Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Car Accident and a Birthday

On Monday, I was driving the boys to a friend's house to play, stopped at a stop light and was rear-ended. Instantly my head hurt as it had slammed against the head rest. Not ever having been rear-ended before, I looked in the rear view mirror because I didn't actually believe that we had been hit. Honestly, my mind went to earthquake first (but I realize that is probably because I'm in the middle of reading 1906 right now). Sure enough, the car was right there, too close to doubt.

After exchanging information with the 87 year old lady, I continued on my way, my car seemingly unharmed. I figured my headache would go away soon enough. I was wrong. I started to feel strange -- my vision wasn't fuzzy but my mind sure was. It was hard to keep up with the kids and I really just wanted to crawl on the couch and sleep for days. After the playdate, my friend urged me to go to urgent care while she watched the boys for me. I hesitated but then realized there would be no easier time to go... and it was only two blocks away. I could walk! (because driving didn't seem wise at the time).

They said I had symptoms of a concussion and gave me a muscle relaxer to help with the whiplash pain in my neck and shoulder. My friend drove us all home since I wasn't alert enough to drive. Chris met us at home and stayed home the rest of the week to care for the boys so I could rest. Thankfully the boys seemed unharmed!

Chris's birthday was on Friday but I had purchased a ticket to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor for Thursday afternoon prior to this eventful week. So on Thursday I put on my brave hat and managed the kids by myself--with the help of my neighbor! Thankfully I felt alright most of the day and Chris enjoyed his day out.

On Friday morning, we woke up and celebrated Chris's birthday with presents and cards after breakfast. Then he took the car in to get an estimate of the damages. The car seriously looks like nothing happened, but of course it's $1000 to have the bumper repaired. Just like my head I suppose . . . I looked just fine, but I felt worse.

I was nauseous in the morning but really wanted to go to MOPS because we were having a special guest speaker and I didn't want to miss it. Chris drove me and the boys to the meeting and I'm glad I went! But afterwards I felt miserable. Shortly after we got the boys down for their naps, I started making phone calls to my primary care provider and the urgent care. I needed to be seen again. My headache had gone from manageable to this-might-be-killing-me pain. I was routed to the ER and since the boys were napping, I opted to go to the ER I could get to by bus. Not the highest rated ER, but the most convenient and I trusted they could get the job done.

After waiting in the waiting room, and again in the triage room, I was finally seen by the doctor who wasn't really concerned at all with my symptoms but agreed to give me a CT scan to make sure. After being there -- in the none air conditioned room on a hot day, with the flickering florescent lights, and random humming sounds from the equipment with the worse head ache ever --for three hours, I was told I was going to be fine. The CT scan was clean; the pain I felt was symptoms of the concussion sticking around. I should be fine in another week. I was relieved nothing else was going on in my brain but a little perturbed that I would have to wait to feel better and there wasn't anything I could really do.

So I went home. My superman husband had wrangled the kids together and went grocery shopping -- something I still have not tried with both kids! And took care of them when I returned to so I could make dinner. Not once complaining that this was his birthday.

And today, Saturday, the end of this weird week, I celebrated my husband's birthday by taking him to his favorite brunch place and filling him up with chicken fried steak and eggs and praying over his year and all the things on his shoulders. My headache subsiding long enough to enjoy the outing and my man.

Friday, April 21, 2017

He is Risen! And Other Easter Chaos

Sunday morning was one of those mornings where everything seemed to make me a little too uptight. The boys were up early, breakfast was had before 7 a.m. It was cloudy and raining. The baby wouldn't fall asleep at nap time. Which was super stressful because if he napped perfectly, we'd make it to church in time, which was important because William was going to be singing in the service.

And then our bathroom flooded when our neighbor took a shower. Yep. At 8:00 a.m. Easter morning Chris was using the bathroom (TMI?) and whipped open the door yelling, "Honey, get some towels!" But before I could even respond, he had gotten the towels himself and was literally catching water as it pooled over our bathroom sink. The water was coming up through the pipes of our sink! I freaked out. Panicked. Chris told me what to do - find a hose. Right. I found it with his exact instructions and he was able to move the water from the sink to the bathtub and it eventually stopped --when the shower upstairs ended. The contents of our under-the-sink-cabinent were cleared out, the water wiped up and the plumber on his way. Thank the Lord a plumber was able to come on Easter morning!

Stephen eventually fell asleep, the plumber came and he even slept through the noise. Chris stayed behind for the baby to nap and I took William to church, we got there just in time. The whole way there, I could not stop thinking "Jesus is Risen, He is alive. Nothing else matters. Today or any day. Thank you Jesus." The burden of the morning lifted from my shoulders and I felt a renewed freedom.

