Act Justly - Love Mercifully - Walk Humbly

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stepping Out

Um, yeah. You must be mistaken. Move to Boston to help start a church?


Not me.


Well…uh…for starters…I just moved. Like, last year. As in 10 months ago.

Oh, and bee-TEE-dubs…I HAVE FOUR KIDS {ignore above photo}.

All of these excuses {and a thousand more} have plagued us throughout our decision process but God has been so gracious, reminding me of two things:

1) it’s not all about me {ouch!} and

2) He will give us exactly what we need when we need it. I just have to let go and do what I can do so that He can do what ONLY He can do.

This is not the full story of our journey. At the stage that our family is in right now, I just don’t have time to sit and give it the attention it deserves but I am journaling along the way so that one day we can share with everyone because there is SO much. However, a couple days ago I was hit with such conviction in a moment where I was second guessing our choice that I just had to share. {PS – I have those doubts often. Every day, really. And I think it’s okay because it forces me to rely on God’s promises and trust in His faithfulness.}

So, back to this moment I had. I was driving down the road, listening to the radio when an old song came on and it was like my mind was in a time machine. As Toby Keith sang, I was filled with memories from a period in my life where I had no hope. Zero. Zilch. None.

I won’t go into details but if you want to know more, here’s my story. It all boils down to this – the Lord fought for me. Though I endured much, He spared me from so much more. I am what some might consider a statistical anomaly. Not because of anything I did but maybe because He knew that one day my family would do the work that would bring glory to His name.

Once again, I am reminded that He uses the broken to reach the broken, which is perfect because I was definitely broken…and, in many ways, still am…but I know the One who redeems and restores.

So how, then, can I even consider anything other than a life that declares His work in my life? How can I overlook what has been given to me? How can I sit idle?

It’s easy. I can’t.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am terrified. And there is so much to plan. And some people think we've gone straight cray. {And we're basically moving to the middle of the Arctic Circle...!} There are certainly days when I have those blowing-into-a-paper-bag panic attacks as I consider the to-do list of finding houses, jobs and schools. All minor details, of course. Fortunately, even in my worst hour of worry, God fills me with an overwhelming sense of peace and I know it's His way of saying, 'I've got this.'

Besides, if we were able to see the path clearly set before us, would it really be stepping out in faith?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Confession: Somedays I Want My Old Life Back...

...especially on days like today.

Here we are, mid-November, and the truth has finally hit me - this stay-at-home deal is tough. And I only do it 3 out of 5 days a week...and 2 of my 4 children are in school...and my husband is a teacher which means earlier tap outs for me. For those that run this freak show every day with more than two ankle biters and either are single parents or your husbands work past 3pm, you deserve a medal. A big medal. Or, at the very least, an hour to yourself at Target with a venti caramel macchiato, add extra whip.

First, I've got a four-year-old whose brain, I swear, reloads every night in his slumber to fire off a thousand new rounds of questions that I simply cannot answer, such as:

*How much does God weigh?

*Why did Satan decide to become the King of Lies?

*How did Daly know how to eat from your arm when he was first cut from your belly?

{ perhaps we stretch the truth to avoid difficult conversations...don't judge}

Right now, we're working on wiping ourselves {him wiping himself, obviously}. And that's a lot of fun. And since he doesn't have his older brothers to follow around, I'm IT. Oh sure, he'd watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates all day long and conquer every world on Lego Star Wars if I would let him. Which, ahem, I never do...

And then I've got this amazing little newborn, who has miraculously survived five months in our house, that obviously needs a lot of attention. He's in the stage where he wants to be held but also wants to wiggle which just ends up frustrating us both. {And even better right now with double ear infection.} He tolerates his Bumbo/bouncer/jumper a whopping three minutes {total!} until he realizes that I'm in the kitchen trying to prepare/cook/clean up breakfast/lunch/dinner. Or maybe trying to switch the 17th load of laundry. Or, {gasp!}, trying to use the potty!

Honestly, when I worked full-time, I often thought that being home had to be easier. Now I'm eating my thoughts {because I'm certain I was never dumb enough to actually articulate such words} and realizing that both are hard. They're just different 'hards.'

