We just have to make it past age 3

My Little Bug.

It is hard to adequately describe this girl in words.

At almost 3 years old, I still cannot take my eyes off her or she gets herself into trouble.

I can remember my life as “stay at home mom” dramatically changed once Little Bug started walking. I did not want to completely baby-proof my house because I wanted her to learn about boundaries and limits.

So, we did the necessary baby-proofing to make the house “safe” and then she had four “no-no’s”: the centerpiece on the coffee table, the picture frames on the end tables, the TV and the blinds. All of those things were off limits and she was not allowed to touch them.

And so began my days of training and disciplining my child.

I can remember days where it felt like ALL I did was train her to not touch her no-no’s! I was very consistent and by 18 months or so, she pretty much left those no-no’s alone. She would go through phases where I wondered if my training was doing any good for her and then she would go through phases where she would not test her boundaries at all.

As we are nearing age 3, which I have heard MANY mothers claim is a very hard age, I find myself completely exhausted at the end of the day from training and disciplining Little Bug.

We’ve reached a new level in the past two weeks or so.

Let me give you an example: This morning, I went to lay Sweet Pea down for her nap. Pup was outside and I told Little Bug to not let her in until I got back because I needed to wash her paws before she walked on the new carpet. I asked her if she understood and she said she did.

I am in the middle of changing Sweet Pea’s diaper when I hear the back door open.

I could hardly believe it because this was open defiance! I had just told her to wait until I got back to let Pup in and moments later, she completely disobeys and lets Pup in?!? Really?

Oh, my blood was boiling at this point. I have noticed lately that I allow my frustration to show to Little Bug and that is totally NOT good. I know I need to remain emotionless when discipline her, but oh my goodness, this girl is a tough one.

I walked into the living and asked Little Bug what she did and she told me.

I calmly (by the grace of God) walked over to her, took her hand and we started walking towards my bedroom where the pack n play is. Little Bug asked, “Where are you taking me?”. I told her and then pick her up and put her in the pack n play, turned around and walked out of the bedroom, closing the door behind me.

I needed time to cool my boiling blood and to pray. Little Bug, of course, immediately starts crying because she knows she has disobeyed and she knows the consequence isn’t going to be fun.

I went to the laundry room and decided to get a head start on the vacuuming I had planned to do that day. I vacuumed the living room while praying that God would give me what I need to discipline my child in love so that I can mold her heart to the ways of God.

Less than 10 minutes later, I was ready to go talk to Little Bug.

I got her out of the pack n play and put her on my bed and began talking to her about what she had done.

Little Bug seems to have an attitude of pride when she does wrong, so I told her she can choose the bad choice if she wants, but it is Mommy’s responsibility to give her the consequence of that choice – and the consequence isn’t going to be good.

We talked about the verse in the Bible that says “Children are to obey their parents in the Lord for this right.” She could recite the entire verse to me.

We finished talking and I carried out her consequence.

Later that same day, I was siting in the living room talking to Rebecca, who had just come into town, when I hear pen marks on the furniture.

I immediately said, “Little Bug, where are you?”

Out from behind the chair she comes. I go behind the chair to see the multitude of pen marks with the pen laying on the floor.

My frustration showed on that one because…seriously?? She knows we do not write on furniture!!!! What is she thinking??? And why in the world is she proud of this?

Rebecca told me something days before this incident that I know will forever stick with me as long as I am raising children.

She told me she reminds herself her children are “just sinners who need Jesus” and it is her job to help mold and train them in the ways of the Lord.

When she said that, it totally changed my perspective, because that is so true.

We are all born sinners. We don’t choose to do the right thing naturally. It is in our nature to do the wrong thing, to sin.

Little Bug is a sinner, just like her mama and all of creation.

This girl is going to make me gray in the next decade. Smile She is strong-willed. That is for sure. The things she already comes up with at the age of 2 are astounding. I am going to have to always be on my game with this one.

I want nothing more than to see this girl grow up and put all this energy or whatever you want to call it into something that will glorify God.

The responsibility I feel for helping her achieve this is overwhelming sometimes!

Parenting is not for the weary or faint of heart. I will put my all into molding her heart. I know God is going to use this girl for His glory.

