Thursday, December 30, 2010

Facts & Ironies

Facts about me & Ironies of my life (and possibly yours too):

* I am drawn like a uber magnet to the expensive things. If there is a collection of purses at TJ MAXX, and I can't see the brand or the pricetag, I will still pick out the expensive one. It happens. A lot. And not just with purses. (I've been in a I need more purses mood lately)

* I seem to over-season or under-season food when I cook. I have a hard time getting it just right. Yes, I use the recipe, but some of the recipes I've been given don't have certain amounts. You know, a pinch of this, a splash of that. Yeah, I'm not good at measuring those. I know it takes practice, but I have no depth perception and that makes it tough!

* I love office supplies! Oh my word, do I! New pens are my weakness. Sharpies make me smile. I find ways to use them. I love my iPhone and all of the ways that I can make lists, but there's nothing like writing with a new pen. I love the fresh pages of a brand new notebook. And binders...I just love binders! Add dividers and I'm in heaven!! :) I know it seems extreme, but I really do love this stuff!

* There's about a 15 minute period in my day when I feel like I can't breathe. It's right before Bella's naptime. She's tired and wants me to hold her. Usually at this time, Brennan is ready to nurse, so Bella sits as close to me as she possibly can. I do feel a little suffocated at that moment, but then it's over...she's in her bed and he usually falls asleep too. It's then that I catch my breath.

* I had a pair of NineWest shoes that I got from Marshalls. I loved these shoes. They were so comfortable. I wore them all the time when I was a teacher. One of the straps broke, so I threw them away. I didn't know what they were called, but if I would have, I think I would have bought them at full price because they were so stylish and comfortable. Sylvia, my cousin, found them at the same store a year later...they were in her size not mine. And there were no more there.

Just thought I'd do something a little different in my blog. :) Feel free to let me know something about you!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Apostle Paul's Advice on Being a Mom

Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." A lot of Christ-followers quote this verse from the Bible and use it as a source of encouragement to get through a tough time that they may be having. The cool thing to look at are the verses written before this one. In verses 11-12, Paul, the writer, begins talking about how he has learned to be content in any living situation; to live on almost nothing or with everything. I like how the New Living Translation of the Bible says it, "(12)...I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. (13) I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

This has been on my mind this week. Learning to be content in any situation, any circumstance. Boy, am I still learning. Before having kids, I thought I am going to love being home with my kids. I don't know how someone would not want to be a stay-at-home mom...I know that there are situations where a mom wants to stay at home, but has to work to take care of her family. And now I understand why a mom would want to go back to work. Some days I think I would fit in better at a mental institute than I do in my house. :)
Also, I think about where I am now. Staying home with sick babies. It would be easy to feel left out of the fun. Sometimes I think that we don't get invited to do stuff because people just think they can't come anyways, they have kids. It's tough sometimes. It's hard to live in the present where there's nothing really but poopy diapers and runny noses and crying, clinging babies. I know that 10 years from now we will be able to go anywhere we want with our kids. That's just not happening now.
And then I think about moms who have kids who are grown and are on their own. Sure, they can do whatever they want whenever they want. But for some of these moms, they long for the days where they held a sick baby for hours. Where they were the center of their child(ren)'s universe.
I guess I'm a little stuck on the seasons thing. But that is what Paul was talking about...being content in any any season...That's what he could do with the strength that only Jesus could give him. Being content as a mom requires the same strength from Jesus to me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

There's Nothing Like Being Home

Bella likes to be on the go. She often asks to go outside, to go bye-bye, or to ride in her daddy's truck. She has been thrilled to spend time with her cousins Diamond and Mercy this past week. But towards the end of the time at both of our parents' houses, she mentioned that she was ready to go home. She's 2. I wouldn't think she would know what she wanted. But Sunday night, when we got home, she was so relieved. She was happy to play with her toys. To sit at her table. To rock with her daddy. When we moved here in May, Lee said for our first night in this new house, if she fell asleep on him in his chair, that it would really be home. She did that night, and she did Sunday night too.
Believe it or not, Brennan seemed to be happy to be home too. He smiled and kicked as he laid on the floor. He just seemed peaceful.
I don't know what it is, but there is something special about being home. I love being with my parents. I am sad when I have to leave. But I love coming back to my house.
Both of my babies do too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saying "No"

The word "No" is often a hard word for people to say (and to hear as well). There's pressure to not let someone down, or hurt someone's feelings, or disappoint someone...People just don't like saying "No." It's hard as a parent, too. Sometimes I feel like all I say is, "No, Bella." And I know it will be "No, Brennan," before long. Lee once said, "Maybe we should just let her keep talking because it seems like all we do is tell her 'No.'"

