Posts Tagged With: Pregnancy

The Woman Standing at the Doors of the Clinic: Maybe if She Knew

I’d never pulled an all-niter in my entire life. Not even during dorm life in college. As much as I tried, I knew as I pushed the sheets off my legs and stared at the ceiling that sleep was not going to come that night.

4am, the city still fast asleep. A 25-minute drive that seemed to last an eternity. “Please, let’s just make it to the hospital,” I pleaded. I did NOT want to give birth to our new baby boy in our car, and during those agonizing 25 minutes that felt like a real possibility.

At 7:02am we had our first glimpse of our fourth little boy. I counted his fingers. I counted his toes. I took in all that sweet eight pound newness. Those gray eyes, that matted down reddish hair, the button nose and that wrinkly skin. All so amazing, all so new. All nothing short of a miracle.

photo courtesy of katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

Four babies later, the incredibleness of bringing a little human being into this world has not diminished. Each time I have been completely enamored at each little detail of that tiny body. The mind-boggling complexity of it all, the beauty. Everything. It is amazing.

My emotions this week have been raw. As I hold this tiny little boy in my arms, I read about other little ones who will never have a chance to live. Who sadly will never get a glimpse of this world. Whose life was so abruptly and horrifically ended before it began. I couldn’t even finish the news articles. I honestly felt sick. I held my little baby in my arms and felt his warmth, wishing those questioning expectant mothers standing at the clinic doors could just feel it too.

If maybe they could just hold their baby, feel the warmth, count those toes. Maybe instead of seeing a burden they would see a most amazing blessing…If not a blessing meant for them, then maybe for someone else.

I have never had to face the pain of not being able to conceive a child. I have never lost one before he or she was born. But I do know others who have struggled and who have mourned such loss. I have watched as friends and family wish, hope, dream, plead, pray, and cry for that child that never comes, or that comes but has to go far too soon.

If those standing at the clinic doors could see that longing in these mothers’ eyes, maybe they could understand the power that they hold to change an unfavorable situation into something incredible. Though that child might not be a possibility for them at the time, that child could bring infinite joy to another family. A family that has longed for that baby to come. They could give a gift so incredible. An act so selfless. Is that not more desirable than the alternative?

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Back in college for a summer I worked at an activity and skills center for children with special needs. The children ranged in age from 8-21, and their disabilities ranged from moderate to very severe. It was by far the hardest job I have ever had, but it was also one of the most rewarding. The mothers and fathers of those participants were the most compassionate and amazing people I have ever met. If you were to ask them about raising a child with disabilities, they would tell you in a heartbeat that it was worth every second. They would tell you about love deeper than anything you have ever felt. I’m sure if you asked, they would tell you about how terrified they were when they found out their child would never lead a normal life. They would tell you the sadness they felt, the worry, the anxiety for their child’s future. Not to mention their own. But they would tell you they would never go back. Not for a second. When they chose to bring that life into the world, despite the difficulty they would face, they were brave. They were selfless. And they learned about love in ways others may never know. Maybe if those standing at the doors facing similar situations could see, could know. They could make such a difference. Those parents to those special spirits are heroes in my eyes.

I don’t judge these women. I feel so much sadness for them and the questions they find themselves asking. I have no idea what those women face. I don’t know their reasons for standing at those clinic doors. But I do know that there are others out there that would help them, love them, and support them. I see no love and compassion from a company willing to crush the little life that mother is growing inside and sell the parts as if that baby were a wreck from an auto salvage.

As I count these tiny fingers and toes again and again and hear that little cry, I wish more than anything those women standing at the clinic doors could hold their precious babies in their arms and do the same before they make a decision. I can’t help but wonder if their decision would be left unchanged.

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Categories: children, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What to maybe try to avoid saying to someone about to have a baby…

Yesterday at church a friend approached me to apologize for a comment he’d made last week. “Wow, you’re looking longer than you are wide!” He had said, noting how incredibly pregnant I looked. His wife was mortified that he would say such a thing and was worried he’d offended me. Honestly, I hadn’t given it a second thought. Fact of the matter is, I AM pregnant, and my belly is getting rather huge. He only spoke the truth: this little baby certainly has made me longer than I am wide! So being offended hadn’t even been on my radar. My husband got a laugh out of it.

