I’ll Sing Over You

One of my precious ones is in Kindergarten now.  The oldest of four, she is my darling, my angel, my sensitive child.  She is goofy and kind.  She, like me is always running late, because she’d rather draw a picture or make a snow angel in the carpet than get dressed and brush her hair in the morning.  She loves to read and asks me a million questions a day.  Her memory is absolutely incredible.  She can still recall things that happened to her when she was just two years old.  She understands how things work after you’ve explained it just once, and she can re-explain those same things to her little sister in “little sister terms”.  She’s a natural teacher.  She’s patient and truthful.  She’s a helper.  We joke that she’s a genius, but in all honesty, we mean it.  She is my defender no matter what.  When her dad is tickling me, she’ll come to my rescue every time.  I adore her.

So, it’ll come as no surprise when I tell you that Kindergarten is breaking my heart, although you probably would never guess why.

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This treasure of mine, this little gem of a girl has entered into the world of relationships, and even in Kindergarten little ones can carry sharp tongues and haughty eyes.

This beautiful soul…our wide-eyed darling…with her golden locks and dimpled chin…comes home with a little less sparkle some days.

She told me that my hair was ugly today, Mom.

They said I couldn’t tell the teacher or they wouldn’t be my friend.

He didn’t want to be my partner in gym class.

I’m not naive.  I know that no matter where our babies go to school, they are going to encounter other little souls that have the potential to hurt a heart.  I watch as even my oldest two daughters hurt one another’s hearts here at home too.  It just feels a bit different when the stings aren’t coming from a sibling.  You can’t be there to guard their hearts and minds from unkindness that they’ll face in the classroom, on the playground, at the lunch table.  It’s just not possible.

It’s life.

When they head off to college, they may have that professor that decides to humiliate them for running late.  They may have a boss that makes them feel incompetent.  They may even choose friends throughout their lifetime that disrespect them.  I can’t be there with my sword and shield.

As I’ve been struggling with this commonsense truth over the past two weeks, I’ve let it cause me so much worry for her.  We just want to fix things as parents, right?  We do our best to talk about the Golden Rule and model good character ourselves.  We ask all of the questions that we think will say to their little souls, “Mommy cares about your day.”  We even give them permission to defend themselves and walk them through scenarios…”If so-n-so says something mean, you…{insert your best advice here}.”

We try and fret and prep and pray, but as I sat here tonight coincidentally reading another mom’s post on Kindergarten bullying, I felt my spirit dwelling on Zephaniah 3:17.

It was as if the Lord was saying to my weary and worried mama-heart…“Sing over her.”

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

I can’t navigate these tough waters for her.  I can’t shelter her continuously.  I don’t have any way of stopping her from experiencing less-than-ideal relationships in her life, but I can sing over her.

When she is here, I can sing prayers of a mother’s love over her heart.  I can teach her the Truth of the Living Word that says she is worthy of love, she is holy and set apart for God, and He delights in her no matter what.  I can whisper in her ear each morning that the beauty of her heart is more precious than anything else and that she is clothed in righteousness.  I can remind her that she is the child of the King of Kings and that makes her Heaven’s princess. I can assure her that no hairstyle or outfit or talent will ever buy her wisdom and grace, and her character is where true beauty resides.  I can show her that acts of kindness and choosing words carefully matter more than being right or feeling comfortable.  I can be a warm shoulder on the days that a peer has given her a cold one.  I can catch her tears and tell her that I love her.  I can sing over her songs of hope and joy and promises.

I can sing over her.

And when a word comes against her tender heart, I can believe that she won’t hear it, because she’s too busy listening to my song.

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More posts like this:

Sanctuary

The Girl Who Saves Me

For the Overwhelmed Mom of Multiples

Dear Baby

Bedtime Lessons that Change Everything

 

 

Sanctuary

Tonight, as I folded a little laundry and listened to the last of my husband’s stories from the day, the movie The Help played in the background.  I love that movie.  I think it’s on the top of my short list of “movies I could watch any day any time.”  After my husband said his “good night” and headed to bed, I found myself glued to the movie’s end.  I’ve seen it many times, but it still grips me as tightly as the first time.

You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.

I could never get tired of that scene.  It is so moving.  Tonight, it tugged my heartstrings in a completely new way.  A way that whispered, “Sanctuary.”

Sanctuary…

Yes.

I found myself coming to the realization that if I looked back on my day with my dear daughters, my quote would read something more like…

You is cruel.

You is annoying.

Go away.

Seriously.

I replayed the events of the day.  The majority of moments were good – better than most lately.  But there were a few segments of our day that made the “terrible moments” highlight reel.  The bickering.  The nonstop running in circles.  The cruelty passing from one sister to another.  The ugly monster rising up in me, yelling until my vocal chords hurt, only to cup my face in my hands in regret immediately after.  What am I saying to these children?

I have been crumbling the sanctuary.  Some days, emotionally and spiritually it feels more like a war zone, with my daughters going about their day beneath shame-shrouds that I have put there – lies that I am writing on their foreheads and their hearts with my cruel words back at them.

What is wrong with yoooou?!

I shout in exhausted exasperation when one sister hits another.

Wrong with her?  Nothing is wrong with her.  They are being children.  Learning boundaries.  Pushing boundaries.  Pretending boundaries don’t exist in the name of childish fun and freedom.  That is going to happen in a plethora of ways over the course of their young lives.  It’s about time I start parenting them based upon who they are and not how they are being.

