Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Blew It Today

And by "it", I mean a category 10 gasket when my son pushed the table, spilling his little brothers dinner all over the floor. There are times when I smile outwardly while I'm raging inside. Today was not that day. I'm afraid I went a little bat-shiz, y'all. 

I'd asked him to be careful around the little fisher-price table that they eat on because it shifts so easily. His little brother was wailing that "he's still puuuushing it, Mom!" Then, it happened. It scooted just enough to knock the plate on the floor, causing his brother to scream-cry big tears that his dinner was ruined and I saw RED. Not really, but isn't that what people say when they lose their cool? I may have only seen orange, but I lept over the bar stool I was straddling and towered over my young'en in lightning speed, screeching out accusations of not listening/being careless/disobedient/disrespectful/etc. The lecture went on and on. It doesn't help that I'm in the midst of a severe respiratory infection and have almost lost my voice. I sounded like a baboon on steroids. My son immediately started crying and saying that it was an accident. That was when I realized, "Way to go, Mom-of-the-Year. This performance should get you NO awards today." 

I know we all mess up. It's just that I strive so hard to overcome the generational curse of my family. Flaring tempers and hurtful words have scarred many decades and many people and I do not want to continue that cycle. I want to give my kids the gift of a gentle parent. I wish I was given that gift. It's hard to know what you want to do and yet you consistently do the opposite. Paul in the Bible struggled with this as well. He nailed it with, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." (Romans 7:19 ESV)

The most that I can do is dust off, and try to do it differently next time. I did take my little guy aside and apologize. I want him to know that's important too. When a mistake is made, it's made right. "It okay Mommy. I scream a lot too." Yes, my little man....that's the curse I'm trying to break. One day at a time. We ended the night with a pinkie promise to try super duper hard not to raise our voices tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll tackle Thursday in "whisper-mode". No more crazy-hoarse -baboon-lady-gone-berserk moments. I'm so thankful for new mercies every morning.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Off The Market

It's amazing the plethora of people that we meet in this fishing village in Nicaragua. Some of the characters feel like their right out of an episode of "Reality Stars of San Juan del Sur". (Yes, TLC, consider this story a pilot episode!) We've met people from every walk of life, every ethnicity, and all are interestingly diverse in personality. There's the Aussie who married an American and is here to do humanitarian work and raise her four kids, there's the American schoolteacher who started an international school, an Irishman with a stout accent and smile, there's the all-American, super-fit couple who run the local yoga studio, the guys from Naples, Italy who have settled here and opened their own Pizzaria, a few surfer dudes turned dads, some earthy, hippie chicks turned moms, and us....the missionary couple from Oklahoma who are known for our superhero-dressing kiddos and overuse of the word "ya'll". It's a blast! 

Today, however was a first. I was jumping some waves on the beach with the boys on our day off of mission work and noticed a large Nicaraguan family doing the same near us. You know that feeling you get when someone is staring a hole in the back of your head? So there was that too, but I dismissed it as, "They've obviously never seen a woman swim in so much clothing before because the water is FREEZING and I'm not squeezing myself into a bathing suit" look. I'm getting that a lot, as I insist on swimming in work-out attire (running shorts and rash guard tank) ad most everyone else is bouncing around the sand in their string bikinis. Not this Chica! I've got some poundage to she'd before this belly sees the light of day! Anyway, so there I was, getting all creeped out by the gawks and obvious stares of a particular younger Nican gentleman. Try as I might to shrug them off, and let the waves carry us to the other side of the beach, his gaze became more and more obvious. 

The boys finally reached their limit of wave jumping stamina and asked if we could walk back home for a snack. I obliged and we headed for shore to grab our flip flops. To our surprise, the "creepster" followed us to our stuff. He bent down and asked the boys how they were liking their time in his country. (Maybe he's not so creepy after all and genuinely hasn't met many Americans...) then he introduced himself as "Manuel. And I'm looking for an American wife. Are you single?" Um....what the what?! Who in the world comes up with an introduction like that?! After I jut gave him the benefit of the doubt and reduced his "creepster" status, he pulls out this first impression! 