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People seem to always have something to say to a woman about to have a baby. While I’m not easily offended and have never felt ill feelings about what people have said during those nine long months, I have heard quite a few great comments during my four pregnancies that have made me laugh. In case you happen to encounter a woman carrying a sweet bundle in her tummy, it just might be wise to steer clear of these lovely comments, because I suppose you just never know how she’s going to take it when in that large and awkward state!

Wait, how many kids do you have already??

You have THAT much time left?? You poor thing!

You know what causes that, right?

“Oh, don’t you just LOVE being pregnant?? I just loved being pregnant so much.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but now that you mention it…”
(Maybe “oh no, honey, you don’t look like a hippo in that dress!” Would be a better choice)

“I know food doesn’t sound good to you right now, but please don’t forget that the rest of us still enjoy eating.”

“Oh my goodness, are  you really THAT far along?? I had no idea you were even pregnant!” (Interpreted as, “Well, what do you know! I just thought you were gaining an awful lot of weight and letting yourself go.”)

“So…was this one a mistake (or surprise)??”

“No thanks, I’m still SO full from dinner! But if YOU are really hungry, you go ahead and eat that five scoops of fudgey triple-swirl peanut butter ice cream.”

“Let me tell you MY delivery horror story (or my friend’s, or a stranger’s I heard, or one I read about, or…”

And my very favorite…

“Honestly, how hard can it really be? People have been having babies for thousands of years.”

20141221_112921Anything I missed, all you mamas and soon-to-be mamas out there?

Categories: Motherhood, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Pregnancy is *NOT* Fun

As much as I tried to hide it, I could feel my eyes gloss over into a cold stare. Did she really just say that? Here I was, in the throws of that lovely nausea that accompanies growing a child. I had spent a good 10 minutes that morning staring into my closet at clothes that already didn’t fit my growing tummy and behind, and here this lady stood in front of me, boasting of how much she loved being pregnant. I held back any snappy remarks about her memory failing her and just decided to smile, even though I was sure my eyes were deceiving me.

I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant. I don’t find it “fun” to stare at my breakfast waiting for that first bite to send me at a sprint to the bathroom. I dislike feeling my jeans, the ones that used to be baggy, bursting at the buttons. The constant uncomfortableness, the sleeplessness, the waking up three times to find my way to the toilet. The waddling down the stairs, the “baby brain,” the endless doctor visits.

new camera002I don’t look to delivery with gleeful anticipation. In fact, I have nightmares about it when I’m not even pregnant. After our third baby was born, my second “all natural” delivery, I can remember my sister, three months away from having her second, coming to meet her nephew. The minute she walked through the door my eyes locked with hers and I pleaded with her, “Whatever you do, just GET the epidural!” Because, let’s face it, bringing that sweet bundle into the world is no picnic.

Copy of HPIM0797“I loved being pregnant! It was SO fun!” Surely she was joking. I half wanted to pull up my pant leg and show her my varicose veined calf to bring her back to sanity. Or maybe just tell her how if it hadn’t been for the wonders of modern medicine I would have died following our third child’s birth.

Instead, I decided to spare her the goriness of my varicose-y legs and try to read between the lines. Surely what she meant was:

“Pregnancy was a sacrifice. It wasn’t all easy, it wasn’t all enjoyable. But my goodness, I brought a baby into this world! A real, wrinkly, squinty, slimy, bloody, hungry, needy, pint-sized human being. And that experience, as horrifying, as frustrating, as incredibly hard, as NOT FUN as it was, it was worth it. It was truly AMAZING.”

Yes. I’m sure that’s what she meant.

