Monday, December 26, 2011

Parenting

Being a parent is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. Today reminds me of the days I used to babysit as a teenager. The harder jobs, where 30 minutes into the parents being gone, I couldn't wait for them to come home. Parenting sometime can be like that, except there's no relief.

Parenting also makes you look like an emotional wreck. There's hard times (like stated above) and then there's times where you couldn't be prouder to say "She/He's Mine". There's the times where only you can comfort them, and your heart just melts. Other times they can't stand you. Hence, why the emotions I feel as a parent can not be the primary determining factor in setting my mood for the day. Because sometimes I feel frustrated, then elated, then proud, then defeated, and everything in between. If I let YumYum or Smiles' actions set the tone for my day, I would act like a two year old- constantly changing my mood, and then a 2-year old would be parenting an almost 2-year old. Disaster.

So that's why God made us the parents, and them the children. Our job is the hardest one in the world, but I truly believe God does not give us more than we can handle. Who the heck told God I could handle two kids. :) Today is one of those days that I have to trust God. I'm so grateful that he's given me resources to encourage, help, uplift.... I just need to remember to ask for help sometimes. And I need to stinking remember not to try to do everything! Scooby Doo and I have CONSTANTLY  been cleaning the house lately. Laundry, dishes, picking up toys, changing sheets, vacuum, *repeat*. I need to differentiate in my brain the difference between having an organized house, a clean house, a tidy house.... verses a PERFECT house. When I say the house is a wreck, what really needs to be done? A few loads of laundry and the dishes? Is that really a wreck? Perspective......


Perspective is something I could have used this last week as I remembered that Christmas was happening in less than 7 days. Scooby Doo and I had previously set a Christmas budget based off what we had saved every month as part of our Dave Ramsey budget, and then we said we would get both of the kids one gift each. We knew it would be hard, but ... well... it was hard. Counting everything- even the 50 cent bracelets I got YumYum, we bought YumYum 10 gifts, and Smiles 2. Today Scooby Doo and I both said we should have just gotten them one. It's hard because we justify, we got YumYum ABC wood blocks, play food to use in her kitchen... all these things help with her learning and development. But I so do not want to be a family who has a bunch of stuff! I want to go through and donate a bunch of stuff she is done using, but I know Smiles will use them soon. Perspective- she and he would have survived without the gifts. But what's done is done. I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I love my kids, and unfortunately my love language is gift giving. At least we stuck to our budget.

All for now,

One tired, amazing, learning,
Parent.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Belly Blog

I remember when my Mom first told me about Scooby Doo. She raved about a "really cute" substitute teacher working at the same school she did, and all the teachers just loved him. She said he was tall, fit, handsome as can be- and a Christian. Coming from my Mom, I imagined a Christian geek. A man completely void of any physically attractive trait, with the exception of the “hotness” that comes from a man carrying a Bible. Never once did the insane thought that he would be my husband in three years cross my mind.

A single, straight, family-loving, God-praising, educated, practicing Christian, that was hot? Those don't exist.

After a few months had passed, and he was still coming up in conversation, I figured I wouldn't mind checking him out. I had gone to the school for almost a week straight to pick up my little sister from school, the same school that Scooby Doo and my mom worked at, and always looked good in hopes of running into him. Every day I wore a different friend's well-fitting shirt, bottom-hugging jeans, and perfectly hair-sprayed hair. Of course, I never saw him, even after talking to every person on campus I knew; holding on to the small hope I had of seeing this dream man.

A few weeks passed, and I had moved on past my boy-crazy attitude (temporarily).... when my Mom asked me to pick up Shiner because she had a meeting, and let me know that Scooby Doo would be teaching in the after school program a few doors down, my heart didn't skip a beat. I could be a bodacious babe in a bikini and I probably still would never meet this guy, or get his attnetion. I had to come straight from work, but I said that I could pick her up.

