Day 152: Who's Your Daddy

We play this game with the girls all the time called, "Who's that?" You know, the game where you point to people in the room and say, "Who's that?" (It's a favorite in the toddler crowd)

It's been fun to watch the progression of how they have pronounced our names over the past year. Each month their speech develops a little bit more and each month our names become a lot clearer.

In the beginning our names were: "Their pronunciation"/(our name)

"Mommy" (Mimi) (they called everybody mommy or mama, so we just went with it)
"Pot" (Pops)
"ZZZZZZZZZatch" (Zack)
"Te-Da" (Jacob) (I guess they were going more for a syllable match here, since they couldn't make either a "J" or a "k" sound)

By the end of summer, we were

Mimi (most of the time)
Te-cup or sometimes Te-dup

And most recently we are:
Zaaacckk (they say this loud and really drug out . . . apparently I must have modeled this!)
Jacup or sometimes still Tedup.

The point being, they say our names pretty well, and they know who we are.

So the other night, we were playing, "Who's that?' And they successfully named Jacob, and when they weren't giggling instead of saying my name, they said "Mimi." But when we asked Baby N who Mike was she said, "My Daddy."

We were all stunned for two reasons. She doesn't talk very plainly at all. Her speech is significantly delayed. And, we have never referred to Mike as Daddy and they have never called him "Daddy." But she said it so perfectly. "My Daddy."

At the end of the day, I think we all need our Daddy. We need someone who is Daddy to us. I believe God placed that need deep down inside us, and when we let it, the need for "Daddy" draws us to Him.

All that to say, "Who's your daddy?"

Day 151: I Do What I Want

In honor of "I Do What I Want" day, I want to point out that I am aware of several grammatical errors in my previous post (Day 150) and I am not even going to change them because . . . I Do What I Want. (And I'm also not going to put a comma in the above sentence, even though grammatical convention demands I do so. Because, I Do What I Want.)

Both girls are well and at school. Day 3 of my vacation and all my undone items on my to do list are beckoning me. But I say to you Mr. To Do List, "Get off me. I do what I want!" So I will accomplish the things that interest me and the rest, well . . . the rest just won't get done. And I'm preeeettty sure the world will not stop spinning because of it.

I have already cleaned my bathroom and organized the girls hair products. Sheesh. Girls are complicated. Hair bows, hairbands, hair oil, hair lotion, detangler, picks, combs, barrettes. OMg. That is ridiculous. There are more impressive needs than organizing hair products on my to do list, but I wanted to organize hair products. So I did it. Because today, I do what I want.

I might clean the house. I might not.

I might get a pedicure. Actually, I WILL get a pedicure.

Who knows what this day will bring? It's wide open people. Go crazy.





We all know I'm gonna tackle that to-do list like it's a chocolate donut on legs.

All that to say, I will do what I want. And what I want is to FINALLY get myself organized so I'm not always sitting around thinking, "I should hang pictures, I should move that bookshelf, I should organize those drawers, I should rearrange the dining room, I should finish the girl's bedroom." Blah, blah, blah.

Day 150: Sweet Sounds

Baby N is still sick. So starts Day Two of my vacation.

She woke up early this morning crying. She doesn't usually cry out in her sleep. Her sister does. Almost every night. But not her. She's more of a "fretter" in her sleep.

I don't think she's every gotten a really peaceful night of sleep, ever. She moves all over her bed, and I mean all over it! And if she awakens, even ever so slightly, she bangs her head. I know I have mentioned this before. And by "bangs her head" I mean that she pounds her head into her mattress as though she is hammering a nail into it with her forehead.

Day Two.

I had a few errands to run and Baby N seemed to be feeling okay, though her temperature would say otherwise. (Yeah, I'm THAT mom who drags her sick kid all over creation.) So I decided to drive up to the church and drop off the food donations and clothing donations and check to see if any of my online orders had arrived yet.

Then Baby N and I set off into Houston for a little IKEA time. I traded some IKEA shopping with Zack for some free babysitting. Truth is, he probably would have done the babysitting anyway and I probably would have gone to IKEA for him, but I guess we felt better thinking we were bartering our time. (Did I mention we're type A's?)

