Saturday, January 31, 2015

he knows my name

i'm the first to say that most "christian" music is just really terrible. i'm sorry, i feel like i can say that and still love Jesus. i am not a musician but i do have ears. don't get me wrong, there is a decent chunk of it that is good and i'm so grateful for those who seek direction and prayerfully develop music as way of worship. however, most of the songs that come on mainstream christian radio are just cheesy with predictable lyrics. but when the kids are in the car with me and the radio is on, it's on to the christian station. i just don't need my 5, 3 and 1.5 yr old walking around singing whatever lyrics kesha is throwing out these days.

so the first few times i heard this song i didn't really pay much attention to it. it just sorta played in the background of whatever chaos was going on in our van at the time. after hearing it a few times i pretty much knew the lyrics and found myself singing along..but still i didn't really pay much attention to the words.

last night i was driving home alone from dinner and this song came on. (side note, there are more christian radio stations in jacksonville than i have ever encountered in my years as a texan. seriously, it's almost impossible to find a non-christian station here.) without really thinking i started singing along and before i new it, tears were running down my face.

it's been 5.5 years since i have worked. 5.5 years. someone asked me recently if i always knew i wanted kids and wanted to be a stay at home mom. the answer to that question is absolutely not. when i was younger and single, i didn't really feel much of a desire for kids. i figured i would likely have children some day but i certainly did see myself staying at home full time. i had always wanted to work and be "independent", as any typical first born does.

something changed after abbey was born. i was halfway through my first year of grad school when she came along and by the time she was 4 months old my desire for that degree had really faded. i don't know if it was the new mom fog, a shift in priorities or just being so lonely in ft. worth, but all i could think about was leaving the program and moving back to austin. so, that's what we did when she was 9 months old. fast forward 3.5 years into abbey's life and i am now home with a 3.5 yr old, 1.5 yr old and newborn all day, everyday and am in full blown identity crisis mode.

" i don't need my name in lights..i'm famous in my Father's eyes, make no mistake.. He knows my name. i'm not living for applause, i'm already so adored. it's all His stage...He knows my name.."

eisley is on the downhill slide to turning 2 and we don't have another baby on the way. lately i feel myself starting to panic a little about this because who am i if i don't have a baby to take care of?? what happens when these kids start going to school and i am sitting alone in this house, having not worked in 8-9 years? who am i then? sure, my kids will still need me but doesn't part of my importance fade a little at that point? i mean, they won't need me in the same way they do now.

so, this song came on last night and before i know it, i'm crying behind the wheel and feeling the weight of that pressure to find my value in what i do being lifted.

"he calls me chosen, free, forgiven, wanted child of the King. His forever, held in treasure...i am loved..."

i think my head knows that my value and worth isn't in what role i play here or how i spend my days. i would tell that to anyone who asked..but my heart..it gets side tracked and starts longing to be important. it longs to be valued and seen as an asset. it longs for recognition. it forgets that there is nothing that i could do on this earth that would add to or take away from who i already am because of Him. is it wrong to want to contribute to something outside of my home? no, absolutely not. but i do think it's a problem when our motivation starts to become recognition and a hunt for self worth.

"do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself.." (phil 2:3)

this morning i'm grateful that i am loved and that i don't have to live for applause. i''m grateful that i can see value in whatever role i find myself in, not because of who i am, but because of what He's done and is doing in my life.

so, shout out to God for using a radio station that i roll my eyes at most days to speak some truth to my side tracked heart.

(ps, the song is He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

whole30 continued

fair warning, this will be way more than you need (or care) to know!

so, i ended up deciding to quit whole30 on day 17, however, i didn't actually eat anything off "the plan" until day 19.

i was sorta terrified of stopping whole30 without having a plan in place for what i was going to eat/not eat. this was part of the reason why i decided to quit. (also, coffee is really not good without sugar.)

i have a history of letting food control my life and how i feel about myself. over the last 5-7 years i have made a lot of progress in breaking free from the food prison. i have finally gotten to a place where how i feel about myself isn't dependent on the number of calories i have eaten in a day. a place where i am not taking mental inventory of every bite of food i have already had before deciding whether i can "afford" to eat something or not. for so long i lived mentally counting calories and letting my "bad food" choices completely steal my happiness and alter my moods. i'm so over living like that and i am so thankful that i've gotten out of that place. with the exception of working to shed pregnancy weight, i have been very cautious of trying to diet in recent years. not because i'm in any danger of being at an unhealthy weight but because i know how easy it is for me to become sucked into it and let it take over my life.