We just have to make it past age 3!

the age of three

I’ve heard about the “terrible 2s” and how the age of three is usually way worse.

And now, I believe it!

An almost 3 year old lives in this house and, dear me, some days I just want to run away from her because I don’t want to fight one more battle with her!

I think (I don’t know because I only have experience with one almost 3 year old child) that when you add in a spit-fire personality this is all exaggerated even more….and leaves me with the feeling of want to run away from her at times!

Right now, I find myself trying to do a delicate balance of not allowing my child to be in control (because I am the parent and she is the child) but at the same time allow her to grow and mature and gain some independence in appropriate ways.

I’ve written before about first time obedience. First time obedience certainly doesn’t happen every single time with a two-year-old, but it is a goal that we are striving to reach because we feel we should be able to tell our children to do something and then they do it – the first time, not the 3rd or 20th time.

When my girls are school-age, I want to be able to tell them, “go put your shoes on so we can leave in five minutes” and then in five minutes I want to see us all walking out the door ready to leave and not still be telling them over and over again to “go put your shoes on”! I want them to stop what they are doing and obey the verbal command of their authority figure. Am I asking too much? I don’t think so.

I have found Little Bug goes through seasons of doing pretty well with first time obedience and then she falls into a season where I want to pull my hair out by bedtime.

I am a member of a babywise forum and there was a thread about “first time obedience” recently. One member left a very smart five-step process she goes through when she asks her pre-schooler to do something.

1. Get attention.
2. Give direction.
3. Check understanding.
4. Show trust in child.
5. Discipline/assist if necessary.

I say, “Little Bug!”. Then I give her the direction I want her to follow. “Take your shoes off and put them in the basket so we can go inside.” Then I check for her understanding. “What do you need to do, Little Bug?” She says, “Put my shoes up.”

Then, this is the clever part and something I love!! I show my trust in Little Bug to follow my directions, once I know that she has heard and understands what I want her to do. I turn away from her and start getting Sweet Pea out of the stroller so we can go inside, leaving her the dignity to obey on her own accord without being forced by my “Mommy-eye” upon her or by continuing to bark orders down her back until she complies.

(This scenario did actually happen this afternoon.) Sure enough, I got Sweet Pea out of the stroller and went around the car to find Little Bug sitting there taking her shoes off and putting them in the basket.

I’ve used that method several other times today with great success.

Another method I use that has been very effective is to take her to the pack n play in my bedroom and put her in when she is in one of those moods where nothing I do is right, she isn’t obeying and she is fussing and whining over every.little.thing.

I take her to the pack n play while telling her that the way she is speaking and acting is not acceptable at all. I tell her I will be back in a few minutes to see if she is ready to be my sweet Little Bug.

So far, every single time I have implemented this it’s like a light switch – she turns the negative behavior off and is my sweet girl once again. I think it is because children need to know what parents expect of them. Children live up to our expectations. The pack n play method clearly tells Little Bug that her behavior is unacceptable.

This kid is too smart for her own good, though.

She KNOWS one thing that will get her out of the pack n play and that is having to go potty. (Smart cookie, I tell ya.) Last time I had to use this, the moment I walked out she yelled, “Mommy, I need to go potty.”

What did I do? Well, um, I took my chances that she was just crying wolf and didn’t come back to let her get out and go potty.

Several minutes later, I went back in to talk to her and see if she was ready to be a polite, sweet girl again. She was. She got out and didn’t run to the potty because, just like I figured, she didn’t really need to go. (Can we say manipulation??! Do you see why I want to pull my hair out by bedtime some days?)

I’ve just got to stay on top of my game (i.e. parenting) and pray my efforts make a difference.

How did you survive your child’s third year???

milk time

I wrote a post similar to this about Little Bug. Now it is time for Sweet Pea’s post.

I LOVE feeding my babies their bottles. Although it would actually be very convenient for Sweet Pea to learn to hold her own bottle, I don’t try to teach her and encourage her to feed herself. I just love having four times a day to hold and feed my babies, especially once they become mobile and don’t really enjoy being held as much!