Being a stay-at-home mom has taught me to say "No," but in a different way. It's saying no to opportunities that come to me or things that I may want to do, but it's just not the right time for me. Pete Bullette encouraged me with this, "Bri, you and Lee have 20+ years of ministry together ahead of you, but it's just not right now. Enjoy your kids." That has been such a relief to me. I know that it is true. Right now my little babies need me more than they ever will in their lives. I want to enjoy fulfilling that role because no one else can do it like I can. Amanda Gravely also encouraged me by saying that there will always be people who need to be ministered to, but right now is the time to enjoy being with my babies.

I'm thankful that there are people in my life who encourage me where I am at. There are so many emotions that a woman with small children goes through about life...throw in being a wife and a minister and it gets even crazier! But, as I've said before, I am completely embracing this season. Pretty soon I will be forced out of this season and into the next. I'll have multiple opportunities to say "yes" to all kinds of things in the future, but as for right now, I'll settle for saying "no" to be able to enjoy the life that I'm living.

Friday, December 10, 2010

At Home

It's just easier to stay at home right now. It takes so much to get out of the house...not just things, but energy! I keep picturing life ahead...when Bella is 6 and Brennan is 4...that's hard to picture at times, but I think that they will both be walking, communicating well, and hopefully not throwing as many fits in public. I know those days are coming. But they are not here now. I'm not bitter about it. I'm just staying home.

Being parents is a very demanding job. My time is not my own right now. There are moments when I want to pull my hair out. But those are brief moments, even though they feel like they last forever when they are happening. I will not complain; I am getting what I want. I want to be at home with my kids. So, that is where we are.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Smiles Full of Love

There is nothing that can compare to when one of my babies looks me in the eyes and smiles. Those eyes are so full of love and admiration. It just flows out of them. Their eyes and their smile say it all. It's an amazing experience I get to re-live every day...a moment that is treasured in my heart. They may not understand the words "I love you," but the look in their eyes says more than those words can convey.

I often think about my relationship with God...and how I want to look at Him with the same look that I get from my children. I don't want to continually have my hand out waiting on something from Him. I don't want to pout or pitch a fit when I don't get my way. I want to look at Him with love and adoration...just enjoying being with Him. Just to smile when I reach out because I know that He is there. I want that every matter what the day looks like.

My babies love me...and I love them. Deeply. Bella is just now starting to say the words, "I love you." And it is so precious to hear. And it gets funny when she says, "I love you, cup..." or "I love you, bath." But when I see the look in her eyes and the smile on her face, I know that she is expressing love far beyond what her words are saying. I want God to feel my love for Him like that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Can't Compare

We went to the doctor yesterday for Brennan's check up. He's weighing in at 14 lbs. and is 24 in. long. He's a growing boy!! He's starting to coo and talk a lot...and we are even seeing the beginning of a laugh. It's such a precious time. He's a great snuggler too. And thankfully, he will let others hold him...which is great because Bella usually wants me to hold her anyways.

It's really true that you can't compare kids. Brennan hasn't really been anything like Bella. She was a fussy baby, but now she's a great kid. Brennan is laid back, so there's no telling what kind of kid he's going to be!

Yesterday, when he got his shots (which Lee has to do by the way...I can't be in there when they do it...), Lee said Brennan cried more than Bella did. And after Bella got her shots, she would cry and then crash. She would just sleep...wake up, eat, take a little medicine, and then go back to sleep. He, though, screamed the whole night until about midnight when I laid him in his bed. It was like he wanted to be held, but every time I moved, he would start screaming again. He's better today, but again, not like Bella.

I know that they are going to continue to be very different as life goes on. I want to make sure that they are treated equally fair, but that is going to look different for each of them...which to them is going to seem unfair. Funny how that goes. I know in the classroom, what worked with one student may not work with another. It's not about special treatment, it's about learning. I want my kids to be well-developed human beings that others want to be around.

