Poop-pocalypse Part Two

**WARNING** If the thought of someone else’s feces makes you uncomfortable, I’d go search around the Internet for a different blog to read today…

To read the set up for this gross tale, go here. But, guys, it wasn’t over. Sure, gross story, but nothing all that out of the ordinary for parenting Littles. The unique thing about this particular week is that on Thursday, we’re supposed to be headed out of state for a friend’s wedding. And, not just to go to the wedding but for John to be in the wedding. So, we start formulating Plans B and C if the kids aren’t well enough in time to leave. Well, Thursday rolled around and Ella was just fine. Charlotte was thisclose to being completely fine. So, by Thursday afternoon, we decide to go ahead and pack, assuming that everyone will be well by Friday morning. We’ll be a little off schedule but just in time for the rehearsal.

Through my exhaustion of the week (and having a baby!), I get us all packed and ready to go. John was a huge help in getting everything organized, too. We all get up on Friday morning and eat breakfast. I pour my normal bowl of cereal and I do. not. even. finish. it. Weird. It tastes kinda gross to me, but I figure I’m just not fully awake yet and that’s my deal. Whatevs. (Clue number one that I ignored) Let’s load up the car and get going! We get on the road and y’all, we are making killer time. The nursing babe is even sleeping longer than usual which means less stopping. BOOM. We are owning this trip.

Our first stop is for lunch. Yuck. Nothing sounds good to me. (Oops. I was already given a second clue so early in the day?!) But, this isn’t totally out of the norm because I have a crazy digestive system and sometimes I’m a little out of it. I scarf a salad while nursing the baby and the rest of the family eats. Okay, everyone back in the car quick! We’ve got a rehearsal to make! I’m feeling a little stressed because HELLO! I’m the mother of this circus and we’re just barely on schedule.

After about an hour back on the road, my tummy starts hurting. (a THIRD clue? Oh.)  I assume I’m having what I lovingly call “a fake gallbladder attack” because my actual gallbladder is gone, but my body is sweet enough to not have gotten that memo at the surgery. So, I still get attacks. Now, we’re troubleshooting as we drive.

“Okay, I need to do my hippie acupressure points before we get to the rehearsal. I should take some pain medicine, too. We can do this! I can ignore the pain. Right? RIGHT?!”

We come flying into John’s parents house, just barely on schedule. I down some Tylenol. I do my hippie acupressure points. I nurse the baby. I say a prayer. I throw on a dress I had never even tried on before and had sent to my in-laws just for the rehearsal. Which, I realized about halfway down the road was a little revealing on top and cue the rest of the evening for me to yank on the dress and obsess. Regardless of all the crazy, we’re off to the rehearsal!

We arrive. Late. Because, we’re us. In the car, on the way, I started having motion sickness (are you noticing a pattern here?? Well, good for you. I, on the other hand, noticed no such pattern because well, smarts.) We roll up to the rehearsal and John goes running to his spot. I am left shuffling in heels, with lingering motion sickness, and trying to get the baby in his stroller. First, is to retrieve his pacifier from the mud, which happened somehow.

Okay, I shuffle us out and we’re off! I got to hug sweet friends (infecting them all, apparently) and catch up (breathing out more germs). Then, time to feed the baby. Perfect timing because now I can feed him before the dinner. I head back to the car because there really wasn’t anywhere else to sit. I feed the baby, John comes back to the car and I start to tell him how I really don’t feel good and maybe I should just go back to his parents. (another clue?? Gosh, I really shouldn’t become a detective when I grow up) But, I decide against it, thinking I can just push through and be fine. Lucky for all of the people at the rehearsal…

We get to the dinner. Hang out. Laugh. Talk. Enjoy life. I keep feeling like I’m about to fall asleep. But, again, I’ve got a little baby, we just took a road trip, I had a fake gallbladder attack earlier, the motion sickness, so many things… (queen of missing the signs?!). We eat the yummiest dinner ever. SO. so. good. Then, it’s time to nurse the baby. I nurse the baby. So many sweet people commented on the nursing babe, even though it was a restaurant where I thought that people wouldn’t be so happy. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the supportive comments. Okay, I digress…

After I finish feeding him, I put him back in the stroller. He started to get a little fussy and John was sweet enough to offer to walk him around so I could participate more in the dinner. After about five minutes, the room started to feel like it was spinning. You know that feeling where one second you’re fine and the next you’re thinking “uh oh, code red! Code barf! Things aren’t looking so good! Anyone! Save me! HELP!!!”