Motherhood, from those first nauseating weeks to the waddling, waiting ninth month, from that first time nursing that tiny baby to loading up their cars and sending them away to college, is not always fun. Of course there are plenty of moments, countless days, of real, honest-to-goodness “fun.” But it may not be something you love every second. By golly, those temper tantrums get old fast. The grimy hands on the walls, the stepping on Legos, the last-minute homework assignments, the waiting up when they’re home late from a date with a girl you may or may not be head-over-heals about. But the things that try us, that push us, that we work harder at than anything, those are the things that are worth it. Parenting isn’t always fun. It’s not always enjoyable. But it is, without a doubt, unquestionably, truly amazing.

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Categories: Motherhood, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

It’s a…

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Categories: Family, little boys | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Why I’ve Decided I’m OK With A House Full of ALL Boys (*sigh*)

I glanced back from the front passenger’s seat of the car. “Hey R, do you need a tissue? Don’t pick your boogers.”

N, two years old, chimed in. “Booger song! Booger song. Boo-oo-ger soo-ng!”

It was just another typical Sunday drive to church. We were lucky to quiet the Booger Song serenade and stifle the laughter just as we walked through the church doors and sat quietly in our pew.

So goes our life. Our life with all boys. My husband leaned over and whispered his usual comments in situations such as this. “Maybe three boys is good. Maybe we have our hands full enough. Maybe we should be done.” Then came my typical retort. “But what about that little girl??”

I can’t tell you how often we had this conversation this past year. We have been so blessed with three great kids. All boys. Coming from a family of just one sister, this was an entirely new can of worms (both figuratively and literally) for me. I absolutely love being a mom to boys. They are so much fun! But my thoughts have always been that we’d have at least one little girl.

IMG_1951As our conversations on such things became more and more serious, the realization came that even if we did have a fourth, there was no guarantee that a girl was in our future. “But what it we have a boy? Or…what if we have twin boys?” my husband would question. In the end, I realized that I had to decide if I would be as thrilled about bringing another boy (or the unlikely twin two?) into this world as I would a girl. It took time, but my answer: yes.

IMG_1529We find out in just a couple short weeks if we are bringing another crawfish catcher or a new crawfish catcher-ette to our family. Here’s some conclusions I’ve come to if we don’t get that girl I’ve had pictured in my mind, and why I’ve decided I’m fine with a house full of boys.

IMG_22131. People look at a mom of all boys like a superhero. She can do anything. Anything! (Either that or she’s looked at like she’s crazy.)

2. We don’t do Dora at our house. Or Frozen. We just don’t. I’m afraid I’d have a mutiny on my hands if anything of that sort changed.

3. I’m fluent in pirate vernacular. Barbie talk, not so much.

4. Honestly, three older brothers? That poor girl!

20140330_1748435. She would have to more-than-occasionally put up with lovely renditions of “The Booger Song,” not to mention countless other boyish annoyances.

IMG_12986. With all the camo we have in closets, she’s bound to have to dress in those greens and browns at least while she’s young and doesn’t have a say. She would always be mistaken as a boy. OR…

IMG_0931IMG_0861IMG_08687. …I’ve been so girl-deprived for so many years, I’d go crazy buying girly dresses that we’d have no money left.

8. Boys with broken noses? I think I can deal with it. Girls with broken hearts? Hmm. I’m not so sure.

9. I’m outnumbered. It’s a fact. We’d have to have THREE girls to level the playing field. Three. Probably not going to happen. Why even try?

10. We’ve had three times to choose names for girls that didn’t come. We have a list of girl’s names we can’t decide on a mile long. Boy’s names? We have one. Done.

11. You mean you have to actually brush a girl’s hair every day??

IMG_0632Of course, If we go in and get a glimpse at a little boy on the monitor I will probably cry. But let’s be honest. I’ll probably cry if lo and behold this baby’s a girl.

I’ll cry if it’s a girl, I’ll cry if it’s a boy.

And my poor husband won’t have a clue of what to do with his bawling, blubbering wife…which is maybe just another good reason to have another boy. He just might go crazy with TWO emotional basket-case girls running around our house.

Ok, ok. I’m not sure I’m fully convinced. But I DO know that each time I’ve held that little boy in my arms for the very first time, my heart has been full. Each time I know that I love him to the moon and back, and that could never change. Each time I’ve realized that God knows far better what my life needs than I know myself. I know that whether this one is a boy or a girl, healthy or not, it really doesn’t matter. We will bring our baby into our home filled with legos, dinosaurs, and cars and we will be thankful beyond description that he, or maybe (just maybe) she, is in our lives.