They are both good kids. Bella is in the fit stage of life, but she is 2 years old. Most of the time, she's funny and polite and a joy to be around. Brennan is just laid back and enjoys seeing what's going on around him. He's becoming more interactive, which is fun. I feel very blessed. I know that God has great, great things in store for these little ones, and I'm thrilled that it is going to be a unique experience for both of them, and Lee and I get to be involved!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Staying Away from Insanity

Working out is not my favorite thing to do. I don't enjoy aerobic activity. Never really have. I like yoga and pilates classes, but that's just not an option right now. So, I decided I was going to train to run a 5k. It's kicking my tail. I'm going to do it, though. It's just going to continue to be a challenge to me.
Finding a time to work out is also a challenge right now. The last thing I want to do when Lee gets home is to leave to go to the gym. It's really different being away from him all day. I was going in to the cafe a lot more before Brennan. It's just easier to stay at home with 2 little ones. The routine is easier to accomplish at home. I really have embraced this whole being a wife and a mommy. I grew up with a home-cooked meal on the table every night. There was no take out or fast food...I mean there were a few restaurants we could order from in Buras, but my mom cooked all of the time. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm getting better. Like I said, I'm really just now starting to embrace this role.
Being a mom has rocked my world. It is a different set of circumstances, emotions, and ideas for each woman. It's easy to look at another mom and say, "I can't believe she's doing that." But you have no idea what is going on inside that woman's mind and inside her house. It's important to remember not to judge. A mom has to do what is best for her and her family. Staying sane is a must, and what that takes is just as unique as the person who is trying to stay sane. I feel like I have a better grip on this sane thing right now...and for me, that means I'm feeling good keeping the insanity away.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It All Began with Cookie Monster

Bella tells us now when she wants us to go to her room to play with her. It is very hard to resist, especially when she says "please." Once we're in her room, she points to the exact spot where she wants us to sit. She's even given us the toys we are supposed to play with. We've obliged thinking that it was cute, even when she took a toy away from us and gave us a different one.

She's not really a confrontational girl. In the nursery or at the Play and Learn with Me place, when a kid takes something from her, she finds something else to play with. But at home, it's her territory, her toys, her story...

I was in her room with Brennan, and I picked up Cookie Monster and started moving it in front of Brennan. Bella then decided that she wanted Cookie Monster. I told her "no, Brennan is playing with it." I know Brennan would have never noticed if she took it away from him. He would not be scarred for life. But I also knew that this was a teaching moment.
She pitched a fit. She began the normal routine of hitting things, pouting, and other things that get her put in her bed for timeout. I told her to calm down, and then I tried to get to her to exchange a toy with Brennan. If he could have Elmo, then she could take Cookie Monster. Of course, she wanted Elmo, too. After telling her no, though, she was able to play with Cookie Monster for all of 30 seconds before she moved on to something else.

One thing Lee and I do NOT do with her is say "Mine." We don't say, "My blanket" with her favorite blanket. We don't even say, "Hey, I've got your blanket," in an attempt to make her jealous. We don't fight or argue over things around her or in front of her or with her, even in a playful manner. We want her to share. Now, I don't want her to be taken advantage of. I want her to be able to stand up for herself and say "No, I'm sorry, I had this first." She doesn't not need to be a doormat. But we want her to be generous. We want her to be like Jesus.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carrot Sticks for a Snack

It's time to lose the baby weight. I wasn't really focused on it after Bella. I wasn't really focused on anything after her. I know I didn't lose the weight super fast. Well, this time I'm in more of a hurry. I'm ready to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans and other clothes. Nothing fits right at the moment, and I don't want to spend any more money on clothes that I'm not proud to be wearing. I do have 1 pair of jeans that I bought, and I wear them every day. Literally. If I'm going to wash them, I will make sure I'm home and stay in my jammie pants until they are ready to wear again.

I know that when I go places, people aren't really looking at me; they are ready to see the baby. BUT, I know how I feel. And really that is the important thing. I've got a funky hair cut. So, it's time to change the shape of my body. We're working on that.

So, the goal is to take an amazing Christmas picture. We've got a few weeks to get there. I know that making changes to our diet and working out will help us get there. I'll be using the calorie counter app on my phone. Counting calories work (I'm using So, instead of oreos, which I really want...I'm having carrot sticks as a snack. I'm going to drink more water. And hopefully since the weather is beautiful, on nights when Lee is home early enough, we are going to enjoy walks around our neighborhood in Broussard. It's time to make the change.

I feel like I've bounced back a lot faster after this pregnancy than the last one. The weight is harder to lose the second time around for me. But I want to do it. I want to feel good about my clothes.