It has sometimes been challenging to keep Little Bug occupied while I sit and hold and feed Sweet Pea, but it is worth it to me to have to be creative in keeping my 2 year old (who until just recently, wouldn’t play on her own unless in “room time”) occupied while I feed Sweet Pea for 15-30 minutes!

Right now, Little Bug is still in bed when Sweet Pea eats at 8am. She is usually awake but she just plays and talks in her crib. She watches Word World when I feed Sweet Pea at noon. The past few days we have gone outside while I am feeding Sweet Pea her solids and that has worked well. The 4pm feed is the most challenging because instead of using the pack n play as I had done in the past (still using the pack n play for an almost 3 year old is a bit ridiculous! I do still have to use it on occasion though.), I am really trying to encourage Little Bug to play with something in the living room while I am feeding her sister. If I didn’t keep my eye on her the entire time though she would inevitably go off somewhere and get herself into trouble, which is why she has the rule of “stay in the living room”. Sweet Pea’s 7:45pm feed, Little Bug is playing with her Daddy.

I also do not want to always use the TV to entertain Little Bug while Sweet Pea is eating. We did not allow Little Bug to watch TV until she was two years old and even still, I limit her television viewing to 20-30 minutes a day with hopefully a day or two of no TV each week.

Little Bug didn’t start holding her bottles until she was around 13 months old, I think it was! Sweet Pea will probably be the same. When Little Bug started holding her bottles, I still sat down and held her while she drank for every feeding. And now at almost 3 years old, I still hold Little Bug for her four “milk times” per day. Smile

When Little Bug was sick recently the doctor told me to cut out dairy while she was so congested. Little Bug sincerely missed her milk times. I let her have some diluted juice but it just wasn’t the same to her, I think. Once she was all better we started milk time again and Little Bug was so happy about that.

I told my mom, “I wonder how old she is going to be when she gives up milk time?”!! I know the days are numbered, as with anything to do with children because they grow up SO FAST.

So, I will cherish “milk times” with Little Bug and Sweet Pea’s four bottle feeds a day because before I know it, my babies won’t be babies anymore.

And I will look back on all those occasions of taking the time to sit and hold and rock my babies while they ate and be so thankful I did that.

Babies grow up SOOOOO fast!!!

Today, I am packing up winter clothes and pulling out the summer clothes for both girls. I can’t believe I am already pulling out 9 month and 12 month clothes for my baby! She is definitely a bigger baby than her sister was, but Sweet Pea’s first year is going by so fast.

It really is bittersweet.

chomp chomp

I realize this is probably not one of my most responsible parenting moments but…

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…I couldn’t help myself.

Little Bug recently started hiding when she is doing something she knows she shouldn’t do. I automatically know when she is doing this because the house goes quiet.

This particular day, things went quiet and I found her chomping away on FOUR pieces of gum that she had found in the kitchen junk drawer.

I just laughed at her (instead of doing the responsible thing and disciplining my child for hiding to do something she KNOWS she shouldn’t do).

And then, (even better), I said, “Stay right there. I want to take a picture.”

Come on, I am NOT the only parent that has ever done this, right?!

Going from 1 to 2

I was very apprehensive about parenting a 2-year-old and newborn. I remember telling myself if I could just make it through the first six months, I would be home free! Today is February 1st and I can hardly believe that my little Sweet Pea turns six months old tomorrow!

They say going from 1 to 2 kids is quite challenging. Having two kids two years apart has been very tricky at times but over the past 6 months, I’ve come up with a Top 10 List of things that have made life less hectic for me along the way. Thought I would share them here…

1. Have a playpen with toys/books set up for the older child to play in. Ours is set up in our bedroom. This is an absolute necessity for me because of the fact that Little Bug is the type of child that even at the age of 2.5 years old I have to keep a constant eye on her and if things go quiet for more than one minute I know she is up to something. So, if I need a few minutes to take care of the baby without having to worry about watching Little Bug, the playpen is a life-saver.

