Tag Archives: Mommyhood

Our Little “Miss”

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Monday we found out.  We were delighted to have the beautiful revelation that come this November we will welcome a little girl into our home.  A “miss.”  A bundle of bows, buttons, ribbons, and pink.

We weren’t even scheduled for an ultrasound yet, but I had decided that I wanted to check and see if maybe, perhaps, they had something available.  I was doubtful since we were a three p.m. appointment and I’m sure any ultrasound tech would be chomping to get out the door on a gorgeous, June, Monday afternoon if they could.

Our nurse walked Chris and myself back to our “usual” room and asked about the ultrasound.  Chris quickly piped up that we would love to squeeze into their schedule.  Bev, the fabulous nurse she is, sat us down and went away to see if she could get us a last-minute appointment.  She came back and let us know that unfortunately there were absolutely no openings.  They were packed.  In my mind I was disappointed, but I also happened to have worked in a dental office and know how quickly a schedule can change with fickle patients.  To our delight, not even five minutes later Bev came right back in and let us know that a no-show appointment was available that moment!

We walked into the ultrasound room, sat in our respective chairs (or laid…) and took a peak at the miracle growing in my belly.  Chris and I each held our breath as the tech took a look to see what she could see.  And there she was.  She.  Only one letter off, however completely and totally different than he.
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I glanced over to see Chris’ reaction and I do not lie… he was shocked.  Like shell-shocked.  I think he may have said, “Wow.”  This man who hoped for a rowdy house full of boys is getting a sweet little daughter.  After the appointment we went to the store to pick out our sweetie’s first outfit.  Initially we got a couple pairs of sandals and a baseball hat for Noah and then went to search for the most adorable little girl outfit we could find.  And Chris stopped.  Right at the line between the boy’s and girl’s section he froze, like he wasn’t sure about crossing the line and entering this new frilly time of our life.  With a little laughter and teasing he came over, and suddenly he was pointing out pink pajamas and floral dresses.

That night it settled in Chris’ heart.  Let me tell you, it is darling to see how excited he is getting over our girl.  He’s bursting.  I’m sure he’ll be wrapped around her tiniest pinky by day two!  I think he already is.

Noah has quickly picked up the word “sister” and even went into our shopping bag, pulled out a piece of clothing and declared, “Dress!”  We didn’t even know he knew that word (he amazes me).  I can’t wait to officially introduce him to her and watch them grow into a new friendship.  My heart overflows just thinking about it.

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Our little girl will be named Alina Melody Pope.  We love the name Alina and it’s meaning is much of what we desire for our daughter: Noble, kind, beautiful, bright.  Melody, of course, is after my beautiful, amazing mother.  Her character is all I hope and pray that my daughter will become (what I hope to become!).  I would love our Alina to follow in the faith legacy that my mother has given to our family.  It is an honor to name her after such a simply fabulous woman.  This is only one way that I have the privilege to rise and call my mom blessed.  I cannot wait to hold my dear, sweet Alina Melody and introduce her to her namesake!

It amazes me constantly to reflect on where we are and the road the Lord has led us on to be “here.”  To think that by the grace of God a love and friendship with my husband has allowed us to experience so much fullness in our life and family.  We have an adorable, silly, sweet son who daily fills our home with endless energy and joy.  A daughter we wait to meet, excitedly anticipating her arrival in our family.  A baby we will only meet heaven-side, who has deepened our love and dedication to the Lord, our family, and each other in ways no words can possibly express.  We have each other, to laugh with, embrace, bury tears in shoulders, and grow further as one together.  We have the Lord, in all His omniscience, grace and mercy, Who pursues us, directs us and abides as the glue of our family.

We are full of contentment.  We are more than blessed.  We are consumed with the goodness of a God Who deeply satisfies.

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Teaching Kids to be the Church

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Oh, my!  It’s never good when the first thing you think logging onto a site is, “I hope I remember the password…” and this was my thought exactly this afternoon as I was coming to chat with you.  A month has passed by already.  Crazy.  I am definitely still learning how to juggle “life” and all that it entails.  Between cooking meals, prepping snacks, doing way more laundry than three people should ever produce, saving a toddler from death-defying jumps down slides, playing full-time entertainer, jumping full-swing back into ministry at our church plant, and all of the other lovely chaos that defines current life, some days I celebrate when I take a shower before 11 am.  Or at all, for that matter.  Thankfully, I have a pretty gracious husband.  I am hoping you are gracious too.