So, I'm going to finish my carrot sticks now and look forward to fitting into my favorite jeans again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting My Attention

Brennan is 2 months old now. He's so big for his age...well, compared to how big Bella was at this age. I know he's going to pass her up sooner than later.
His personality is really starting to develop. He has a great that will just melt you right where you're at. He's starting to make a lot more noises - not fussy noises - he's just trying to talk. One thing Lee and I have both noticed, he does things to get our attention. Lee actually noticed it first. He was holding Brennan as we were talking one evening. Brennan began to make a noise and stopped and smiled once Lee looked at him. He was so content to have Lee look him in the eyes. Lee looked away and the sounds came back until Lee looked at him again.
Brennan has done this a few times now. It's really precious. He wants me to look at him. Bella didn't have to compete for attention when she was this age, but he does. Not bad competition; there are just a lot of things going on now compared to when Bella was a newborn. He doesn't fuss much at all though, even to get our attention. He's found another way to do that.

I wonder what God does to get my attention. There are a lot of distractions around me, so I wonder what He does to get me to look at Him. I know that He is pursuing me and waiting for me to respond. And I'm sure He feels like Brennan does when I do look at Him. Love, warmth, joy...I'm glad I don't have to compete to get His attention. It's always available to me. I just need to respond.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Things that Bella Likes...

As a 2 year old, the world seems so small and big at the same time. It makes me wonder just how much of fear is learned or passed down from me. I was completely afraid of the dark as a child. Bella has no fear of the dark at all. She will walk into a dark closet and close the door behind her. She likes dogs, but it takes her a little bit to warm up to them. I can't stand them.

I was thinking about Bella being a 2 year old and going through the things that she likes:

  • Baths
  • Bubbles
  • Spaghetti
  • Seeing Diamond and Mercy (2 of her cousins that are her age)
  • Seeing her grandparents
  • Hearing and then seeing a helicopter or an airplane
  • Jumping on Mommy and Daddy's bed - especially with Daddy
  • Dinosaur chicken nuggets
  • Shoes - especially ones that make noise
  • Dancing and singing
  • Silly faces

It doesn't take much to make her happy. She's happiest when she has her mommy and daddy's attention. She wants us to watch her, be with her. It's hard at times. She can't have our attention 24/'s just impossible. We wouldn't get anything else done. But, when we are spending time with her, she knows that she is loved. You can tell it in her smile and hear it in her laugh. She knows. And in those moments we know that she loves us too. It's amazing how I can tell her "no" and be completely frustrated that she just wrote on the wall again, and after fussing at her, she's ready to cuddle with me on the couch. Unconditional love. I know that love becomes more conditional with age, but right now, I'm enjoying it. I want her to know that I love her unconditionally. Sure I might get upset at times. I may disagree. But I love her no matter what.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Restaurants Stress Me Out Right Now

Going to a restaurant is a complicated mess more often than not right now. I feel soooo bad for the waiters, waitresses, and bus boys who have to clean up after us when we leave. It is always a mess. Bella is such an active girl, and sitting still is not one of her favorite things to do. And she just wants to pitch a fit when we don't let her run around to let her inner wild banshee loose. It always seems to be an interesting experience, and every time we go out, we say that it's going to be the last.

It really isn't that bad, though. I know it could be worse. She drops a lot of food, but she's not intentionally throwing it right now. Brennan has been asleep almost every time we go to a restaurant, which makes eating an actual possibility. And Bella usually tells the waiter/waitress what she wants along with using the word "please," which makes that person (and us too) smile. At least she doesn't ask to strip down before she eats like she does at home. That's a good thing. No public indecency yet...I worry about her causing a scene or disturbing other people there, but really, most people look and smile. I haven't noticed anyone being annoyed yet...but I haven't had a chance to spend much time looking.

I have come to the conclusion that staying home with 2 little ones is just much easier, but honestly, we all feel better when we get out of the house for a little while even if it stresses us while we are out. The important thing is that we are together. We're a family. You can get through anything with your family.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Always There

Bella has been doing really good adjusting to Brennan being here. Lately, though, she's had a hard time with a few things. Going to sleep at night is one of them. We used to be able to walk her to her bed, pray with her, put her in her bed and walk out. Now, she cries. And it breaks my heart. She asks for everything she can. Water, toys, and then the heartbreaker - "rocka me mommy chair" Ulgh. It rips my heart out! One night I tried. I rocked her for 20 minutes, and she still didn't fall asleep. She still cried when I put her back in her bed. It's getting better, though.
But, last night, she wanted to jump on our bed, which she loves to do, and after a little bit of jumping, she laid next to me and fell sound asleep. So precious. So priceless. She just wants to be close to me. To feel me near her. There's warmth and comfort there.