2. Let cleaning your house go. Especially in those first 2-3 months. Once the craziness of the newborn phase is over, you can slowly work back to keeping up with cleaning. Before Sweet Pea, I would spend about 30 minutes a day on cleaning. That way I didn’t have it all pile up on me and it was easy to tackle one task a day for half an hour. I let all that go when Sweet Pea was born. Weeks would go by without cleaning. If you are a neat-freak like me, you just have to learn that it is okay for the bathroom to be dirty and for dust to be on the furniture. I’ve just recently gotten back into my 30 minutes/day of cleaning to stay on top of things, most weeks. There is more to life than a clean house so…let it go!! My house won’t ever be as clean as it was before kids because 1) kids make messes and 2) it is more important to spend time with my girls than to have a model home!

3. Learn to laugh at the chaos instead of cry. Those first 8-12ish weeks were super crazy for me! Many moments I just had to stop and choose to laugh…or else it was cry and laughing is way more fun and relaxing! I would also think in those moments, “My girls won’t be this little for long. Before I know it they are going to be all grown up and I will miss these crazy baby days!” It is called being content with life how it is at that very moment. It goes a long way for relieving stress in those crazy moments (which will be VERY frequent during the first 2-3 months!).

4. Stay home more. This may not work for everyone, but for me, it does. Sometimes, it is just easier to stay at home and not go anywhere because going somewhere involves packing everyone up (bottles, diapers, paci, burp clothes, wipes, etc.) and having to manage everyone’s needs while out and about. Just not worth it much to me when you have two small children! That being said…I am not a hermit by any means now. Miss Social Butterfly would not have that! We do get out of the house! However, those random trips to PetSmart to have an “inside zoo” experience when it is 90 degrees outside don’t happen in the stage of life we are in now! It is just not worth the effort. It is much easier to just put them in the stroller and go for a walk around the block between Sweet Pea’s feeds! Once again, though, those impromptu PetSmart trips will come back…one day. And pretty soon, it is going to be easier and worth it again to pack everyone up and head out for an adventure beyond our home/neighborhood. (Side Note: Another huge reason for our staying home so much has been because of Sweet Pea’s overstimulation issues. It is easier to control her environment in my own house and keep her from getting overstimulated than it is for me to control her environment outside of our house. Hopefully, these overstimulation days are coming to an end soon though.)

5. When we do go somewhere and I am leaving without the help of my husband because he is at work, I always pack the car before putting the girls in the car. Usually, we are leaving after naptime so while both are tucked away in their cribs, I put diaper bags and anything else that needs to go with us in the car. If we are leaving after Little Bug does IP then I pack the car while Little Bug is playing in her room and Sweet Pea is sleeping. Then, when it is time to go, all I have to do is snap Little Bug’s car seat into the base and buckle Little Bug in and we are good to go!

6. Put both children on a schedule. Again, this may not work for everyone, but for me, I couldn’t imagine NOT having my girls on a schedule! Babywise is a lifesaver for my family. Babywise makes the smooth days that run like clockwork the norm and the crazy, chaotic days something that happens every once in a while when someone is having an ‘off’ day. Babywise makes life simpler because I know when the baby needs to eat and sleep – there are no guessing games. I have found in my babysitting/nanny/parenting experience that children thrive off routine and scheduling and I have seen this be true in the lives of both of my daughters.

7. Take time for yourself. I think so many times mothers feel guilty if they even want time away from their children! Find a time for you to do something apart from your children. For me, it is Saturday mornings. Dave gets up with the girls and lets me sleep in. It is good for children to have that one-on-one time with their Daddy. Little Bug loves Saturday mornings with her Daddy. He makes her a special French toast breakfast and they play together until it is time to come wake me up.

8. Get yourself ready to leave the house before the kids wake up. This is SUCH a time saver! After Sweet Pea’s birth I was late to everything. And I do mean everything. Late. I hate being late. If I am planning to leave the house with the girls in the early morning (before Little Bug has her IP time) I have found the easiest way to ensure we leave on time is for me to set my alarm half an hour or so before the girls are up and get myself ready during that time. When they wake up, I am ahead of the game and it is so much easier to feed and dress two little girls when I am already ready to walk out the door!

