Saturday, January 29, 2011


What little time I've spent on this blog in the last year has been mostly my serious thoughts. I figured it was about time to update you on the family and show some cute pictures. I think everyone who reads this is probably friends with me on Facebook, but oh well--you get to see these pics twice, then!

Happy New Year 2011! Several years ago, we started a new tradition of making a Happy New Year Cake...I use the numbered candles. This year I added a twist: Happy New Year Cinnamon Rolls! Since I started back to work, the last day of the year is a busy one for me and I often don't make it home in time to make the HNY cake, let it cool to frost it & then celebrate. I saw a post online about a family who decided to celebrate NYE at noon on New Years Day...still "12 o'clock" but actually lets the children enjoy the time. You can tape the ball dropping (which we didn't do this year since I thought of it that day) and replay it to let them count down with you. I especially loved not having any pressure to stay up later. I think the kids enjoyed the cinnamon rolls and this way no one had any "cranky-before-bed" attitudes. :)

Marc has started a new hobby of collecting playing cards. He has some pretty cool ones, if I do say so. I initially gave him a hard time about his hobby, but have since asked forgiveness--I love playing with the different colored decks! Our favorite deck is the brown one. I bought Marc a book called "great card games for one"...basically a Solitaire book. There are some really neat solitaire games I had never heard of! We learned a game together called "The Scorpion" and spent all night playing solitaire "together" trying to beat was a little funny thinking about playing separate solitaire games at each end of the table. We're still trying to beat The Scorpion with the brown deck....

Marc & Zach played with the decks of cards one day while I was at work. Marc took some really neat pictures; here's one!

Zachary is 5 now (back in November, I think I forgot to post about it). He is SO smart and such a sweet little man. His reasoning skills are definitely improving, which makes first time obedience a new challenge for him. He's getting better at obeying "the first time with a happy heart" (one of our mottos), but I love to see the wheels turning in his mind when he comes up with an alternate solution. :) He can have a great conversation with just about anyone, and his latest favorite things are maps of any kind. We bought him a globe for Christmas & on the days when we have extra patience, we sit with him on Google Maps and check all the places out that he's never been before.

A month after his 5th birthday, I was able to pray with him to invite Jesus into his heart. Pretty much the best night of my life! We've been talking about him praying for awhile, and he's always expressed that he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart, but he'd say something like "when baby Emily is born, then I'll pray" or "after Christmas, mom, then I will ask Jesus into my heart." My favorite part of the whole experience with him is that it happened during our regular nighttime Bible reading/praying routine (not just a "special" church service or something else like that...there's nothing wrong with that but I just loved that it was a normal, everyday thing). More than anything, I want my kids to grow up seeing us model the Christian life and embracing their spirituality on a daily basis. We're no saints, but we hope we can teach our children to rely on God for everything...even on the bad days we need to ask for help! I digress...

Emily...She is 4 months old in this picture (a few weeks ago). "Emi," as she was nicknamed by her older sister! This little sweetie is such a joy to be around. She's an easygoing baby and rarely gets upset. When she does, she has a strange "throaty" cry which, to be honest, really drives me & Marc crazy! It's such a weird little cry, but it's hers. :) I went back to work on November 1st (6 weeks after having her) and while Marc had a bit of a transition, things are going very smoothly now. She's been sleeping in her own crib in her "room" which is really our walk in closet. I'll have to post a picture of that sometime; it's pretty funny, actually!

She coos and squeals and laughs and is in love with her older brother. She & Zach have a special bond. Kenna is warming up to her; for the first few months, she just acted like Emi didn't exist, but now she'll sing to her and talk to her and every once in awhile kick her in the head or something truly affectionate. She loves her Exersaucer and her swing and will pretty much be happy with wherever you put her. We are so thankful for her sweet temperament and she brings us so much joy!