 

The adorable culprit to all my chaos.  I love this guy.

The adorable culprit to all my chaos. I love this boy!  Excuse me while I go kiss his cheeks some more…

I promise to be more faithful in the (near) future.  I don’t like to commit to anything more than three weeks out; otherwise I may have to eat my words, gravel, and start all over again.  It’s my own awful cycle.

I have so much to share!  Everything in good time, of course…  But a lot has been stirring in my mind, which I am excited to discuss with you.  Lots of good, wonderful stuff.

First of all, I want to share something I have been working on for a bit now for our Sunday school program at Journey!  It’s my own “curriculum!”  I have been working on this every Thursday (as my oh-so-fabulous mother watches Noah during the days for me.  Thank you, Momma!  Well, more like she watches him in the afternoons.  I typically spend the mornings socializing with her until I have only four or so hours to finish all I had planned.)  I’m not certain that I will always write our curriculum, but it seemed fitting for the young season we are in right now.   Besides, I wanted something deeper and more involved than a box curriculum.

At Journey, we have young families participating, leaving their home churches to help us plant.  And as we all have experienced in life, change is not easy.  Particularly for kids.  Especially when they may not understand what the implications are of what we are doing.  So I am writing a church planting series for children so that we can all be on the same page as a church family.

Because I have everything from kindergarten through 6th grade (or whoever else wants to join us) participating, much of what I am writing is geared to fit kids of all ages.  We’re covering great stuff, like how the church started, what the body of Christ is, how prayer affects what we accomplish, what kids can do to serve in the church, and telling people about Jesus!  My utmost desire is to establish a solid foundation for our young ministry and get the kids excited about what we’re doing together.

While working on this I began thinking about how essential it really is for all kids to be aware of this information.  Not simply during a church plant.  This truly is the calling of the universal body of Christ.  You and are I instructed to serve.  To fish.  As Ephesians 2:10 puts it, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  It’s not an option, it’s an expectation.  As such – as mothers, fathers, teachers, or simply disciples of Christ – it is our responsibility to represent this for all of the young eyes that are watching us.  Trust me, they are watching.  Closely.  It is also imperative that we teach this to them and involve them in our service.

Chris always talks about “doing life” together.  Really, that is what it’s all about.  It’s about following Christ, getting dirty, and letting others come alongside to learn and participate.  It’s about putting together props for VBS with a joyful attitude, allowing our children to observe and help (even if it’s not perfect).  It’s not shipping them off to a babysitter because they may get in the way, it’s allowing them to get in the way and get excited about what is at work and what God may (or rather, will) do.  It’s a testimony of life well-lived to our families.  Or sometimes it’s the same testimony to a young person who has no one else in their life who will stand in the gap and show what a God-glorifying life looks like.

All of this to say, I think it is absolutely important that all kids understand these concepts.  If they can grasp it at a young age, understanding all that God did in the Bible to allow us to accomplish what we do now, they will be leaps ahead of most adults.  We are a body.  Rather, we are the body of Christ.  We were established by God, called by the Spirit, and are equipped to do absolutely fabulous,astounding things.  Together.  As a family.  This is exciting stuff!

So with all of that laid out, I would like to offer my curriculum to you.  I’m sure it needs some tweaking, however I want to give it to you as a general outline (it’s linked below).  Of course, it’s intended for a Sunday school group, but there’s no reason it can’t be used with your own children at home as a small Bible lesson.  Or possibly an after-school children’s group for latch-key kids needing something to do with their time.  There are lots of opportunities when it comes to kids.

I’ll post a lesson every week or so (I’m still working on it, so I don’t want this to get ahead of me).  The lessons begin with Pentecost (perfect for this time of year – we’re almost there) and work forward from there.  I hope you and your family, Sunday school, or kids group enjoy studying this together!  I’m excited as we work together to sow seeds in our kids and help build heroes of the faith for our generation! (Or the next one).

Church Planting Series – 1. Pentecost

Bathtub Painting Session

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Today was a success!  I went into it with a plan – always a great start.  This morning Noah and I went out and picked up all of our new activity goodies and got it all set up, ready for play.  After Noah’s nap we dove right into the fun.