9. Plan ahead. Organization goes a LONG way when you have two small kids. If we are leaving to go somewhere I pack diaper bags, gets sippies and bottles prepared, lay out clothes, etc., the night before. I also have an “emergency diaper bag” in my car that has essentials for both girls should I forget to put something in their normal diaper bag/backpack. All that being said, there are still times where I forget things and am kicking myself! Just recently we packed everything and everyone up to go somewhere and we got there and realized Sweet Pea’s formula was still sitting in our refrigerator at home! Talk about frustrating!! Dave went back to get it and instead of being totally mad at myself I allowed myself to be human and forget something and went on with the day. Smile Planning ahead and being organized does certainly eliminate most of those incidences though!

10. Right after Sweet Pea’s birth I had two baskets full of supplies for her. One was in our living room and the other was in our bedroom. I did this mainly for convenience-sake. Instead of having to go to her bedroom for every diaper change and every time she needed a new bib (which was very frequent!), I had diapers, bibs, burp clothes, wipes and onesies right there for me to use. Once I set up those baskets I felt more organized at home with things!

Ok, I know that is 10, but I just thought of another hugely helpful tip: Operate 15 minutes ahead of normal time. If we have to leave the house by 10am, I tell myself we have to leave by 9:45am. That extra 15 minutes allows for the poopy diaper I have to change right as we are ready to leave the house or to run back in the house to grab something I forgot. Once I get in the car and we are finally ready to go after taking care of all the unexpected things that you can just expect WILL happen with two small kiddos, I look at the clock and we are pulling out right on time…thanks to those extra 15 minutes!!

That’s my top 10 11.

Also, remember…time. There is certainly an adjustment period as bringing another child into the family changes everything. But, with time, things level out and life just falls into a new normal.

We are definitely there now and it feels great!!

I did it.

I put Sweet Pea in the church nursery for the first time Sunday.

My philosophy on this has always been that I keep my babies with me until they become a distraction to others.

We go to the worship service first and then we go to our small group afterwards.

Worship starts at 9am, which is also Sweet Pea’s naptime. Up until a few weeks ago, Sweet Pea would usually just sleep through everything in her car seat. I would then feed her at 11am while we were in our small group.

But then, Sweet Pea stopped sleeping well in her car seat. She became a distraction mostly to me because I was worried about her not sleeping (and as a result getting overstimulated) and I wasn’t really able to pay attention to what my attention should have been on: the sermon!

I was a little hesitant to try the nursery with her because of her overstimulation issues and stomach issues. I just feel that I am her Mama and I know her best and the best place for her is with me – at all times.

My good friend is the church nursery coordinator and she mentioned that there were only two babies on the roll for Sweet Pea’s class. When I heard that, I figured I could go ahead and try leaving her in the nursery since she would be only one of two babies.

I figured if I took Sweet Pea’s portable sound machine to the nursery she might would sleep in her car seat.

We got there Sunday and I swaddled Sweet Pea in the miracle blanket and put her in the car seat with the sound machine plugged in nearby.

I explained about Sweet Pea’s overstimulation issues and said I would come back to feed her myself.

And then I left.

Of course, that Sunday I still didn’t hardly pay attention because my mind was constantly thinking about Sweet Pea! I just kept picturing her overstimulated and screaming her little head off. But I had a beeper and they promised to beep me to come get her if she cried at all.

I thought about running back there to check on her between the service and small group, but I said, No, she is fine. They would have beeped me if she is having a hard time!

I sat through small group again with my mind constantly on my little Sweet Pea.

At 11:20 I rushed to the nursery to feed Sweet Pea and found her sitting, happy as a little June bug, on the nursery worker’s lap. She was one of two babies and every thing was calm and quiet.

Sweet Pea had taken a short nap (short nap is better than no nap!!) and the nursery worker said she had been happy the whole time!

YAY!!! I was so relieved to know I CAN leave her and she will do just fine (as long as everyone is aware of her overstimulation issues and keeps things calm for her, which they did).

Sweet Pea came home from church and took a 3-hour nap and was her usual happy self the rest of the day too.

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Little Bug to a T and Buckets of Tears

The following sums up Little Bug to a T.

We were having some trouble with Independent Play recently. Little Bug was opening her closet and pulling out every.single.toy. in there and opening her drawers and pulling out sheets and clothing.