They are kind.  They need guidance.

They are smart.  They need encouragement.

They are important.  They need attention.

They are holy.  They need sanctuary.

They have their whole lives to encounter unkind souls, impatient people…

Not here.

Not with me.

I am their sanctuary.

I see them – walking into their classroom wearing that dark shame-shroud that says,

I’m cruel.  I’m annoying.  I’m tolerated.  I’m unlovable.

I wonder how miserably far that will take them in life, and I am undone, because that’s not how I truly see them at all.

That’s not who they are.  That’s not even how they are “being,” yet I find ways throughout my day to wrap them in those suggestions.

No longer.

No more.

As I dig deeper into Rachel Macy’s Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Life, and her wisdom chisels away at my mind-clutter, I feel like the light bulbs are slowly coming on one by one.  It’s as if Holy Spirit himself is walking slowly through the “house” of my heart and mind and illuminating the dark places.  Sometimes it’s a beaming light that startles me awake.  Sometimes, it’s the peaceful glow of candlelight, a gentle reminder to make a change.  Listening to my grandmother’s good-bye to my grandfather, candlelight.  Realizing what I am doing to the spirits of my daughters, startling beam.

Life has the potential to be harsh enough.  We can be kind here.

Life is rushed the minute we walk out the front door.  We can be peaceful and deliberate here.

Life is brutally honest, even kicking you while you’re down at times.  We can establish the truth in love here.  Grace can abound here.

Tomorrow, when my daughters return from school and we’re back at home, just “being” and going about our day, the word sanctuary will be written on my forehead and heart, and I’ll start erasing the words I’ve written on theirs.  I’ll pull off the heavy shrouds and replace them with the godly covering that speaks worth and value based solely on, not what they do, but, who they are.

Kind.

Smart.

Important.

Holy.

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(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are mine alone, and any commission gained from products in this post is solely provided by Amazon.  Here at Klover House, I take sincere pride in exposing my readers to products, authors, and companies that I support 100%, and I promote from a place of personal experience only.  Thanks for supporting us through the use of any links found on our blog! xo, Kristi)

 

More posts from Klover House:

Living “Hands Free”

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Dear Baby (published in “New Life Within”)

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Before…You Were His.

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Living “Hands Free” – Happy Launch Day!

June 30th of this year is a night I’ll remember so fondly for the rest of my life.

My husband and I were doing what we usually do after the kids surrender to bedtime – sitting next to one another on the couch, watching TV, checking e-mails, answering texts, etc… basically, finally catching up with the rest of the world after a long day of meeting the needs of others…

That’s when I opened a message that dropped my jaw to the floor.  I couldn’t help but beam like a little girl on Christmas morning as I read it aloud to my hubby.  Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times Best-selling author of “Hands Free Mama” had written to me.  ME.  I couldn’t believe my eyes or the opportunity she was extending to me with such humble sweetness.

Her latest book, Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More was being officially released in September, today in fact, and she was asking if I would be interested in reading it prior to the launch date.

Not only is that an incredible honor in itself, but, friends, I have TWO books on my nightstand.  Just two.  And they have been there for over a year.  They are special to me.  I love them, which is why they aren’t on a shelf in our dining room or still in a box in our basement.  Two.

The Holy Bible and Hands Free Mama.

That’s it.

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I joke that one’s my “life handbook” and the other is my “mama handbook,” but I’m really not joking.  Hands Free Mama changed my life.  The Hands Free Revolution posts on Facebook changed my life, my parenting, my perspectives.  When I read whatever Rachel Macy Stafford writes, it’s as if for those few moments, all of my chaos stands still and I bask in the glow of what could be, of what should be.  I feel the warmth that comes with the realization of how God wants me to mother cover my heart like a reassuring hug that says,

“You can do this.  You can do this well, and you can do this beautifully.”

So, of course I didn’t hesitate for even a moment before replying with a emphatic “Yes!”

And on August 3rd, the most beautiful gifts arrived in the mail – the book, Hands Free Life, a bracelet that I wear proudly every day, and a frame containing a copy of the most beautifully written “House Rules” I have ever read.  The box was so full of heart, so full of life, and so full of hope.

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And that’s what it is giving me every time I pick it up – a big dose of heart, life, and hope.

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Since reading, I have been trying with intention to disconnect a little more each day from whatever it is that fills my mind, day, and even life with clutter.  We live in a world in which we face a distraction almost non-stop.  This book has given me practical ways to recognize that and to actually do something about it.

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That’s part of the reason why this post is being written at 10 PM on “Launch Day” – I have been living all day.  I have been living all month!  It has been freeing and it has also been quite revealing.  My family needs me.  Your family needs you.  Your people need you.  Spouses, friends, children, co-workers, the bank teller, the cashier at Hobby Lobby, the mom next to you in the aisle at Target…   They need you.  They need you to notice, to be present, to be aware, to engage, to connect.

As Rachel Macy Stafford so perfectly phrased it, I had been suffering for far too long from a “connection-starved soul.”

Are you starving?

You don’t have to be.

Are your people starving?

They don’t have to be either.