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Thanks to katiejanephotos.blogspot.com for the cute picture. 🙂

…In case you missed it…We’re having baby number 4! Read HERE

…And some of my thoughts last year on life with all boys. Read HERE

Categories: Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Priceless (an announcement)

Big announcements have never been my forte. I typically go for the “no one really needs to know” approach, or I try to be all fun and fail miserably. with our first baby I went for the “no one really needs to know” until we were almost 20 weeks along. At one point I had to outright lie to my mom about why I was so incredibly sick while we were home visiting. “Mm-om. Jeez! Don’t you think I’d tell you if I were pregnant??” For what it’s worth, I did tell her, just 10 weeks later…

Our second we had it planned out all cute, with our oldest sporting a homemade “I have a secret” shirt, and “I’m going to be a big brother!” under it. The problem was, we were prepared to share our news right when a family member informed us that it was a good thing we weren’t having another baby yet because we had our hands full with the one as it was. They were a little shocked when our son walked out announcing our news.

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The third time we decided to just let our oldest son blurt it out. The problem? No one could understand him and when they finally did no one was sure if he was supposed to let the news slip. It was followed with an awkward, “Oh, wow! (Silence…) Uhhh, I think the football game is on…shall we go check the score?”

Fourth time’s a charm, right? Well, because of my technological lack of expertise, I can’t figure out how to upload the entire cute video. So annoying. Thus you get the first 15 seconds, and then the last. I’ll try uploading it to my facebook page (Catching Crawfish) if you care to watch all one minute and three seconds of my attempt at announcement brilliance.

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"Priceless" part 1

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"Priceless" part 4

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we are thrilled to be bringing another little crawfish catcher into our home this summer! I hope this 2015 year brings excitement and happiness to your home as well.

I’d love to hear your successful (or not so successful) announcement stories! Tell me how you’ve let the news of big moments in your life out.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

To All of My Expectant Friends and Family: Babies (and those 9 months in your tummy) are the BEST!!

The past few weeks I have been bombarded with news of dear friends and family expecting. Text messages, phone calls, facebook pictures, and in-person news have me reeling with joy with the prospect of new babies coming into this world (is there anything in this life better than that kind of news?? I think not!), all going to be born to simply AMAZING people that will make fantastic parents. Even writing this makes my heart skip beats with happiness. Having a baby, whether it is your first or fifth, is a wondrous miracle.

I’ve been thinking about those nine months leading up to that one nerve-wracking, hard, exhausting, emotionally draining, remarkable, marvellous, phenomenal, stupendous, life-altering day and what it meant for me each time. If you’ve been there before, feel free to add any that I’ve forgot. If this is your first time, hold on tight. Here’s a little bit of what to expect when you’re expecting.

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1. Everyone, including strangers, will glance down at your tummy mid conversation. Try not to judge. You most likely did it too.

2. Everyone, including strangers, will touch your belly. When you become pregnant apparently your belly no longer becomes a part of you and an invisible “Please touch!” sign suddenly appears.

3. Nothing will sound good to eat. Or everything will sound good to eat. Or everything and nothing at the same time.

4. People will whisper behind your back, wondering if that little pouch you’re growing is more than the result of a few too many brownies. They will smile, knowingly, but not dare say a word just in case it is simply a result of brownies.

5. You will cry over EVERYTHING. Everything, I’m not even kidding.

6. You will be drawn to the baby clothes and want to buy the entire infant section. And you will cry, because they are all so darn cute.

7. Your husband will, at some point (unless he is much wiser a man than most) ever-so-innocently comment on the incredible weight transformation you have gone through. You will probably take it personally and you will cry.

8. Any organizational skills or memory of where you put your keys or phone will totally disappear. You’ve traded this little, amazing human being for a bird brain. It’s a fact.