It was a HUGE mess that was taking over half an hour to clean up! When Sweet Pea came along I didn’t have half an hour to clean all that up.

She was also climbing over the gate in her door way during her playtime. She was making up every excuse known to man of why she needed to climb the gate. I was having to put her back in her room multiple times.

So now every day before her IP time I tell her, “Little Bug, no opening closets and drawers and no climbing the gate. Do play with your toys and do choose to be happy!”

That solved the problem.

A few weeks ago I found a play kitchen on Craigslist and it is now in Little Bug’s room. It is a pretty big one and she has enjoyed playing with it since we brought it home.

Well, today I hear her say, “Mommy, I knocked over my kitchen!” (Again, if you know Little Bug, she is just trying everything she can to get me to come to her room. She waits to poop every day during IP so I have to come change her diaper. I am not even kidding.)

So, I come running to her room and sure enough, there is her huge kitchen leaning on it’s side. I asked her why she knocked it over.

And then, Little Bug proclaims, “But Mommy, I didn’t open my closet, I didn’t open my drawers and I didn’t climb the gate!!”

That right there folks, is the epitome of my Little Bug.

That is all very true, Little Bug. Thanks.

Always pushing the limits, that child is.

And here is another example. But this, I love. Because my child experienced a natural consequence and, in my opinion, having your child experience a natural consequences is the best way to teach them a lesson on obedience.

Let me set the stage: It’s naptime. We are sitting in the rocking chair in the living room reading some books before going to bed.

Little Bug sees her beloved Frosty the Snowman sitting on the kitchen counter.

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She wants to hold it while we read. I told her that was fine as long as she did not play the song while we are reading. I told her if she chose to push the button we would have to put him back on the counter.

She goes to get Frosty and we settle in for a book. In the middle of a sentence, the song begins to play.

I just think, But of course, she just HAD to make him sing.

So I stop reading and get up with Frosty in my hand and go put him back on the counter.

Let the waters fall. Little Bug was completely and utterly heartbroken.

But I want my Frosty, Mommy.

To which I said, “Well, Little Bug, I told you if you make him sing we will have to put him up. You chose to not obey Mommy and you pushed the button, so the consequence to your disobedience is that you can no longer hold Frosty right now.”

But I want my Frosty, Mommy. I really want him.

I can see how it would be so easy to give in and give her another chance after seeing her broken little heart and her big blue eyes gushing tears of sorrow.

I thought for a millisecond about giving her another chance. But, no.

She went to bed crying for her beloved Frosty.

In this life, we have boundaries and limits and if we chose to cross those boundaries and limits, there are consequences.

She might as well learn this lesson over a stuffed singing Frosty the Snowman than over some other situation down the road when she is older that might actually for real break her heart or harm her in some way.

Parenting is so much more complicated than I ever thought it was going to be.

We always say to Little Bug, “What are we going to do with you, Little Bug??”

And she replies, “Love me forever.”

Yes we will. We will love this girl forever, testing-the-limits and all. After all, everything I do as her mother is grounded in my love for her. I hope she understands that one day.

The Perfect Game

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it is someone who pretends to have no problems.

You know.

Their marriage is perfect.

Their children are perfect.

Their house is always clean.

The laundry is always done.

They are never late.

Their kids are always properly dressed.

They always have dinner on the table right on time.

And, the best one yet…their children always obey.

Why do we feel the need to paint a picture for the world to see that depicts a “perfect life”?

I mean, my life is pretty much “perfect” in the sense that I have an incredible husband and two adorable daughters after spending many nights wondering if I would ever live my dream of being a wife and mother.

But, my life is far from perfect.

I am far from perfect.

I fail over and over again.

And do the same things I don’t want to do, over and over again.

I think I get a handle on it and then, just like that, it all comes crumbling down again.

I spent this morning in a 2 hour battle with my two-year-old. Yes, two hours. It was by far the longest power struggle I have ever been in with her. It made me realize why we have so many rebellious children in this world. It would have been so much easier to just give up and throw up the white flag in surrender.

But, I stood my ground, but even in doing so I feel like I still “lost” the battle because I am not proud of the way I lost my cool with her.