We had a blast with the bathtub painting session!  I found it on one of the websites mentioned yesterday, Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Setup for this is quick and easy.  I put four colors of washable paint in a muffin tin (When I purchased the paint I chose three big bottles of the primary colors because it’s less expensive than the stuff marketed for little kids.  I figured I can just mix my own colors right now).  I cleared the bathtub of all excess toys and bottles, put Noah in a swimmer diaper (lucky for me he still fits the ones from last year), and let him explore bathtub painting.

It was the perfect setup for controlled sensory chaos.  A particularly amazing setup when you have a busy, curious toddler stuck inside for most of the winter.

Muffin tins are a GREAT way to separate paint and make it accessible to young kids.

Muffin tins are a GREAT way to separate paint and make it accessible to young kids.

At first Noah could have cared less about the paint and I thought my idea was all for naught.  He was simply excited to be in the tub and wanted to try and play with the faucet.  After a couple minutes, though, he started catching on as I demonstrated for him how to put the paint on the bathtub walls.  Soon he was busy using the brushes and dipping his fingers in the gooey paint.

Working on getting paint onto the brush - it's a big deal.

Working on getting paint onto the brush – it’s a big deal.

This activity is fabulous for toddlers because they get to discover colors, feel paint, work on fine motor skills while using the paintbrush, and they have unlimited opportunity to make a mess wherever they wish.  It’s also fabulous for Mommas because it’s super-easy cleanup!  Ta-da!  And you thought the two would never meet.

SO Fun!

SO Fun!

After we were finished playing we cleaned up – and kept on playing.  It was great because since the paint is washable everything, including Noah, stayed in the tub as I simply used water to wipe down the walls, tub, tin, brushes, and baby.  Noah was perfectly happy to play with the colored water as I cleaned which made the whole task as simple as water down the drain.

If you have a chance to try this I promise you will be so pleased with yourself – as will your child(ren).  What wonderful discovery play!  I can already imagine the artwork that will grace our tub in the years to come.

We have plenty more activities to try out in the next couple weeks.  As we explore them I’ll post our experiences and reviews for you to consider for your family.  I can’t wait to get our hands on them!

In the meantime, Happy Painting!

The In-Between Times

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“Praise Him in the morning when you see the sun arisin’;

Praise Him in the evening ‘cause He took you through the day;

And in the in-between times when you feel the pressure’s comin’;

Remember that He loves you and He promises to stay.”

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This is one of my favorite songs from my childhood.  The lyrics and the tune are both simple, yet the message is profound.  Praise God.  Period.  When times are wonderful, hectic, stressful, relaxing, and so on we are to keep our mind on the Lord and thank Him.

Well, I’ll be very forthright with you.  Today was very definitely one of the “in-between times.”  Noah woke up and went to bed an extremely emotional little boy.  I think it has something to do with the fact that in the last three weeks he has been cutting all four of his incisor teeth.  Two weeks ago the top ones popped right through without any issue.  The bottom ones are another story, protruding like mini mountains.  Those suckers are taking their sweet time and sadly, I have a feeling that they’re also giving him quite a bit of pain right now.

Noah’s emotional instability proved to completely drain me throughout the duration of the day.  I was excited to start the day by make our first-ever fort this morning.  I had great intentions however it ended (before it was even finished) with the sheets being torn down by Noah while he was crying angry tears.  Fail.  Then there was more crying, frustration, and hitting than I’ve experienced in a very long time – perhaps ever.  Of course, his less-than-one-hour-nap-all-day did not help circumstances.  By the end of the afternoon I was absolutely exhausted and at the end of my rope, worn by breakdown after breakdown.

Around five, I was preparing dinner, counting down to bedtime.  Noah was standing on a chair at the counter eating a snack I had set in one of his little bowls.  While I was pulling out veggies and chicken Noah’s spoon fell on the floor and I glanced over to see his bowl tipped on its side.  Noah was playing with the snack as it started falling off the counter.  I wouldn’t say I snapped… but I snapped.  I raised my voice and told him, “Noah, no!  You can’t do that.  Stop it!”  My frustration started pouring out.  But as I said this and bent down to pick up the snack I happened to look up at my half-naked baby.  He stood there looking down at his diaper and twiddling his hands, unsure what to do on his broken little pedestal.  Defeated.  I had just broken my child’s spirit.

