This Mama’s Halloween No’No’s: 41 Things

  1. Did you just give my kid a handful of loose candy corn?! No, no!
  2. 16 steps to your front door!! No, no!
  3. Glitter tulle. No, no!
  4. Large spider that moves and hisses…before you get to the bowl of candy?!?! No, no!
  5. Taking pictures of our kids with your camera??? No, no!
  6. Asking us where we live. No, no!
  7. Assuming that your kids will want to pose for pre-candy pictures. No, no!
  8. Handing out peppermints. No, no!
  9. Drinking beer on your front porch while simultaneously slurring, “Step on up!” No, no!
  10. Doing trick-or-treat without a cup of coffee in your hand. No, no!
  11. Giving one kid 1 piece of candy and the other kid 7 pieces because “she’s just tooooo cute!!!” Heck, no!
  12. Lining your small sidewalk with flammable lanterns!!! No, no!
  13. Leaving a bowl of candy on a folding chair and assuming that your sweet sign of “Help Yourself,” will actually ensure that you have enough candy for more than 3 kids.
  14. Halloween Hook Up?! This is NOT friend-dating for parents, so please understand when I slowly walk away from you and your really long, unrelated conversation about your personal life that I’m just here to help my kids get some sugar. No, no!
  15. Asking for a hug. No, no!
  16. Assuming that your kid will be okay with emptying some of their CANDY LOOT into another bag in order to provide an easier bucket carry. No, no!
  17. Asking if the 7 month old would like an Air Head?!?! No, no!
  18. Glitter tulle! Ohhhhhhh, no!
  19. Large troll hair and rose bush. No, no!
  20. Small, running child with a bucket…on concrete. No, no!
  21. Bloody lips in between stops? No, no!
  22. Telling a small child with an undeveloped pre-frontal cortex to take as much as they want. No, no!
  23. Attempting to talk to your spouse while herding small children from porch to porch. No, no!
  24. Asking children to wear gloves so their fingers don’t fall off. No, no!
  25. Thinking your child won’t see you sneak their snack-size bag of Doritos. Oh no you didn’t!!!
  26. A skeleton wielding a knife near your candy bowl. No, no!
  27. A bonfire that is blaze-balls hot and shooting flames a good 5 feet into the air near your candy bowl?!?!? No, no!
  28. Creepy voices when talking to small children. No, no!
  29. Tears and face paint?? Noooooo.
  30. Success rate at keeping child from choosing the small box of Nerds??? No, no!
  31. Sour Cream and Onion chips????? NO WAY!!!
  32. Letting your teenager, wielding the pillow case, topple my 3 year-old on the way to the storm door for a mini Kit-Kat?! Ain’t doin’ it!
  33. Attempting to bathe kids after post-candy game? Nope!
  34. Gobstoppers the size of my infant’s head? No, no!
  35. Gobstoppers the size of my 3 year-old’s windpipe? NADA!
  36. Allowing small child to make the independent decision about which pieces of candy they will eat before bed…when 137 pieces lie before them? No, no!
  37. Glitter tulle. NOOOOOOOO!
  38. Bent Pixie Sticks? No, no!
  39. Putting make-up on a child who has allergies and incessantly rubs their nose? No, no!
  40. Thinking that it’s cheaper to make costumes, rather than buy them. Ummmm, no!
  41. Contemplating if the $9.00 bucket of candy is actually worth all the effort? Maybe a little bit, but not really! 🙂

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The Result of Eve’s Apple Eating: 50 Things