She sang for about 10 minutes at the top of her lungs. All her favorites. Wheels on the bus. If you're happy and you know it. My red wagon. And then just as suddenly there were now sounds coming from the backseat. She was sound asleep. At 9:30 a.m. hmmmm. I guess that early morning wore her out and she needed a little nap.

When we arrived at IKEA we were 10 minutes early (the store doesn't open til 10 if you ever wondered). So Baby N proceeded to wave hello to EVERYONE who walked up (and I do mean EVERYONE). Then she would say in the sweetest little stuffy-nosed voice "marning" and blow them all kisses. Seriously, they should have paid us for that.

Long story short, we made it back home, happy and hungry. Had a yummy chicken salad for lunch and then I put her in bed for a nap. That was 30 minutes ago. She's singing. What a sweet little sound. I kinda want to be mad at her for not going to sleep. I really need that nap time to get some things accomplished. But just when I think I will go lay her down and tell her to go to sleep, she yells into her monitor in this delightfully happy little voice. "I luh u Mimi. Up peas." (translated, I love you Mimi. May I get up please?)

All that to say, I have had a morning filled with sweet little sounds. I loved it. Now maybe I will hear a little snoring coming out of her monitor. :)

Day 149: Best Plans

I'm on vacation. I have three days this week to really get a lot of things accomplished.

Being the list maker, I made a list of everything I needed to do, even wrote down what days each of those things would be accomplished.

This is my actual to do list from Day One:

Wake up at 6:00 a.m.
Drop off girls at school at 7:30
Have quiet time until 8:30ish
Go to office for prayer at 9:00 and pick up any packages there
10:30 Clean upstairs bathroom and install shower curtain, towels, etc.
11:00 Unpack all boxes that say "guest room"
12:00 Eat lunch and get pedicure. Buy storage baskets for girl's room and sheer curtains.
1:30 Organize girl's room and closet. Line drawers in their bedroom.
3:30 Make list of anything still needed in girl's room
3:40 Clean Kitchen and decide on something for dinner
4:00 Take a break. Take a walk.
4:30 Clean laundry room and my bedroom. Put away all clothes. Organize pajamas into categories (footed, long sleeve/long pants, short sleeve/long pants, short sleeve/short pants) Store accordingly
5:15 Walk to pick up girls from school

Here is what actually happened.
6:00 Wake up. Decide not to shower. Sleep until 6:30
7:00 Wake up Baby N first. She's burning hot. Take her temperature. It's 101.6
7:30 After holding Baby N for a while, wake up Baby S. Whew. She's not hot.
8:30 When Jacob arrives to watch "N", take "S" to school.
8:45 Drink Coffee and talk to Jacob.
9:00 Call Dr. and make appt for Baby N, wash my hair, (regretting that decision not to shower)
9:45 Get sick toddler ready. Load her into car.
10:15 Arrive at Doctor.
12:30 Leave Doctor
1:00 Arrive at Drug Store
1:30 Feed Baby N Lunch
1:45 Put her down for nap and eat my lunch
2:15 Clean laundry room
2:45 Clean upstairs bathroom. Install shower curtains, towels, etc.
3:15 Start cleaning my bedroom. Organize pajamas.
4:15 Take a break. Take a walk. Blog.
5:00 Get Baby N out of bed.

Yep. Pretty much nothing on my to do list happened. (except for the things in red)

All that to say, I have so many new things scheduled for day two. Those things won't happen. I have a sick baby. Poor thing. I hate it when they are sick. I hate it worse than not accomplishing my to do list. Oh well. Maybe another time.

Day 148: Praying for the Woman of Their Dreams

I wrote a blog a while back entitled, "Being the Man of Her Dreams."

It was a blog about teaching my sons how to really love a woman . . . how to be the man of her dreams.

Because they are at a stage in life where they are looking for (or may have found) the woman of their dreams, I wanted to offer some wisdom about finding Mrs. Right.

"Someday you will meet a woman that you believe is the woman of your dreams. Perhaps you will base this belief on some superficial criteria, like her body type or her facial appearance or her hair color. I hope that if I have taught you anything, it's that things like that don't really matter. Don't think you'll recognize the woman of your dreams by the way she looks. You won't.

Perhaps you will base your belief on some common interests you have, like musical artists or sports teams or favorite movies. Common interests are certainly good, but they won't be the measuring stick you should use either.