Seriously, though. There are some days that I run to my teeny-tiny master bath {it's really hard to even label it master, it is THAT tiny...and that has a door that doesn't properly lock so I have to hold shut while Dayne sticks his hands under to try and reach me...sigh} and wonder what on earth I was thinking when I willingly traded in my cute black heels for these flannel penguin pajama pants. I feel totally inadequate of pulling this gig off. But, by the grace of God {and Dove chocolate}, I'll figure it out. Because it's worth it. These little guys are totally worth it. Even when I invoke nap time and immediately become 'Worstest Mommy Ever!'

Aw, really? You've got a grown man's IQ and 'Worstest Mommy Ever' is the best that you can do? Mommy's a little disappointed....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


oh.EM.gee. School is back in session. PRAISE JESUS! This summer was brutally long and I mean that in the kindest way possible. I love my children, they love me. I love my husband, he loves me. But by the seventh week together and the umpteenth thunderstorm, we were literally at each other’s throats and over the excessive amount of family time. Over it, done, NEXT! So now that looney toons #1 and #2 are back in school, my new schedule has finally hit me. I work a whopping two days a week and it is absolutely, positively fabulous! I’m baking strawberry rhubarb cakes, people. I’m finishing laundry all in one day instead of it taking all blasted week. I make cookies-n-cream popcorn for afterschool snacks {DELISH!}. I get the grocery shopping done with only two cronies instead of four. I even take naps {well, not everyday…and don’t tell Dallas}. Now, some days I feel uber productive and other days, not so much. I mean, I am caring for a 3-month-old who seriously ravages a bottle every four hours {but sleeps 10-12 a night – be jealous!} and who cranks up approximately one hour before feeding time so some days are certainly harder than others. And then there is Dayne. Oh, sweet Dayne. This boy is so bright. I can already see a little intellect with the complex questions he asks. However, you should know that Dayne is also a screen junkie. He loves all things electronic and it’s nobody else’s fault but our own. In between the studious questions, I hear {all day long}, ‘When can I play the Wii again? Can I watch Ninjago after lunch? What games are on your phone?’ He’s like a little crack addict who can’t seem to get a fix. I am trying to stimulate his little mind in ways other than the screens but by 2:00, I usually give in. At that point, we have played Uno, baseball, basketball, school, Legos, had three snacks…and I just can’t do anymore. So then we start watching the clock for Daddy and ‘the boys’ to get home from school and I send him outside to the stump to be on lookout. That buys me exactly four minutes to use the potty in peace. In case I wasn’t clear above, I LOVE my new schedule. I am so, so incredibly blessed. Truth be told, I’d stay home every day if I could. Who knows? Maybe one day I will. And it’s crazy because had you asked me three years ago if this was a path I wanted to pursue, my answer would have been, ‘Heck no!’ But I’m finding that the Lord changes our hearts when we seek His face. And I’m going to continue seeking His face because He is so good and faithful…

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer 2013

So this isn’t my first go-round at being on maternity leave in the summer months. I mean, this is my THIRD kid born in June so I’ve done the six-to-eight weeks off over summer break. However, I haven’t done it with three older loud, whiny children who hate each other and umpteen home renovation projects lingering.

There, I said it. My kids are unruly. And you know something else? I’m counting the days until school starts again. Yes I am and I am unashamed. {21 days or three weeks from this very moment – HALLELUJAH!} What? I’m only saying what you are thinking if you are home all day with lunatics like mine. Seriously. The only reason I’m able to etch this little note out is because they are camping and I got a night time pass to be home with Daly boy. Clearly I’m making the most of this solitude because it doesn’t come often.  I feel like I'm going at mach speed to mark things off my list not usually even attainable with a full house. 

And I’m not kidding when I say that we have done it all, or so it seems. We’ve been to the water park, Greenville Drive baseball games, library {nightmare!}, play dates, Runway CafĂ©. Next week we add the beach to our list of summer memories.  And because their energy tank never seems to empty, my boys have played a ridiculous amount of Tiger Woods on the PlayStation and Lego Star Wars on the Wii. And I don’t care. I-just-don’t-care. So what if their little minds are a little more corrupted? At least they were fed and {for the most part} had clean clothes on their backs. Those are my two key goals each day and, with a new baby, I would say we’ve done fairly well. Showers…uh. No comment.