The first time I met Scooby Doo he didn't know who he was. My Mom introduced me as “007- version 2”-- he knew her daughter to be “007”. It was in passing, and I assume he figured my Mom was being her usual hospitable and kind self, introducing him to others, helping him become acquainted within the district and at that school. Coming straight from a shift at the local Italian restaurant, where I worked as a server, I reeked of spaghetti sauce and red wine, and a little bit of Windex. I pulled my hair tight back in a bun like a woman who never dreamed of getting laid, and had no problem wearing my stained, smelly, restaurant clothes to pick up my little sister from elementary school. If I remember correctly, I think at the time I was even using bobby bins and the little kid clips to keep my bangs out of my eyes. *hott*

Here's how it went down....

I walked up to my Mom's classroom, where I was picking up Shiner, and she said, “Oh! That's him!”. OH LORD.

Scooby Doo this is 007-version 2, she's a student at XYZ University, studying Bible there.”
Oh great- It's nice to meet you.” He turned his gorgeous perfect head towards me and I saw his beautiful eyes and mesmerizing smile- this man reeked of glorious perfection. There is NO WAY this could be the same guy my Mom and sister had been telling me about. He was way too good looking to have a half tolerable personality. And ... oh my GOD- what did I look like?!

Our exchange was brief, but he had caught my attention. A few days later when I was a bit more presentable and wearing yet again a friend's borrowed fitted knit top and some bottom-hugging jeans, I found myself picking up Shiner from school again in hopes of seeing him. I didn't hear his voice until I was leaving the school; walking on the blacktop looking back over my shoulder thinking to myself, “Oh my God, he is so HOT! His voice is HoT. And he is so nice... OH MY GOSHHHHHH”. I glanced over my shoulder to see if I could catch another glimpse at him and he was there with a line of kids behind him, following him as he walked in and out in an S-shape, just to keep the kids' attention. “Oh my God- and he's great with kids! You have
got to be kidding me?!”. He looked up just in time for me to make eye contact.
When we talk about when we first met, Scooby Doo said he thought I was cute, but had no clue who I was, so he didn't think twice. My Mom had talked about her eldest who was moving back in the area for school, … a single, 21 year old ….. (she still doesn't recall saying that her daughter was 21 instead of 19)...... going to Bible school..... a perfect match for a great, single, Christian guy.....

Almost five years later, I find myself thinking that my husband Scooby Doo has to be coloring the truth somehow. How could he find me attractive? How could he call me his “skinny mini” when I clearly wasn't skinny, or mini? Maybe it's because he sees my heart, the girl behind the clothes (get your mind out of the gutter).... he loves me, and my body. Why is the later part so hard for me to accept?

Through God's workmanship, this body has nourished, grown, and protected two precious babies for nine months. It has completed a mini-triathalon with virtually no training, earned a black belt, and done a few 5K's. I've had knee surgery, and spent the majority of my teenage years on crutches and in overalls. This body has accomplished the first nineteen months of parenting; slaving and sacrificing itself for the survival of two human beings. It has born sweat, cried tears, and rarely been thanked or complimented. This body brings comfort to my husband; my physical presence makes him comfortable. My physical touch calms my fussy babies. My hands have held the hands of friends struggiling as we prayed, and held the hands of children meeting the Lord for the first time. It has taken several hard hits as I trained, and earned, my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. My brain has studied hard, and earned a Bachelor's degree in three and a half years, despite going and transferring, to three different colleges and universities. Through the power of God, doors were opened for this brain to lead a multi-million dollar marketing campaign with zero marketing experience, and be successful. What makes me be so critical of my body so much? It rocks!

Our bodies do amazing things. They have the capability of doing amazing things, and serving an amazing God. Where in the Bible does it say that Mary carried Jesus perfectly in her womb, and delivered Jesus leaving no trace of stretch marks or scaring. Where does it say that Ruth had long, perfectly curled hair, and flat abs with no stretch marks? 


 
This belly belongs to a beautiful woman. She gave birth to two beautiful children. She is a fearless prayer warrior, loyal companion, and faithful wife. She has my utmost respect, and is a brilliant woman.



Shooting stars, turned falling stars.

This belly belongs to a beautiful woman with two beautiful babies. She is faithful to her family, devout, fun and life loving, and true to herself. She says her once shooting stars are now falling, but I think they're shinning and glorious more than ever.