9. You might want to consider making business cards to pass out or a large sign to carry around with answers to these questions:

  • Oh! When are you due?
  • Is it a girl or a boy?
  • Are you hoping for one or the other?
  • Are you excited?
  • Are you getting nervous?
  • How have you been feeling?

10. Prepare yourself now to hear all of the horrendous, nightmarish stories of other’s birth experiences. Try not to get scared out of your mind, too grossed out, and try not to judge. You just might be doing that too one day. Few can resist the excitement of telling their unique and very personal story of their sweet baby coming into the world.

11. When that baby is days away from making that début, multiple people will say, “Oh! You’re still here, are you?” And you just might cry because you are still here.

12. You will forever remember that meal that you ate after your child had exhaustingly been brought into the world. And those chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes will be the BEST chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes you have ever, ever tasted. Your dear husband will sneak away to get subway because, let’s face it, the deliciousness of the chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes are just a figment of your delusional, just-spent-the-last-9-months-growing-and-the-last-24-hours-delivering-a-human-being mind.

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Dear friends and family carrying those precious little ones for the months ahead and awaiting their arrival, enjoy it! What an incredibly exciting time. You are in my thoughts and my prayers!

Categories: children, Family, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Motherhood: Anything But Typical, No Matter What the World Says

Her wrinkled eyes bored into my soul as I filled out the papers. I could tell the minute she called me back from the waiting room she had sized me up and had decided we wouldn’t be friends.

My husband and I had just graduated and moved from our college town where being married young and having children in your early twenties was totally normal. Here everything was different. I could tell by the looks I got in the grocery store. Of course it didn’t help that my husband often would get comments that he looked 14 while I, six months pregnant with our first baby, stood out like a sore thumb.

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“I have a niece like you. Got married when she was young too. Some military kid or something.” The nurse mumbled something inaudible, but I thought I could make out something like, “Stupid girl.” Then, without a goodbye or “have a nice day” she left. “Wow, that was awkward!” I thought to myself. I pulled out my book and waited for the doctor. Hopefully she would be a bit more pleasant.

“New patient?” A muffled voice came through the door. “Yeah. You know, just another typical 21-year-old blonde.” The nurse’s voice was saturated with disgust. My head shot up from my book. “Wait, is she talking about me? I’m 22, not 21. No, It’s me. They’re right outside my door.” I didn’t have time to think before the knob turned and in walked the doctor. through the cracked door I saw the nurse scuffle off down the hall. In that split second I’d decided to pretend I didn’t hear. What would I even say to something like that?

I’d never felt so typical in my life as I did that summer waiting for our little boy to arrive. “How old are you?” Fellow grocery shoppers would occasionally ask, eyeing my left hand for that ring. Even well-meaning new friends would fish for answers. “So…when did you get married? And…when’s the baby due?” I could see the numbers flying around in their heads as they performed calculations. Sometimes I just wanted to look them in the eye and say, “YES!!! We were MARRIED!” I was a young, typical blonde, not a clue what she was doing, toying with adulthood. The nurse that day in the doctor’s office had secretly whisked away any confidence I had in my soon-to-be parenting.

Our little boy was born in that same hospital a few months later. As I held him in my arms, I knew nothing about that night was typical. He was perfect. A little miracle. It didn’t matter that 15 other women in that building had just done the same thing and brought their own little miracle into the world. None of us were typical, each experiencing a new phase of life, new challenges, all uniquely ours.

Copy of HPIM0797As mothers sometimes we feel “typical.” Like others are out shattering the would with their talents and abilities while we’re home nursing a needy baby. Our contributions feel very small. I feel that way sometimes, but then I see other “typical” moms interact with their unique child, take care of them, and love them. No matter what age they happen to be, they are doing something so amazing, so wonderful, so innate, nothing about it is “typical.”To that little baby, their mother is their world, and aren’t those tiny human beings, our future, what matters? Mothers are shattering the world, just in the shadows. Their contribution is monumental. Raising a child is an adventure unlike any other, and no one’s adventure is the same.