We met Nana at church and sat near the front so we could see the kids best. The service was wonderful. The kids all got up in front and sang two songs. They had been practicing for weeks and were awesome! This was the first time in several years they have performed for the congregation and William's first time. I loved it. William wasn't into any hand motions other than the air guitar but he sang loud and well.

I worked in the nursery during the second half of the service. It was the busiest Sunday our nursery and children's church has had in two years! Seven calm and fun babies! Thankfully lots of moms stayed in the room. I'm so thankful for families who have started coming to our church recently! I love having full classrooms and more families to connect with! It's something we've prayed for for a long time.

Chris and Stephen made it to church for the last 20 minutes or so (unreliable public transportation in the rain was not fun for either of them). After church we did a quick family photo in the rain and headed home for nap time.

After much better naps, and making rolls and brussels sprouts for Easter dinner we headed to our friend's home for amazing food, fellowship and sharing in the joy of the Risen Lord.

William and I colored eggs on Saturday and we brought them to our Easter dinner, not really to eat but to hide during dinner so William was occupied long enough for us to finish the meal without too many distractions. It worked great!

Although the morning was chaos and hard -- exhausting to be honest, the day was actually very enjoyable and fun. And my heart was centered on the very person it should have been: Jesus.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Baby B2: Eleven Months Old

I don't have any new measurements for this little guy this month, but if he hasn't grown in length and weight, he has grown in personality.  He yells and screams to get our attention or to end a meal and seems to be expressing his opinion more and more. He is talking most of the time these days. No real words, just baby talk. He does say "mama" but not really in reference to me. Both my mother-in-law and I, on separate occasions, heard him say "light" while pointing to a light. So perhaps "light" really is his first word?! Pointing is also a new skill.

He loves to play with balls and has already shown interest in basketball, just like his brother. A ball will keep him quite occupied for an afternoon. I've watched him hold the ball above his head and let it go behind him, turn around and find it, and do it over and over again. He has also thrown the ball forward a few times. (He has also bitten pieces out of two balls so far. Really shouldn't leave this baby unattended!)

He has started "vrooming" cars across the floor already. He loves watching the traffic out the window, even though he has to stand on his tip-toes to see anything. He clucks his tongue like I do and he thinks it is so very funny. He laughs with his mouth wide open showing off the mouth that is still only filled with six teeth.

Stephen does really well at playing on his own. I hate thinking this is a necessity for his survival instead of just something he enjoys, but he is the second child so my attention isn't as focused as it probably should be. But he is awesome at finding ways to entertain himself for extended periods of time. (He didn't learn that from William!) I am so grateful.

He really likes getting to the park. Crawling around the equipment, up the slides, and cruising around the stuff he can reach keep him busy. Gone are my relaxing days at the park. This guy loves adventure . . . and eating dirt.

Stephen has been very easy to transport thus far. His hate-the-carseat phase didn't last as long as William's and he really likes the stroller. I'm so thankful for this because we are often on the go! In a typical week, we have two preschool pick-ups, trips to the library and the parks, and if I'm lucky, two mornings at the gym and a playdate thrown in.

Stephen typically takes two solid naps during the day. Usually 90 minutes each. When one doesn't happen it makes for a long day, but we survive. Bedtime has returned to normal after our trip to Las Vegas, but we can't seem to stop the 5 a.m. wake-up/feed from happening. I'm thankful that more often than not, he does go back to sleep!

(This picture isn't the greatest, but I had to share it because he is stacking blocks for the first time ever!)

Last weekend, Chris's mom joined us for Easter weekend. And while Stephen probably didn't understand all of the festivities involved in his first Easter, it was still a fun time and so glad we got to share it with Nana.

He's on the move all the time, which made this photo shoot a real challenge. He loves being with me, even if it means clinging to my legs while I work in the kitchen or sit on my lap while I type. He's a cute sidekick!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Friendship Matters

You may have seen my previous post about the book Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships. I was a part of the launch team and was given an advanced copy to review.

The book couldn't have come at a better time. It seemed like everything around me and everything I read was screaming "Friendships matter-- focus on other people!" I wanted to share more about what I learned through this book.

Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Never Unfriended shares there are three things that hinder us in committing to friendships.