  1. Multi-part sippy cups
  2. Child sleeps in when you are awake at 6:30 on a Thursday morning; child wakes up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning when you are asleep.
  3. Opened bags of snacks that have dumped in the bottom of your purse
  4. Pooping during meals
  5. Peeing during meals
  6. False poops and pees during meals
  7. Sneezing while feeding green beans to a baby
  8. Caillou
  9. Stray Legos in your heel
  10. Laundry for daaaaaayyyssss
  11. Unquenchable thirst at 8PM
  12. Bathrooms at the back of the store
  13. Jeans and shoes that fit for all of two months
  14. The eternal missing sock
  15. Pee on the floor
  16. Pee in your scarf
  17. Sandal buckles for 3 year-olds
  18. Chunky, vomited formula
  19. Poopy diapers in the middle of nap time
  20. Stuck arms in crib rails at 3 AM
  21. Paying to have someone else watch your kid, so you can pay to spend time ALONE with your spouse
  22. Paying for something that will catch poop and then be thrown away
  23. Lukewarm coffee
  24. The packaging on cheese sticks
  25. Toilet paper rolls and small children
  26. Feet in the back of your seat
  27. Kids bring home germs and give germs to parents
  28. School Fundraisers
  29. Neck rolls accompanied with cottage cheese-like stuff
  30. Red juice
  31. Candy racks that stand exactly 36 inches tall
  32. Cheeto fingers
  33. Gum
  34. Walking with a 30 lb baby carrier car seat across the burning-lava asphalt while juggling a small child in the Kroger parking lot
  35. Hiccups, Blow-Outs, and Runny Noses
  36. “How many more bites?”
  37. Carpet with children
  38. Car rides with children
  39. Cleaning with children
  40. Coats with children
  41. Whining
  42. Tattling
  43. Whining about tattling
  44. Homework for children parents
  45. Car Drop Off lines
  46. Snapping onesies at 4AM
  47. Doing anything at 4AM
  48. $5.99 Kid Meals that feature bowls of Kraft mac-n-cheese
  49. Attempting to schedule anything during flu season
  50. Peeing with small children at your ankles

Eating DQ ice cream cake during nap time=not a result of the fall

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I am the Mom who Sweats

Yes, you read the title correctly. I am a mom who sweats.

Like perspires. Like leaks stuff from my armpit, forehead, and neck glands. Like a mom who has pit stains that not even Old Spice can contend with on humid days.

I am that mom.

I am the mom who literally rides to the park on a 66 degree morning with the windows down and the air conditioner on. No, really; I did it this morning. And then I am the mom who gets out of the car and walks toward the park with only a Target tee and a pair of flip flops on–passing moms with long-sleeves, jackets, and shoes.

I am that mom.

I don’t shine; I don’t shimmer; I don’t sparkle. Friends, I sweat.

And while I looked around at the park full of moms who were covered from head to toe, I noted the beauty of our differences.

Because friends, we are all different.

Some of us drive mini-vans and some of us do not. Some of us run and some of us do not. Some of us are extroverts and some of us are not. Some of us scroll Pinterest and some of us do not. Some of us work outside the home and some of us do not. Some of us have a big group of friends and some of us do not. Some of us are planners and some of us are not. Some of us enjoy magazine reading and TV watching and some of us do not. Some of us “LuLaRoe it” and some of us do not. Some of us keep our gas tanks properly filled and some of us do not.

And guess what?

That’s great.

Why?

Because not every tool in the toolbox plays the same role and not every color in the crayon box colors the same, and THAT is beautiful. 

We need different, and we need variation. We need the stretching and growing that comes with different. We need the beauty of each other and the difference of YOU.

Different can bring perspective. Different can bring needed-challenge. Different can be beautiful.

And yet, sometimes different can be scary, and out of our comfort zones, and an opportunity for judgments and even contempt.

Like what about our differences in opinions and preferences?

Like what about those moms who feel strongly about home-schooling and no screen time? What about those moms who are okay with the 3 year-old watching the PG shows and bringing their iPad to the park? What about those moms who drink a glass of wine with their Bible study and what about those moms who wouldn’t be caught dead sipping fermented grapes near the Word? And what about those moms who are okay with using the word “butt” instead of “bum,” and how about those moms who are okay with skipping Sunday School to have a family morning at the playground? And what about those moms who feel strongly against two-piece swim suits, Barbies, and piercings? Or how about those moms who are proponents of sleepovers, make-up, and drive-thru dinners? And those moms who are against Sabbath sports and are against certain vaccines? Or those moms who lean left and less right?

