Giving of yourself over and over and over to your kids, but also finding time for self-care. And that looks different in every season. But in the early years I'm finding the 'giving up of yourself' is definitely heavy on the physical side! And I think the changes our bodies go through are kind of an outward representation of that sacrifice of our needs. But it's just a season."

I really loved her answer, and it gave voice to some of my thoughts about the giving of yourself. I feel like motherhood, for me, has really been a season of listening and learning and being patient. This is hard for me, as a verbal processor who likes to be bossy and know all the answers! But VERY slowly God is beginning to connect some of the dots for me. These body image thoughts have been rolling around for the past year and a half, ever since I got pregnant with Rosie, and they came full circle when I was listening to a podcast this morning and the conversation came around to body image in motherhood.

In the episode, Hannah Anderson says, 


"Again, we have to go back to this definition of humility, as recognizing and honoring the difference between God as God, and our identity as created, limited creatures who are dependent on Him. If we have that frame, and we move to talk about our bodies, it’s amazing to realize that one of the very things that defines the difference between us and a transcendent God, is our physical bodies.  
One of the catechisms that children often learn is, your God does not have a body. God is a spirit; He does not have a body. Even living within the boundaries of this physical flesh and bone is a limitation to begin with. Our bodies are our first reminder that we are not God. We fight this all the time, whether we’re skimping on sleep, or we’re skimping on food, or skimping on exercise, we’re essentially saying, “I don’t have to live within the boundaries of my physical body. I can live beyond them.” The first thing that humility teaches us about our body is that, it has been given to us to remind us of our limits. It is a walking, 24/7 reminder that we are not God. 
But Christ, when he entered human flesh, He also elevated and honored it, so there is no shame in our bodies. We feel the shame because we feel the limitations, and we press against those limitations. We look at our body, we feel them decaying and we feel them breaking down, and we are, quite frankly, embarrassed by them. We are ashamed of them in ways that God is not ashamed of them. Jesus Christ was not ashamed to carry human flesh.  
I find it fascinating that when He was raised from the dead, He was not ashamed to have marred flesh. He was not ashamed to carry the marks of love and sacrifice in His body. Again, this goes back to who are we listening to about our bodies? Jesus Christ is saying, “Your body is valuable and honoring and it’s been given to you to remind you of your limits, but also to make you dependent. It has been given to you to serve in sacrifice, and it’s going to carry marks.” That’s what Christ is telling us about our body. The world is telling us, “Your body is given to you to be a goddess. You are to transcend normal human limits...”  
At the root, there is essential conflict of, who we are going to listen to? Are we going to listen to culture around us that tells us a broken, limited body is a shameful thing? Or are we going to listen to the voice of Christ who says, “Come to me, I’ve got the same kind of body? And mine’s as messed up as yours is.” Not what the world is saying is beautiful, but high honor and value and love the things that the world does not love. So humility frees us, again like you said, takes that burden off, when we’re seeing our bodies the way God sees them. We don’t feel the weight that the world is putting on us for our bodies. 
[...]This has great potential for us to teach our children, and even our daughters, to honor what their bodies are, and will be. If you think about Christ coming back with wounds in His hands, it is these very wounds that He used to convince Thomas of His love, and to draw him to Himself. In many ways, whether we’re coming up in a swimsuit season, or whether we’re going to be outside more, and we can’t wear jeans and sweaters, all the time any more, we are going to be exposed. Yet it’s these very things that can be a connection, especially with our daughters to say, “Hey, this is where I carried you, this space.” ...Celebrating and honoring the same way Jesus said, “Come touch my hands. Come see it and believe that this was a good, valuable sacrifice. I am here and I did this for you.” We’re carrying a parallel kind of mark of sacrifice and love, and our children need to see that love embodied in us, rather than us shamefully covering and self condemning."

This really resonates with another podcast episode that I've been thinking about since I heard it last week. (Yeah I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. I need a different soundtrack in my head aside from kids crying and my own self-condemnation and frustration! It's good for me to listen and let truth wash over me without having to engage in conversation, or be heard, or interrupted.)

In this episode, Gloria Furman reminded me, "God is ONE. He is triune and he is one. There's no disunity in the eternal counsel in the Godhead. So he's ordained, designed, called, equipped, strengthens you, holds you accountable, and rewards you... He is not in conflict with himself. God has ordained THOSE kids, THIS marriage, THAT home, THIS financial situation and budget, THESE challenges, your weaknesses and your strengths, and he expects you to depend on Him for everything you need. His grace is sufficient for you. And he will give you what you need to persevere in your faith through all of that."

With that, I just heard the back door slam and Noah's running across the yard with a snack in his hand. But these are truths that I will be coming back to again and again. Nothing goes out from God and returns back empty, so I can rest assured that even these extra 15 pounds hold a purpose. They remind me that I'm not God, that I need him daily, and he has me here for a purpose.


