About Me

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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

(Wrote this last week, but somehow it didn't post)

"Look at this race car, Mommy! I wish I could have a race car. I wish I could ride in a race car. I would ride in the race car that is a sports car and go real, real fast in the race car like a rocket ship in space. Would you want to ride in a race car? Yeah, yeah so cool. This race car that is a sports car. I wish I could have one. Can we have one? What's it called again? A sports car? That's right, that's right..."

Almost completely one-sided conversations like this go on quite often in my home. If written accurately, there would be few spaces between words and almost everything would be written in bold and italics. If you've met Aiden (or any typical 3 year old) you know what I mean when I say, he really likes to talk. I mean really.  After years of teaching and waiting for him to be able to communicate, it's really pretty cool to be able to converse and hear him talk himself through stuff. Some nights it takes an hour to get through bed time routine simply because we get caught up in conversation. I LOVE it. I love our conversations, I love that he loves to communicate. However, some days I just can't keep up. Some days I need a little break. Some days I need quiet.

Well I have an extremely busy week ahead of me: classes all day and 3 nights. It's just for a week and then I'll level out to just the night classes, but I was extremely thankful when my mother-in-law offered to take Aiden to stay with his cousins this week. So today I buckled him into his grandparent's car, kissed him and hugged him multiple times before forcing myself to actually say good bye. I think my heart cracked a little. Aiden, on the other hand, was completely content to wave his farewell, anxious to get to his cousin's to race cars and watch Mickey Mouse together (I think it's the little boy equivalent of drinking beer and watching sports).

Today was... quiet. We did our typical Sunday routine. Enjoyed the simplicity of caring for only one child--and actually getting alone time during Gabriel's nap. It was nice. It was quiet. I found myself wondering why Gabriel was so quiet (Do you think Gabriel is feeling ok? He's so quiet... Yeah, he's always quiet, by the way) and unnecessarily pointing things out to Aaron (Look that the airplane, Aaron! Can you see it up in the sky?). I didn't realize how draining it can be to be with someone all the time, even someone so very dear to me. So the quiet? Wonderful. And needed. Still at the end of the day I have to admit I found myself missing the sound of cars crashing into walls, the conversation that comes along with walks to the park, and the undying curiosity of a three-year-old. I almost forgot how quiet "quiet" can be.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Mess I Call Life

I realized last week that I am not completely healed from winter depression. I'm not completely healed because it's not completely gone. Can you call it winter depression when it follows you to spring and summer? I don't know. What I do know is, reaching the light at the end of one tunnel, doesn't mean there aren't more tunnels to follow. I really don't like tunnels. Life can be so tumultuous. So frustrating. So confusing and complex. I often wonder, what am I doing wrong? Why do I struggle with these things that others seem to just take in stride? 

I'll just admit it. I want life to be easy. Not because I am lazy so much, but because I often feel so tired and worn down. It's hard to face challenges head on when you don't feel like you even have strength to stand up. I'm just tired of being tired and drained. When does that miraculous "filling up" happen? Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just stopped trying so hard. What if I stopped struggling, fighting, and trying so hard to make this whole thing click. And just live. Is that even possible?

Life is not always good. Paths not always straight. Purpose and goals not always clear. Few things make sense. Most things are just out of reach. But somehow, when life is good (even if just for a moment), when paths are straight (even if just for a stroll), when purpose and goals are clear (even if not all at once), when things makes sense (even if only to you), and when you finally grasp what you've been reaching for (even if just the tip of it!) it all somehow becomes worth it and you know you can go on. But it's certainly not easy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Parenting for Dummies (by Dummies) 101

This is for the people out there who struggle with judging parents.

I would like to preface with: I am not writing the following to call anyone in particular out, but as a person who has been (and still is at times) guilty of judging other's parenting. This is not to make anyone feel guilty, or to justify what may be my own short-comings, but to help encourage understanding, and perhaps some grace as well.

Before I became a parent, I thought the whole parenting thing was fairly easy. I mean I figured it was hard, I wasn't completely ignorant--in fact, it was my experience with children that made me think parenting would come naturally and flow quite smoothly for me. At least, this is my opinion looking back on old me. If you would have asked me then I would have said (with complete conviction) something more along the lines of, "Oh yeah, I can't even imagine how difficult parenting must be! No rose colored glasses here, I know it must be so challenging!" Or something else that might give you the impression that I had any idea of what I was talking about. Here is the thing: the "difficult" times I imagined then are skittley-dittley-rainbows compared to the difficult times I actually face as a parent. The truth was, I knew what I believed and just figured placing my beliefs into actions with parenting couldn't be any harder than with any other aspect of my life (wait... since when is that easy??).