Yes, I lost my cool with my daughter this morning.

And I am not proud of that.

But she would not clean up after playtime in her room this morning.

This has been an ongoing problem for weeks now. Months, perhaps?

Little Bug is messy. She makes messes everywhere she goes. She doesn’t really “play” with toys, she just spreads them everywhere and then, when it is time to clean up, I end up cleaning up about 90% of the mess and she does 10% (if that). So basically, she has learned that she can make messes and Mommy will come behind her and clean them up.

I have become a “broken record” at clean up time because I say “Little Bug, help clean up your toys.” but she knows that I will just end up doing it myself and she is “off the hook”.

Today, I’d had it. I was in her room cleaning up her toys this morning while she continued to not help.

Nothing was motivating her to clean up her toys and eventually I found myself in a battle with my 2-year-old that ended in tears for both of us.

Why is life so messy? Not toys-messy but sin-messy?

I know all this is a direct result of my own personal sin of not desiring God this morning. I let other stuff get in the way and as a result I didn’t handle today’s battle of the will’s in the way God would desire me to.

I failed. Big time.

I know the right way to live my life and yet I still make bad choices!!

It is called the battle of the flesh.

My heart is God’s but yet my heart still resides in my flesh which is downright dirty and sinful.

To live for Christ is a daily battle. And sometimes it is not daily…it is hourly, minutely (is that a word?).

I hate that I don’t always choose Christ. I hate that I often times allow my flesh to win. More often than most would probably think because I have the reputation of being the “good girl who does no wrong”.

While my sins are not obvious to the world, I still sin daily. I still battle doing the right things…daily. And, often times, I fail.

Like today.

I KNOW if I had chosen to submit myself to GOD today, I would have been able to handle this situation with my daughter in a whole different light. But because I chose NOT to submit myself to God today, I instead (whether I knowingly do this or not) submitted myself to Satan.

And today I was governed not by God’s love, peace, mercy and joy, but instead by anger and frustration.

I hate failing like this. I’ve tried every possible scenario I know to avoid being overcome by the flesh, instead of letting the Holy Spirit govern my thoughts and actions.

I have come to the realization that it is a battle I myself am never going to win.

It is a battle that has already been won for me on Calvary, by Jesus Christ, when He hung on that cross and died as payment for every single sin I would ever commit here on this earth.

That is where the victory is.

As long as I am alive here on this green earth, I am going to have moments where my flesh wins.

All I can do is ask for forgiveness – from my Lord and my daughter.

Even after disciplining Little Bug in anger this morning, all she wanted to do was crawl up in my lap and let me hug and hold her. I told her I was sorry for being frustrated at her and that I loved her very much.

In her precious, tiny little voice, as she slurped back tears, she said, “I love you too Mommy.”

And all was well in our little world again.

Except the fact that I have a much harder time forgiving myself than my 2 year old does, apparently. And, obviously, I still have a lot of work to do with Little Bug as far as first-time obedience goes.

Life is hard, people. We all face challenges. We all have sin in our lives.

We all need Jesus.

We all need to stop playing The Perfect Game.

Contentment

God is always teaching us something!

Right now, my lessons are centered around contentment.

I hit the ground running every morning. I feed Sweet Pea at 8am, make every attempt to wake her up after the feed, change her diaper, lay her in our bed and go get Little Bug up at 8:30am. We go to Sweet Pea’s room and change her diaper then she drinks her milk in our bed and then it is straight to the kitchen for breakfast. By this time, Sweet Pea is ready to nap and is usually having tummy pains. She goes in the sling so that I can continue on with breakfast for Little Bug.

Then it is clean up time. How in the world we make such a mess in less than half an hour I do not know. But there are breakfast dishes and multiple bottles to wash.

Dr. Brown’s bottles with a million and one parts. That take forever to wash. (More on what we are trying now with Sweet Pea later.)

After breakfast, Little Bug goes to her room for Independent Play (lifesaver!) and I clean up the kitchen, wash the million and one bottle parts and then go to my bedroom to lay Sweet Pea down to finish her nap.

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I then clean up my bedroom from the middle of night feed(s), get dressed and have some quiet time with God before it is time to get Little Bug from playtime and give Sweet Pea her 11am feed.