My three on a fun Saturday morning we had together, just the 4 of us (Marc was sleeping since he worked the night before)

Kenna....well, there's not much to say. Below are the many fashion styles of Kenna Stone. She is tomboy and girly-girl princess and feisty charmer and little ninja all in one. She keeps us on our toes! We can't turn our backs for a minute when she's awake--and sometimes when she is asleep we can't even relax. One morning around 10 am, Marc said to Zachary, "Why is there a stick of butter on your bed?" Z said "I don't know, Dad." Then we realized that Kenna had gotten up early, gone to the kitchen, gotten a stick of butter & brought it into Z's room & put it on his bed. Then she went back to her room and we all slept through it.
Last Sunday, she salted my bowl of Froot Loops while I had to leave the kitchen quickly to tend to Emi. Marc was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and she must have done it while his back was turned. I'm telling you, we can't turn our backs for even a second! And yet, she's such a charmer, and gives the best hugs ever. I love watching her grow and learn. Today I was planning to make some rolls from scratch. I got out the flour, set it on the counter, and then Emi woke up from her nap. I had to feed her, so I settled on the couch. About 2 minutes later, I realized how quiet it was & called out to Kenna. No answer. So I got up with the baby, went into the kitchen and found that she had brought her stepstool to the counter, pulled the whole (almost full) 5 lb bag of flour onto the floor, gotten a spoon out of the drawer, and started spooning flour onto the floor. When I saw her, she looked up & said, "I'm making cookies, Mom." Like, "no big deal, I've got this under control." A hot mess, I'm telling you...

She wears this bucket on her head most every day.

Bucket and snowpants. You'll see it on the runway in a few months....Oh, and don't forget the black cowgirl boots. Trend setter for sure.

Hoodie sweater and snowpants. She would wear these snowpants all day & night if we let her.

I finally got a good picture of Emi's double chin! Sometimes when she's tired, her face droops ever more and she starts drooling. She looks like a cute little bulldog!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures & the updates. Marc & I are pretty much doing the same thing we always do, so no updates there. We're learning to embrace our new WV life the best we can...I'm learning that no matter what, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Love to all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mommies with Grace

I've had this post on my mind for quite some time. It's a tricky one to share. I'm talking about Stay at Home Mommies (SAHM) vs. Working Mommies...and just the word "versus" makes me angry. :) I know that none of us actually "say" that we are at odds, but the truth is that I don't think we know how to act around each other.

I've been both, for a decent period of time, so I guess I feel I've seen both sides. I'm even experiencing an interesting version of Working Mommy right now because my amazing husband is a SAHD and cooks and cleans.

So, here's the thing I've been dying to say. I've waited because I wanted to be able to share it with grace and peace and love. NEITHER ONE IS HARDER THAN THE OTHER.

Did you get that? Let me say it again: NEITHER MOMMY JOB IS HARDER THAN THE OTHER. They. are. both. hard.

A few thoughts, & then I'll jump into some pointers for "the other side." I know that a lot of people have opinions on "what is always best" for mothers and their children. I had some pretty strong opinions myself a few years ago. Please, please please. Can we give each other some grace? Because I know I need it....

The Stay at Home Mommy's World

This is a difficult road to walk. Staying at home with your kids is what you always dreamed of, right? Those glorious mornings when you would leisurely wake up at 8, make a healthy breakfast for your little sweethearts, spend the morning reading and learning Latin. WRONG! More like, your day starts at 5:30 a.m. when a 2 year old climbs into your bed (if not earlier when you are nursing a little one), you stumble into the kitchen, MAKE COFFEE, turn on Barney, and sit on the couch and pretend you're awake while your kid says, "Mommy, watch THIS!" Then when they won't quit bothering you, you drag yourself off the couch, pour them a bowl of Froot Loops, and wonder how you're ever going to make it through this day.

The reality is, you have hard days even when you aren't in a corporate environment. It's still a struggle to get out of bed every day and feel purposeful in the dishes and the laundry and the endless "Mommy, watch THIS!" You know that God has called you to train them and teach them, but you have no idea how to do it, much less do it well. You feel like an utter failure when 4:30 p.m. rolls around and the house looks like you haven't touched it all day, you totally forgot to put your roast in the crockpot and the only thing left to eat is peanut butter on a spoon. Except all the spoons are dirty...

Dinner, bath time, Bible time, bed time. Didn't think you'd make it this long. Fold the 2 loads of laundry you somehow managed to wash during the day, set them outside the rooms to be put away in the morning, load and run the dishwasher, balance the checkbook, put the baby down, and then finally, blissfully, it's your time.