Here is the complicated thing about parenting: Children. I know, I know, it sounds like sarcasm, but really it doesn't quite hit you until you realize the same ideas, tactics, and rules don't only not apply to every child, but not even to the same child depending on the time in their life (and by "hit you" I don't mean see it in theory and understand it, but as it quite literally SMACKS you in the face). Take a look at yourself and it's plain as day: Can anyone make you anything you are not? They can encourage, teach, and guide you all they want, but in the end, you choose who you will be. Mmm, yes, let's dip our toes into the pool of complexity. Now, I don't want to completely blame children. Parents are incredibly complicated too. No matter how old we get, we're still trying to figure ourselves out, we are still affected by lack of sleep and hungry bellies, we still want to rebel. (Oh how I love to rebel!)

So here is my attempt to bring understanding to some scenes you may witness on any given day and be tempted to judge. I am going to write about moms simply because I am one, even though this applies to fathers as well.

1. Mother snaps at child for stepping on her foot when it's pretty obvious the child didn't mean to.
While it may be tempting to think, Geez, she's just a kid, chill out lady. Keep in mind that this parent probably has A LOT on her mind other than what's going on here. This mother gives of herself all day long, in almost every possible way. She has her hair pulled, face scratched, and nipples bit. She feeds, bathes, and clothes her children before she even gets a comb to her own head. Loses sleep to help her children sleep. Can not even finish a poop before five other requests are made of her. And besides ALL that (and so much more) she has to think about bills, car issues, relationships, and futures. So maybe, when her toes are suddenly crushed and her thoughts come rushing back to reality, she may just feel a little used, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Maybe it's not about her kid at all.

2. Mother seemingly ignoring her talking child.
Your first thoughts may be, That poor child. All he wants is his mother's attention and she's completely ignoring him! Realize that more than likely she has been devoutly listening to her child for hours on end, and perhaps this child doesn't stop talking, and this is her mind's self-preservation tactic to keep her sane. (Not that I have any experience with this one! ;-)

3. Mother talks on her cell phone/reads book while her children play at the park. 
This may look like this mother's priorities are all mixed up. You may think, This lady is completely taking for granted her children's youth! The most important thing to remember when tempted to judge anyone in public is: this is one small portion of their life you are witnessing. This mother probably spends most of the day playing with her kids and guiding them through activities. Perhaps her kids don't take naps anymore. Perhaps this is her ONLY break all day! So give her a break and know that just because she's not down on her knees building sand castles with her tots, doesn't mean she wasn't doing just that the day before. (I am at the park almost daily and I've noticed that parents who work tend to use park time as quality play time with their kids, and parents who stay home with their kids tend to use park time to catch a little breather. Either way, doesn't mean they love their kids any less!)

4. Mother and child in the grocery store: Child throwing a tantrum in cart. Mother, seemingly oblivious, continues shopping.
Ok, we've all been here before: Why isn't she doing anything? No wonder that kid is crazy, she doesn't discipline! Or even, Obviously the kid needs attention, if she didn't ignore him maybe he'd stop screaming. And most popular, I will never let my child act like that in public! Let's get one thing straight: EVERY child at some point in their life (meaning you and I as well) throws a fit in a grocery store. Most likely more than once (or twice, or three times...). Whether this is the parent's fault is not even the issue. Parents are flawed just like the rest of the human race, they don't hold all the answers, and many times the "answers" are flawed too. Not to mention (as I said before), children (like the rest of us) are who they are. So why do mothers so often choose to continue shopping instead of doing the decent thing for the child (and the other shoppers) and come back at another time? Because more often than not, this is the ONLY time she has. Particularly if she has other children, a job, or school, there is not a lot of time to fit in shopping--which I think we can all agree is rather necessary. Your kid throwing a fit is really embarrassing, regardless of the reason. Whether people are looking at you with "I totally understand!" eyes, or "Shut that kid up!" eyes, really most parents would rather no attention at all. In spite of the stares and their pride, they must finish shopping if they want to feed their family. (Sometimes it doesn't matter even if you go at the perfect time of day, have a snack for your kid, and a detailed list. Kids love a fit in a store!)

