Thursday, September 23, 2010

MOPS International

Last Fall I called my sister in a major mom meltdown. She invited me to her MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at her church. It was everything I needed and more! I felt so refreshed from their ideas on how to handle common situations. It was so comforting to hear the other moms going through the same thing as me talk about their kids and how they felt as moms. I only went three times before they ended in December, so the next January, a friend from my church and I started our own fake one at our church. Since we couldn't pay the MOPS dues required to be official, we called it MOPZ. We pretty much did the same thing and I think it went as well as it could have for our first year.
Since this is my last semester as a YPW I decided to do a girls Life Group instead of MOPZ. But no regrets at all because I get to go to the real MOPS at my sister's church and I am sooooo excited about it!!
Only moms with children ages 5 and under can attend. Gabe is 6, but since he is in Pre-K they said he is allowed to stay. Thank God!
So here's how it looks through my mom eyes:
First of all it's only every two weeks, so I wake up exited and feel full of purpose as a mother because today I am going to learn something new and be reminded how normal I am. I get myself and all the kids ready and load up the van (of course everyone has to look as cute as possible because as women we will be checking out each other's clothes and how cute our kids are)! I drive about 20 minutes to get there and possibly will get in a fight with one of my kids (most likely Gabe) and arrive feeling like a semi-bad mom for yelling at him. Two weeks ago everyone was happy the whole way and it felt great to arrive with no scuffles. Then I rush inside because I am probably just barely on time and I quickly steer my kids into nursery hoping and praying that no one cries or throws a fit with the nursery worker. My greatest fear at the moment is that Isaiah will throw such a big fit that I won't be able to go into my meeting. I know that's probably selfish of me, but true. Two weeks ago they all went in so smoothly. I felt so victorious! I know enough now to know that that doesn't mean I am a great mom who has it all together. It was just a good moment in my mom history.
After all is well with nursery, I finally arrive upstairs and can relax. I walk into a room full of other moms feeling the same way as I do, all having different mornings getting there, some crazy and some peaceful. I gratefully get my breakfast and coffee because I probably didn't have time to eat anything at home and for a brief moment I think how I can sneak some down to my kids since they probably didn't eat breakfast either. But then I remember they will get snacks in nursery so I move on. The next 30 minutes is social time for moms to connect and to give other moms time to arrive (because we all know mothers of preschoolers rarely arrive on time). I sit at my table, we all play an ice-breaker game, listen to a guest speaker, discuss what we heard from the speaker with our table, listen as our "mentor mom" brings us all back to Earth, and leave feeling on top of the world. Today is MOPS, and I can't wait!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


This is Tae. He is around 8 years old and has worn this exact same outfit every single time I've seen him. He is one of 5 or 6 kids and lives in the projects near the other two boys, KeJuan & Jacolin. When he first started coming around he was the sweetest, most gentle boy. Lately he's gotten a little bolder & more outspoken. One of my favorite stories of him is the night he came over around 8:00pm after my boys had already gone to bed. I always know it's him from his quiet knocks. After telling him he couldn't play, I closed the door and saw his sad, lost looking face. It seemed as if he had nowhere else to go. I opened the door back up and after asking him a few questions, I found out that his mom had just mopped and kicked everybody out. I don't blame her. Sometimes I wish I could do the same thing! Since he hadn't yet eaten dinner, I invited him in for some leftover spagetti and meat sauce. It was a nice time. We had a sweet little conversation in a quiet house with all of my attention on him. After two large servings and two cups of juice, he was on his way. I'm glad I have that memory of him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Last night the boys unexpectantly slept over at their grandparents house. I went over there to meet a friend of ours to cut their hair and my father-in-law offered to keep them overnight. Aaaaaahhhhhh (sigh of relief). I have had the best time being alone. Aaron is in California for a week, so I'm really by myself. Normally I hate being by myself. I'm a huge people watcher, so I really hate going out to eat by myself because I have no one to talk to about what I'm seeing. It's like I have to tell myself and only myself laughs. Very sad. Aaron, on the other hand, loooooves being by himself. I don't get it.
So anyway, last night after youth, I was invited to go to Chili's with some of the college age kids. Normally I would have been so excited at the invite and the opportunity, but since leaving my in-laws, I couldn't stop thinking about how wonderful it was going to be after youth when I could go home to a quiet house. And that's what I did. I watched what I wanted (murder mysteries that Aaron doesn't like and I can't watch in front of the kids), I ate and drank what I wanted (coke and chocolate chip cookie dough) and I didn't have to share or worry that one of the boys would wake up and see what I had and want it. I was as loud as I wanted to be and stayed up until I wanted to (reading a book). There were no cries at mid-night because someone woke up or early morning potty accidents that I had to deal with. This morning I slept until 9am, which is really late for moms with young kids and came out into a quiet kitchen and actually cooked my own breakfast. A normal morning is like a whirlwind of me getting everybody's breakfast (sometimes 3 different things) and then when I finally think it's my turn to sit down, they want seconds (usually what their brother was eating)! Now I'm going to have a "quiet" quiet-time and catch up on my reading from the weekend. Usually my quiet-time is me trying to focus on what I'm reading in the mists of all kinds of craziness of yelling, fighting, squeeling, laughing, running, etc. Then I'll be off to get ready and pick them up and my day will be non-stop from there - pick up, run errands, lunch, naps, school, play, dinner, baths, bed, sleep (and saying "no," "stop that" many, many times in between). That's how it is with boys and for the most part I love it. Even writing this gives me a smile in my heart. I know one day these will be great memories and lots of laughs around a Christmas tree while their crazy little boys run around their feet. I will just sit back and remember these precious moments of life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Women's Encounter 2010