"Well, nice to meet you Manuel. But I am happily married. Thank you." I began fumbling with my beach stuff, and rounding up the boys shoes as he continued to explain to me how he wants to move to the US and work but the government won't allow him to unless he has an American wife/fiancĂ©. Isn't that nice? Most of the things that he said to me in the next ten minutes were followed by my blank stares and "Um...is that so?!" face. This guy was unlike any character I'd met in San Juan del Sur. After he obviously didn't get the reaction he was looking for and probed further for any American single friends that I had, I shuffled us out if there in a hurry. A little dazed. A little confused. 

There are people like this in the world, ya'll. Those that are way more "overshare-happy" than I am! Also those that are not above marrying completely out of convenience and necessity than for love. Luckily, I am a magnet for such people and will continue to share them with you all in this space. Aren't you excited?! 

This shall end our first and only episode of "Reality Stars of San Juan del Sur". And since I would never embarrass the remainder of my new friends here, I shall leave it up to TLC to pursue a reality TV segment on life as an expat in Nicaragua. Let's just say the journey is exciting here, amigos. Never a dull moment in the life of this missionary. That's for sure! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Kids are "Imagination-Challenged"


***I've decided to start writing again! I'm so excited, and I hope you are too! I've really missed an outlet to vent, rave, and learn together along this parenthood journey. All my sarcasm is distributed solely to my husband, who doesn't appreciate it nearly as much as my MBP readers! LOL! I will jump right in and will be doing posts this way for awhile; short and sweet and exactly what's going on in our little life parenting two small kids in this foreign country. I'm learning it's all the same though. Kids are kids and our job is the same globally. Raising decent human beings. So here we go! Back in the saddle, yo!!***

Once we stripped our children of all toys except the ones they could fit into one large suitcase to take to Nicaragua, I realized the gravity of what I was asking them to give up. Toys were their security. The things that they found enjoyment in, but also the little bit of life they had control over. They decided what they would play with and how, and it provided them distractions. They had an entire room full! We had two huge garage sales and we probably ridded their little lives of thousands of dollars worth of toys in a span of three weeks before the big move. 

Now that we are here, I'm realizing a few things about their "stuff". Without all the distractions and materialism, they don't know how to play. They don't know how to be kids the way my generation used to be kids. We'd rush outside first thing in the morning and pick up a large stick and rocks and play baseball all day in the cul-de-sac. We would cart our matchbox cars out back and spend an afternoon digging roads an making tunnels. We would retreat on rainy days and build forts out of sheets and chairs and read books to each other. We learned to use what we had, which wasn't a lot, and we were completely content with that. We used our imaginations. My kids are definitely lacking in that department to a certain degree. Do your kids have this issue? There are so many toys out there that it eliminates the need for them to be resourceful and create anything for themselves. 

As we sat on the beach yesterday, they looked out over the crashing waves and said, "Mom, we're bored!" I choked on my bottle of water. Looking around at paradise before us, I realized... I need to teach my children to play! 

We immediately got to work with some bowls and cups that we'd brought, making a sandcastle village. We decorated with sticks and shells, and them we went on to digging a "swimming pool" for the few superhero action figure that they'd brought down with them. Filling the bowls with water, they filled the pool with saltwater and had so much fun splashing around. Once I led them through the process of using what they had to have a good time, they ran with it. But I fully understand how up until now, they've lived in a lifestyle of sitting around waiting to be entertained. They are "lazy-fun-makers". It's going to be a process of teaching them to play. Many intentional moments of sitting down with them and leading them through guided brainstorming techniques. Teaching them to be resourceful and thankful for the little bit that they still DO have. We will do so with a few disgruntled attitudes about how much stuff they used to have to occupy their time, but I pray that in time, this way of life will be the one they prefer. The simple, relational, creative playtime that cultivates their imagination and their perspective on gratitude. Just one of the many things we are working on here in Nicaragua. As I've heard said numerous times, " they are our FIRST mission field", after all. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dealing with My Mirror Image: The Battle of TWO STRONG Wills

“No Mommy!” My little girl screams, tearing off down the hall. “I don’t want to!” I can hear her trailing off as she runs from the kitchen with something in her hands she can’t bare to part with—it could be her brother’s favorite latest and greatest toy. It could be my phone. It could be anything at this point because she wants it, and she wants it because she shouldn’t have it.