John returns and I shoot him a look of “I’m dying over here“. So, I run to the bathroom. Y’all, this bathroom is full of head to toe mirrors. You’re envisioning like a mirror or two right now. Well, you’re wrong. We’re talking if wallpaper came in mirrors, this would be that wallpaper. Mirrors everywhere. EVERYWHERE. So, you get the joy of actually watching yourself barf from every angle.

I’m standing in the bathroom all “I wanna puke but I can’t”. Because, well, two things… one) not even kidding, since hyperemesis with Ella (fancy way of saying that I literally could not keep anything down with her. It wasn’t morning sickness, but a real condition that landed me in the hospital once and ended with talks of home healthcare), I have a little PTSD and my body seriously works overtime to keep from vomiting. If I actually throw up, we know we’re in the big leagues, and two) we’re in a fancy restaurant and who wants to barf in a fancy restaurant? And, I mean, I’m a basket case. Who honestly thinks this much when they’re sick?? Sigh…

Then, I hear a “Jennifer, are you okay?” on the other side of this enclosed mirror stall. I stumble out to reveal one of our friends looking at me all concerned. I mumble something about the girls being sick earlier in the week and don’t come near me. Meanwhile, I’m texting John things like,

“WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW. I MAY DIE IN THIS ROOM ENCLOSED OF MIRRORS. I’LL GET TO WATCH MYSELF DIE FROM EVERY POSSIBLE ANGLE”

He responds with things like “Okay, we can leave soon, so and so is still giving their speech…. Aww… the bride is crying…. Aw… Now this sappy thing is happening…. aw… We can leave in a minute… Aw…

And, I’m all THIS IS NOT A DRILL. GET THE BABY. GET THE BABY PARAPHERNALIA. WE HAVE TO LEAVE AND WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW. I DON’T KNOW WHAT BARFING LOOKS LIKE IN A ROOM FULL OF MIRRORS BUT THIS CAN’T BE HOW MY LIFE ENDS”

At this point, John is beginning to realize that I ain’t joking. He starts trying to leave. Guys, when I tell you all that we are a circus 24/7, I mean that we are a circus 24/7. We already had to “borrow” $5 from friends for the valet, because I mean, who carries cash? And, by “who carries cash”, I mean our friends with the extra $5 to spare carry cash. I also say “borrow” because as much as I want to say I’ll make it to an ATM to get them some cash, that’s as likely to happen as pigs learning to fly. So, anyways, each time John goes to pack up our 1,400 items, something happens into the speech which turns attention over his direction. Then, he shoves himself back down in the seat. Circus.

Eventually, he frees himself and meets me in the middle. We go outside and he starts to stand IN LINE for the valet. I see the line and panic. Next thing, I’m in the bushes, dry heaving and leading downtown Dallas to believe I’ve had one too many to drink. I’m also trying to shove my nursing jugs back into my inappropriate dress each time I’m flailing over to pretend puke. Misery.

Finally the car pulls up and I go running. I decide to drive because I’m afraid that with someone else driving, I might get sicker. Guys, the Holy Spirit must have straight up driven the car because I don’t remember the 45 minute drive at all. I just remember lots of “Please, Lord, let me make it back“. The second we pull up at John’s parents, I run inside to which I vaguely remember seeing the 3 year old still awake and living the dream on the couch with her Nana. She smiles and waves and I try to fake some kind of smile back. Then, go runnnnnning to the bathroom. Did you know that fancy shrimp still tastes like fancy shrimp on the way back up? It does.

The next 24 hours was full of a whole lotta feces and vomit. Like, a lot. And, somehow, I nursed Jed all the way through it. Any tiny ounce of fluid I was able to keep within, was going to him. So, by 4:00pm the next day, I was shaking uncontrollably, in a lot of pain and my body just could. not. stop. I called my Mom (the nurse in the family and is used to these kinds of calls) and given everything I told her, said I needed to be seen right away. Guys, John is in Dallas. You know, about to be in our friends 5:00pm wedding. I text him and tell him we’re headed to the ER around the corner. I try telling him he can just stay at the wedding. I AM CRAZY. Of course he says he’s coming and I realize that’s probably a good thing because you know, we have a bunch of kids we’re supposed to care for, including one that has only ever eaten off of me.

