Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mother of the Year...

When Max was between 12-18 months and disciplining became a normal and necessary part of everyday day (second!) I pretty quickly felt the Lord's prodding to pick my battles because I certainly wasn't going to be able to teach him everything a godly man needed to know before his 2nd birthday.

I landed on 3 main offenses that warranted strong discipline every single time:
1) Disrespect
2) Disobedience
3) Dishonesty

At that point, those became the 3 battles that we fight around the clock, and then we just "correct" other offenses as they happen, without the strong training. So you can catch me saying "That wasn't respectful-- you must show kindness to show others they are important" or "You need to learn to obey Mommy every time so that you can learn to obey God" or "It's important to always tell the truth so others can trust you all the time" at least 100 times a day. And that's just for Max. Jack has now entered this stage as well, so double it-- at least!

(Side note: If you've listened to Andy and Sandra Stanley's recent series, from Northpoint Church, on family, they mention that someone shared those 3 golden rules with them prior to their having children and I've just got to say, that when I listened to that message almost 2 years after the Lord laid those same things on my heart, and I literally wept-- I just love when the Lord impresses His message on His people and then you get confirmation that you're fighting the right fight. A few weeks after that, I was at a ladies night, and talking with my friend Lisa who also fights these same 3 battles plus they added "aggression"and again, I was just moved at how God speaks to moms and parents-- just right in your own heart, but come to find out, He is giving us all the same message in order to succeed in His eyes.)

As a mom, let me just say, that while this is only 3 rules-- A LOT fits into these categories and it is constantly the words on my tongue, like all the live long day, Lord help me! Granted, it also works in my favor because "Max, you are not showing respect to the house when you knock that bat into the wall" also completely makes sense in line with our rules but also helps me protect my house and manage chaos.

My day is filled with loud squeals in order to communicate dislike for my commands, thrashing about to avoid spankings, shouts and guttural growls to display their unhappiness with me, comments of "I'm neber going to obey" and "I'll neber show respect" and "I don't wanna get control-- lots of room sitting and nose to nose conversations with my small people. I use a wooden spoon on their behinds way too often for my mom heart, but God never said that this job was easy. But it only takes one small "victory"to give me the fuel needed to keep on keeping on. One small hug or kiss or "I love you Mommy" also goes a long way :)

But let me just say one more time, I am fighting the fight people, and I am smack worn out! I mean, it's just a constant lesson, a constant battle, and unfortunately for me, constant discipling. (I'm not asking for a pity party-- I totally get that between 2-3 years old, it's HARD and that why parents for generations have been saying what they say about two's and terribles and toddlers, etc... this is just the stage of parenting that I'm in right now and I can't see the other side quite yet.) So on Sunday, all my hard work was given the spot light to shine...

My 6th grade girls that I lead at church followed me downstairs to the kids department because they wanted to see my boys after I picked them up from their class. They we all standing behind me as I stuck my head in my sweet Max's class and said "Maaaxxx!" I picked up his coat and he ran towards me:

And proceeded to screeched the loudest screech with the meanest scrunched up face and then HIT me.

Yep, mother of the year folks-- that's me! Look at me shine!

Friday, October 26, 2012

29 Years Young

When you get old, you know, like a mom, birthdays tend to take a turn for the worst. The focus is less on you and more on things like "life" and the fact that your birthday is in fact NOT a national holiday. You are still responsible for your children and your mortgage and such, despite the month long mental celebration.

And I would like to say that I was mentally prepared for this to be the case. But none of that happened...

You see, Thursday night, my mom came and got my kids and I went to dinner with my college roommate from out of state and Anna, our other roommate. The boys spent the night with my parents, so me and Chad got to sleep in ON my birthday! We slept in.... until 7:26. Seriously. Darn it! Luckily we did lay there longer and pretend to sleep more like the good ole days.

My breakfast consisted of a homemade birthday cake that my mom had dropped off the night before, and then I got my nails done...

Then Danielle and Molly treated me to a yummy lunch...

And then I went to Renew Day Spa for a treat from my husband... A 90 minute massage, ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then I went to the mall and got myself some new shoes... You know, a present to me, from me, and then I got some fro yo with Oreos and Butterfinger, but it didn't count as bad calories or anything because it was on top of yogurt.

And I did all this without loading anybody in and out of the car!

And then my 29th birthday was wrapped up with dinner at Pappasitos with my parents and brother and we got our boys back. YUM! (this is my first birthday since my parents moved back to GA, I'm still soooooo thankful for that!)

Oh and did I mention that I also got tons of phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, and even birthday song videos. And birthday money to save up for my future awesome camera that I'm wanting :)

What a day, folks :) Bottomline? I'm so very blessed-- my thankful list is miles long! And just because you're a mom doesn't mean a thing- I was loved to pieces all day long!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SAHM: The 1 Year Update

Can you believe I've been home with my kiddies as my full time job for a whole year? Wait, you haven't been keeping up with it? Oh. Well, let me just say, I can NOT believe it and yet totally believe it all at the same time, ha! And to use my new favorite mommying quote, the days have been long, but the year has been so short!

Basically, my life has totally changed-- I am now fully responsible for  my kids around the clock, as well as my home, and parts of my husbands business. I don't ever have to leave the house or clock in elsewhere, which is so awesome, but that's not to say I'm not "working" nonetheless. And I've got to say, the pay is so strange-- it does amazing things for my heart, but my bank account, well, not so much!