I do love my children. In case you were wondering. And if we’re friends on Instagram, you would know that by the seven thousand pictures I post…daily.

I totally think I can rock this stay-at-home-mom gig when school is in session. And when all boys are in school. I whip up a mean coffee cake and take pride in my bed-making skills. So I guess that would make me a housewife more than a SAHM, huh? Whatever. Minor details.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Welcome d4!

Gestational diabetes, useless epidural and sleep deprivation - the top three reasons why I am done having children. Yes, I’ve said it before but I don’t think I ever wrote it down so maybe this will help.

Having GD from week 28 on in this pregnancy was awful. I know it could have been worse but, just, whatever. It was awful. Checking my blood sugar 4x a day, watching every.single.thing to go in my mouth for fear of hurting my unborn or sending myself into some sort of diabetic coma was just too much stress for me.

My epidural wore off after about two hours of a sixteen hour labor which means that, when it was really needed, it did NOTHING. I felt every last ounce of the delivery and that was never my intention nor {in my honest opinion} should it ever be anyone’s intention. Sorry, friends, but the prize is the same in the end. To those that do go au natural, hats off to you. To the anesthesiologist who supplied my ‘goods,’ I’d like a refund, sir.

And now here we are in the third week of life with this baby and I’m exhausted. Not just from nursing 8-12 times a day but also from serving breakfast and lunch to three other hungry, demanding children because, of course, it’s summer break and everyone is home. {Yes, I feed them dinner, too, but I haven’t actually prepared one in, well, three weeks, thanks to the many friends who have brought dinner to us!}

Alright, well, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me just tell you that this baby is amazing.

Despite what everyone thought, we really did not have his name picked out until after he was brought into this world. We had a few on our list but until we saw him, he really did not become Daly Judah and, as cliché as it sounds, he really could not be anything else.

He was born at 3:50pm on Monday, June 3, 2013 and he weighed 6lbs 13oz, 20 inches long.

He was our smallest baby by nearly a pound, which is crazy given my enormous size and the doctors/ultrasound techs estimates. However, once Dr. Delahunty broke my water, it was clear that much of the weight was fluid. Super.

I won’t go into details of the birth since no one really cares about them except the parents who endured. I’ll just say that it was less than ideal but, in the end, we have a healthy, beautiful baby with gorgeous eyes to match those of his three big brothers. God has been so good to us. Nine months ago we prayed for a baby girl but the Lord had other plans and we couldn’t be happier to have this sweet little guy. He sleeps best with noise {good thing!}, his coos are like that of an angel and he has started sleeping ridiculous hours at night which has both shocked and awed me!

And since it’s been over two months since I’ve blogged, I’m betting it will be that long before I do it again. Even though I’m on eight weeks of maternity leave and will only be working two days a week when I do return, I am certain my time will be taken up by other more important things. Like playdates.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Gestational Diabetic...

So remember how I said this kid was going to be different? Well, truer words have not been spoken and he hasn’t even made his arrival.

You see, I had my glucose test at 28 weeks and failed miserably. I thought, ‘No sweat, I’ve been here before.’ So I went back a week later for the extended glucose test and apparently failed that sucker with flying colors, too, which led to a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

Now is just about where my world starts spinning – physically from the sugar highs/lows that I could never figure out before but emotionally as I soon realize what exactly this means.

Initially I thought it would just mean that my oatmeal breakfast could no longer be supplemented by a Krispy Kreme Hot-n-Now, my lunch probably shouldn’t include three double chocolate chip cookies with my Subway sandwich and my after-dinner-dessert would have to be toned down a bit. After all, when I think of diabetes, I think of too much sugar and then I think of muffins, cakes, and pies and then I get really hungry. I assumed I would just have to incorporate more fruit in place of the fudge brownies.

Boy, was I wrong.

And so off I went to a diabetes education class. This is where I learned that not only could I not have my donuts, cookies and an occasional Pibb with my dinner but that I also had to strictly monitor my intake of carbs, especially those with a high glycemic index like corn, apples, potatoes and spaghetti. And by monitor, I mean cut out completely.