The opinions can be vast and the preferences endless.

And as I stood at the park this morning, noting the differences between us moms, I couldn’t help but think of Romans 14, a recent place of study for me.

I won’t insert the entire text here (please check it out for yourself), but let me give a quick summary.

Paul is writing to the church in Rome–made up of both Gentile and Jew believers, and he’s urging them to be unified. And what is he worried might disrupt their unity and community? He’s concerned that the believers might get caught up on the differences and opinions they held regarding eating vegetables, consuming meat, celebrating certain holidays, and sipping certain beverages.

In short, he’s worried that carrots, pork, the Sabbath, and wine were going to cause division. Doesn’t sound that different from 2017, huh?

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats…One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike… Romans 14:1-5

Again, Paul’s concerned that judgment and contempt will stand in the way.

So what does he say?

1. Stop the judgment and don’t be a stumbling block! 

…let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. v. 13

2. Don’t let the preferences and opinions tear down the unity Christ brings…and died for! 

For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. v. 15

Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. v. 20

3. Pursue peace! 

So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. v. 19

4. Remember what matters! 

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. v. 17

5. Whatever you do, do it for God! 

He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. v. 6-8

6. Let God be judge. 

Each one of us will give an account of himself to God. v. 12

Friends, the body is diverse and different and so are our preferences and opinions.

And ya know what?

If it was growing and good for the Church in Rome, it can be growing and good for the Church in the USA.

So whether you’re a mom who sweats, skips church occasionally, and sips on wine…or whether you’re a mom who wears sleeves, discourages sleepovers, and teaches your kiddos at home…DO IT FOR THE LORD; DON’T LET IT DIVIDE; and LIVE IN FREEDOM! 

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36 Moms @ the Pool

Gracious, I was just at the pool this afternoon and oh wow. Mamas, there are so many “kinds” of us. SOOOOOOOOO many.

So, let me just list a few as we head into this water-filled summer because I’m tellin’ ya… after this post, you’re gonna be lookin’ for all these mamas at your local pool and addin’ to the list.

There are the moms who…

  1. Have designated themselves as the real lifeguard.
  2. Bring half the grocery store with them.
  3. Pack the stroller, pack-n-play, inflatable napper-thing, and all of Wal-Mart’s pool noodles.
  4. Thought the pool was hosting a photo shoot for the cover of SwimSuit Illustrated.
  5. Bring avocadoes and knives for snack time.
  6. Did their hair before they came.
  7. Give free, unsolicited swimming advice.
  8. Conduct their own swimming lessons in the middle of the pool.
  9. Are dressed for a private, European beach.
  10. Seem afraid of their children getting wet.
  11. Use the kiddie pool as their free, three month subscription to e-Harmony.
  12. Forgot the sunscreen.
  13. Use a bottle of sunscreen per hour.
  14. Are possibly sippin’ somethin’ other than water out of that bottle.
  15. Are wearing a pair of LuLaroe leggings…in the water.
  16. Still believe white t-shirts act as camouflage when they’re wet.
  17. Allow their child to eat a 6-inch sub while swimming.
  18. Are playing “shark” in the middle of the 18 inch- deep pool.
  19. Spent more money on their suit than I did on my family membership pass.
  20. Forgot they brought kids to the pool.
  21. Are terrified of their husbands drowning their children.
  22. Are nursing in the pool.
  23. Bribe their kids with 50 cents to try the slide.
  24. Appear to have reached the color of “red-hot lava.”
  25. Forgot that everyone was listening to their pool-side phone conversation.
  26. Bring their color-coded pens and their summer calendar to get some serious planning done.
  27. Are attempting to discreetly explain to their small child why another woman has her breasts almost entirely exposed in the splash pad.
  28. Are doling out slices of Velveeta like its her job.
  29. Are mercilessly dunking their child to expose them to their water fears.
  30. Are sportin’ a pair of jeans and sippin’ a latte…and NOT sweating.
  31. Continuously yell, “I’m tellin’ your dad when we get home!!!”
  32. Just dropped 30 bucks on “Walking Tacos,” Corn Dogs, ice pops, and RC Colas at the concession stand.
  33. Are swimming laps with their small child adhered to their back.
  34. Are trying to keep their mascara from running.
  35. Brought three, different types of flotation devices. Just in case.
  36. Brought Cheetos with no wipes.