5. Mother is disciplining her child. It is obviously not working.
This is one of the most difficult things, for mother, child, and observer. You almost can't even control the thoughts that just roll off the tip of your brain in the most effortless way, She's not doing this right. Whether you have a "solution" or just know you'd handle it better if you were in her shoes--STOP YOURSELF RIGHT THERE! And remember you are NOT in her shoes. Then turn off your brain to the best of your ability, stuff a sock in your mouth, and take a little stroll, because this is not your place. It doesn't matter how many books you read, how down pat you have your disciplining tactics, how patient and wise you may be, discipline does not result in a perfectly obedient child. A "perfectly obedient child" doesn't exist! And regardless of how well thought out your discipline methods may be, if you find yourself as a parent, you will find yourself lost at some point. Whatever you do, never, ever step in to "help" when a parent is disciplining their child (unless they ask you to). Whether you are a parent or not (or even a grandparent) this is not your place. Even when your intentions are completely pure. Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the parent involved, but also not helpful in the least. Remember that it is never your place to discipline another person's child unless the parent has given you the authority to do so (unless the parent is being abusive--then by all means step in!). So step back, take a breath, and thank God it's not your responsibility!

I would like to reiterate that I am not pointing my finger at anyone. I speak because I am guilty. Although I can honestly say that with each day that passes I judge other parents a little bit less (there is good reason for this). Whether you are a parent, will be, or never will be: Keep an open mind, be gracious, and judge as you would like to be judged. (And by that I mean don't judge.) If you are a parent and have never found yourself completely overwhelmed and at a loss of what to do, pinch yourself, because you probably don't actually exist! (Except of course, in a Berenstain Bear book.)

Monday, May 7, 2012


I honestly am not completely positively certain how exactly I might feel about facebook and social networking in general (can you tell?). Kind of like TV, there is plenty of amusement and I enjoy it for the most part. There is also a lot of crap, and there are always more important and meaningful things I could be doing instead.

I usually don't feel bad about facebook when I am a nameless observer. When I don't comment or "like" or share things there I tend to limit my time on it. I'll just look at the recent happenings of those I appreciate but can't see in person and then move on to my daily goings ons. Lately, however, I have been spending quite a bit more time there. Though I am rarely on for more than 2 minutes at a time, we can all agree 2 minute increments can add up.

In college I never understood why people referred to facebook as their obsession, addiction, or a habit that needed kicking. I used it to keep up with a few long distance friends, but usually the only time I bothered signing on was if I got an email notification. This continued until I had Aiden, then I started using facebook to share pictures of the cutest kid on earth with my friends and family (how could I not?).

I can't remember when it was that I started paying attention to the newsfeed. I think it was when I got my first smart phone. Waiting in a long line, sitting through a boring lecture, passing time, etc. It feels good to feel connected with friends I would otherwise not talk to for months at a time. And I'll admit, sometimes it's cool to see where people are at that I haven't even talked to in years. That question, "I wonder what so-and-so is up to these days..." is fairly easily answered as long as they use facebook.

Facebook really got me hooked when they started alerting me for EVERYTHING. Goodness gracious, I really feel like I can't go a minute without it thinking I need to be alerted that so-and-so updated their status or liked this, or commented on that. AGGGHHHHH! Although some days I really appreciate the distraction and some days it's my only adult interaction (juvenile as it may be), for the most part I am aggravated with myself for how often I find myself there.

So this leads me to... I am cutting myself off! Ok, not completely, but I have decided to remove the app from my phone and limit my time there to a one-time-15-minute-increment a day. Isn't it kinda sad that one-time-a-day sounds like extreme regulation to me? Haha. Silly, Faith. However it is one of the many things I am feeling called to cut back on in my life to allow room for other things God is calling me to do. Trust me, I completely understand how ridiculous this all sounds. But really, facebook kind of takes it out of me. I get involved in so many frivolous conversations I otherwise wouldn't be a part of, I am constantly distracted from whatever I am actually doing in person, and above all I am setting a horrible example to my kids! Imagine how difficult it's going to be to tell my sons to "Get off the phone!" when I have been teaching them by example to be on one their entire lives.

So here is my dramatic and completely unnecessary adieu to my faithful companion, mobile facebook. Good bye! Farewell! I will miss you, but I am happy to be rid of you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

When easy isn't easy after all.

At risk of TMI...

I was sitting on the pot when I suddenly realized there was no toilet paper. At all. Then, to my relief, I realized: I have a baby, that means there are wipes... And: I have a 3 year old, he can get them for me! Much to my dismay the conversation went as follows:

Me: Aiden! Can you get me the wipes?
(No response.)
(I hear a truck driving toward my direction and slowly enter the room. Aiden behind it.)
Me: Aiden, can you get me the wipes?
Aiden: Sure!
(He walks out of the room and back in with a glass of water.)
Me: Um, no Aiden, the wipes. Can you get me the wipes? I think they are on your dresser.
(He walks out of the room again. I hear his foot steps walk too far, slow down, walk further... Doh! He's lost focus.)
Me: Aiden, the wipes! On your dresser!
(I hear the closet open.)
Aiden: I'm just looking for my car track in here...
Me: No! I need the wipes! Please!
Aiden: But I can't find them.
Aiden: I don't think I can reach that high.
Me: Just try!
Aiden: I'm drinking water. I can't look for the wipes while I'm drinking water.