as great as whole30 was for me, i felt myself getting sucked in to obsessing over it. i was so conflicted about whether i should stop or keep going that i was in tears when discussing it with gregg.

in just 17 days of eating only whole, real foods, no sugar and no carbs, i noticed a big difference in how i felt, and what foods tasted good to me along with those things, i also noticed some weight loss. i'm not sure how much (or how little) weight loss because i haven't weighed myself since eisley was 7 weeks old at my postpartum check-up. but, the fact that my clothes were looser and i had noticeably lost some weight, was enough for me to start to panic about what i would do when 30 days was over. i was already starting to feel so afraid of gaining that weight back and reversing that progress. i felt like i needed to let go of the strict restrictions and make a more flexible plan for myself.

now, i think doing whole30 is SO worth it...and that's just after 17 days. when i first started, the thought of eating thing but carbs in the morning literally made me sick. literally. for days 2-4 i just didn't eat breakfast because it made me gag. i was so use to not eating actual meals at this point in my life that most days i was living off frozen waffles, peanut butter, cereal, some fruit, the occasional yogurt and whatever easy dinner we happened to throw together for the kids. i was definitely not eating enough protein and, honestly, didn't even eat a vegetable most days. truly, i eat like a 10 year old boy naturally. i sympathize with tucker when all he wants for dinner is goldfish, blueberries and gummy candy. because, yeah, that sounds pretty good to me too tucker. i have always had a serious sweet tooth but during the month of december it got absolutely OUT of control. i was waking up at 6:00 am and craving chocolate. i was eating cookies and some sort of chocolate all day long and snacking on cheese crackers and pirates booty without even thinking about what i was eating. i started to feel so gross by christmas that i decided to just do something drastic and hop on the whole30 bandwagon.  it was absolutely good for me in changing my eating habits and making me see that i really can take the time to eat real food and prepare meals. it's been almost 4 weeks since we started and i am still eating mostly whole30 compliant meals. i have added cheese back in occasionally for certain recipes but i am still eating eggs and/or some other protein with breakfast and have yet to eat any bread/waffle/grain/etc.  i have just decided that until or unless i feel like i really want something, there is just no reason to eat it. my lunches and dinners have included or been built around veggies pretty much everyday and i'm not feeling the need to snack on crackers and chocolate chips all day long. preparing actual meals seems doable and, on most days, even desirable.  just that alone feels like progress to me!

so, all in all, whole30 was a good tool for helping me reset my eating habits and learn that i am capable of eating a balanced diet and living without sugar. i would definitely recommend it. i may even do it again in the future when i feel like i need another reset. however, next time, i will go into it more mindful of how it may bring some of my old struggles back into play.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

whole 30: week 1

gregg and i started the whole30 eating plan last week. we are finishing up day 7 today. i have several friends who have done it recently which got me looking into it.

i have felt like i needed a reset with food lately. this december i ate more sugar than i think i ever have. i was feeling sluggish and icky. i was also really missing having actual meals instead of just eating whatever i could find at meal time. i knew my diet was way to carb driven and seriously lacked in veggies and protein, so whole30 seemed like a good step.

You can visit the whole30 website for information and a better description, but basically the diet consists of eating meat, veggies, eggs, nuts and some fruit. it eliminates grains, sugar (even things like honey and agave), legumes (so no peanuts) and dairy. if you know me at all, you know this is a HUGE jump from my typical diet. huge.

at the end of week 1 i wanted to jot down some thoughts...


  • i am surprised by how little i am actually wanting things like ice cream and chocolate. i was definitely expecting those cravings to the be hardest part.
  • days 2-4 i felt pretty miserable. headaches all day, nausea and exhaustion. it reminded me a lot of how i felt at the beginning of all my pregnancies. none of my food options were appealing to me and i was pretty grumpy about it.
  • coffee has been tricky. i've tried the recommended methods but obviously none of those are going to be as sweet as i'm use to drinking. on day 6, i finally decided to use just use a small amount of whole milk in my coffee. this is definitely not true to whole30 but after several days of skipping coffee all together, i decided that if i was going to actually complete this, i was going to make this exception. 
  • i am learning that i depend on food to be the highlight of my day way too often. if i'm having a rough morning with the kids, i start planning what treat i will have during their "nap" time later..or after they've gone to bed. i make another cup of coffee just because i am bored and need something to do. if i know i'm going to have the chance to leave the house alone (or be home alone) i start thinking about what i can have for coffee/treat. food shouldn't be the highlight of my day or my crutch to get through a tough day. this eating plan is helping to slowly strip that away...which is probably why i've been so grumpy about it ;)
  • what i'm craving most is a diet soda. this was surprising to me because diet soda isn't something i typically have everyday. but it's all i've been wanting since monday.
  • breakfast is really hard for me. i don't do savory foods well in the morning. i just don't. i never have. i typically eat a piece of toast with nut butter or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. the thought of eating eggs or meat in the morning makes me feel sick. after several miserable mornings of trying to shove down eggs at 7am, i finally decided to just wait until later in the morning to eat my breakfast. it's a little easier to eat at 10am than 7am. i think this will change over time. i hope anyway!
at this point, i truly do not know if i will finish out the 30 days. right now, my goal is to make it another 7 days. 23 more days just seems too long for me right now but if i'm feeling good next week at this time i will keep going. i'm starting to notice that eating veggies and meat doesn't seem as unappealing as it did 7 days ago. which is progress!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eisley, 18 months