Don’t be intimidated.  It’s possible.  It’s not too late.  You can breathe again.  You live again.  You can finally give yourself permission to let go of the anger and pressure that may be overwhelming you, suffocating you from the inside and robbing you of the chance to enjoy life’s “sacred moments,” to put down the To-Do lists long enough to hold your loved one’s hand or call a connection-starved friend.

Will you join me in living this beautiful life “hands free”?  Can you share with me your journey?  How your world is shifting too, thanks to the abundant “Daily Declarations” and “Habit Builders”?

I’ll be posting more about my own journey as I am reading this incredible and wise book, and I’ll let you in on how I am putting what I am learning into practice in my own life.

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Because I am so passionate about her message and believe in it 100%, I am going to send one of my readers a copy of the book, Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More.  

This post isn’t sponsored by anyone, and I haven’t been asked to give anything away; this is just me, Kristi, an overwhelmed mom, a tired spouse, a desperate daughter of God, who, possibly like you, wants to live and love fully, and is just wanting the same chance for you.  Please share this opportunity with others that you may know who would benefit from this great book and enter yourself below.

And, Rachel Macy Stafford, if you read this, let me just say for the umpteenth time…THANK YOU!  Thank you for sharing your heart, your wisdom, and your story with us.  We needed you and your voice.  This book matters.  Your message matters.  You are changing lives, shifting atmospheres, and shepherding the hearts of many women (and men) around the world.  For that, and especially because I am one of them, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17)

Blessings!

xo,

Kristi

GIVEAWAY LINK:
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UPDATE: HANDS FREE LIFE is #1 in Inspiration, Family, Relationships, and Women’s Studies on Amazon!

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are mine alone, and any commission gained from products in this post is solely provided by Amazon. The Giveaway above is coming from the wallet of our dear #mrkloverhouse, who loves me so well and appreciates my love language of gift-giving.  Here at Klover House, I take sincere pride in exposing my readers to products, authors, and companies that I support 100%, and I promote from a place of personal experience only.  Thanks for supporting us through the use of any links found on our blog! xo, Kristi)

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More posts from Klover House…

 

 

 

Before…You Were His

Sitting there in the heat, watching our kids participate in the closing show at a local VBS, and she turns around.  There’s a new babe on her lap and a husband standing near us in the background.  He’s still in his dress clothes, likely from his long day in an office somewhere.  He’s doing the same thing that my husband is doing day-in and day-out, earning a living to support a family that he loves.  Maybe she stays at home like I do, or maybe they picked up their kids at daycare or grandma’s house and scurried to make it to a VBS with a 6PM start, because investing in their little one’s faith and friendships is worth the evening hustle.  She gives him a simple glance and a nod.  He seems to know it well, because without hesitation, he quickly grabs what she needs from the stroller and walks it to her.  She turns back around, tending to her infant, and he returns to his spot in the back.  Although she’s in the midst of mothering, I catch a glimpse of her youth and beauty, and it hits me.

Before…she was his.

Before the diapers and the late night feedings…

Before the stretch marks and tired legs…

Before the sippy cup laden cupboards and Cheerio covered floors…

Before the car seats and strollers and bibs and pacifiers…

Before living in sweats and smelling like spit-up…

She was his.

Date nights and perfume…

Long hugs and real kisses…

Dancing and movies…

Fancy resturants and long phone calls…

Weekend getaways and inside jokes…

Before these babes.  Before she was Mommy, she was simply his.

And I glanced at my own mister, standing in the background, relaxing his weight against a swing while our toddler ran amuk nearby, and I couldn’t help but remember being just his too once.  It made me smile one of those joyful smiles that you really have no control over.  The kind that just happen, because you are that happy in the moment.

I spend my days being Mommy.  I live and breathe motherhood.  There’s no escaping it, especially if you long to do it well.  I wouldn’t trade my days, hours, minutes, moments of mothering for anything else in the world.  I embrace being completely wrapped up in it, but I forgot in the process how to be his too.

I forgot what it was like to put him first, to be just me, a girl in love with the best kind of man.  I forgot that he’s the reason that this whole thing evolved into a beautiful family in the first place.  My love for him and his for me…

And all that thinking in those brief moments brought that silly, giddy smile to my face…

And I made up my mind to be his again.  

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Parenting: Meet Your Mother, The Human.

Yesterday, like so many other days lately, was a really hard day as a parent.  Somedays, I feel like such a failure at mothering my children.  The emotional highs and lows are almost too much to bear day-in and day-out, and I’m not the only one that has them – my daughters seem to be mini emotional rollercoasters too.  At this stage in the game, the household is intense, and some days (like yesterday), I just crack under the pressure.  I crack and I shatter, and they get a good hard look at their mother, the human.

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Some days, after hours of the kids melting down, tattling, arguing, hitting, screaming, bickering, and ignoring the very sound of my tired voice, this mama just breaks down.  We can only take so much sometimes, and it’s on those days that I let my girls see my humanity – my brokenness, and here’s why…

 

I hope that they remember more than the uglies.

My girls need to remember me, in all of my complexity.  I know, myself, that I have very few memories of my own mother showing a variety of emotions.  I clearly remember when she’d had enough and lost her cool, and I remember a few specific times in which she was crying for reasons beyond my childish understanding.

I want my daughters to remember my brokenness as much as my laughter, because one day, they too will be wives and mothers dealing with the highs and lows of the mundane.  I want them to know that emotions are real, and okay, and not to be suffocated.  I want them to remember that their mom did more than yell.  She laughed, she cried, she praised and she sighed…she was human.