Spring

When I look back on the past 5 years, I think spring has been such a hopeful time for me. Two of the past 5 springs, I've been visibly pregnant and anticipating adding a new addition to our family. And two of the past 5 springs have found me blinking bleary-eyed at the sun through sleep-deprived eyes, desperate for fresh air and refreshment after a winter filled with sickness and sleeplessness.

I think there's a fine line between being a masochist and being a mother. Motherhood is sanctifying. It's self-sacrificing. I know this, yet I also find myself pulling back and asking how much is too much? "Will is cost me this, too? Should it?"

God promises rest to the weary, but he doesn't promise a baby who sleeps through the night. I intentionally didn't pray for a "good sleeper" when I was pregnant with Rosie. In part, because I thought that dealing with the tongue tie, breastfeeding issues, and food intolerances early on would naturally fix some of the problem. But also, I prayed for sleep for a long time with Noah. A long time. God answered in the sense that, yes, between 18 months and 2.5 years, Noah was at long last a phenomenal sleeper. But I was in a pretty deep hole by that point, and it took me a long time to recover physically and emotionally.

We instituted gentle nap and nighttime sleep assistance with him around 7 months, and did some more firm "sleep training" at night around 14-15 months. At that time, Noah felt safe, comfortable, knew we would meet his needs, and he was developmentally ready to sleep. We let him cry a bit, but since it had all been so gradual, he never cried more than 20 minutes or so. He was ready.

So what happens this time when I'm ready but my baby maybe isn't? The longer I'm a mom, the slower I am to judge others, but still pretty quick to second guess myself. I feel like right now I can't be the mom I want to be at night AND during the day. Rosie's 9 months old and wakes up 2-5 times a night.

In the past few weeks, my 3 year old has started saying things like, "Rosie, you have GOT to let me have some quiet time." And, "I'm so grumpy in the morning because Rosie kept waking me up at night." Now, I'm not entirely sure that he really hears her crying at night, but he hears me complaining the next day loud and clear.

When do I feel mistakenly entitled to sleep, and when is it a matter of fuctioning?

I need to be able to distinguish between entitlement and self-care! And I need to sleep train my baby.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Selfishness and Selflessness

I listened to a podcast when I was pregnant with Rosie, and re-listened again recently, with Jen Wilkin. At one point, she says, "Motherhood, particularly young motherhood, was such a time of selfishness and selflessness intertwined for me. I told myself that it was 'beating the selfishness out of me' because you have to give up all your personal freedoms, etcetera. But then it turned out that as soon as the kids got older and were able to do things on their own, I just took all the selfishness right back. Nothing is going to get to that underlying issue of self-centeredness, like spending time in the scriptures will."

That pull between selfishness and selflessness? I am feeling this deeply right now. Noah's old enough, and he and Rosie are far enough apart, that I did get a glimpse of that freedom. And it wasn't until Rosie came along that I realized I'd gotten to a point where I had taken back some of those personal freedoms. When I got pregnant, he was napping every day, sleeping through the night, potty training... In hindsight, I totally felt entitled to my alone time during naps, to those few hours between kids bedtime and my own. And I didn't realize how much I needed them until I lost them. 

In a lot of ways, I know this is the hard season, this season of two kids 3 and under. I know that as the first child gets older, things change. Even if we do for some reason decide to have another baby, it won't be like this again. The sheer neediness. And I do also get glimpses of how having an older child can be helpful, can be a good role model, can set the tone for the day. I don't say this to put too much pressure on Noah, but more just watching friends with older kids out and about, things are just DONE a certain way because they've been done with the first child and that's just how things go. I'm realizing once again, this season is intense but (relatively) brief. This season of having to change diapers and change clothes and physically feed a child. The days when I'm harried and ravenous and my kids are scrambling to eat the food left on my plate, or the last of my yummy treat. I give it to them, but on a bad day, I kind of want to cry when I do. Some days, I feel like I'm bleeding myself dry. I know now that when I look back, this season will be so brief.

When am I "putting my own oxygen mask on first," and when am I just looking for glimpses of a bygone era when I was literally my only priority as I went throughout my day?

None of this is mind blowing, or even terribly unique. But the reality of it, of course, isn't fully realized until you're in it. The way the kids will take turns sleeping so you don't have a minute alone. The way one crying can often start the other one crying. The way you can't leave the room without worrying that the baby is going to be "moved" or "helped" or "taught a lesson" by the "helpful" older child.

The thing is, I love so much of it. I love being the one who can fix the owies and stop the crying. I love how sometimes they just need a hug to touch base. But I'm trying to give myself permission to realize that I can love it AND it can be kicking my butt.