Mamas, we so diverse. SOOOOOO diverse!

Confession: I may or may not be #1, #5, #8, #23, #27, and #36. MAYbe.

 

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Mom: 30 Thank You Notes

Kids, if you were to write me some “thank you” notes (Jimmy Fallon style) here is how I envision they might read.

  1. Dear Mom, thank you for keeping me alive.
  2. Dear Mom, thank you for consistently getting up in the middle of your dinner  to wipe my bum in the very nasty public bathrooms.
  3. Dear Mom, thank you for washing clean clothes that were never dirty. Not even a little.
  4. Dear Mom, thank you for finding everything I thought I lost but was really right in front of my face.
  5. Dear Mom, thank you for insisting that I not ingest mold.
  6. Dear Mom, thank you for carrying all the snacks all the time for all my hunger needs.
  7. Dear Mom, thank you for dealing with all those “easy-open” ketchup packets.
  8. Dear Mom, thank you for hoisting me in and out of my car seat 56,329 times a week.
  9. Dear Mom, thank you for not sleeping in past 8 AM; I like to get a head-start on my day.
  10. Dear Mom, thank you for giving up on keeping the bathroom sink clean; it feels overwhelming when it doesn’t have toothpaste in it.
  11. Dear Mom, thank you for your amazing ability to drive down the highway at 75 MPH while simultaneously opening up a cheese stick.
  12. Dear Mom, thank you for not being one of those seven kinds of animal species that eat their young.
  13. Dear Mom, thank you for all the times you cleaned the bathroom rugs because of my misplaced urine.
  14. Dear Mom, thank you for keeping me from digging through the tampon box on the side of every bathroom stall in America.
  15. Dear Mom, thank you for begging me to wear a jacket. You were right; it is kinda cold sometimes.
  16. Dear Mom, thank you for helping me with my 23 wardrobe changes a day; I couldn’t do it without you. In fact, I refuse to do it without you.
  17. Dear Mom, thank you for never being so invested in a task that I don’t feel like I can interrupt you.
  18. Dear Mom, thank you for buying me that set of 101 plastic army guys. My favorite part is watching you step on them; it’s like watching a real war.
  19. Dear Mom, thank you for wearing black yoga pants on most days; I feel less worried about putting my boogers on you when you are wearing that kind of outfit.
  20. Dear Mom, thank you for reminding me 333 times during one meal to sit on my chair; I seem to remember best on that 334th time.
  21. Dear Mom, thank you for being okay with your shower looking like a blue, plastic kiddie pool.
  22. Dear Mom, thank you for adding “socks” as a budget line item; I can’t seem to keep them on my feet or in our house.
  23. Dear Mom, thank you for always pretending to be on the phone; I know you’re just trickin’ me when you act like you’re talking to someone.
  24. Dear Mom, thank you for buying me clothes; I love pulling on the necks and chewing on the sleeves.
  25. Dear Mom, thank you for never replacing the carpet; that would be too much pressure.
  26. Dear Mom, thank you for finally understanding that it will take me 2.7 seconds to put on my shoes if we’re going to the park, but 978.3 seconds if we’re going to the grocery store. They really are so very different.
  27. Dear Mom, thank you for all the pulled muscles you have endured, so that you can steer the GINORMO car-cart down the very-small grocery aisles.
  28. Dear Mom, thank you for saving all of your serious conversations with dad for after I go to bed; I know you’re really exhausted by that point, but I really hate sharing you.
  29. Dear Mom, thank you for giving up on the belief that pillows are meant to stay on the couch.
  30. Dear Mom, thank you (again) for keeping me alive. You really are the very, VERY best.