  • We have a fear of being hurt -- because we've been hurt by people before (we all have!). She talks a lot about the importance of forgiveness, whether we move forward with that specific relationship or not. Past hurts have away of hindering future friendships."Forgiveness is making peace with the past so that there is opportunity for relationship in the future."
  • We fear missing out. No one wants to be lonely; we want connection, deep friendships and a feeling of belonging. This was a big one for me. I have very distinct memories of being left out or at least feeling left out in elementary school; if people were whispering it was about me (it wasn't), when girls got together and laughed, they laughed at me (they didn't), when they played a game they didn't ask me to join, and on and on. Lisa-Jo talks about the lie we believe: that we aren't important, we don't matter and we were left out on purpose. And this is big. I think it's the same lie that Eve believed in the garden. That God was leaving her out of something. Lisa-Jo describes the kind of heart healing we need that can only come from focusing our eyes on God -- the one who always invites us into his arms, the one of loves us no matter what.
  • The third, is the fear of being (or including) the new girl. I have been the new girl numerous times and I bet you have too! One of my favorite quotes from the whole book is: "I'm so done assuming that all women know all the other women in my social circles. The thing is, there's always room for one more friend and room to know each other more." Haven't you thought the same thing? Sue knows Beth better so I shouldn't include myself . . . or I can't invite her into our group, we just won't fit as well. I am so done! 
So what can we do? How can we have lasting friendships?
Well, for starters, we can be that type of friend first! Go first! Share your story first, get awkward first, give someone your number, invite someone over, be vulnerable. Be "un-fine" as Lisa-Jo says. Next time you respond to "How are you?" with "I'm fine," ask yourself if you are purposefully trying to end the conversation?!

"I am convinced that the shortest distance between strangers and friends is a shared story about our broken places"

Lisa-Jo Baker gives six more ways to build lasting friendship but that first one - Go first and be un-fine - got me. I wait for the invitation to feel safe to be myself instead of being myself so others feel safe to be themselves. I'm always fine -- except honestly, I'm not.

After reading this book, I felt so encouraged full of courage that I wanted to go out and be a better friend to all my friends. I wanted to stop chickening out when it came time to meet new friends. I wanted to be the type of woman she described in her book -- a woman that others count on to be present, honest and real with each other.

I'm so glad I got to read this book and was able to be a part of her launch team. While reading it, I often felt that the church -- and the world -- would be a different place if we all walked this talk.

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Lisa-Jo Baker has been the community manager for www., an online home for women all over the world for nearly a decade. She is also the author of Surprised by Motherhood, and her writings have been syndicated from New Zealand to New York. She lives just outside of Washington D.C., with her husband and three very loud kids where she connects, encourages, and champions women in person and through her popular blog, 
I first heard about Lisa through MOPS International, but have actually been following the website for nearly five years!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Toddler Boy: Three and a Half Years Old

William is now three and a half years old and hardly a toddler. Calling him a pre-schooler seems so strange, yet much more accurate. He's in a pre-school program twice a week now, which sadly we aren't able to continue through the summer.

He is a very active boy with an imagination I can't quite keep up with. One any given day he might come out of his room being a dinosaur, a bear, or other animal. The bed might be a ship, an airplane or a pool.

He loves having playdates with friends and we've added a few new friends from preschool to the mix. He loves going to the playground and he is more recently getting into riding his balance bike! He knows his ABC's and can count to 20 without a problem. If I help him out and say 30, he can count to 39. If I say 40, he can count to 49, etc.

He is showing more interest in drawing and coloring, still not within the lines but now filling in the character quite well. I have less capacity to help him with Stephen being as mobile as he is, so often William ends up doing these activities by himself.

Since his birthday, we have started allowing him to watch Sesame Street. It has become quite the routine and he requests it every day. We have him watch it while Stephen naps which gives me some extra time in the morning to prepare for the day.

I fear he is starting to give up his nap. We are still preparing for it each day but half the time he comes out of his room after 20 minutes and says he isn't tired. On the days he does nap, he naps for 2.5 to 3 hours. It's hard to believe he can go without it some days. (I can't!)

William still obsesses over airplanes and the flights we've taken this past year. He knows the airlines and the colors of the planes that have taken us to different places -- Las Vegas (Southwest), Texas (Virgin America), and North Dakota (Frontier). He often begs to go on another airplane to which we say they are expensive and we're saving up the money. He is a great traveler and makes it quite exciting.

Construction play is still important to him as are his books. We continue to make weekly trips to the library and we read several each day. He likes to spoil the ending of the stories he knows well too.

William talks all of the time. He tells stories, talks about his friends, and asks a lot of questions.
Some favorite sayings he has:
 - "You can do ____ if you want to." or "I can do ____ if you want me to."
 - "Sure it is!" (Ex: W:"Is this rock round?" Me: "No, it's not." W: "Sure it is!")

He is 36 pounds 11 ounces and still 39 pounds. His favorite foods are snacks: meat stick and cheese, crackers, and kid friendly lunches: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, banana with peanut butter wrapped in a tortilla (banana sushi) and milk. Dinner is always a challenge. He is less enthusiastic about apples and broccoli now (the only produce he really ever eats).

William is typically a happy and very friendly kid. He loves sitting on my lap or being with me or Chris. He likes being helpful except when it interrupts his play. He loves being a big brother and showing Stephen how to do things. I can't believe how big he has gotten and how much love I have for him. The day-to-day discipline and constant reminders of how to behave are exhausting but my heart swells with joy and love for this boy who is so absolutely wonderful.