I sigh. I want to scream, but I don’t. Instead, I sing some really high pitched opera note in the kitchen diverting some of the emotion slamming through my head and body in that second, a strange coping mechanism I use quite frequently. Not only does it divert my energy in that moment, but it also makes me laugh pretty quick.

My mind drifts. I wonder where the little angel went, the one I’d imagined in my mind when I learned I was pregnant with her. I remember the moment I held Brielle in my arms for the first time, all wrapped up with a little bow hat on her head, the one the nurses made out of the standard newborn cap, which swallowed her entire head. Pale blue eyes, giant eyes, she didn’t even cry when she saw me for the first time. A completely different reaction than what I remembered from my son, just two years before. Instead, it felt like a moment straight from the movie E.T., the moment when they’re both staring at the other with giant bright eyes so intent, neither one can find any words—a silent hello and who are you.

My little Brielle. She never misses a thing.

Being a working mom, with two kids, a dog, a husband, and a really big dream on my own plate, I don’t have much time to think through every little strategy to use when my daughter runs off screaming, or bonks her brother in the nose, or wrestles his bigger body to the floor with monkey legs, all the while, he’s screaming, “No Brielle! Get off of me!”

Focus? It’s definitely hard to find it and I blow it. A lot.

Are there days when I feel like a lousy parent? Definitely. I never expected the constant challenge with everything, from the way I brush her hair, to the shoes, and if I don’t stand in the hall quick enough when she has to go potty on the potty, igniting a mini world war in our house and rattling any ounce of peace, if there was one. And I hate to say this because every other mother on the planet said it me with a smile when I found out my second child would be a sweet little girl, little girls at least from what I know, are a hand full, and most days it feels like she saves it up just for me.

She is me, I think scratching me head sometimes and reflecting on a moment on the changing table when she turned bright red, struggling to remove my arms from her body, stubborn, hardheaded, smart, and yes, everything I am too. I remember fighting with my own mom. I always called myself the little bull running through her china cabinets, shattering her pristine world. Whether I should wear blush on my cheeks, girl shoes and dresses, what I should do with myself after high school, and every single thing my mom ever suggested couldn’t be right, me believing she didn’t know me at all. Truth? I didn’t want to listen for one simple reason: the suggestion came from her mouth and not mine.

I am writing my post today to not only admit to the world, what they say about your kids giving back to you what you gave your parents has be true, at least to a certain degree, and to also share what I do and how I cope, so here goes:

Calm. I have to find it—somehow, and the best way I know how to calm my nerves is to exercise, straight after work. I go to the gym, not every day, but at least four days a week. I squeeze at least a 45 minute workout in before I pick up the kids from school. We all have to find things that work for us and I swear by working out, because the days I don’t do it, my nerves and my sanity fly right out of the door the second the kids start to bicker. It might be in the car. It might be in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, but still coasting on exercise fumes at least I can sigh, and I remain clear and calm.

Consistent. I’ve learned a few things from the books I’ve read: Positive Discipline, The Baby Whisperer, 1-2-3 Magic. Do what you say, and at times, it just might break your heart. I’m not always the best at follow thru, especially when my kids pull the guilt card, but I’ve become pretty good at asking myself, what will happen if I don’t?

Diversion. Not just for them but for you. See them and think, This too shall pass. Take a breath. Step out of the room. Sing opera like me if you have to. Ask questions out loud to yourself, to them, just start talking. I always explain the heck out of everything, even when I do lose it.

Love. I remind myself all the time, they won’t always want my hugs. I also ask, what’s two minutes out of my life right now? That’s all they want, and then they go running off and on to something else.