I'd let her stay there all night, but she doesn't stay still all night. She moves around, kicks and squirms, and by the time she wakes up in the morning, I'm not ready for the day because I haven't slept much at all! But, in the awake times, she knows that I'm there. Even at night, when she can't see me, I'm still there.

I know that's how it is with God. He's there - whether I feel Him or not, whether I see Him or not - He's always there. It's amazing how much more I have learned (and continue to learn) about God after becoming a mom. I know He cares for me more than I can ever imagine. I know that He loves me even when I do something wrong...even if I break His heart. I know that He is always there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Patiently Waiting

"Daddy coming home time" is what Bella says as she looks out of our front window. I usually tell her that he's on his way home after he calls to tell me that. Then, we wait patiently by the window until she sees his truck turning in the drive way. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, it is what we do. It really is a precious moment. She's soooo excited about getting to see her daddy. Throughout the day, when she hears a loud truck pass on the road, she runs to the window and says "It's daddy." I then have to tell her that it's not time for daddy to come home yet. She's ok with it. She hasn't pitched a fit over it yet. She continues playing and waiting until the next loud truck passes by. No matter what, though, she's excited when he comes home, and she squeals with delight as he walks by the window where she has been so patiently waiting to see him.

I want her relationship with Jesus to be like that. Not disappointed that He's not here yet, but patiently waiting, looking forward to the moment when she'll get to see His face. I want my relationship with Jesus to be like that, too.

She talks about Jesus a lot for a 2 year old. It's really neat. She's a worshiper at heart...hmmm...wonder where that came from. We never encouraged her to raise her hands during a worship song. One night at a chi alpha service, she did it on her own. She wasn't even 1 yet. Now, she has a mermaid barbie doll toy from McDonald's that is a tub toy, and just the other night I heard her say "Praise Jesus" as she was putting the doll's stiff arms above its head. It's in her. I'm so happy for that. I don't want to force her into a relationship with Jesus...I want her to love Him on her own. But I will have to do my best to introduce her to the One who loves her more than I do. I want to give her as many opportunities to see Him through me...and man, sometimes I fail miserably at that! I want to strive to be more like Him for her and Brennan!

Just like she's at the window patiently waiting to see the one that she loves, I am right there too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Experience Is My Friend

Nursing didn't go well for me the first time around. Bella and I both had our own issues, so I pumped exclusively for 4 months. It was horrible. I felt so trapped by the pump! I felt like I couldn't leave to go anywhere because I would have to turn right back around to pump again. Add a colicky baby to the mix, and I was just a mess.

Experience is a great friend. It can help you learn if you want to learn from it. I look at things so differently now. I was so determined to nurse Bella. It was one of my greatest disappointments not being able to. I felt like I was less of a woman and a mom, even though I knew I wasn't. I still felt like it. Everything I had read before her birth told me that it was supposed to be natural. Well, it's not! My body naturally produced it, but getting it in her was a new experience for both of us. I finally read one little book (it came with the formula diaper bag they gave me at the hospital) that said that it could take up to 8 weeks for a baby to learn how to latch on correctly. Why hadn't anyone told me that!?!

After 4 months of pumping, we went to formula. Life became so much easier!! Sure we had to mix it and make sure that we had it, but I wasn't trapped at home anymore. She is a happy, healthy girl. She really is hardly ever sick.

Now, Brennan is nursing well. It hurt really bad at first. For a while. I'm glad that I stuck it out, though. Now my concerns are if my milk is ok, if he's getting enough. He eats every 2 hours during the day, no matter how I try to get him to go longer. At least I don't have to pump. And he goes a lot longer between feedings at night.

Before I know it, this nursing stage will be over. He'll be running around with Bella. I want to enjoy this experience.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes being a mommy is a very lonely job. The feelings of loneliness occur even when you are in a room full of people. It's an emotion that does not always match circumstances. Joy is also an emotion that does not always match circumstances - you can be having a horrible time in life and still have joy.

The thing about being a mommy is that you are never alone. There are mommies everywhere! Somewhere, there is a woman who is going through the same things that I am going through right now, there is a woman who has been where I am now, and there is a woman who will soon be going through what I am going through right now. Yet each woman's experience is unique.

Hopefully through this blog, I'll be able to share how I feel, what I'm going through...
and it will be an encouragement to someone out there because as moms, we are not alone.

(Guys, you can feel free to read this too! You may find something to encourage the woman in your life.)