I stumble into the ER with my mother-in-law, the one who managed to care for all of my kids through this sickness, plus got everything ready for the hospital. The doctor and nurses were all so kind and agreed that I was passed the point that I should have come in. My blood work was 50 shades of cray from dehydration. They pumped me with lots of medicines and multiple bags of fluid. They were also kind enough to take into account the fact that I was nursing. And, then, John showed up in full wedding gear. Smoking hot. While I, on the other hand, still had mascara smeared all over my face from the night before, probably some poop and puke on my smelly clothes, and my hair? Let’s not even go there.

The next several days were full of all kinds of nasty. I barely even remember us making the drive home. I do very much remember the state of the bathroom at Staples. A not screwed down toilet will apparently make being sick even more cumbersome.

But, all of this leads to even better moments…like, Ella coming home from preschool and telling me a horror story the second she got home. She said that she told her friends that her Mommy “pooped and puked EVERYWHERE” to which her friends replied “Ewwwww”. I asked her if she told her teacher, whom we see at church all the time, “Yup” That’s good, I guess? I decided to Tweet about this exchange because um, hilarious.

My very next Tweet was later that evening to which I petitioned HGTV to make more of Jen Hatmaker’s pilot show. Jen Hatmaker (of whom I am a fan) responds and retweets to which the Internet explodes. So, people start retweeting and favoriting my tweet like mad people. If just one of those people looked at my feed, my most recent talk was about my poop. And, my puke. And, preschoolers thinking it’s ewwww. Such is my life.

I haven’t been able to poop in private for a few years now. But, now my poop has really lost any of its privacy. For those keeping track, I’m finally doing better! I was sick for a week solid. This past Friday was the first day I finally felt half normal. Little Kid germs, y’all. Little. Kid. Germs.

Poop-pocalypse Part One

**WARNING** If the thought of someone else’s feces makes you uncomfortable, I’d go search around the Internet for a different blog to read today…

Kids are germy. Sooooo germy. The girls are both doing preschool and dance this year. Also known as activities they attend to see how many possible germs they can bring home in one winter season. I swear that my kids have created some kind of contest in their minds of how many pathogens they can hang onto this flu season.

Have you heard the ol’ “I’ve never heard of anyone giving birth with a cold! Lots of women get a cold full term but it always goes away before giving birth! Don’t worry!” speech? Heck, I’ve not only heard that speech, I’ve given it! It’s a lie, folks. A full. on. LIE. I had just knocked the viral pink eye the day before Jed’s birth which was brought on by the cold I was fighting that my sweet little girls picked up from the snot-flying-free preschool. I still had a cough and some sniffles when I had him.

We’ve been recirculating various colds since then and it’s been almost comical. If not for me rocking myself like a baby while holding the can of disinfectant. But, this latest illness to hit the household may be the one to take the cake.

It was a Tuesday like any other Tuesday. Ella was at preschool while Charlotte and Jed at home with me. I decided to get fancy with my day and go to a local baby wearing meeting. I know. Stop it. But, as I’m trying to rush the three of us out of the door, I realize that Charlotte has a stinky diaper. Right on cue. I go to change her and realized it seemed slightly questionable but not enough to stop moving forward. So, after the change, we’re off!

Baby wearing meeting comes and goes. We meet John for lunch at Chipotle and Charlotte is living the dream. We sit down to eat and she barely touches her food. Now, this isn’t the most insane thing for Charlotte because she’s picky. But, NO ONE in their right mind turns down Chipotle chips, including Charlotte. Then, I remember her sketchy diaper.

“Uh oh, please don’t be a sign of our impending doom”

We get home and it begins. Feces upon feces. But, Charlotte still acted mostly normal. Just a whole lot of stanky. Which, led into a whole lot of baths.

Ella comes home from school totally normal. I was actually naive enough to believe we’d contain the nasty to just Charlotte. I’m cute when I live in denial.