 

I hope that they observe that their choices affect others.

Even if that “other” is their own mama.  We were reading the story Cinderella: Kindness and Courage (aff. link), and as I was reading the words on the page, they were sounding familiar to both me and my girls…

They made her do all of the chores.

Who does all of the chores?  Mama.  Not because I want to, or because I don’t require help from them, because I do.  Little ones are expected to pull their weight around here in little ways – bring mommy your dirty dishes, throw your own trash away, clean up your toys, put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, hang your coat and place your shoes in the closet…  Little stuff.  I don’t think I’m being a terribly mean parent by giving them responsibilities.  They choose, however, more often than not, to ignore me.  Yes, there are consequences, and yes, they oblige under pressure, but they don’t willingly offer to lend a hand when the task at hand doesn’t involve “testing” cookie dough or stirring cake batter.

So we had a brief chat after that line.

Cinderella’s family makes her do all of the chores.  They don’t help her out.  Who does all of the chores at your house?  Mommy?  Right.  The book said that that was cruel of them.  Do you think her step-family is being cruel?  Do you think it is cruel to ignore mommy when mommy asks for your help?  Do you think that if they helped Cinderella more and maybe took care of themselves sometimes that Cinderella would be thankful?

It’s important that my girls grow up with the understanding that their mom is not a doormat.  Yes, I serve them and serve them with love, but they need to appreciate being served or else they will grow to expect it.  When a service is no longer perceived as an act of love but rather as an obligation on my part and an entitlement on theirs, we are headed for trouble when they step into the real world.

 

I hope that they learn that others’ feelings matter.

A few weeks ago, I really angered my four year old.  I forget now what I said or did that made her so angry, but I think I put one of her favorite toys on top of the refrigerator for naughty behavior.  She was stomping her way down the stairs towards me, looked me right in the eyes and said,

I don’t like you, Mommy.  You are the worstest mommy ever!

And she meant it with all of her little heart, which broke mine.  It was the first time she had ever said those kind of words to me, and they hit me hard.  Little baby darts that stung her mama’s heart.  As I directed her to “Time Out”, a few tears streamed down my cheeks.  She locked eyes with me as I sunk to her level.

I know that you are angry with me for taking your toy away.  It is your consequence for naughty behavior.  You hurt my heart with your mean words.  I love you very much.  I love you too much to let you make bad choices.  Do you know that I love you?  Good.

And then, I hugged her tightly.  She didn’t escape her “Time Out”, but I didn’t want to let that moment pass unaddressed.  Otherwise, her harsh words could become commonplace, next time directed at her sisters or a friend…  I want her to remember my tears and think twice before uttering cruel words again.

 

I hope they see me modeling unconditional love and forgiveness.

In every situation, they need to see and feel the effects of my love for them.  As their parent, my love is unconditional.  I need to use these times of weakness to emphasize that truth.  Sometimes, it’s not easy.  Sometimes, I flat out want to take a break from being “mommy”.  You know that saying, “I love you, but I really don’t like you right now”? If their constant fighting pushes me to tears, I need to let that be evident (within reason).  Sometimes, moms cry.  Guess what?

Mommy is a person, just like you, with thoughts and feelings, even frustrations.  What do you do when someone hurts your feelings?  How does it make you feel when your sister shouts at you?  Does it upset you when you ask her nicely to help you with something, and she says ‘No!’ and walks away?  It does?  Well, I feel the same way.  And even when I am angry or frustrated with your choices, I still love you.  I forgive you for your naughty behaviors and love you always.  Do you know who else loves you that way?  Jesus.

 

I hope that they see me relying on and learning from Jesus.

In teachable moments, I use my brokenness to share with them the love of the Father, our need for Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.

After our really hard morning/afternoon yesterday, both of the Bigs were enduring “Quiet Time” in tears.  I won’t go into great detail, but they are required to have a “QT” every day, and all they must do is remain on their bed for one teeny hour either sleeping or reading.  That’s it.  Well, a rowdy, frustrating morning rolled right into an even more frustrating “QT”, and neither child was giving in without a fight.  I let my humanity leak (too much) and yelled at them both, vowing to take away their most precious belongings for the rest of the day.  When they saw that I wasn’t budging and my inner monster had reared its ugly head, they tearfully retreated and laid in their beds just sobbing their little hearts out.  It was just a cumulation of the entire day’s frustrations boiling over within each of us.  I thought, “We can’t keep doing this.  They need to know what my intentions are here.”  So I sat down with the oldest one first.

Ava, all I want to do each day is wake up, make you and your sisters a good breakfast, and enjoy our time together.  I want to read you stories, watch movies with you, play with you in the playroom, run around outside with you, help you make things and watch you paint and draw…  I want to have fun with you and your sisters.

All I need from you is for you to listen to me.  Obey when you are told to clean up your toys.  Then, I will have more time to play with you.  Be kind to your sisters, so that they will want to play with you.  Take your “Quiet Time” without fussing, so that it’s short and you’re up in time to enjoy the rest of your day.  You are still growing, and your body needs good rest.

I don’t want to spend my day yelling at you and putting you in “Time Out” for things.  I want to enjoy you and laugh with you and play with you.  It hurts my heart to yell at you.  I am working on that.  I don’t want to yell so much.  Can we both do better?