The other thing I didn't quite realize I felt entitiled to, was an "easier" child. I know there's no such thing as EARNING a chill baby, but I did feel like I'd paid my dues somehow, and maybe genetics plus luck plus not being a first time mom would be on my side. We prepared for tongue tie, for reflux, for breastfeeding issues, for postpartum pain. But I couldn't quite bring myself to prepare for another sleepless child. I thought surely if we dealt with all those other issues, sleep would fall in line. And maybe it would have? Rosie slept GLORIOUSLY well for 2.5 months. Like, I can't even count the number of times she basically slept through the night, only waking up at 10pm or 4am. I felt HUMAN. I actually felt like a rockstar, getting two kids out of the house, and nursing the baby at the park, and letting her nap in the wrap. And, I don't know. I don't know what changed and I've been beating myself up about it. As if it were the 2 month shots, or the never-ending sickness that started literally the day I went back to work after taking 12 weeks off. As if I could've somehow changed it. But she started waking up. A lot. Like every 1.5 hours. After the hospital, I think there was a 1-2 month period where I literally never slept for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I was too tired to even count how often she woke up, or how much sleep I wasn't getting.

I kind of developed tunnel vision, to maintain some semblance of sanity (and lets be honest, calling it sanity might be a bit generous-- it's more like a thinly-veiled veneer of sanity). We cut back on playdates, we took a few weeks off of preschool. We finally got HEALTHY. But then we had some family drama and Ross went on a work trip for a week, and I was flying solo and Rosie was literally awake every 45 minutes every single night, and I hit a wall. So we drew back again: I talked to my manager about taking some time off of work.

Because here's the thing, I was literally needed around the clock 5 days a week, and then I went to work on Saturday, and Sunday was a mad scramble of church and groceries and cleaning and food prep, and before I knew it, it would be Monday again. And Monday mornings are theeee worst.

I find myself trying to catch snatches of alone time defensively. Like, can I just eat breakfast without answering a billion questions?! I hear myself saying, "I just need to send this text to my friend!" I find myself thinking, "jeez, just leave me alone for 5 minutes so I can laugh at these memes on facebook and feel less alone."

When I'm with friends, I'm talking too fast. I hear it. I've come so far from my violently defensive posture that I Felt with Noah, but I still feel inadequate. Less than. Not even.

I guess, here's the progress I have made: I know it's not about the size of my house, or the amount of money we have, or the family we don't have in town, or the anxiety that makes its home in the pit of my stomach some days. My problems are underwhelming to many, and maybe overwhelming to others. That doesn't matter. It's about the state of my heart, pure and simple. And I'm not okay.
---

"some day soon we will take family outings like this again (to the library, when philip was our wee one with just two). i can feel it in my bones.
juggling baby twins with 3 other littles can be hilarious and exhausting all at the same time. 😂😂😂 it can also be impossible under certain "calm" circumstances, like, quiet play at the library. 😂😂😂
we are so happy to be the parents of this specific crew. life just keeps changing our family. we are embracing a new normal. neither of our children, or either of their parents, will ever be what we would have been (personality and temperment included) without the twins (or ANY of the sibling additions).
i think women especially can think things like "one day i will find myself again, i promise" or "i'll work at becoming who i was working on before the kiddos came once they are older" while we are in the throws of this crazy season.
but the truth is we aren't supposed to look back on that person. God brought this change on purpose. He purposed this crazy. this "how in the world did i get here?"
and He purposed any circumstance that can tip our feelings toward discontment-- with or without children.
we are our real self now.
we are suppose to go through this type of metamorphosis.
we are not suppose to be the same girl we were on our wedding day that we are NOW after living with the man we married.
we are not suppose to be the same woman we were before kids that we are NOW after having a child! or 2 or 3 or 4 or more.
but we are to lay down our life to lose it.
we are to fall on our faces before our Savior when we are struggling and desperate.
He doesn't mind our desparate.
the world's system would like to whisper in your ear something quite different. but this world is your enemy and doesn't care about you at all, no matter how empathetic it my sound at times. the world knows you will buy whatever they are selling if you are discontent. period.
your Creator, on the other hand, does care! and he promises you abundant life, joy in all things, peace in the midst of storms, personal growth in the midst of trials, and hope in the midst of despair to just to name a few!
choose with me today to walk confidently in the skin you are in--even if you don't recognize that girl at times--and speak the truth of God's word over a heart that can easily fill up with the junk that wrong thinking produces."
~ beautifully written by fellow mom Deana Marie Myers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Imitation Hail Merry Bites

It's funny how I didn't really have cravings during my pregnancy with Rosie. Instead, I'll always associate certain foods with her first few months of life. When Noah started preschool in August, I'd grab a coconut milk latte from Starbucks on my way home, and enjoy it with some salted chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe's.

A few months later, I moved onto these Hail Merry bites because I was hungry so often, and they were a little sweet but also filling. When Rosie was in the hospital this winter, I ate a lot of gluten-free chocolate bundt cake from eCafe. Then, all hell broke loose and I'm not entirely sure how I've survived the past few months! But... spring is coming. The weather hasn't quite warmed up yet, but I'm craving these energy bites again!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites modified from this recipe:

1 cup almond flour
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs melted coconut oil
2 Tbs mini chocolate chips

Raw Chocolate Macaroons modified from this recipe:

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup almond flour
scant 1/2 cup coconut oil
4-5 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For both recipes, you just dump everything in the food processor and blend until it clumps together. Then roll them into balls and store in the fridge or freezer!

Now I just need to try my hand at imitating the delicious Hail Merry tarts...