this girl turned 18 months old on Christmas Eve. usually i feel like the months go by fast but i feel like the past few months have slowed down a little since we moved to florida. which helps make it a little more believable that she is on the downhill slide to turning two. a little.  part of me just wants to keep her a baby as long as possible but then, i'm so excited to see her personality come out more and more. everyday she learns something new and busts out a new word she has somehow picked up. she hasn't had a well check since turning one (but will get on that next month!) so i don't know her stats but i'd guess she's pretty average in size as she is wearing size 18-24 mth clothes.  anyway, here are some fun things about eisley for me to remember:



  • she loves her small security blanket and pacifier. she mostly only wants them for sleeping but they seem to calm her down when she's upset too.
  • she loves mickey and minni mouse
  • she is a dancer! she does this little shake from side to side with her bottom that is hilarious and so cute.
  • she is definitely a mommy's girl. she loves gregg and gets excited to see him but she definitely is stuck to my side all day. it can get a little frustrating at times but it's also pretty sweet too. before i had kids, i would always work in the childcare at church. the babies would always be so eager to get into their mom's arms when they came to pick them up and i remember wishing for that one day. i definitely got my wish. ha.
  • she loves her brother and sister and they love her. they are so good with her. she follows them around, laughing when they do and trying to keep up with them.
  • her new words right now are "outside!" "where's _____ " "minnis!". 
  • she really likes shoes :)
  • her bout of separation anxiety seems to have passed. it was really bad from about 7 months until 17 months. haha. a long time :) 
  • she FINALLY started walking at 17 months. good grief that girl. she seems much happier as a walker.
  • she LOVES to eat. she will eat anything we give her and out eats tucker everyday...and gives abbey some good competition. 







Eisley is the sweetest thing but she definitely is not our easy going child. she has a mind of her own and a temper to go with it! She is silly and loves to make her family laugh. she knows when she is being funny and definitely hams it up. She still doesn't love being in the car but she has gotten a little better...maybe?

i am so thankful for eisley mae.
(this post is a few months old. i wrote it quickly while the feelings were fresh but never went back to publish it. i am re-reading some drafts i haven't published yet and decided to look over this one. i sometimes hesitate to admit just how HARD this motherhood thing can feel at times. i worry that i will come off as ungrateful or wanting sympathy. i don't want sympathy because being a mom certainly is nothing that warrants sympathy. i never want to be ungrateful the children we have and the gift that they are to us. on the hardest of days, my heart literally aches with love for them. even at that though, there are still days when i just feel DONE. done with being needed and done with being the one always called on. this was one those days...)


i woke up tired, defeated and frankly, just over my current day to day tasks. i don't feel like waking up at 2am for a 4 yr old having a bad dream and wanting to relocate her bed to our room, or at 4:30am to deal with a 1 yr old who seems to be yelling for no reason, or again at 5:45am for an almost 3 yr old that is "all done with sleep!". i don't feel like getting people food before 7am and cleaning up the spilled water and cereal. i don't feel like breaking up fight after fight on who knocked over who's block tower. i just don't FEEL like doing it. if i had my way, i would lock my door and stay in bed until at least noon today and avoid life.

and i know the truth, i know that sleep, friends, coffee or a career won't fix my attitude. i know that those things won't keep me from waking up some mornings and watching out the window with envy as gregg drives away from it all and off to work. i know that. i know in my heart that the only thing that needs to change this morning is me and my heart. not the fighting kids or the endless messes, just me. but it takes feeling completely defeated and lost for me to admit that. it i can just find a way to change my circumstances, then i wouldn't have to admit that my attitude is terrible and my heart is ungrateful this morning. i wouldn't have to be less selfish and put my own agenda aside. i keep trying to find away around it all..until i just have to finally admit that there isn't a way around it all. it's just me. it just comes down to me and my attitude.

i need a reset this morning. my kids are still fighting and there is still spilled milk on the floor as i type this. i'm tired and feeling lonely. my coffee is waiting on the counter and probably will be for another hour or so. but none of that really matters because of none is going to go away or change. but, i am praying for my heart. i will admit that it is coming from a tired, defeated place this morning, but i am praying nonetheless.