If you’d like to know more about me, check out Thirty Random Facts on my Cloud Nine Girl, blog, a blog I use as an accountability goal for achieving my dreams. You can follow me on facebook and twitter too. I’d love to hear from you.

Don't you just ADORE this chick?? I know I do! I love her wit and insight and the fact that I can relate to her parenting on so many levels! Make sure to check out her other posts and links on FB and blog! Here they all are to make it easy. :)  Happy TGIF, ya'll!!

30 random facts about me link: http://www.cloudninegirl.com/2013/03/thirty-random-facts-blog-challenge.html

Cloud Nine Girl www.cloudninegirl.com

Face book link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloud-Nine-Girl/128310000667182?ref=hl

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Little Momma That Could

Let me start by saying, I've been terrible this week! If you weren't aware, I'm from the grand state of Oklahoma and a LOT has been happening over here these last few days. The wind surely does "come sweeping down the plains" and on Monday, it came a blew a bit harder than normal. So much devastation and families in ruins. My family, thankfully, is all intact. We live about 20 miles from the tornado's path, but we are from Moore. Born and raised there myself and so many of my friends are left with nothing but rubble from their homes. It's such a tragedy. With that said, I'm giving myself a little grace in not keeping up with the blog this week. It's been a little hard to think let alone write anything worth reading. Luckily, as I'm still coming back around, I have a good friend who will be taking the reigns today on the blog! Beth, from the blog The Little Momma That Could is here to gloat about her vacation. . . .oh course, I'm kidding! But she did have a slight epiphany during her fabulous time on the beach. She's just the coolest chick ever, so please show her some love and check out her blog! (After you read her amazing guest post, that is!)

Hi there! First off, I'd like to introduce myself, I'm Beth. I'm the blogger over at The Little Momma That Could. I'm a stay at home Mom & college student. I have a rather rambunctious two year old boy named Joey. My rather quiet (polar opposite of me) husband, Kyle, works in the oil field so he is often gone for a long amount of time. We aren't your typical family, but I wouldn't change a thing!
 
I'm going to start this off by making you jealous, I’m writing this from the beach, in the Bahamas to be specific. Apparently mass amounts of sun and salt water turn me into a regular Dickens. Totally kidding, I’m not much of a fiction writer. I feel like I've been writing up a storm today though! I thought I’d share with you something I felt like God opened my eyes and heart up to while I was walking on the beach one day.
 
I was walking along the beach one morning picking up sea shells & I had this thought
 
“There are SO many beautiful & unique sea shells, how can someone doubt God when seeing such detail? That can’t just happen.”
 
Then I had this thought in response to that:
 
“God put so much thought into a sea shell, think how much thought he put into me.”
 
Jesus says this in Matthew 10:29-31
 
29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
 
I’m going to tell you a little bit of personal information now. Some stuff that I used to NEVER talk about. I struggle with anxiety, depression, and occasionally suicidal thoughts. If you know me you’re probably thinking “what?!” That’s the general reaction I get when I tell people for the first time, shock. I look pretty normal on the outside. On the inside though, I’m a mess. Without God of course, through him I’m trying to get my act together.
 
After talking with a friend of mine, and actually my babysitter, about The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (I bawled the entire movie) and my own depression, she sent me this bible verse a few days later:
 
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
 
So here are some TRUTHS we've learned (this is something my therapist has taught me to do, compare reality from the made up. Real? Not real? Hunger Games much?)
 
1.   We are unique
·         God put a lot of thought into us, so try not to knock his work.
2.   We are valuable to God.
·         Who? Me? Little ol’ me? Yes, you.
3.   God CHOSE us.
4.   We are royalty!
5.   We’re holy (let’s try to live up to that one a little more).
6.   We are special to God.
7.   He has called us out of the dark & into the light! Even the darkness in our own heads.
 
So, just remember when you see a sea shell or even a beautiful bird & think “Wow, that’s beautiful.” God is looking at you thinking “Wow, SHE is beautiful!” Or he, whatever you are.