The Working Mommy's World

Yuck. Even now, I think about this world, and I want to stick out my tongue at it. It's the world I'm currently in...not by choice, although I am learning to find joy every day in my new role. The thing about the Working Mommy's world is that it's different for every WM. Some of us work part-time from the home (a "status symbol" in my mind...still hard but at least you are mostly home with the kids!), some of us work part-time out of the home, and still others full-time outside the home. Some of us choose to work, others of us feel forced to work.

We didn't dream about waking up early, squeezing in a nursing session with the newborn, hurry up and ignore the older ones in order to get a shower so you look presentable for work. Rush through getting ready, get your coat on, pick up the baby to get one last breath of that beautiful "baby scent" only to get thrown up on and have to completely change clothes. Late for work again, this time with no breakfast. And we drive to work (or are driven to work in my case), checking work email on the way there to anticipate the next "crisis," all the while wondering "How on earth am I going to make it through this day?"

Is there really a purpose in those daily and weekly reports, the last minute "I've got to have that number!" and "Your action plan for increasing cash collections is due by Friday."? Most of us don't think so. We wonder if the baby is adjusting to his morning nap or if our 2 year old is feeling better since she was up half the night with a toothache. Lunch is a scarfed down bag of microwave popcorn around 1:30, and next thing you know, it's 4:30 and that report didn't get turned in on time. Fail, fail, fail.

Get home from work (the lucky ones have at least 15 minutes in the car before being attacked by the kids). Get attacked by the kids, nurse the baby, read stories, get attacked by the kids. Desperately try to get 5 minutes to breathe. Hide in the closet. Be found in the closet. Try to find humor in the fact that your kids want to be with you on the floor in the closet. Give up, help with baths, Bible time, bed time. Finally scarf down the cold remains of supper while collapsing on the couch. Sometimes do dishes and fold laundry, balance the checkbook. And then, it's You-time.

See what I mean? Still hard. Just different-hard.

A couple of things to take away from my tongue-in-cheek post. One, there is no way I could ever do justice to a single mom's lifestyle. Way, way, way, way, WAY harder than anything I just mentioned. Props to those of you who do it, with God's grace and strength. He will carry you.

Two, we need to do a better job of reaching out to "the other side" of women. It's really hard, I know. For a long, LONG time, as a working mom, I felt like it wasn't even worth it to meet other moms because I knew I didn't have much to give. I couldn't meet for coffee after dropping the kids off at school, or have a playdate at the park. Not to mention that even if I remembered to call my friends in the middle of the day, I simply couldn't while I was working. We need to learn to love each other well, even when we can't completely relate to the other's current lifestyle. It's a work in progress for me.

Three, we are different. But different is okay. As much as I would love to stay that God "calls all women to stay at home with their children," I can't. Because if I said that, does that mean I'm disobeying God right now? A lot of you know my story, but basically it was "homelessness" or "Mommy goes to work." Not so hard to make that decision when you know your kids eat 2 tons of food every day.

A few challenges to SAHM: 1) Realize that while you are just as busy as the working mommy, you have more "free time." Enjoy it. Use it wisely. Doing dishes and folding laundry is pretty mindless. Take charge of that time and use it to pray for others, or meditate on God's word. 2)Also, reach out to a working mommy you may know. A quick call to say, "I'm thinking of you," means more than you ever know. Even if you know she won't or can't answer the phone, taking 2 minutes out of your day to do that is a such a blessing. 3) Try not to complain too loudly about being at home all the time. Others are desperately wanting to be where you are.

A few challenges to Working Moms: 1) Be thankful for the time you get "outside of the house." Whether by your choice or by necessity, you get to be with other adults for awhile. See it as a blessing. God is giving you a chance to be Salt and Light in the world. Don't forget that others' eyes are always watching to see how you respond to situations. 2) Make an effort to be a friend. Continue your old friendships, or try to find a new friend. Don't let your loneliness drive you away from other women. You need community! A quick phone call to your SAHM friend means a lot to them, too. She realizes that you are busy, but knowing you thought of her makes her feel special! 3) Don't make SAHM feel "less than" because they don't bring home a paycheck, or they don't "do as much as you do." Their role is just as vital as yours, and they work just as hard. Remember that you get appreciated and usually paid! And they often do not.

What do you think, ladies? Can we show grace to each other? Thanks for reading.