My heart crumbled.  I picked Noah up and did what I should have done from the get-go.  I hugged him.  I told him I loved him and that it was okay because it was a mistake.  He laid his head on my shoulder, wrapped his sweet body around mine, and cuddled into me.  He stayed there for a few minutes, resting in the love and grace that affirmed who he is.  The love and grace we all need – especially in the middle of rough days.

As I’ve reflected on today I have realized a couple things I hope to be aware of from this point forward.  Although I knew I needed to have time with the Lord, all of the hecticness got the best of me.  I didn’t take the opportunity to lay everything out and ask for wisdom.  After all, I’m sure Noah’s Maker has much better intuition on how to handle his discouraged days.  Also, I want to be constantly aware that my mood isn’t dictated by his.  I am Noah’s mommy and I have the ability to choose how I respond when tough moments arise.  I want to model for him how to display self-control and to go to God when life is discouraging.  I want to set Noah up for success in living life triumphantly.

Singing our “Praise Him” song together helped me refocus on what is important.  As Chris reminded me in the middle of our day, I have been abundantly blessed with everything I could ever want.  I possess a beautiful little boy, the opportunity to stay home with him, a wonderful family, and a lovely home.  I have every reason to praise.

 

My Beautiful Boy

My Beautiful Boy

Simple Wonders

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Water.  It’s such a sweet, simple thing.  It falls from the sky.  It pours out of our faucets to fill up our tubs, pans, and glasses.  We see water all of the time, every day.  We take it for granted.

Truth be told, I am finding out how little I appreciate so many of the small things in life.  How little I take the time to marvel.  Wonder.  Sit in amazement.  My son, though…  He was born with an innate ability to appreciate the art of simple things.  Things like water.

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Noah loves water.  Whenever we go outside after the rain (or lately, snowmelt) he immediately walks to the broken crevices in our walkway.  He squats or sits and looks.  Then he lightly touches the water with his fingers or gloves. He doesn’t mind if it’s freezing or dirty or if his mittens need washing all over again.  Sometimes he tastes the rainwater.  Water from concrete tastes different than water in a sippy, I suppose.

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Or take bath time.  He loves staring at the faucet, watching the water slowly drip into the bath.  He will sit there for minutes on end, enraptured.  He giggles when the drops hit the water.  He thinks it’s amazing.

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It’s beautiful to watch him.  As I observe Noah, I feel like him in awe of the water.  I am transported into his world of magic.  I giggle when drip-drops fall from the faucet to meet the tub.  Water becomes sensational, a work of majesty.

My child daily gifts me with the precious opportunity to see the world through different eyes.  Through new eyes.  He sees the miracle in simple things.  He sees the reason to wonder and praise.

 

“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
He provides rain for the earth;
He sends water on the countryside.”

Job 5:9-10

200 Words

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During a few recent conversations with my mommy friends a recurring topic has been the phrases we say and the things we do every day.  Seemingly All. Day. Long.  You know, the sweet times you have that absolutely make your day.  As well as the times when you would rather crawl back into bed and just leave kids to their own chaos.  But either way we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

So without much ado, here are the top phrases, in exactly 200 words, to sum up a day in my life with Noah.

Good Morning!

How are you doing?

I love you!

Don’t touch _______.

That’s Noah’s food, not Chevy’s.

Yummy!

Don’t feed the dog.

Chevy, get out – that’s Noah’s food!

Where’s Noah?

There he is!

Say “Please.”

Look at you dance!  Oh, yeah!

That’s hot – ouch!

 “The wheels on the bus go round and round…”

Get down from the _________.

Look, I see Daddy!  Go get him!

Don’t climb the chair.

Let’s play with Legos!

Good job!

That’s not for Noah.

Do you want to go outside?

Ooh!  The grass is green.  How does it feel?

You are so cute!

What does a doggy say?

Can you say, “yes?”

 “Head, shoulders, knees and toes…”

Do you want to eat?

Give Momma a hug!

“’No, no,’ you say, ‘that isn’t right!’  These pigs say ‘oink!’ all day and night.”

Go get another book!

What do you have in your mouth?

Icky!