We go through our nightly routine and get everyone to bed. Just before 4am, Ella starts crying out and I hand the video monitor to John. Because, well, I don’t do 4am unless someone needs to be breastfed. I barely even remembering the throwing of the video monitor on top of John’s fast asleep body, but somehow, he got the memo and went upstairs while I seamlessly fell back asleep.

Next thing I know, John is standing over me…

“Wake up! I don’t even know what to do next…”

Huh?

“Ella pooped. It’s everywhere. Her bed. Her. The ground. Everywhere. I just didn’t even know what to do…”

I jump up and out of bed thinking “Oh, I’ve got this! It can’t be bad! Thank God that John has me!” Again, aren’t I cute when I’m clueless??

I go tearing up the stairs while John is still standing by my side of the bed in horror. I get up there to find naked Ella in the bathroom, standing in liquid poop that is everywhere. Her entire body weight worth of diarrhea. I yell downstairs to John, “She’s gone again! It’s all over the bathroom floor!”

He yells back to inform me that I am actually incorrect and that was the scene he left in horror. Oh.

Through tired eyes, we managed to get the ground, her body and bed all free of poop. Well, that’s kind of true. I’m really gonna need to rent a carpet cleaner for the trail that led to the bathroom…

This story is not over. This is the set-up for the insanity that followed later. But, because, ain’t nobody got time to read hundreds of words about someone else’s poop, we’re going to break here. Check in tomorrow for the final part of this gross tale!

Professional Mom

Am I the only one that has sworn everyone else gets some type of degree in parenting and I somehow forgot to sign up for my classes? I mean, you only need to read about our gummy crisis of last week to be fully aware that I’m not a professional Mom.

But, honestly, sometimes it feels like everyone has some clue as to what they’re doing and I’m doping around rewashing the same load of laundry for the 3rd time. On a separate note, how does each child added into the mix triple the laundry? It makes sense for there to be an increase, but to triple it? I digress…

Somewhere over the last year or two, I’ve become more drawn to Mothers that are real about the struggle. It is hard to take care of Littles. It is hard to be like Jesus when you’re training Little Souls that are unabashedly sinful because they don’t understand it all yet.

Some days I have all of these grand expectations on myself and those are usually the days everything explodes (again, gummy crisis anyone?). Those expectations generally come from a good place, but in the moments I’m willing to be real and meet my kids in the messiness of my life, we usually have a time that is much more God-honoring than all of the fluff.

I wish I had dinner figured out more often and that my floor wasn’t covered in loose cheerios and that I actually did my hair once in a while. But, the truth is, for each thing I’ve done, something didn’t get done. And, that’s really just fine.

I’m gaining the trust of three sweet little babies that are under my current care. I fail them so often. But, a dirty house and sandwiches for dinner again are not the ways in which I fail them. It’s when I try to be a professional mother (which doesn’t exist) and I prioritize the fluff above them. Playing with playdoh and making a huge mess may not seem like much, but it’s where I’m needed at that moment. I may have to drink a few cups of coffee to be able to hold my eyes open to play with that playdoh, but you do what you gotta do.

I’m weary of trying to hold the title of “Professional Mom”. It’s something I was never meant to carry and it’s an easy way for the enemy to distract me. Instead, today I’m going to love those babies well and give them a glimpse of how Jesus can love in the middle of the mess

Coffee Beans

So, I’ve never been a coffee fan {cue all of the coffee lovers running with their lit torches ready to harm me}. It’s just never really been my thang. I only ever drank speciality coffee that was so doused in flavorings and sugar that it was difficult to realize that coffee was even hidden in it.

Once Jed was born, I quickly realized that I may need to learn to love coffee. One morning I stumbled into the kitchen after a long night and tossed around stuff on the “coffee shelf” that has everything needed for guests. I grabbed a bag of coffee beans that was given to us from a friend in Orlando. I proceeded to grind the coffee beans in our blender (which I’m still unsure if that’s what you’re supposed to do) and made a pot of coffee. That was my first time ever making a pot of coffee and drinking it myself.