12-01-2008 04110-4-2008 043Should I have waited to get married? To have children? Some I’m sure would scream YES! That nurse was anything but subtle in trying to convey that message to me, that young, immature mother. But 22 or 42, It shouldn’t matter what the casual observer thinks. For me it has been wonderful, amazing, incredible, miraculous, and fulfilling. I’m thankful every day that life took us down this path. Motherhood is not typical, it is unique to you, and our contributions are greater than we can ever imagine.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Common Sense Life Lessons I Hope My Sons Will Learn (and FAST!)

A wise mother once told me that the early years of raising children has the longest days and the shortest weeks.

When my oldest boys were about 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 my husband went on a two-week-long work trip. Being the dead of winter and hovering below ten degrees most days, my boys and I were pretty much confined to our house. On one particular day during those two weeks, I remember my patience had been exhausted and my creative juices had completely run dry. Knowing it was a little early, but not quite sure how much, I started our bedtime routine. Fed, bathed, teeth brushed, stories read, I was just about to tuck them in to their warm covers when I glanced at the clock. 4:30. 4:30?? I can’t remember for sure, but I just might have cried.

That cold, long, winter afternoon seems like just yesterday. IMG_2843Six short years ago this week I became a mother. Holding that sweet little miracle in my arms I remember feeling an overwhelming responsibility to teach him as he grew up. To help him reach his potential, to be a kind, considerate, healthy, smart person who went out in the world humble yet confident. Who could make a difference for the better. HPIM0821 HPIM0883Every long day, every short week, every year that flies by I still feel that overwhelming responsibility and I question if I have done a good enough job. I imagine that feeling never really goes away. IMG_5718 IMG_4479Feeding on that desire to teach my children and help them as they navigate this crazy life, six months ago I started this blog. I started it with the intention to write about the life lessons I hope my three sons will learn. My hope was that by writing them down, I could organize my thoughts and record stories that have shaped our lives. Maybe even someday my boys will care to read them and see the vision and faith I had in them and who they could become. Or just roll their eyes at their bizarre mother and all her ridiculousness.

In honor of our oldest’s birthday this week and our next one’s coming up this month too, plus Catching Crawfish’s half-birthday, over the past four days my husband and I have kept a list of some of the more (what we thought to be) common sense life lessons we hope our sons will learn. Here are the top 17 things we’ve caught ourselves saying to our sons in desperate hopes that they will learn… And honestly, I hope they learn them FAST!

1. I try to feed you well. You really don’t have to sample the worms in our garden.

2. You’re supposed to pull your pants down when you get TO the bathroom, not on the way THERE!

3. Straws go in your mouth, not your nose.

4. Please don’t lick my hair.

5. I’m sorry, we don’t eat ice cream for breakfast.

6. Wipe, flush, dress, wash.

7. Did you remember to flush?

8. If you wear your underpants backwards you’ll get a wedgie. Yep, wedgies aren’t much fun, are they?

9. Really? A huge spider with your bare hands?! No thanks, I wouldn’t care to hold it.

10. Ahh! Don’t drink the nasty pond water!

11. It’s called a hitch, not a “hooker.” Especially when you loudly request Dad to draw one during a silent moment at church. A HITCH.

12. Please use a tissue.

13. Peas go in your mouth, not your nose.

14. Sucking on your toe was cute when you were 3 months old. It lost it’s cuteness long ago.

15. You can pick your friends, you can pick your boogers (though I’d really prefer you didn’t), but you just can’t pick your friend’s (or your baby brother’s) boogers. It’s gross.

16. Singing “Old MacDonald” at the top of your lungs while you use the bathroom is totally fine at home. But maybe hold off when we’re in the Target restroom with a dozen other people. Or at least whisper it.

17. Sure, it works to play the recorder with your nose. But it’s kinda gross and I’d really rather you don’t try. Especially when you have a stuffy nose. IMG_3187image
I have high hopes that my boys will grow up to be gentlemen. That they say please, thank you, are kind, considerate, conscientious, patient, smart, and healthy. And that they don’t eat their boogers or worms, use utensils the correct way with the correct body parts, and learn the correct vocabulary lest they embarrass themselves. And/or their parents. Is that too much to ask? Maybe. We shall see!IMG_1937 What common sense life lessons do you catch yourself reminding your kids of in hopes they’ll figure it out sooner rather than later?