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42 Things I Want You to Know about Sex

Tonight, you saw your daddy grab my bum. And ya know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, I am COMPLETELY and ENTIRELY okay with that.

Why?

Glad you asked.

In fact, while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and share a whole list of things I want you to know (over time) about sex.

Make no mistake, you’ll hear these words come straight from your mama’s mouth as you grow, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to get a head-start on brainstorming my list.

So here goes…

  1. Sex is not a naughty, cuss word.
  2. Sex was God’s idea, not man’s.
  3. God wrote about sex. If you don’t believe me, check out that little book called “Song of Solomon.” Kids, that “garden” wasn’t filled with tulips and that “cluster of grapes” wasn’t attached to a vine.
  4. Sex is like riding a roller-coaster. It’s safe when you wear the harness, but it’s not safe when you don’t. Marriage is the harness that God intended; wear the harness………………………………..
  5. Sex outside of marriage can cloud your judgment and lead you down a bunch of unwanted paths.
  6. Though sex may feel good, it doesn’t mean it is “good.”
  7. Sex is never casual.
  8. Sex is not supposed to happen in a group or on the computer.
  9. You don’t have to have sex with someone to know you love them.
  10. Sex outside of marriage is sin.
  11. Sex outside of marriage can have long-reaching consequences.
  12. Sex outside of marriage is not an unforgivable, unpardonable sin.
  13. Intercourse is not the only thing that falls into the “sex box;” don’t fool yourself.
  14. “Having a baby” isn’t the main reason why we abstain from sex outside of marriage………………………………..
  15. Men like sex.
  16. Women like sex.
  17. Christian men and Christian women like sex.
  18. Sex is not just a “worldly activity.”
  19. The world has distorted sex and demeaned sex.
  20. The world has glorified sex and glamorized sex.
  21. The Christian culture has squashed sex and silenced sex.
  22. The Christian culture has let the world lead the conversation on sex, and it’s been a disaster.
  23. Sex can be awkward to talk about; your parents are okay with awkward.
  24. Sex can be weird to ask questions about; your parents are okay with weird questions.
  25. Silence breeds shame.
  26. Shame builds secrets.
  27. Sex doesn’t need to be a shameful secret we “google” on our computers and process on our own.

    ……………………………….

  28. Marriage is more than sex; much, much, MUCH more than sex.
  29. Sex is ONE way to express love; it’s certainly not the ONLY way.
  30. Sex is a healthy and normal part of marriage.
  31. “Lots of sex” is not necessarily an indicator of a healthy marriage.
  32. “Little sex” is not necessarily an indicator of an unhealthy marriage.
  33. Sex is part of a covenant, not a contract.
  34. Sex can be abused in marriage.
  35. “Movie sex” is not necessarily “marriage sex.” You’re a partner in a marriage, not an actor in a movie.
  36. Your sex life does not need to be compared with that of your friends. You are not your friends and your friends are not you.
  37. Sex takes work.
  38. Sex takes time.
  39. Sex takes communication.
  40. Sex is not only about her.
  41. Sex is not only about him.
  42. Sex is about loving him, loving her, and honoring Him.

And that’s all I got for right now.

But rest assure, I’ll be thinking of more and taking notes as they come. Because in all honesty, kids, these conversations are absolutely necessary and absolutely good–conversations that can’t be ignored, shouldn’t be dodged, and most certainly won’t be shoved in this house. The reality is…we love you too much to avoid a little bit of awkward.

Oh, oh…just thought of some more!

43. Your parents have sex.

44. Your parents like sex.

45. Your parents have had sex on the…

Okay, okay…I won’t take notes on everything.