Christian Rock DJ

This belly belongs to a Christian rock DJ Mama. I've never met her, but my email request for photos was sent to her through a network of mom's who've had cesareans. This is what she said:

I love that my body was strong & able to bear 2 kids. Thank God for that! But this belly's been garnering me some unwelcome comments lately. :) The trainer at my Power Punch class told me to watch my heart rate & not overdo it, pointing at his belly. Was he trying to tell me something?! And 3, yes THREE ladies at Zumba, not kidding, asked me how far along I was or congratulated me for working out while pregnant. I told one of them no, I'm actually just fat. Lol She didn't think it was funny. ;) Needless to say, I've been feeling bad about my flabby tummy that makes me look pregnant when I'm not. Then yesterday I was invited to speak at a women's luncheon...on "Inner Beauty!" Ha! I had to look at what the Bible says about beauty. It says man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart, and he thinks the unfading beauty of a quiet & gentle spirit is of great worth. Thx for the reminder, Lord! :)".... To my Sister (in Christ), your heart, and your body, is beautiful.



This belly belongs to an absolutely beautiful friend of mine. She is one of the most compassionate, loving, moms, and friend, I've ever met. She has an enormous gift of creativity that she has used to bless others, and she continues to better herself every day for her husband, baby, and herself. She's amazing.





This belly belongs to a woman who has a beautiful baby boy. She works hard, balencing parenting, work, family, and marriage, and she does a great job. She doesn't put herself first, and doesn't get all the encouragement or praise she deserves, but man- she does a great job. She loves her family, loves the Lord, and is learning to love herself- just how she is- remarkably beautiful, created as a child of God.












20 weeks along.

This belly belongs to a woman whose husband serves our country. So in my mind, she serves our country too. She has spent most of their marriage running the home alone, and raising their two dogs. She is kind, giving, focused, and loyal. She's half way through her pregnancy now, and although I'm sure the road ahead isn't paved of diamonds and rubies, I know she leaves behind a glow and a sparkle wherever she goes.










A c-section, 4 vbacs, and four miscarriages later.

This belly has housed many precious blessings from the Lord. She has five children. Her youngest is 15 months old, and she has four other children. She has had one cesarean, four home vbacs (vaginal births after cesarean), and four miscarriages (all that home). She works out 5 days a week and hasn't lost a pound since May. She loved being pregnant despite them all being challenging, because for once in her life, she could relax, not suck in her belly, and enjoy her body. She is an incredibly bold, sacrificing, honest woman with so much heart, who is giving so much.












This belly gave birth to two babies, one via Cesarian and one via vbac. It has been the brunt of many criticisms' from its beholder. Several commented on her lack of weight gain with her pregnancies (10 pounds for each pregnancy); they didn't bother to ask her if it was because she threw up every meal that she looked at. They called her lucky because she didn't have to worry about losing the weight. All she wanted was to gain weight, make healthy babies, and have a cute big round baby belly. She wanted to look and feel pregnant. They made her feel that her lack of weight gain was a sign of selfishness; she was choosing to protect her physical appearance over her baby. It wasn't just the fat girl that was being pulled out of the crowd. It was me.




This belly accompanied me through the throws of postpartum depression with my first, and unexpectedly (to me and my husband at least), soon after was asked to house, nourish, and grow yet another baby- growing it as well, if not better, than the first. It helped give the strength to the muscles to deliver a baby at home, unassisted, without a midwife or doctor present. (Well- God did that; but He did it through my belly.) This belly has many flaws, but it has also been a part of many beautiful things. This belly above- is mine.

You see- we all have our issues and insecurities. But our bellies are beautiful, because they are ours.our bellies are truly BEAUTIFUL. What they've been through, what we've put them through, what they've accomplished, and how they comfort. They're physically beautiful, these women; OUTWARD, and inward just the same.







Psalm 139:13-14
13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

****Check out this great website for more: http://theshapeofamother.com/


****Sincere thanks to the contributors of the emails and pictures!!!
If you'd like to add your belly and story to the "hall of fame", just email me and I'll add you!