Sure, I can have one-half cup of spaghetti noodles but what’s the point? Who wants half a cup? That’s more torture than having none. And don’t you even think of adding sauce to that half-cup of noodles. No siree. Too much sugar in that jar. Throw a little butter on them there noodles and call it dinner.

Oh and the fun doesn’t even stop there. At this class, they handed me a cute little gadget and proceeded to show me how to poke myself FOUR TIMES A DAY to check my levels and log every last bite that goes into my mouth. I’m sorry, you want me to intentionally draw blood multiple times each day from my poor, malnourished fingers and then write down each time I pop a peanut in my mouth?

Obviously I’m being a bit overdramatic but you just don’t go messing with a pregnant woman’s food. I mean, dang. I’ll straight up fight my own spawn for the last piece of cake if the mood strikes…don’t think I won’t do the same to a dietician taking away all things tasty.

Clearly this ‘trial’ is teaching me some serious discipline. I love food and especially so when I’m pregnant. I proudly gained 60lbs with d’s 1-3 and had intended this one to be no different. However, here I sit at week 32 and have gained 34lbs. After first going on this diet, I even lost a few which is totally foreign to me but made sense. I mean, a girl can only eat so much salad and turkey sandwiches {on whole wheat bread} before the fetus starts whittling away at my fat storage. Or so that’s what I’m hypothesizing.

Now that it’s been a couple of weeks, I’ve toned down my drama queen act a bit by finding some bright spots along the way and am trying to focus on them when I get annoyed/bitter/cranky. Like the fact that I can still eat my Chipotle Steak Fajita Burrito Bowl. I just have to limit the amazing cilantro-lime rice to, oh, I don’t know, 6 grains and stay away from that chili-corn salsa because, remember, corn is EVIL. Who knew?

And I can almost have all the peanut butter I want. Oh sure, peanut butter is great. I love it but mostly with CHOCOLATE. For now, I’m learning to love it on whole wheat toast, celery sticks and, if I really want to be a rebel and have an extra special treat, I can put it on one {singular} graham cracker. I’ll admit that I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that Peanut Butter Toast Crunch cereal with almond milk has been a great breakfast alternative to the suggested eggs and toast. And since then, I’ve often contemplated living on just PB Toast Crunch for every meal until D-Day. The thought crosses my mind more often when I eat 2+ salads in any given day…a girl can only take so much lettuce.

Some have made comments like, ‘Look at it this way – it’s just a jump start to your post baby bod.’ And I’ll confess that I might have wanted to stab them with my diabetic lancet. Same violent thoughts to those who ask if my doctors are positive it's not twins.  Seriously? Aside from asking someone if they're pregnant {when there's always that chance that they're not}, this is the other question you don't ask someone who is already feeling gargantuan. 

Are any of you pitying Dallas right now? Sometimes I think, ‘Poor Dallas. Not only does he have to battle my pregnancy hormones but now he’s got a pregnant and famished crazy on his hands.’ And then he goes and eats an entire bag of Lay’s before bed while I ration my string cheese and, just like that, my sympathy is gone.

In conclusion, I’d like to put everyone on notice now. If you desire to visit me in the hospital {or in the two weeks following d4’s birth at our home}, you must know that there will be an edible entry fee. Forget the diapers or meals for the rest of my family, just bring one of the following and you’ll be allowed in:

1) A case of Mr. Pibb

2) One pan of Godiva dark chocolate brownies covered in Trader Joe’s cookie butter icing {one fork}

3) Oreo Sonic Blizzard topped with crushed Reeses PB cups {one spoon}

4) Red Robin Guacamole Bacon Burger WITH bun

5) FRENCH FRIES – McDonald’s, Fuddruckers, Dodge’s Gas Station – I will not discriminate

Sweet little d4 {who is probably starving in utero} – we will one day talk about this. I realize it’s your placenta’s fault but you’re just sort of guilty by association. Sorry, Charlie. {And no, that’s not his name!}

Eight weeks and counting…

Friday, March 8, 2013

All Things Coming Together

So, our house sold about 10 days ago! Woo hoo! And then this past week we bought a house.  Again.  I know I’ve said this before but I never want to do this again. And this time I mean it! My nerves are tore up over all the contracts, inspections, repairs, closing dates, etc. 