No one ever explained to me that hot coffee on a cold morning when you were up all night and now have three Littles to care for is God’s gift to Mama’s everywhere. It is Heaven’s elixir. I’m on the road to studying up to become one of those super annoying people that discuss different kinds of roasts and coffee making processes. You know the type.

But, here’s the beauty in it all, as I drank the coffee, I remembered why we were gifted it. Our dear friend sent it to us after Warner died. (Coffee beans don’t expire, right?? I’m okay.)

And, now, here I was, savoring every drop as it helped me to wake up for the newborn days of our latest son. Two brothers connected in their Mama’s heart through a simple cup of coffee.

God met me in the mess over a cup of coffee. Exhaustion, hormones, pajamas, and crazy hair weren’t too much for me to have a moment with God because of a friend’s gift. Isn’t that like me? To think that a moment with God has to be some extravagant affair with a huge take-away.

But, it’s in the moments over a gifted cup of coffee after a long night behind and a long day ahead, that God speaks volumes. I’ve just got to be willing to look and to see and to accept the invitation right where I’m at. It wasn’t long before a child was crying and the coffee was gone, but weeks later and I’m still amazed at how God weaves Warner throughout our family story. And, how dear friends have chosen to walk our hurt with us. Also, how quickly one can become addicted to coffee every morning..

Gummy Crisis

You know those days when you wake up and you’re all “I’VE GOT THIS”? I woke up that way last Tuesday. I had grand plans of finally cleaning the messy house, doing laundry, and organizing old clothes to sell at the upcoming consignment sale.

Ever since Jed joined the scene, we’re a little bit of a circus in the mornings. I’ve come to realize that sitcoms showing a family as being a circus aren’t over-exaggerating. So, after throwing some breakfast at Ella and hurriedly getting her dressed, it was time for her to rush out the door with Daddy for school. As she walked out, I grabbed the container of gummy vitamins and threw one at her because, well, school germs. (She later told me she put the gummy in her pocket and waited to eat it at school to show everyone her vitamin. We’re special.) After throwing a vitamin at her, I threw one at Charlotte because, well, germs.

Next, Ella was at preschool. John was at work. Jed was napping. Charlotte ate breakfast and was glued to an episode of Sofia the First. I had my coffee and was ready to do. this. thang.

Up first, getting the consignment sale clothes. My plan was a super quick trip upstairs to grab the stuff to organize and back down. Once I got up there, I realized the laundry basket I was going to use was full of clean, folded clothes that I never put away. Oops.

Well, Charlotte is quiet downstairs watching TV, I can put it away real quick…

I put the clean clothes away and then grabbed the consignment sale clothes. As I was walking down the stairs, I noticed how quiet it was in my house.

Lookie here, I am going to get all of my list down today! It’s not even 9:00am and I am owning this day!

Guys, if you have a Charlotte, NEVER THINK THESE THINGS. Instead (as I thought I had already learned by now) you need to be thinking:

HIGH ALERT: whhhhy is it quiet?! I should investigate immediately!

So, I mosey into the living room with my laundry basket full of old clothes and Charlotte is no longer glued to the TV. I first run to the kitchen because she likes to steal harmless things like an apple from the fridge. Nope, no apples.

Cue Charlotte on the kitchen floor with the brand new container of gummy vitamins and she’s chomping away like she’s hit the 3 year old jackpot. I yank the container away and start screaming. Not at her, but, at the air. The air around the house wanted to hear me screaming.

I start pacing the house screaming at the air.

“OH. MY. GOSH.!!! What do I do?!? OH. MY. GOSH.!!!”

Somehow there weren’t cuss words flying out of mouth. I can only assume the Holy Spirit took over.

So, instead of analyzing the victim, I’m pacing the house. Screaming. And, holding the gummy container in one hand and my phone in the other. Charlotte is now crying. Not because she was hurting in any way. But, let’s face it, she was probably convinced her mother has officially gone off the deep end. It couldn’t have possibly been all of the screaming at the air.

So, guys, I just stared at my phone. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain was, “Call poison control”. But, when you are running around screaming, it’s hard to form the thought coherently to actually know what to do with your phone. I did what any logical person would do, call their spouse and ask what to do.

First call: straight to voicemail.
My response? More screaming. Because that’s an effective solution.

Second call: ringing and ringing. Which, leads to me screaming things like,
“PICK UP THE PHONE!” Because, again, helpful.