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Dear Lord, Give me My Daily Baguette

It was Sunday morning, the morning after Daylight Savings Time, and I was sitting in the middle of Panera with my grande, hazelnut brew in my hands and my Bible open before me. Sitting in somewhat of a comatose state because not only had the brew not hit my blood stream, but also because Daylight Savings Time is just awful–ABSOLUTELY AWFUL.

Awful because Benjamin Franklin, jokingly suggested, that people wake up earlier in order to save on candles. UNBELIEVABLE. I can attribute my copious, caffeine consumption, my shortened fuse, my extra puffy eyes, my extra darker circles, and my children awake at the butt-crack of dawn to a joke about saving wax?!??! SERIOUSLY?!?! All over the world, mamas simultaneously curse Franklin from their beds and yet soberly remember that the man did invent electricity, which kindly fuels our Keurigs and hair dryers. Thank you, Benjamin, and yet…could you not have joked?!

I digress.

Anyway, I was sitting there with the Word open before me, feeling not only overwhelmed by my physical exhaustion, but also a tad consumed with the tasks and changes before me. My week was busy; my planner was full; and I was wondering how it was all going to get done. One child was being extra whiny for the past few days; one child was extra selfish as of late; and one mama was a little irritable and a lot tired. And on top of it, sitting there with this looming recognition that at any point, we could be called to parent another child–a child in crisis and in need of a home.

This sister was tired before the week even started. 

Thumbing my way to the next portion of Scripture I would be studying that morning, I found “Psalm 36:5-12” typed across the page. Rifling through those paper-thin pages of the best book ever written, I found my starting point and began reading.

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. 

And do you know what stood out to me? The very thing that caught my heart’s attention?

The possession of the provision!

Say what?

They [His people] will feast on the abundance of YOUR house; you give them drink from YOUR river of delights...

Whose abundance do we feast on? Whose river do we drink from?

YOUR house and YOUR river.

HIS.

And as quickly as the Lord pointed out the possession of the provision, my mind was drawn to the Lord’s prayer in Matthew.

Give us this day, our daily bread…

Immediately, my heart felt a wave of peace and thoughts of truth came pouring forth from the Spirit who dwells within my feeble frame.

[Jessica, it is from His abundant house that you will feast; it is from His river that you will drink, and He will give provide it daily…as you need. You don’t have to conjure up the provision and you don’t have to supply the abundance because HE’S GOT IT.  You don’t have to “plan enough” or “be enough” or “feel enough” because HE’S ENOUGH. The provision is from Him and through Him–not from my house and not from my river.]

And as I sat and thought about the way that He faithfully delights to preserve and provide for His people (the ones who take refuge in Him and acknowledge their inability to satiate their own hunger and their own thirst), I had this thought about the types of “bread” He provides for His people.

Now this might be a little weird, but track with me; I shared it with a girlfriend and she seemed to follow but then again, she might have been politely nodding. Who knows?!

Anyway…

I had this thought that maybe, just maybe, His “daily bread” isn’t the same every day. Maybe His “daily bread” is in accordance with my need, which changes from day to day and season to season. Maybe His “daily bread” meets my hunger and thirst right where they are, matching the deficits I bring to each day and each task. Like maybe His “daily bread” looks like a CROUTON some days. And maybe His “daily bread” looks like a SLICE on others. And maybe His “daily bread” looks like a BAGUETTE sometimes. And maybe, just maybe… His “daily bread” looks like a GIANT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH?!?!?!

And as I sat there in the middle of Panera, surrounded by all types of artisan breads, I marveled at the many forms of His gracious provision for me–the “daily bread” that tumbles from His house, and gurgles from His river, and meets me in the middle of my needy hunger and dependent thirst. 

And much like the psalmist who penned these words, I found myself uttering the words from verse seven, “How priceless is your unfailing love!”

HOW PRICELESS IS YOUR UNFAILING PROVISION OF DAILY BREAD!!!

Because no matter what my needs are today, or tomorrow, or the day after next, I can be confident that when I choose to rest in the possession of His provision, I will lack NO crouton, no slice, no baguette, and no loaf. EVER. 

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