Okay, so this new house.  Allow me to tell all of you five readers about it.  First let me just say that we really didn’t think we were going to find something so quickly.  Don’t get me wrong – we had looked at many, MANY houses, online and in person.  My poor, sweet realtor {and FRIEND!} probably wanted to shake us but we were adamant that this time we would be certain this was a good fit. 

It’s not like our current house wasn’t great but we did really have to settle for it and we knew we didn’t want to do that again.  We’ve also just been really convicted in our hearts about what is important to us regarding our lifestyle. 

Now don’t hear what I’m not saying – we don’t live in extravagance.  Those who know me know that my favorite places to shop are Goodwill and  Aldi.  Nothing thrills me more than a score on a Banana Republic tank or a pint of blueberries for under a buck.  We just know that any income we get is a blessing from the Lord.  I used to feel like I had to live in a big house and drive a new car to ‘be somebody.’  Clearly I’ve learned that it’s all a lie.  Maybe it was because I grew up with very little – I don’t know – but I want to teach my boys that those things are all temporary.  We can learn together because I’m still a work in progress in that area. 

Enough of my tender thoughts.  I’ll save those for my journal.  The new house.  So it’s forty-something years old and the seller is the original owner.  Her husband built it all those years ago and they raised children {and grandchildren} in the house.  It is a good bit smaller than our current home but the outside is amazing.  It’s a total 1.2 acre lot with an awesome fenced in backyard.  And by fenced, I mean chain link.  That might be on my update list on down the road as I really enjoy a nice privacy fence but it’s really not a priority. 

This yard – GAH! I’m already envisioning my garden {that Dallas will farm, I’m sure!}, a trampoline, a fire pit, a basketball goal {on the crazy huge paved driveway section} and maybe even a hammock.  The potential is unbelievable. 

Now then, let’s discuss the inside.  All original hardwood floors, real plantation blinds and a pink sink.  Fine, so two out of three ain’t bad, right? Yes, the inside is smaller and, yes, the updates are sure to be lengthy but it’s nothing we can’t fix with a little help from Pinterest and IKEA.  We’ll have this place pulled into the 21st century in no time.

And it may be that the best part is the price.  Not only did we score a great deal for the property that we bought but the lower mortgage is going to afford me more time at home with the boys.  With the pending arrival of #4, I’m finally getting to the point where I have to throw in the towel and admit that I just can’t do it anymore.  Here’s a little secret of mine - not easy for me to say.  I am a self-proclaimed control freak who wants to have the best of both worlds, whatever that even means.  However, when my 6-year-old son asks me why I never go on field trips with his class and my answer is, ‘Because I have to work,’ it’s a lot easier to concede. 

Now, let me just say this while we’re on the subject.  I fully support working moms.  FULLY.  I have been one since Dagen was 6 months old.  It is challenging but very rewarding.  When my work day is finished, I give everything to them until they go down for the night.  And then I fall on the couch in utter exhaustion. 

Yes, we did daycare centers and, yes, they got sick but that is life.  PS - they can get sick going to the grocery store with me.  Heck, they probably contracted more sickness from the pediatricians office when I took them for well-child-checks.  That.Is.Life.  Do I wish I could have spent more time with Dagen and Davis before they went to K-5? Of course.  I didn’t work because I didn’t want to stay home with them.  We couldn’t afford for me to stay home financially at the time and I love my career choice.  I mean, I work with numbers - who wouldn't love that?!?! 
However, with some lifestyle changes that we’ve made/are making, this is something we’re working towards.  I won’t be a full time SAHM but I hope to be a part-time SAHM and have a better balance in life.  I hope to never have to tell Davis that I didn’t put my name in the chaperone pool because it was my scheduled long day at work.  That just hurts my heart. 

There.  I’m done.  Just please don’t rip on working moms because I can get all sorts of fired up.  Oh wait, you didn’t. 
So here’s one pic of the house….you’ll have to stay tuned for before and after shots in the months to come.  Closing is set for April 15th.  Please, Jesus, let there be NO delays.