I rarely get a moment to myself, and I don't get to think my own thoughts, and I have small people touching me ALL the time. I also feel like the laundry and the kitchen cleaning is never ending-- and sometimes, that just makes me want to go get a job! But there are so many amazing aspects of being "here", doing "this", and putting all my energy and heart into "them"-- I honestly feel like they are my calling-- their hearts and who they are-- their education and how the treat others-- it is what I'm all about right now. And again-- the days are long, but the years arevso short. I pray that when I get to heaven, God looks at me and glances over at my children and smiles and says "well done Lauren, you took this job, your calling, very seriously, and I am very pleased."

It's been a journey for sure-- I've always wanted to be a mom, it's been my dream and I knew I wanted to stay home with them, but people who knew me well wasn't sure I was really cut out for that. But then, when I was pregnant with Jack, oh how the Lord laid in on my heart. Being home with my boys became a burden-- thinking through it and about it and praying over it made me emotional-- it wrecked my heart. So I started praying that God would make it obvious to Chad too, and tell him when it was time.

And then, a year ago, God did just that-- It was my husband who said "it's time for you to come home"-- I know where I was on the ramp of 575 when he said those words, and I will never forget the joy the overcame me at that moment. I liked my job and a really enjoyed my co-workers so so so much-- they are still dear friends-- but I knew my kids needed all of me. During this year, the Lord has provided at every step-  He has reaffirmed this decision over and over- and He's even given me a few things to keep me busy "on the side" (but let's be honest, keeping busy isn't really an issue!)  I do some contract writing and help with booking at The Echo Group. I also take care of invoicing for Chad's company and double the boys in our house by taking care of the Spiva boys on Wednesday. With my SAHM gig, I also get gym time to take care of myself, and I go to BSF weekly where is LOVE the set up and how they lead you to dig into God's word. It's also great for my boys who just love the children's program there.

We don't have a bunch of spare time laying around and usually once I crawl into bed, I'm out before the lights are, but let me just say-- oh, how I'm exactly where the Lord has me right now. And I am so at peace.

My friend Anna, who was given the joy of becoming a SAHM just a few months before me sent me this quote not long ago-- it couldn't sum up my work as a mom any better: it puts into words why I've been called home!

The art of doing one thing well

"There is magic in doing one thing, and doing it well, with the full force of our focus. What if we allowed ourselves the freedom to become engrossed in one task, one project or one conversation, really giving it our best? Rather than saying yes to everything, imagine the gratification in saying no to things that distract us from our purpose, in favor of saying yes only to the most important things. Then, instead of wondering if we’ve really done our best, we’ll be gratified to know that we have."

- From "The Art of Doing One Thing Well" in today's Manner & Lane 

(And again, THANK YOU Chad for working hard and providing for our family so that I can be here. I coudn't be more appreciative of you and your hard work if I tried.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This Time Around

Once Chad and I decided we were ready for another baby, I was all in. Like wanting to skip the getting pregnant and whole pregnancy- I was just ready to hold and care for the little one. I started struggling immediately with fear-- fear of infertility or that God's plan for our family didn't match mine-- and I was having a hard time just letting go and letting God be in control- which is totally normal for me. I've felt the exact same way each time we've hoped and prayed for a baby.

The first month of trying was kind of half hearted, because I wasn't totally sure I wanted to be pregnant at the beach although I loved the idea of an April baby. (That is if baby took after Max and actually came the month he/she was due.) But the next month, we were all in. And when I took the pregnancy test I was so sad to read the negative results. I was so disappointed-- to a degree I haven't felt in a long time. Of course Satan capitalized on that-- every bad, fearful, worrisome thought rushed in-- it took over my thoughts. I started praying over and over that I wanted God's kingdom not mine and worked to align my will with His. God sure does answer prayers like that because by the end of the day, I was feeling a lot better and within a couple days, I was ok and ready for the days and months ahead-- maybe it would take a long while, maybe we would adopt, maybe foster some children- who knows- but I was just trying to walk it out, let go of fear, and not have to know "why".

Days and days passed and still no actual proof that I wasn't pregnant, if you know what I mean. I was late- really late- but I was so sure I wasn't pregnant, especially after working through that, that I was very reluctant to take another test. But as soon as I did, it was positive immediately.

Chad isn't a zero to 60 freaker-outer like me, so really, the whole journey and the culmination of the positive test was all between me, my head, and my God.

I bawled. Sobbed. And was even more excited than I had been with Max and Jack-- I think because after being a mom, I just knew what was ahead and how wonderful it is. Chad was gone so I texted him a picture. He was shocked because I had convinced him I wasn't pregnant and he doesn't really keep up with dates and such.... At all!

Within a few minutes, Max came and crawled into bed with me-- my room was still dark and he snuggled into my arms, and I just weeped with joy. I just love being a mom, I love their little minds, and arms, and hugs. I love their phrases and their eyes and oh how I love their laughs.

Being parents and raising children is hard! It's a huge responsibility, but the joy and blessing that comes with it is so immense. Being a mom is what I was created to do-- right now, it's exactly where I'm supposed to be-- it's exactly what God has for me. And I can't not wait to welcome our newest member into our family.

Dearest baby- for you I have prayed and God filled my womb with you-- I am so thankful for your life! Praise God from whom all blessing flow!