That’s blue!

One arm through, now two!

May I have a kiss?

Don’t hit Mommy!

Roar!

You need to share, buddy.

Say, “sorry.”

Uh-oh, you went “bonk!”

Time to take a bath!

Let’s go brush your teeth!

Time to go night-night.

Skidamarink a dink a dink, skidaramarink a doo, I LOVE YOU!…

Dear Mommies and Daddies

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Dear Mommies and Daddies,

I’ve been mulling over this for about a year.  Maybe longer.  So let’s just cut to the chase.

We really need to step it up.

As husbands and wives.

As parents.

As believers.

This conclusion has been tugging at my heart for quite a while in my personal life and also as I have worked in ministry with Chris.  It came to a head, though, about a year ago when I was thinking about my sweet, adorable two-month-old and was considering his marital prospects.  I do realize I’m a little early on considering this, however you can never be too early on planning your child’s future, right?

Truly, though, I was thinking about the fact that in about 18 years he would leave our home and likely before that, or after it if I’m lucky, he would start noticing that these lovely creatures called girls exist.  And one of those girls may like him.  And he may like her.  And then I’m in trouble.  Aack!  And it may be YOUR daughter.  Now I have you worried too, don’t I?  You’re in just as much trouble as me because we all happened to have birthed these children, so we know exactly what happens to make this whole thing happen.  That’s a whole lotta of happening.

So right there in the shower I started praying for one certain young lady, whose name evades me, whom my sweet boy will one day marry.  I have no clue where she lives or what kind of family is raising her.  I don’t know if she is being taught about Jesus.  I have no clue if her daddy and mommy love each other, love her, teach her, hold her, hug and kiss her, tell her how beautiful she is, teach her what modesty is and how to practice it, or show her how to respect a man and search for a husband.  At this point sharing is probably her main hang-up.  I absolutely love, care, and pray for that little girl because she will be the one for whom my son vows to lay his life down and love as Christ loves the church (which is a heck of a lot more than I could ever imagine.  I’m so thankful for that my husband got that one).  Noah will leave me for her (I’m still debating whether I actually like her.  Time will tell).

It dawned on me at that moment how heavy my responsibility is in raising my son.  And how heavy your responsibility is in raising his friends, and possibly his wife.  As Noah spends time with your kids he will learn and be shaped by them.  And vice versa.

Sure, I expect him to make mistakes and have hiccups along the way.  There will be surprises for us…. I can only imagine the hair-brained things he will pull off with your little boys.  He IS a Pope, after all.  But I will discipline, give grace, and love him through it all.

The example we as parents are setting will be the mold our children will strive to fulfill.  This includes how we live out our faith (or lack therein), treat our spouses, care for those around us, and love them.  This isn’t a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride journey we’re on with our babies.  We need to get involved.  We need to face our vices right in the face and become the men and women we want our children to become, befriend, marry, and raise.  We need to trust God, even when it looks crazy to everyone else.

There are so many students we see today who live watered-down, compromised, complacent lives. They have no hope or goal to work toward – at least nothing beyond a college education (and those of us who have one understand that it’s not really the end-all it’s made out to be).  The issue so many kids face once they reach the “pinnacle” of graduation is that they are lost.  They sprint to the “finish” of their dreams at the spry age of 22 and have no clue what to do with their lives or who they actually are.

And you know what?  A lot of these kids come from “strong Christian families” who have either: 1). Put on a great facade for those around them or 2). Truly do want to raise adults of substance and yet somewhere along the line give in to the current cultural standard for child rearing.

You and I need to set a new standard for living and parenting.  We have these sweet ones for a MERE 18 years (I’m down to 16 years and 10 months left… and counting).  We need to keep in mind the urgency to invest in our children.  Specifically spiritually, but also relationally.

So I vow you this:  I will do my very best to raise a young man who loves the Lord, honors those in leadership, is honest, integrity-filled, hardworking, a dedicated and faithful friend to your son, and respectful to your daughter.

Perhaps our children will learn that greatness is not necessarily attained with accolades as they are the most glorified or desirable or through achievements that will fade away.  Perhaps they will understand better than us that greatness occurs in silent moments as we choose integrity and truth.

I hope and pray this for my children and yours as we travel on this journey called parenthood.

With Much Love,

Me