And then, I repeated my conversation with Isla, stroking her face and wiping her tears.  She fell asleep in my arms, and while I knew this process was painful for them and ugly for me, I found some reassurance in knowing that all three of us were learning and growing through it.

Today, I’ll try to do things better than I did yesterday.  I may actually do worse, but I’m still trying and learning, and I want them to know that.  I want them to grow up seeing that.  I want them to watch me change before their very eyes into the mother, wife, and woman that God created me to be.

Mommy is human, just like me, and she messes up and makes mistakes.  She gets back up when the day knocks her down, and she asks for forgiveness and gives it too.  She loves me even when I’m making bad choices and her arms are always ready to embrace me, even when I’m disobedient.  She expects good behaviors, because she knows that I am good.  She prays for more patience and kindness, and she leans on Jesus for strength and grace.  I know Mommy has Jesus in her heart, because I can see Him working on her.  He’s changing her and helping her to be the best mommy I know.  I’m glad that she wants to be more like Jesus.  I want to be more like Him too.

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The Girl Who Saves Me

Isla Rae.

My precious girl just turned four on Monday.

I look at pictures from just one year ago, and I am beside myself.  I can’t believe how the baby face has melted away and a little lady is emerging.

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The gap between her two front teeth that once was so prominent, has closed so gradually, that I feel like I never even noticed it waving goodbye.  Her blonde locks have taken off, cascading down her little back, catching up quickly to her big sister’s.  I can’t believe she’s four.isla95

 

Four.

Four years ago, I endured the most painful delivery of all my four.  She took her sweet time making an arrival, so I decided to speed her along.  I found out the disastrous way that Pitocin and “natural birth” don’t mix.  Alongside wishing I had wisely avoided the incredible added pain, I have always felt as though I hijacked her birthday and have regretted rushing her every day since.

Isla2That’s Isla, though.  Teaching me patience and keeping me in check.  Since before Day 1, she’s been my chisel-child.  The one who is shaping me continuously.  

Be more patient, Mama.  Trust me, Mama.  I’m good, Mama.  I can do this on my own.  

I’ll dress myself, Mama.  I don’t need your help, Mama…

She’s this little, independent, mysterious soul, and I am her constant observer.

She’s been fierce from the start.  I wrote about our challenges when I was pregnant with her – the hemorrhage that loomed over her little body like a rain cloud.  It didn’t bother her, though.  She’s not easily affected by outside circumstances.  She’s steady and stable.  Fetus, infant, toddler, child…it didn’t matter…she’s always been my calm, cool, and collected child.  I admire those attributes in her, and I have this feeling that they will still describe her well as a young woman one day.

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But what sets Isla apart the most for me as her mama, and what I think of everytime I think of her birth, her existence…she saved me.  She saves me.

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After we lost EJ, Isla saved me and my mama-heart.  I fought hard for her.  Fought the darkness that invaded my soul.  Fought the raincloud that loomed over her and the fear that came with it.  Fought the 41st week of pregnancy, the intense summer heat, the ankles that were the size of He-Man’s thighs, and the Pitocin.  Fought and fought and fought and won.  We won.  She saved me and we won.  I won the greatest gift when God gave me Isla. I was already the blessed mother of Ava and EJ, but with Isla came the gift of hope.  She’s my “Sunshine”, my “Bright and Shining One”.

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All of my babies are so amazing and breath-taking in their own unique ways.  This is Isla’s specialty.  She saves her mama.  On days that I want to yell and throw my own tantrums, she speaks to me in her adult tones, and she may as well be holding up a mirror, because instantly, she saves me from my ridiculousness.

I look at her and I get lost in her dark eyes.  They pierce my soul, reminding me of the depth of God and His goodness, and she saves me yet again from any petty distractions I’m facing.

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She climbs up next to me while I am “working” and adds her two cents to my vlogs and asks me about what I am working on, and she saves me from any loneliness that has crept into my morning as a SAH/WAHM.  In a silly kind of way, she’s like my little co-worker at times.

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She randomly (and frequently) talks about Baby EJ.  It completely confounds us.  It’s as if she somehow knows that she is EJ’s womb-buddy.  They were conceived just three months apart.  Although I’ve written about EJ as a daughter, she is convinced EJ is her brother and she talks about “him” as though he is a very real part of her daily life.  It amazes me.  When she talks about EJ, she saves me from any heartache, because I am instantly reminded of this beautiful family that God is allowing me to build during my time here.

I’m humbled daily – by a four year old.

I’m changed daily – by a four year old.

I’m moved daily – by a four year old.

I’m challenged daily – by a four year old.

I am so thankful for our sweet Isla Rae.  She’s beautiful through and through.  She’s our little painter and chocoholic.  She can house a dozen donuts or chocolate chip pancakes in a single sitting.  She is all muscle, though.  Even when she was a baby, she was a teeny little muscle.  She can stand on the knuckles of her feet in an amazing and totally unnatural way.  lol

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She can sass with the best of them and she loves being in the kitchen.  She’s got the most beautiful hands and nails I have ever seen.  No joke.  She’s a Rockstar and one tough cookie.  Dental work…doctor appointments…ER visits…she doesn’t even whimper.  She loves her sisters so deeply.  I can count on her to always be caring for someone.  All day, every day…she’s taking care of her sisters.