As I was getting dressed today, I was thinking how my life is consumed with menial tasks…washing bottles, changing diapers, picking up toys, getting the baby to sleep, laundry, fixing meals.

It kinda seems pointless and like there needs to be more to life than all this.

As menial as these tasks are, there is nothing more on earth I would rather do right now.

I want to take care of my little girls all day long.

I know these days are fleeting. A vapor. They will be here today and gone tomorrow.

While I do feel like my life is a circus and sometimes I still wonder what God was thinking giving me children 26 months apart, I know that contentment in life is the way to go.

What I don’t like about life right now will change before I know it.

And what I do like about life right now will change before I know it.

Change is the only given in this life.

Circumstances, people, relationships, jobs, children…everything. It all changes at some point.

All I have right now is the life I have right now with my husband, 2 year old daughter and 6 week old daughter.

Things are a bit crazy. But in a very good way.

But, I might as well choose to enjoy and embrace the craziness because before I know it, this phase of my life will be gone.

And I will look back on these days and long for the days of two in diapers, bottles to wash and a washing machine that is constantly running…my circus life.

One day, before I know it, my daughters will be off on their own.

But today, right now, they need me. They need me to change their diapers, make their food and wash their clothes and burp rags!

This is my life. For now.

And it is one of my greatest privileges on earth.

Silver Lining

Better to find the silver lining in situations than to sulk because things aren’t turning out the way you thought they would.

I imagined my family of four all back under one roof tonight but instead, Sweet Pea and I are still at the hospital, Little Bug is at Grandma & Grandpa’s and Dave is home in our nice, comfy queen-sized bed.

I could sulk about all this but instead I’m finding the silver lining.

I’ve basically had two days straight of being able to focus just on my little Sweet Pea. When she is gassy I am able to just sit and hold her until the pain passes (literally) and she is comfortable again. There are no chores to do and no 2 year old to run after.

I’ve shared that I’m a little worried about how it’s going to be when I do have to care for both girls at the same time by myself. These days have allowed me to really get to know Sweet Pea even better, with no distractions. I easily recognize when a “gas spell” is coming and I’ve learned that she likes to be upright on my chest. I can literally feel her body relax when the pain is gone and then I lay her down to sleep.

I’m thinking maybe I need to find a good sling that will allow me to “hold” Sweet Pea in this upright position while my hands are free to take care of Little Bug. Any suggestions???

I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. Which has allowed for a lot of thinking, praying and just being still before the Lord.

Today public schools started back to school. I was thinking this morning had I stayed in the teaching profession, I would be starting my 9th year of teaching this year! Wow. I’m old.

That got me thinking how I would start every single school year out by praying. First day teachers came back I would walk into my classroom and before I did anything, I would sit in the middle of the classroom and pray and surrender the school year to God.

Being a teacher in the public school system is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I dealt with difficult students who were not taught to respect authority but had to learn that respect was a non-negotiable in Miss A’s classroom and the pressures from the district about student test scores was utterly ridiculous.

But every year I started that school year off by giving it all to God, trusting that He would give me everything I needed for that school year.

He supplied me with strength, wisdom, patience and love for my students every single year.

Today it dawned on me that just as I started each school year in prayer and surrender to God, I need to start each new year of parenting in prayer and surrender to God.

God has given me my two little girls and I am incredibly blessed to be able to stay home with them full time.

The same God that equip me those four years with everything I needed to be able to be a teacher is ready now to equip me with every thing I need to be a mother to Little Bug and Sweet Pea.

Life is just going to be a little crazy while my girls are still so young. My first year teaching was a bit crazy, too. But we will eventually fall into a routine and my new “normal” will become juggling the schedules and needs of both girls.

I know you are suppose to enjoy the present and, believe me, I am. I know how fast babies grow up! However, I really do look forward to the future.

I look forward to what is to come…two little girls, sisters through the miracle of adoption, becoming best friends.

That is one of my hopes for my daughters.

And so as I sit here another night in the hospital with Sweet Pea, I am thankful for this time to reflect, refocus and remember God’s faithfulness once again in my life.