DISNEY!

there are many, many things i've been wanting to blog about but i have to write about Disney because i do not want to forget it.

we were planning to Disney back in July but when gregg got sick and we just couldn't make it happen, so, when my in-laws suggested a Disney trip this month, i was all about it. plus, it we didn't have to endure the heat.

since i knew my mom would be in town visiting, i made sure we scheduled it so that she could come along too. we live about 2.5 hrs from orlando, so we just did a day trip to the Magic Kingdom only. it was perfect and all we could have managed in one day anyway. however, i would LOVE to go back and spend a night so we could do more.





the kids loved it. abbey met Rapunzel, Cinderella and Ariel. seeing her meet Cinderella was the sweetest thing ever. she was SO in awe of her and just kept smiling and playing with her while she talked to her. it was precious and hands down the best part of the day. tucker spotted buzz lightyear and said he wanted to meet him so gregg and i got in line with him. as we got closer and started to get nervous and changed his mind. we still got pretty close to him though-enough to make tucker a little nervous.








as we were headed back to the entrance, we ran right into the fantasy parade that was getting ready to start and it was so fun for the kids. abbey spotted elsa and anna in the float (the line to meet them was 2 hrs long!), all the kids were excited to see donald, daisy, mickey and minni. it was SO fun to see how excited eisley got over mickey and minni. she loves when the mickey mouse clubhouse is on the TV and dances her little heart out to the song, so i was curious if she would be equally excited when she spotted them. and she was! she just kept yelling, pointing, clapping and waving her arms around at them. it was so adorable.









it was long day but overall, it went really well. the kids did great, eisley even napped for 1.5 hrs in the stroller, and we were home by 7:30pm. i'm so thankful we got to take our kids and hope we get to back soon! they are already asking to go again.

Monday, October 6, 2014

other moms

some days, more often than not these days, i'm convinced everyone else is doing this mom thing better than me.

we just got home from what felt like a marathon of exhausting morning events. our last stopped was to costco where two complete strangers asked if i needed help... not employees mind you, just shoppers. probably because eisley cried the whole time, even though i held her the whole time...and the other two, well they were actually being pretty decent. even with their good behavior, it all felt very chaotic.

by the time i got everyone back to the van, buckled in and somewhat content, i just kept thinking that another moms have got to be doing this better than me. other moms have to be better at calming their children down over invisible injuries and dropped blankets. other moms probably have clear thoughts and less chaos in their brain more often than i do. other moms probably don't have a one year old that yells at them most of the day unless being held and an almost 3 yr old they just haven't had the energy to even try to potty train. other moms probably don't have children that wake up at 5:30am everyday no matter what time they go to bed. other moms probably cook dinner more than once or twice a week and don't let their kid watch disney jr. and pbs. other moms probably have a discipline method figured out by now (you know, nearly five years into parenting) that they are consistent with. other moms probably incorporate more scripture into their kids lives. oh, and they probably have some sort of "school" time at home too. other moms can probably handle the chaos of three (just 3!!) children so much better than i do. basically, other moms have got to be doing this better than me.

some days, i know this isn't true. i know that every mom struggles and is just tying to figure it out. the problem is when those hard days come one on top of the other and then, i'm sitting in the parking lot of costco with 2 screaming children behind me and thinking, "yeah, other moms have got to be doing this better."

so if you find yourself sitting with those same thoughts, you can feel confident in knowing that at least this mom feels like she isn't doing it any better. i don't have it figured out, i don't even have one piece of it figured out because it seems to change everyday. but, my kids know that i love them. they feel safe with me. they want me to hold them and fix their invisible injuries. they can know that even when they have meltdowns over breakfast and wake me up every single day before the sun, that i will always be there. they can know that my love for them isn't earned by their behavior but is constant just by their existence and nothing more. if i can give that to them, if i can do at least that much, the rest will some how be okay.


...and maybe we won't do anymore costco trips for awhile.