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She will ask me if I like her outfit, hairdo, shoes, because she’s destined to be a fashion blogger. 😉  She loves having her nails painted and is a natural dancer.

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She wants to learn to play the violin and loves to swim.  A cup of hot chocolate, a Hershey Kiss, a cookie… it doesn’t matter if we’re picking Ava up at school or if she’s returning home from a Daddy-daughter date, she is NEVER empty-handed when it comes to her big sister.  Ava is tops in her book and Isla is always thinking of little ways to bless her.

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Her mealtime prayers are especially long and almost always include a wish list of some kind along with a plea for the “people that don’t have any aw-fer-ring”.  Her heart makes mine melt.  Every.single.day.

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Happy Birthday, sweet Isla Rae.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for refining me.  I thank God for you, precious girl.  You bring such strength and beauty to my world. xoxo

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Dear Daughter, I Enjoy You.


Dear Daughter, I Enjoy You.

As I was slowly making the descent from upstairs, I allowed the exhaustion to wash over me, mentally, physically, emotionally. Out of nowhere, a thought hit me, and I knew immediately that it was one worth paying attention too.

“How tiring these kids are.”
“These days are long. They are hard.”

And it hit me.

The faces I made throughout the day. The sneers. The snorts. The sighs…

And a voice asked me a simple question…

“What if you could look at yourself that way? You wouldn’t be your own friend. You would lose a friend over such behavior.  And yet, you treat your own flesh and blood…your baby in such a way.”

I have gone as far as to roll over in the bed in the morning and growl angry words like, “You are being sooo annoying right now, child.”  All they want is breakfast.  All I want is more sleep.

Seriously.

I did that.

And it started to sink in how I was hurting little hearts everyday. I am hurting little hearts. With my words. With my actions. With my eye rolls and sighs…

But those things aren’t  real. They aren’t reality. Reality is, I am simply exhausted and poorly behaved. Reality is that my children are…children. They are silly. They are wild.  They require a lot of energy.  They are beautiful. They are loved.

I like them.

I admire and adore them.

I enjoy them.

I need to remember their smallness. My eyes…my words…my touch…my moods…are their world. For 90% of their day, I am their world.

So here’s my pep talk to myself:

Get it together, girl. Straighten up, sister. You have got to use that heart and that head of your’s and wipe that nasty exhaustion off of your face. Wipe it off on purpose.  Don’t let it ruin the tenderness in your smile. Don’t give it ground. Step up your game. You are their mama. God put you over these girls like a guardian angel. One they can touch and hear and smell and look to for love and guidance. Put on your wings today, mama, because they require a whole lot of protection. And sometimes, you have to make a choice to shelter them from even yourself. Lay that bitterness of a messy house down. Cast that resentment of a sleepless night aside. Forgive those early-risers, knowing that they are just excited to start a new day. Pray for a little of that to rub off on you too… You are the mama and you enjoy them. Time to start living like it…

Dear Daughter,


Forgive me. I don’t mean to be so hard on you. I want to see you sparkle from sun-up to sun-down. You are smart, funny, vivacious, and inspiring. Your giggles are darling and your smile is so pure. You are brave and adventurous and I wish I could have more of that in my own weary bones. You are special and gifted. The Lord made you well. There is no one else like you, and no one else has my heart on a string like you do. I’d give all I have away in a moment and still be satisfied knowing that I am your mama and you are mine. I’m sorry for letting my bad mood discolor our days together. You won’t know this, but I need a reminder. Your sweet, soft cheeks are going to help me through the hard days. They were the first bits of you that I cherished. I kissed and caressed them from day one. I kissed them so gently, hoping that you could sense your precious worth when we couldn’t yet share words. I still sweep my hand along them towards your little chin to this day as a way to send you a quick love letter. So, that will be my reminder to myself to keep my word to you. To protect you from my tired looks and grumpy words. When I see them, touch them, smooch them…I will remember your smallness and my bigness, and I will behave as a mama should – with patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, gentleness and self-control. Sounds familiar, huh? Yeah, those Fruits of the Spirit {Galatians 5:22-23} that mama holds you accountable to…well, I’m going to start being those things too. You deserve that from me. I love you, Daughter. I so deeply love you.

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10 Minutes to “Better”

Yesterday, my husband arrived home at his expected time – just before dinner – and the house was chaotic as usual. Eden decided to remove a poopy pull-up and go traipsing around the living room, which elicits sheer panic in me. We captured the dirty diaper before any disasters occurred, and I whisked her up for yet another early bath thinking nothing but, “Man, this stuff just s.u.c.k.s.” Yep. It’s no fun around here sometimes. And while I enjoy my babies so much and wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything, sometimes, it just feels difficult to keep my cool.

After the bath, we sat down for dinner (hubby grilled and it was really good – more on that in a different post), and then, before I could wrap my brain around flying solo for another few hours, he was out-the-door and off to a men’s meeting. Sometimes I’m so jealous of him…adult conversation, great food prepared by people who actually, truly know what they are doing, a change of scenery… Anyway, after allowing some outside play time, I decided to forgo baths for the oldest two and put them right to bed. I then fed and gave the baby a bath and put her in the swing for her “bedtime nap,” which at this stage has been from about 9pm to 2am. Sometimes, I take her to bed early (she sleeps in our room), but most times, like last night, I just burn the late-night-oil while she sleeps, and we go upstairs together once she wakes.