This past weekend was our yearly Women's Encounter. They are always so good. There was such an atmosphere of the love of the Father and personal inner healing. When my eyes are opened to the work of Jesus on the cross, I see life through a different lens. It is easier for me to be more giving and self-sacrificial with my life verses clinching my life in my hands so that I can control the way it goes.
This was my second time speaking and I really enjoyed it. Everything I'm hearing lately has been speaking to me about going to Florida because honestly in my heart I've been a little nervous about going. Not that I'm second guessing anything, but dealing with the usual questions of what it's really going to be like. Am I going to like it there? Is God going to provide for me and my family? Is he going to personally meet me there the way he has the last few years in youth ministry? He's been comforting me through my personal Bible readings, my life group, Sunday morning services, and of course at this Encounter.
There was a song that one of the speakers played that sums it all up:
"I know it may get lonely, but I know I'm not alone.
I seek you in the wilderness because that's where you are.
You whisper like the breeze and speak to my heart.
The Lord says to walk the narrow road.
He is on that narrow road waiting for me to hold my hand, to guide me, to walk alongside of me."

Monday, September 6, 2010

This is the Life

Our puppy, Oscar, looooves to be comfy. His favorite thing lately is
to jump up on the couch after he's been outside in the wet grass.
Naturally I don't like that because his paws are leaving all kinds of
wet marks on my couch making it look dingy. I've bought him dog beds
before, but he hasn't liked them. Looks like I finally found the right
one. He lays on it & falls fast asleep & Isaiah goes & puts his
blankey on him for extra comfort.

Friday, September 3, 2010

She's Gonna Blow!

I just got finished reading "She's Gonna Blow! Real Help for Moms Dealing with Anger" by Julie Ann Barnhill. I really loved telling people that I was reading it. I would have one of two responses every time. Either "Oh my gosh, tell me where you got it. I need to read that book so bad." Or the other response was a deer in headlights look. It's so funny because I can tell they feel really awkward and have no idea what to say.
I believe I found this book through divine guidance. I was reading another blog one day and one of her posts suggested to go to the Focus on the Family website to get info on a marriage interview she heard. I couldn't find the one she suggested, so I decided to check out the parenting section of interviews. All I remember seeing were the words "She's Gonna Blow" and I clicked in a desperate attempt for answers. It turned out to be an interview with Julie Ann Barnhill herself talking about her book. She mainly told personal stories about how she blew it over and over again as a mother with young children and how she found her way out her pit. I cried the entire interview. I couldn't believe that there was someone else just like me trying desperately to stay afloat in this sea called parenthood. I was so torn between being a good role model for my boys and loosing control of my emotions on an almost daily basis. I had so much guilt and confusion that I didn't know what to do with. Her book, talking to other moms, confessing to Aaron, and crying out to God for help has changed a lot of things in me.
A fellow mom's honesty and answers has given me much hope. Now I tell every mom I can about my own struggles and this book. If you relate in any way, I definitely suggest this book for you. Don't be afraid to admit your own struggles as well. Exposure always frees you from your darkness.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


These are the brownies me & the boys made together tonight. It all
started off fun & ended in total chaos. While Judah & Isaiah were off
playing together, I whispered in Gabe's ear an invitation to come &
help me make them. I knew he would feel so special. Of course our
secret didn't last long. About 2 minutes into it, Judah realized what
was going on & quickly jumped in, which means Isaiah wasn't far
behind. Isaiah pulled up a chair next to the sink, one thing led to
the next, & water was all over the kitchen floor. I could feel my
blood pressure rising! After scooping the brownie mix into the muffin
pans, there was a brawl that broke out between the boys about who was
going to lick the spoon & the bowl. Although the brownies were
delicious, it wasn't a happy ending. At some point I remember
screaming, "What are ya'll doing? I'm trying to cook here!!" Then my
mind said, "Wait, wasn't this your idea?" In an effort to salvage some
sanity, I put them all in the tub. Aaahhhh quiet at last...but not for
long. Gabe comes flying out of the tub, all of them cracking up
laughing, to let me know that Isaiah had gotten out of the tub to poo
& pee on the floor & Oscar, our dog, ate all of it!!!! Maybe he
thought he was getting brownies too.