Friday, May 17, 2013

"The Best Things In Life Aren't Things"


I am super stoked about today's guest post!! Mackenzie from Raising Wild Things is sharing with us a hilarious realization about life and love. I love when people can see the humor in calamity, and that's exactly what's happened to her. I'm going to let her tell her whole story, and make sure to stop on over to her blog or Facebook Page and give her a LIKE and some encouragement! Her and her family's antics entertain me on the regular! 

My Husband Put A Ring On It, and Then A Firefighter Cut It Off

So this happened a few weeks ago:

That is my wedding ring. And that is what it looked like after a fire fighter had to cut it off of my finger. There was no gnarly accident or trauma that required this happen. There was simply my own stupidity. Or stubbornness. We'll go with stubbornness.
                It all started about 7 months into my third pregnancy. My body started getting, how shall I say, extra puffy. It was summertime and I was retaining water like crazy. I was swelling up so badly that I had to remove my engagement and wedding rings. Not uncommon; I had to do it a few weeks before delivering my second, so I wasn't surprised. And I assumed, just as with the first time, I'd have those puppies back on a week or so after having the baby. No biggie.
                Fast forward to 8 months after having said baby, and those suckers still were not fitting on my finger. Every week or so I'd pull the rings out from my underwear drawer (because that is a good place to keep valuables) and try the get them back on. But nope. I was so perplexed. I weighed less than I did when I was able to get them back on after baby #2. What the heck?! Were my fingers just permanently obese after this third kid? Back in the drawer the rings went.
                And then one day a few weeks later, I was feeling a little lighter around the fingers. Don’t ask me why, but I could just sense that my rings were going to fit that day. So I got them out, took a deep breath, and tried to get them on. And wouldn’t you know, my wedding band went on. It took just a little coaxing, but not much. “Phew! Finally,” I thought to myself. So then I went to get my engagement ring on. I should have stopped when I felt the initial resistance, but I was so determined to wear it again that I just kept pushing and twisting until it finally went on.
                I realized almost immediately that I had just made a grave mistake. In no more than 30 seconds, my finger began to swell up all around my rings. Awww nuts! So down to the kitchen I went. Straight for the olive oil. I dumped nearly the whole bottle on my hand. And started twisting.
                Nope. That wasn’t working. So I moved on to dish soap. I’d run my hand under frigid water for a few minutes, pour soap on it, and then twist. After about 45 minutes of this, and some extreme pain, I finally managed to free my engagement ring. Then it was on to my wedding band.
                Nope again. After all of the trauma from getting my engagement ring off, my finger was so completely swollen that it looked like it might actually explode. And I started losing a little bit of feeling. So naturally, I started to panic.
                After giving my finger a break and soaking it in an ice bath for like 30 minutes (that does not feel good, btw), I was back at it. And over the next few hours (yes, hours!), I tried everything I could think of or that I found on the internet to get that ring off my finger. Nothing was working.
                I finally texted my husband at work to tell him what was going on and told him I thought I’d have to get my ring cut off. When he got home, he looked at my finger and agreed.
                While searching the internet earlier in the day about how to remove rings from swollen fingers, I learned that most firehouses have the tools to cut them off. So I called our local firehouse to see, and sure enough, the guy I spoke with made it seem like they did that kind of stuff every day. “C’mon down,” he said. “We’ll take care of you.”
                And so I went. It was around 8:30 at night, and instead of finding a quiet firehouse like I assumed I would, this night of all nights was a training night, so there were like 50 firefighters hanging around.
                I was greeted by a friendly younger guy who said he’d have me outta there in 2 minutes. He already had the ring cutter tool ready and waiting. So he sat me down and went to work. And I’ll tell ya, the sound of metal on metal, the sound of my wedding band getting cut apart, made me cringe.
                But you know what? I didn’t cry like I thought I would. In fact, looking back, I hadn’t cried once during the whole experience. And I’m a crier. Like big time. I cry at everything. The birth of my children, touching music, movies, commercials. EVERYTHING.
                I shrugged it off and figured the waterworks would begin in the car on the way home when I was alone and didn’t have all of the firefighters staring at me. But no. I didn’t cry then, either. And I didn’t cry when I got home and showed my husband my ring, or anytime that night. Not even the next day. Or the next. My tears never came.
                And then I realized why. Although my ring was a symbol of love between my husband and I—till death do us part and all of that—it was only a symbol. A thing. Never before had the words on this wall hanging that we’ve had since the very first place we ever lived together rang more true:

Our love itself…that, in fact, was not broken. All I had to do was look around to see it and the vows we took on our wedding day alive and well. In the home we made together. The children we made together. The life we made together. These are all shining examples of our love. And they are not broken. Far from it.
                I may have lost a ring that day, but over the past 10 years, I have gained so much more. “Things” that truly are irreplaceable!

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Is It Just Me?!"


I'm so excited to introduce a new friend of mine! This is Nicole from Mom's Wicked Cool Adventshas! She's a spunky chica with a "real-world" view on motherhood! I asked her to open her heart and share something with my brood today, while I'm piling things into boxes and lost in a sea of unending moving supplies. So happy she obliged!  I think she touches perfectly on a topic a lot of us struggle with as new(er) moms. It's hard to be an "island", stuck raising tiny humans with little contact with the outside world. We can lose ourselves. There are some who come alongside us and help us make it through. Check out her guest post, I like to call "Is It Just Me?!" and know that it's not. We are all in this messy life together. :) 

There are some moms I see and I wonder, do they ever yell at their kids behind closed doors? Are they ever without their hair done or their makeup on? Are there are moms out there who feel like that stressed out cartoon momma just begging for a break and a glass of wine? Does anyone else lock their kids outside just so they can simply go to the bathroom without being interrupted?  Is anyone else tempted to give their child 2 tablespoons of Benadryl for a bedtime that doesn’t make you long for the funny farm or end up in tears (both you and your child)? Does anyone else want to ask those Johnson & Johnson commercials for a refund? Or is it just me? 
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I have two of the cutest kids in the universe (yes, I’m biased!) and they are my pride and joy, generally good kids, and also provide me with endless hours of entertainment. But there are those days- you know those days, right?- when I wonder what level of hell they spawned out of. It’s amazing to me that kids can just sense when you’re a little out of it and they’re all over it.
I am a very social person and going from being in the “outside world” to a stay at mom of a newborn was extremely hard for me. I had no new mom friends. Relatively new to the area too, so there was no history here for me. No family, none of my old friends locally. So lonely. I spent much of the first two years crying.  As Miss Banana Pants says, “Those of us that press on with a smile on our faces deserve capes… and a massage.”  How does anyone else press on through this crazy, but amazingly rewarding period of time known as “being the mother of young children?” I know for me I would never have made it this far without the help of my amazingly wonderful friends. A woman’s friends are an integral part to her life and I surely wouldn’t have made it this far without mine.  As the saying goes, some are here for a reason, some for a season, and some for life.  
Step by step, I have made some great friends who have been with me through some tough and mostly fun times. I’m now able to enjoy life like I used to-and WITH my children. I have had my friends on the sidelines and even in the game with me at times, cheering me on and fighting the good fight with me. One of my very best friends in the world knows exactly what I have been through. Even though she is busy with her older girls too, she still manages to make time for me in her busy schedule. I hope she knows just how much she means to me. She is a woman of strength and character that I long to be even a fraction of. If I make it to even half of anything she is, I will consider myself a success. She’s got it all together even though I know she doesn’t feel like it.
If any of my friends are reading this, and I know some others are, I hope they know just how special they all are to me. I’m sorry if I am just babbling or blubbering and not making any sense, but its really important that we tell those people that mean this much to us… before its too late. Sorry its so sappy, but Girl you know its true.  OOH! OOH! OOH, I love you. ;)
So, Tra, I think we should go to a spa… and get that much deserved massage. And maybe for your birthday this year, we should make sure you get a cape. I love you!