He picks up. I scream/blurt something about Charlotte eating half of the container of gummy vitamins and I have no clue what to do. He seemed a little taken off guard because how do you respond when your wife is hysterically yelling in the phone and the three year old is crying her eyes out in the background?

I mutter something about poison control (bingo! I remembered the name!) and John proceeds to try and search the number on his phone with me on the line. His phone started acting up and he starts mumbling about it not working right.

Um, you guys, he might as well have screamed something about it being impossible to help me. Because, next, I yelled,

“Well, you’re not helping!! I’ve gotta go figure this out!!!”

*click*

Oh my gosh, I yelled and hung up on my husband. For all that is good and holy, I didn’t. even. remember. I did that until later that afternoon. Thank the good Lord that he’s still willing to be married to me.

So, after hanging up on my husband, I finally have the sense to Google “poison control”. Guys, I know what you’re thinking… It was such a hard task, but I did it. No need to applaud my deeply difficult and heroic move.

I dial the number. And, by dial the number, I mean just press my finger to the first Google search result. I know, you’re impressed by all of my hard work. It’s okay. There will come a day when, just maybe, your skills can outrank mine.

As the phone rings, I finally sit down and ask Charlotte to sit in my lap. She’s gone down now to a whimper type of cry. As she sits in my lap, I’ve now reached the next level in my crazy, the tears. I sit there crying, instead of screaming, and think of what a loser I am for leaving the gummies out. Now the call is answered and I’m trying to speak coherently to a stranger.

He asked me a few questions, which included
“How many did she eat?”

About that…

“Well, this package is 180 and it was new. About half is gone….” I said while imagining him flipping through his rolodex for Child Protective Services.

90?”

Even the sweet poison control guy had “what in the world?! 90 gummy vitamins?!” twinge to his voice. Yeah, well, go big or go home in this family…

After a few calculations, he came back on to say that she would have to eat 218 of these vitamins to reach the low level of toxicity. And, since Charlotte only ate 90, she should be fine. I had to hold my laughter. As soon as I hung up, I started laughing.

Let’s do a quick recap of all the emotions… accomplishment, terror, screaming, anger, crying, and then LAUGHTER. Oh my word. Out of control. In case you’re keeping track of my to-do list for that day, ain’t none of it got done. I might as well have run a marathon in those 5-10 minutes of the gummy saga. And, just for good measure, I didn’t get to any of that list for days.

So, folks, for those of us that leave gummy vitamins open and on the counter, those that accidentally leave the baby gate open and the 17mo old falls down a flight of stairs, those that forget to hide the magical Christmas elf when you told the kids that it flew back to the North Pole weeks ago, those that tell their 4 year old they’re never going to eat lunch again because they stole cheese from the fridge for the 50th time, and those that have done one billion other things wrong…

This is FOR US!!

We may not be winning at this whole parenthood thing, but we sure are having a laugh while surviving it!

Slowing to Wrap

I’m a busybody. It’s probably why I’ve had approximately 23 children so close together. Taking things slow and steady isn’t exactly my strong suit. Like most of us Type A people, I can tend to be more anxious. I want to know every possible in and out before moving forward in something. Every instruction or piece of information is emblazoned on my mind before taking even the smallest of plunges. 171542_701365651023_1953416_o After I had Ella, I began to notice some Mama’s using woven wraps to wear their babies. I remember being beautifully mystified even from the beginning. But, just the mere thought of taking one long piece of fabric and knowing what to do with it stressed me out. So, I never dared to try it. 919161_10151563719582226_196966208_o After I had Charlotte, I began wearing her more often. It was a necessity for survival with two babies only 17 months apart. As she began to grow, I began trying different carriers along the way. Never really finding love until a friend introduced me to my beloved Tula.

Becoming pregnant with Jed, the sweet rainbow baby, I decided that his arrival will be about abolishing fear. Every decision made during his pregnancy, labor, birth, and newborn days has been run through a filter of “will this bring peace or fear?”. It’s really made all the difference.

So, I was going to wrap this kid if it killed me. Lots of texts, YouTube videos, and Facebook groups later, I’ve fallen in love with wrapping.

