parenting stumbles as they age

October 8, 2019

  Is this a weekly thing?? Can we dare say I might even blog more regularly? I mean, anything is possible, friends. As my kids age, I don’t blog about their naughty antics, their sneaking apple crumb cake off the counter, their shrieks in each other’s necks. It’s their story, right? And I’m also so imperfect, shouting when I already have a sore throat, recycling artwork in a non-stealthy fashion, failing to plan for dinner and wailing that no one appeared with a magic wand for the play dough disaster that is my kitchen currently. #costcobribes But I am circling around this theme of stumbling toward what’s best for them as a parent. The last week have given me ample opportunity. One kid made a poor choice. This child had a consequence and a ticked-off mom. Same child made a similarly poor choice along the same lines as before. This time I didn’t waste space and time by being angry. I could simply lay out the facts, the rules, how this child had violated them, and the outcome. It wasn’t about me. It was about the child. And how to help shape the choice next time temptation to swipe a treat comes up. Because it will. Because the world is full of unattended treats on your mom’s counter. Ahem. When I can rightly order my response, my reaction, to be for the child’s BEST good. For what will serve their soul in the long run, for how these habits here and…

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lowering expectations + Advent book

October 1, 2019

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to “lower your expectations.” It’s a phrase I hear thrown around a lot in mothering circles, kinda a tongue-in-cheek deal. It’s on the front of parenting greeting cards. It’s laughed about in conjunction with “wine-o-clock.” It’s ruefully admitted to in private. But I actually think it’s super important for sanity. When I blurt out that I’ve lowered my expectations, it means I have decided what I will spend my precious few minutes of “free time” doing. I am no longer expecting that all my spare moments when no child needs me and no dinner is cooking tending, fixing, cleaning, organizing our life. Because the needs are never ending and the list on infinite loop. I will clean up when the kids are around and I have to keep an eye on them anyway. I will step over piles of things that need to be tended to to tend to myself instead. The piles will keep. My hydration levels will not. My house and my to-do list simply can’t run me anymore or I feel so frazzled and so crabby with my kids (constantly thwarting my attempts) and husband (because he’s not a telepathic octopus) when they do. I also am thinking about Advent already. Yes, already. I aim high every year (all the liturgical living!) and land somewhere way, way, way down. Blessed is She’s Advent devotional book this year is simply  doable for me. So I’m hoping it can help you…

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health, simplicity, and lessons about suffering

September 12, 2019

I’ve had my fair share of health stuff in my adult life. Pregnancies that rendered me limited in functioning with hyperemesis, post-partum periods when I had ongoing undetected issues, hospitalizations, physical therapy, etc. But I’ve faced a new kind of challenge in the last year, and even in the last month. Almost a year ago I saw a doctor for facial tingling and numbness, and saw more doctors and had more tests, and more tests, and just so many blood tests, tests that gave me a spinal headache and an emergency blood patch, and eventual tingling in other parts of my body, and more doctors, and not many answers beyond “auto-immune something.” I’ve explored lots of dietary changes, the rest & hydrate protocol, and just sit and wait for something worse to come along or these symptoms to abate. I’m grateful for insurance and access to good health care. I really can’t complain. But over the course of this year, I watched as my productivity shifted and lowered, and shifted and lowered. I watched as my kids’ faces fell because we were not going to the Children’s Museum as promised, or people weren’t coming over for baseball & brats in the backyard as planned, or everyone needed to be quiet (so tricky for a 2 year old, let her tell you) so mama could rest. And while pregnancy sickness was for a specific purpose: BABY! these embarrassing episodes of nell-can’t-do-that seemed purposeless. Something my husband could only sit alongside me,…

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Bonnie’s Book You Have to Read

August 19, 2019

I met Bonnie in 2014. My lil baby was on my chest (now he’s well, five). I was at the inaugural Edel Gathering that Jen Fulwiler and Hallie Lord put on because my mom really thought I should go meet all these bloggers I had been following. Bonnie was one of them. And when I met her, she was just as down to earth, friendly, and funny as she seems online. So as my awe turned to affection, our relationship went from “you’re so cool and I love your blog” to “you’re so cool and I love our sisterhood.” We both started collaborating with Blessed is She when Jenna Guizar founded it and slowly, over time, I really got to know Bonnie. She has come and spoken in Minnesota over the years and I’ve seen her in small settings and large ones, caring about each and every story that people brought before her. She’s somehow an empathic listener and an energetic speaker (seriously, invite her to speak for you). She made us all laugh and cry. We’ve laughed and cried, too. At the first few Blessed is She team retreats at our family lodge, on airport runs, when I got to MC her conference and meet Travis and the crew, when we’ve talked and texted and emailed. When we’ve surprised her with virtual baby showers on zoom calls and when she’s prayed with me for the gritty hard stuff in my life. HER BOOK IS AMAZING. The way she writes,…

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facing back to school & a new resolution

August 17, 2019

It’s back-to-school time and I reflect on a number of posts I’ve written about school. In 2012 when I parsed through options for schooling. In 2013, when I shared thoughts about discipline for prek kids and a few activities to do with them. In 2014, when I said what I don’t worry about for prek homeschool and feeling powerless as a parent. In 2015, when I shared my wannabe homeschool books. In 2016, when I confessed that we’re homeschool drop outs! In 2018, when I briefly touched on two kids in school. Now here we are in 2019, two kids going to school, a third doing kinder homeschooled a la his siblings with a little nature school a few mornings a week, and the fourth hanging along like a casual tornado. We re-evaluate every single spring, is school working for the kids? and truth be told, this past spring I wasn’t sure about our oldest. He was exhausted, crabby, and so cross with his siblings. While he excelled at school and loved his teachers and friends, completed homework without a fight, and was a sweetheart in the classroom, he was really dragging at home. We only had one extra curricular  (violin), spent lots to time playing outside and eating dinner together as a family, and I was at a loss. With lots of open conversations about what our expectations and and that homeschool was on the table unless things changed, we noticed a more concerted effort to be charitable. We also upped the…

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Postpartum Space & Better Beginnings

August 12, 2019

throw back nearly 3 years to this sweetie at a few weeks old! ((When I redid my site, this post got lost so sorry for the repeat!)) I rolled over and kinda closed my bathrobe around a breastmilk stained nightgown. I rolled again and gently slid off the bed so I wouldn’t awaken our snoozy sleepy new bundle of love. At four weeks old, he was smack dab in the middle of our king-sized bed with my husband on one side, and a wall of nursing pillows on the other so I could shuffle to the bathroom. We had missed the extended family brunch that morning. I texted an apology from the end of the bed and then dove back in. With our first two, each newborn had been on a parade-of-families. People in, people out, people visiting at the hospital, people popping by to just see the baby. Me somehow inexplicably finding jeans to stuff into while dutifully sharing the babies, our stories, our newborn fleeting hours, holding nursing off so I could continue listening to someone else’s birth tale. But with this baby, nestled as he was in my heart, we simply shut the world out. Maybe it was the complex second-degree tear, maybe it was the deep infection in my uterus that landed us back in the hospital at two weeks postpartum. Maybe it was realizing that postpartum space is sacred and filled with moments we were never get back. I stayed in my bathrobe and my bed…

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