Categories: Life Lessons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails…

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Back in college my roommate and I were asked to go on a double date. The guys asking happened to be cousins and spent the entire night laughing about the most crazy and ridiculous things they’d done growing up. One story I remember from that night combined a parachute, a long rope, an old truck and a bunch of teenage boys…

The boys had found a parachute in pretty good condition at the local thrift store and thought “What the heck. We could have some fun with this!” They drove out to a long, straight, dirt road and tied the parachute to a 30 foot rope. My roommate’s date was the lucky guinea pig. They hooked him up using their trusty Boy Scout knots and revved the engine. Soon flying 20 feet above the ground, truck kicking up dirt, the teenage boys suddenly realized they hadn’t thought about how to get him down, and large trees and a curve in the road were looming ahead, and rather quickly.

This is just terrible. I’m so sorry to leave you hanging at the climax of the story, but I honestly can’t remember how it ended. My imagination and vague memory tells me it probably involved a broken arm, lots of scrapes, bruises and blood. Possibly a trip to the ER. What I do remember that night was how my roommate and I were dumbfounded that they were still around to tell their crazy tales. I clearly recall their response when we questioned, “Your poor mothers! Were they constantly a nervous wreck??” It was like the thought hadn’t even crossed their minds. Both had no sisters, only brothers, and it was clear that their reckless behavior landed them in the ER probably more times than their moms could count. They had become desensitized by their sons’ years of disregard for gravity, common sense, and safety. It didn’t even phase them!

After that date my roommate and I would tease that one of us would be the mom of all boys, dropping kids off at the hospital like it were weekly soccer practice. Eh, no big deal. Somehow I’d expected it to be her. I never had brothers. what on earth would I do with boys??

Well, eight years later, sure enough she has the darling girl in bows and frilly dresses and I have a house full of guys. Each time my husband and I have found out we’d be bringing home another baby boy, my mind immediately conjures up images of a 16-year-old tied to a parachute flying 20 feet above an old pickup speeding down some unknown dirt road.

Not too long ago I asked a friend, “Why is it that everywhere we go it seems like my boys are more reckless than any other kids??” In the most tactful way she could think of, she smiled and said, “Well my friend, maybe it could be because they are!” I suppose she makes a good point. Butterfly bandages are used as often as tissues at our house. Pulling splinters out of fingers has almost become part of our nightly ritual along with brushing teeth and reading stories. A goose egg is the look at least one of my boys is sporting most days.

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Never in my dreams did I think that I would carry the stigma of being the “all boy mom.” So often life doesn’t go exactly as we have pictured. God seems to frequently send us down an entirely different path to explore than we’d ever even considered. I’m ashamed to admit that when we sat in the ultrasound room for our third little one and the doctor exclaimed, “Looks like another boy for you!” I cried, and they weren’t exactly tears of joy. But two years later I can’t imagine my life without that audacious little bundle of wildness. Nor without the other two. God sent me three boys. Not what I expected (I have no faith in my motherly intuition any more!), but just what God knew I needed. As the years have passed the reality that frilly dresses and bows might not be where life takes me has begun to sink in. I absolutely LOVE being a mom to all boys, but sometimes I still wonder about that little girl and hope that opportunity will be mine. And maybe that will mean years down the road as a grandma when I can spoil her and afford all the girly accessories. In the meantime I’ll keep trying to adjust to the constant bumps and bruises. The endless tussling, the never-ending dinosaur battles, the tripping over Lego towers. I’ll work on perfecting my construction vehicle knowledge, my pirate lingo, and being the most vile villain so my superheroes can save the day again and again. In the meantime I’ll do my best to raise three impetuous, crazy, wonderful, chivalrous boys so that they can be worthy of a sweet girl who, like their mother, loves them in spite of their quarky boyishness. Sometimes even because of it.

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And maybe, just maybe, when they’re teenagers I won’t be phased by the ridiculous things they do (but don’t be betting money on that!).

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Categories: Motherhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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