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There’s something artful and creative about it. That whole link of motherhood thing? Yeah, I can’t help but think of all the mothers around the world and through the generations that have methodically wrapped their baby onto their body.

But, even more than all of that…

it forces me to slow down.

There’s a method to wrapping. I can’t just clip a buckle or two and done. I have to slow and pay attention to what I’m doing. With each pass of fabric, I’m bringing my baby in closer to me.

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There will be a day when he doesn’t want to be worn or carried anymore. I remember having a standoff with Charlotte in a parking lot last Summer because she didn’t want to be worn. It was hard to close that chapter, but she had grown and was ready to walk on those two feet God gave her. But, for now, Jed loves being brought in close. He’s the answer to many midnight prayers and he’s worth slowing down for a few extra minutes.

The Link of Motherhood

When we found out that Jed was on the way and that he’d be a Christmas baby, I couldn’t help but be awestruck. For months, I thought about what it would feel like to have a newborn over Christmas. I was going to be able to connect to the Christmas story on a whole new level.

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Those months led up to our Christmas baby being born on December 9th and it’s something I’ll cherish forever. Christmas has come and gone, but the images haven’t left my mind. Mary gave birth to Jesus. I gave birth to Jed. Someone gave birth to you.

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There’s not a single person around you that wasn’t birth by their mother. Sure, sin has affected everything. But, regardless of that, there is a thread that has been weaved through centuries. We all entered the world from our mothers womb.

As a mother, I’m connected to so many that have gone before me. And, so many that are alongside of me trying to figure this whole thing out. Did Mary know what she was doing? I’m convinced she was like the rest of us. Clueless, but learning how to lean on God’s grace and guidance.

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There’s something beautiful about the thread that connects us. Similar fears, heartaches, and celebrations have been handed down throughout generations. One day, God-willing, my kids will be parents themselves. They’ll pick up the baton and raise a new generation.

What I’m doing now, what the rest of us mothers are doing now, impacts further than the days bedtime stories. We are a link in a chain that has spanned generations and will continue on far after we’ve left. Sure, I feel like I’m failing half of the time, but I know I’m not the first down this chain that struggles with the same.

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Isn’t there something comforting when you know someone else has been right where you’re at? Lately, I’ve realized it’s not just me stumbling to get out of bed in the morning. And, it’s not just the other mothers around the world. It’s a bond shared throughout the ages of this crazy ride called parenthood. I’m one of many pushing onwards in my quest to look more like Jesus through the refinement of being someone’s mother. From Eve right on down the line, we’re all linked together

Calling of Motherhood

I’ve got three Littles under my care that look at me every day as though I know what I’m doing. What they don’t realize, is that I don’t have the faintest clue. But, what I do know is that I’m not here by accident.

Mom and Jed

There wasn’t some mistake when God gave me the kids He did. And, Warner wasn’t some cosmic mishap. No matter which kids might have been “planned” or “unplanned”, there is a God that doesn’t have accidents.

Ella throw

I don’t know how many times I’ve cried out to God thinking “I can’t do this”… from arriving at Warner’s funeral to cleaning the kitchen table again. And, the freeing reality is that I can’t do it. But, because God has called me to this by each child He’s placed in my story, He’s got my back.

Footprints

I am called to that runny nose.

I am called to that 1,000th PB&J.

I am called to nurse that baby every hour during a growth spurt.

I am called to clean up that mess made by those little hands.

I am called to do all of that laundry.

I am called to love those babies.

Bumbo

It hurts and it’s hard. Hormones are crazy and sleep deprivation can confuse everything. But, every single time I take care of one of those babies, I might as well be caring for Jesus Himself.

Snow fist

And, the beauty of it all?

Not only does God equip and empower us, He gives us glimpses of joy.

Ella Face

A laughing baby during the 3am wake-up call.

A “look Mom! I made this for you!”

A “oh, you look beautiful, Mom”

Sisters holding hands.

Sisters remembering their brother in Heaven.

Another brother that breathes joy in the sorrow.

Snow angels from little bodies.

Snow Kids

It doesn’t seem like a grand calling to most people. But, neither did a manger birth or riding on a donkey.