Since she was sound asleep (along with the rest of the house), I decided to take a shower (I was reaching the 36 hour mark – gross, right?!). I made the mistake of thinking I could rest on the bed and read Facebook posts for awhile afterwards.  Within five minutes, I had fallen asleep. Not a deep sleep, more like that foggy twilight sleep, but not-all-there nonetheless. Thankfully, I was startled awake around midnight by Ava, who had to go to the bathroom. Once I helped her back to bed, I went back downstairs to check on Miri, and the disgustingly large pile of dishes that I had allowed to accumulate throughout the day practically smacked me in the face. I was in total avoidance mode after putting the kids to bed, so I baked a chocolate cake and topped it with a homemade salted peanut butter frosting rather than tackle any of the mess left from dinner. All of the dishes were still on the island (where we eat meals most nights now that I have chairs), and the dishwasher was full of clean dishes needing to be put away.

I almost said, “Forget it. They’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.” But I pictured my husband trying to get his breakfast and coffee in the morning, and struggling to maneuver around the mess. I decided that I would just knock it out and be done with it for both our sakes. So that’s what I did. I put all of the clean dishes away, loaded the dishwasher to the max, wiped down the counters, stove, and island, poured myself a glass of water, and looked at the clock. Just 10 minutes. That’s all it took for me to tackle that disaster. 10 little minutes.

It was then that I kind of looked back on my hectic day and recounted the good moments…

I made a conscious effort to read my Bible yesterday morning. I sat down at the island with my cup of coffee and read from Proverbs. I knew it was at least a good attempt to start my day off on the right foot. I need to be in the Word. I need to read the Bible. I need, need, need it. It felt so good to grab that little slice of time. It was probably about 10 minutes.

I stopped what I was doing when Eden was having a meltdown. I scooped her up and held her. She was still being a pill and squeezed my chest – hard and on purpose. I scolded her and she cried. You know, if you are a nursing mama, that kind of stuff can really, really hurt! I let my flesh respond to her and wasn’t understanding. She didn’t know how badly that would hurt me, and I yelled at her. I felt so guilty when her little lip quivered and she started to cry in my arms. In an attempt to apologize, I told her that Mommy was sorry for yelling, and I tried my best to communicate to her that she had hurt me. Then, I started giving her nose-kisses. You know, the ones where you rub noses – eskimo kisses.  She responded in a way that totally melted my mama-heart. She began sniffing my lips and cheeks, and stared into my eyes, like she was exploring my face for the first time. Rubbing her little nose against mine, she’d crack a smile and giggle. It was so unbelievably peaceful. Looking back on it now, it too probably only lasted 10 minutes, but it changed the entire course of a bad situation and served as a beautiful time of bonding between the two of us. Mamas of multiples, you know those moments can be rare. We’re so busy, busy, busy that it’s hard to remember to slow down and make those pockets of preciousness happen. Just 10 minutes.

I listened to Ava read her school books…10 minutes. 

I helped Ava sort toys in the playroom…10 minutes. 

I played with and cooed at Miri on our bed…10 minutes. 

I sat and held Isla after her nap…10 minutes…

Thinking about those things and what a positive impact they made on me, my children, our day…it hit me. 10 minutes to “better”. That’s all it takes. So, today I am putting it to the test. Even if I have to set a timer, I am going to take 10 minutes of every hour today to make something better…

10 minutes to:

  • tidy up a room
  • snuggle a baby
  • play with a little one
  • read a few stories
  • stretch out on the floor and just breathe
  • walk around outside
  • dance to a few songs
  • worship to a few songs
  • read the Bible
  • enjoy my coffee or a cup of tea
  • call a friend
  • work on a task/chore
  • declutter

I’m already looking forward to what this day can bring if I make 10 minutes intentional.

Try it and share!  What did you accomplish in just 10 minutes?

xo,
Kristi

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Bad Day; Good Life

Today was one of those days.  One of those rotten, awful, bad days.  Yesterday, I talked about making memories, well, today was the kind of day that I don’t care to remember.

I started the day at 5 AM and by 7:55 AM I had already given one poopy child a bath.  By 3 PM, I had JUST finished my only cup of coffee and had cleaned poop off of three separate children four times and had redressed two of those kids twice!  You following??  I cleaned up a pee puddle in the kitchen and Play Doh in the dining room.  By 6 PM, I was making dinner and discovering my lunch in the microwave, and by 8 PM, I had scrubbed Eden’s carpet twice and stripped two different kids’ beds.  I washed, dried, and folded two loads of laundry, loaded and emptied the dishwasher twice before hubs came home and did it a third time.  I showered while he set the kids up for dinner, and that was only because, in my exhausted stupidity, I grabbed the hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven glass Pyrex dish with my bare hand, so I had “had it” and needed a breather.  I vacuumed the second floor for the third time this week and changed our sheets, because I have been sleeping on cake crumbs for two days.  (The Bigs were just trying to “get away from Eden” while they ate their cake, and our bed seemed like a good place to hide.)  Miri has been crying all afternoon/evening because I caved and ate chocolate yesterday.  After this day, it’s taking all of my willpower not to dive into what’s left of the chocolate raspberry meltaway egg. It’s now 9:45 PM and I can’t touch another dish or toy.  The house is just going to have to look like the post-dinner mess that it is for the rest of the night.  It.has.been.a.day.