Epic. Fail.

(To be fair, when I eventually went to find the wipes myself, they were somewhat hidden in a basket on the dresser and Aiden couldn't reach them after all.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Being Me.

I had a delightful revelation last week...

I have spent most of my life trying desperately to fit in and blend in. I traveled a lot and was usually a minority and very obviously an "outsider." In order to make friends quickly and efficiently (before I had to move again) I did my best to "be all things to all people." Sometimes this meant not liking things I really did like, or liking things I really didn't care for. Sometimes it meant caring deeply for things I really thought were stupid, and sometimes it meant turning the volume down on things I was really passionate about.

This unfortunate habit followed me into marriage and motherhood. I've found myself criticizing myself for things I felt or did if they didn't fit into the "mother" and "wife" molds that supposedly exist somewhere. For example, I am not a great home maker. Normally I would say this in a negative and self-deprecating way, as though it's something I am or should be striving for. In reality, I am perfectly fine with my lack of home-making abilities. It's not that I don't appreciate those qualities (I LOVE clean homes, home made meals, and parties with themes), it's that I am perfectly ok with the fact that my house isn't always clean, that I make just as many not-so-great-meals as I do great meals, and that my idea of a great party consists of friends and food (and I don't think much beyond that!). In the past I may have apologized for my home being "messy" when really it didn't look that bad to me, and I may have acted embarrassed for not sending invites in the mail when I really would never would have intended to in the first place. I probably would have judged myself on my own home upon entering a beautifully put together home of a friend, or felt judged when receiving a hand made party invitation from someone I had simply invited to my party via facebook.

Then something happened last week when I woke up and suddenly asked, WHY? Why torture myself about what I am not, when I really like who I actually am? It's not that I'm completely content and love everything about myself. No. But I do like a lot of things about myself. And that's not all--and this is a big one--you ready for this? I've realized that it's not only ok that I like things about myself, but that I'm allowed to like things about myself EVEN when other people don't! Isn't that crazy?? I'm a little dumbfounded and completely overjoyed with the freedom that comes with that realization! I don't need to want to be like other people, and I don't need to justify not being like them, and I don't need to judge myself or them for our differences! Seriously, how has it taken me so long to realize that this is ok? It just hit me as I found myself comparing myself to women who I am nothing like, who I didn't actually even want to be like! However, I really liked these women and I admired their their incredible skills. Then it hit me. I really liked these women, even though I didn't want to be just like them. Wait a minute. People might like me, even if they don't want to be like me? And if they don't like me, that doesn't mean I can't like me? So... I can be... me? Just me?

Yes, Faith. Being you is A-OK. Don't you forget it. (#267 cliche lesson Faith learns for the very first time.)

Also, I should add: Just because someone may think they can do a better job at parenting, doesn't mean you're not a good parent! (Especially if they don't even have children... but ignore them regardless!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When Food Gets Complicated.

"Chicken nuggets aren't a good food mommy... Just chocolate is a good food." - Aiden

Just when I was thinking my healthy habits might be rubbing off on him! Although, he makes a good point, no?

Food, food, food. I have to think about food so much more than I want to. The good thing about adopting a diet out of choice is there is little guilt when I break the "rules." However, considering the hell I have to pay afterwards, I really need to have the perspective of a lifestyle change and not just as a diet (which clearly says "temporary"). I have always loved food, but now my relationship with it is rather complicated and even quite strained some days. At first I thought the transition to a no grain diet was a lot easier than I originally assumed it would be, but I can see now that I am still learning how to say good bye to so many foods I love. It's easy to eat Paleo when it's all that's in my home, and for the most part my food options are what I'd like to eat anyway. However, things do get more complicated when you eat with friends and aren't the one cooking. Or when a most delightful cupcake shop opens up less than a mile from my home. I can eat a little, it won't be too bad... I think to myself. I need to video myself after eating grains and processed sugars and then force myself to watch it any time I am tempted to say "it won't be too bad." What is that malfunctioning creature writhing on the floor there? I might ask myself before I recognize the voice screaming, "WHYYYYY? WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!"

Nevertheless, HeyHey Cupcake is having it's grand opening today and you better believe I'm gonna be there! (Will I ever learn?)