Love in the Mess

John and I had a baby two months ago. The cutest little boy in the whole wide world. That same cute little boy was born with a tightly tied tongue and a lip tie. After 8 weeks of struggling through feeding times, a 5 week battle with thrush, and next to no sleep, we found out about the ties.

Procedure went great and was definitely the right decision. BUT, it’s not been an easy recovery. Still having feeding problems, the thrush came back, and while sleep has gotten better, we’re still pretty tired around these parts.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve cried my eyes out trying to figure out what to do next. Is it better to give him a bottle? Should I just pump or give him formula? Should I contact a different lactation consultant? Should I stretch his mouth more often so the ties don’t reattach? Should I try all of these thrush remedies or just one? And, the list goes on…

John has made more trips to the store and pharmacy and doctors offices with me than you could even imagine. He has a full time job plus side projects, yet he’s making sure I get naps as often as possible. He’s sat with me while I’ve cried. He’s taken the baby when he cried. And, so much more.

The other day I snapped a picture of our bedroom because it finally tipped over from “a little bit messy” to “mass chaos”. I was looking at the picture and noticed something.

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Look at that dresser

Mess

Once you’re done laughing at the irony of a bottle of windex sitting on top of the pile of junk, look at what’s supposed to be my cute decoration. It’s letters that spell out “LOVE”.

There is love in the mess. Sure, there’s clothes strewn everywhere. Empty cups and plates from late night food. You can’t tell where the bedspread begins or ends. Dirty diapers are likely to be in the mix. Empty boxes from Charlotte’s birthday gifts not thrown out yet.

But, there’s a whole lot of love in that mess. Each item thrown around that room has some love hidden behind it. Those clothes? The clean ones were washed to provide something nice to wear. The dirty ones were picked to look nice for the day they were worn. All of those empty plates and cups brought nourishment when needed. That bedspread was bought when we up-sized our bed to a King when we found out Jed was on the way to make room for the whole family. Any floating dirty diapers? One of our gifts of joy in the sorrow produced those. Those empty gift boxes of Charlotte’s? She was loved well on her birthday, despite life being a little nutty right now.

And, that room as a whole? I get to share it with my husband. I’m grateful that he recognizes (better than me) that despite all of the mess, love can be found.

Bad Mommy

After playing with Jed, I lifted him up to go change his diaper. I bumped his little head on my arm and despite it being the world’s smallest graze in the history of mankind, I felt bad. So, even though I knew I shouldn’t say it…

“Oh, Jed, I’m sorry. I’m such a bad Mommy”

Ella immediately popped her head up from the game she was playing. And, like Jesus with skin on, she looked me straight in the eyes…

“You are NOT a bad Mommy”

Words. They’re powerful, aren’t they? Once something goes from your mind and out your lips, they can bring life or death.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” -Proverbs 18:21

In all of my time going through counseling since Warner’s loss, I’ve realized how negative my thoughts or words toward myself can become. Even if I make a minor mistake, my brain will go into hyperdrive and act as though all is lost.

“You’ve never been a good wife”
“You’re not even a good mother”
“You’re messing up your kids forever”
“You can’t do that”
“You’ll never make it”
“Look at her, she’s got it figured out and you’re not even close”

It takes time to shut down the thoughts and send them back where they belong… in the pit. But, I’ve come to realize it’s not just about shutting them down and throwing them out, but about replacing them with truth.

“By God’s grace, you are a good wife.”
“By God’s grace, you are a good mother.”
“You’ve handed your kids over to the Lord and they are His”
“You can do all things (that God has called you to) through Christ who strengthens you”
“You will finish the race that God has set before you”
“Don’t compare. Comparison brings despair”

Isn’t it funny that us Mothers who lament and worry and cry that we’re the world’s worst, probably aren’t the worst at all? But, the fact that we even wonder or pray if we’re getting it all right, shows that there is a depth of care for the ones entrusted under us?

How easy it is to look at another Mother and think she’s got it figured out! Then, we look around our house at the crusted oatmeal on the floor, the toys everywhere, the arguments over sharing, the accidental bumped heads and immediately assume we must be failing this whole thing?

After Ella rocked my world with just a few words, I beckoned her over for a hug and a kiss. And, you know what? I should listen to the source…

I am NOT a bad Mommy.