Tomorrow, we start all over again, and I am praying that it goes much better than today has gone.  I love my babies.  I enjoy them.  Today was rotten, but I kept rolling that quote around in my head about it being a bad day, good life, just so I could maintain my sanity.  It worked about 80% of the time.  The other 20% I had to try to control the cursing in my head.  I kept coming up with phrases that included a whole lot of potty talk, like, “It’s not the pits, just the s***s.”  Because well, as Isla admitted, today was donned the “Poopy Day”.  I mean…who has to clean up poop like six times in ONE day?!  Ok, I’m sure some people do, but I can’t.  I just can’t.  It’s where I draw the line!  *Sigh*

So, anyway, if you had a crappy day, literally or figuratively or both…I’m sorry.  I feel for you, mama.  Tomorrow will be better.  It HAS to be better.  Just remember this:

Father God, I come to you as a tired, exhausted mess of a woman.  Please forgive me for my shortcomings today and for my impatience with everyone in my household.  I pray for grace and strength to do better tomorrow.  Help me to grow my children up in a household built on love and understanding.  I invite you, Holy Spirit to bring peace to our home in a deeper way.  Help us to feel Your presence and follow your lead in every moment of the day, especially the rough and yucky ones.  Help us to see this day for what it was, just a messy one, and help me to enter tomorrow with a new and refreshed perspective, rested and recharged, ready to take on the day.  Thank you for my family.  It is a gift that I treasure.  Let my words to them tomorrow be words of kindness, life and hope.  When I am tempted to yell, I ask that you would be there and give me wisdom on how to handle whatever challenges I am facing as a mother and wife in a more Christ-like way.  Help me to make our home a sanctuary for these people that I love.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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Memories over Milestones

My precious Miri is 10 weeks old today.  As I sat looking at her the other night, trying to coax her into a smile, I found myself already wondering when she’d start to giggle.  She waved her little hands around and when they met mine, they paused, and I thought, “Did she try to touch me on purpose?  I wonder when she will reach for my face.  Is this a milestone that I should record?”

Suddenly, I was thinking of Ava, our five year old.  She’s so grown up, so well-spoken, so…not a baby anymore.  My heart felt a little broken at the realization that I spend (and had already spent) too much precious time thinking about the “what’s next” and sacrificing the “now”.

Ava begins Kindergarten in the fall, and Isla will be going to preschool for the first time.  Our home will be different.  I will be missing two little people throughout the day.  My home will be a lot quieter.  Our lazy Tuesdays and Thursdays will no longer be just that.  Instead, we will be in the car for most of the morning and our schedule will never be as free as it is now.  We will long for summer days just to have the blessed time that I have been taking for granted.

When will this one walk?  We have to get that one potty-trained.  She’ll be eating rice cereal next month, so maybe I should start stocking up now.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they stayed in their own beds all night…

I catch myself thinking about such things often.  Too often.  I need, we need, to soak up the now.  I need to sit and listen to Isla’s conversations, because all too soon, her little accents and quirks will have faded, and she’ll be as well-spoken as her sister.  I need to relish in Ava’s nose-kisses and the way she wants to be touching me in some way at all times, because she’s growing more and more independent every day, and maybe tomorrow will be the day she decides she’s “too big” for that stuff.  I need to hold Miri on my chest, and feel her weightiness that’s comprised of nothing but squishy baby rolls, because those rolls melt faster than any mama wants them to.  I need to enjoy the way her feathery, little mohawk tickles my chin when I hold her, because, if she’s anything like her sisters, it’ll be down to her shoulders faster than I can blink, and I’ll be trying to convince her to let me brush it.  I need to chase Eden around the house in her disastrous potty-training nakedness, and tickle her belly and pinch her bum cheeks, because this hilarious, albeit messy, stage won’t last long, and she’ll be taking herself to the bathroom like my big girls do.

I just need to live in the now.  It’s one of those things that you tell yourself, and that others will remind you to do…”Enjoy them.”  And you think, “Yeah, yeah.  I know”, but then, you get caught up in preparing for everything else that’s coming.  And before you know it, another day has ended.  Another day will have gone by without you savoring the moments.  We’re too worried about the schedules, and the checklists, and the milestones, and we’re sacrificing the memories.  I don’t care to dwell on the future as much from here on out.  We’ll work towards what we need to work towards for the children to be healthy, safe, and on-track developmentally, but I’m tired of using my mental space as a to-do list when it should simply be used in being present.

Will you join me in being present today?  Stop thinking about summer vacation or school in the fall.  Stop wondering when baby will sit-up when you just need to be enjoying her newness.  Stop getting frustrated if your potty-training tot just “isn’t getting it”.  Instead, savor the sight of ornery little tushies running wild and making messes with the toilet paper.  Sit and record every expression.  Write their quotes on the tablet of your heart.  Play a game or build a puzzle and take a moment to touch their hand and take in how soft they are.  Even at five, my sweet girl still has darling, pudgy, dimpled fingers.  I need to pay attention to those details before they are gone, and I have a house full of little women and not little ones.  Read a story and smell their hair.  They all have their own, sweet smell beneath that maple syrup…  Enjoy them, right now, mama.  I appreciate you reading this, but close up your laptop, put down your phone for a few, forget about those mile markers, and go make a memory. xoxoxo

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