Or perhaps you will base your belief on chemistry. Physical chemistry. Maybe her hand touching yours sparks something in you that makes you want to know more about her. Chemistry is good. And dangerous. Very dangerous. It is most assuredly something that can indicate you have met the woman of your dreams. But this chemistry can also be something that gets distorted into a very dangerous thing called lust.

So many things can convince you that you have met the woman of your dreams, my sons. So how will you know you have met her? I don't think there is a checklist. There are a few non-negotiables. But no real checklist.

So if I can give you any advice, it is this. You will know that you have met the woman of your dreams when you can simply be yourself with her. You can be real and authentic and vulnerable, and so can she. Remember, she will complete you. She will bring out the good in you that perhaps lies dormant. She will soften the harsh sides of you. She will deeply respect you.

My sons, love, true love, comes slowly. And it grows and matures and blossoms with time. So give it time. In time, the real woman of your dreams will be very apparent. And when it is, then be the man of her dreams.

All that to say, a mother's prayer is answered when her sons find the woman God created for them. A mother spends her lifetime praying for that woman. I have prayed for these women since your births my sons.

Day147: I Know This to Be True

I have a disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. It manifests itself in many ways, and has actually changed the way it manifests itself throughout my life.

When I was in my twenties, I counted things, anything, everything. I counted bald heads in church. I counted stairs. I counted lines on the ceiling. I discovered that if whatever I was counting ended in an even number, then I was fine. But if said items ended in an odd number, then I felt distress. Sometimes severe distress.

Gradually, my counting problem evolved into counting things that could be counted in fours. Anything that was a square or a rectangle, I counted. Ceiling tiles. Floor tiles. The painted lines on the road. Digital clock numbers. It was maddening. I still do this from time to time when I am stressed.

By my mid thirties, my OCD had evolved into an obsession about door handles and the germs on them. I couldn't touch door handles in public. I panicked if women's bathrooms had hand dryers instead of paper towels because that meant I would have to touch the door handle with my clean hands.

But by my forties, my OCD manifested itself in the form of seriously fixated thoughts. The more out of control I felt about something, the worse my OCD became. An incredible sense of despair would overtake me until I became sick from the panic and anxiety. This panic and anxiety consumed me and left me feeling hopeless.

Truth is, this still happens to me from time to time, but I have discovered an exercise that helps me. When I have an obsessive thought, such as "Carol, this is never going to get better. It's always going to be this way, no matter what you do." I say, out loud, "No. That is not true. I know this to be true, "God created the universe. He made the sun and the moon and the stars. He came to earth in the form of a man. He died on the cross for me."

And I keep on repeating simple truths until I no longer have my obsessive thoughts.

The truth dispels the lies. The truth gives me a sense of peace. The Truth sets me free.

All that to say, I know this to be true. I have a hope that tells my brain to chill out. And I am thankful for the God who gives me that hope.

Day 146: Clarity

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago trying to listen and look at the person who was teaching that week. It was a bit difficult to see him though because of my contact situation.

I am trying out contacts where I have one for near vision in one eye and one for distance vision in the other eye.

Supposedly, over time, your brain figures out which eye needs to "switch on" in any given circumstance.

I wear my near vision contact in my left eye and my distance vision contact in my right eye.

Hang with me now, all of this vision and contact explanation is important to my story.

You see, when I was sitting in church, there was a man in front of me. Not directly in front of me. He was sitting a little to my right, allowing me only to see the Pastor and the large screen out of my left eye. Keep in mind that the contact in my left eye only allows me to see close up and the preacher and screen were far away.

So EVERYTHING was blurry.

Even the man's head in front of me, because his head was directly in front of my right eye, which has a contact that sees distance vision.

Finally, after trying to figure out how to see, I just got up and moved.

And voila! Instantly clear vision. With nothing to block my right eye (my distance eye), I could see both the Pastor and the large screen!

Clarity is like that. It often comes from a simple change of scenery. A different perspective.

All that to say, if you're having trouble gaining clarity, why not try looking from a different perspective? You might be astounded at the results.

Day 145: Doubtless

I find that in the last 48 hours my heart and mind are filled with doubt about our girls. This resurgence of doubt happens about once every other week, and it frustrates me.

Do I not trust God enough? Did a too busy schedule that wreaked havoc in my life cause this doubt? What is my problem?

I looked at pictures on a friend's blog today and saw photos of her little boy running down a pier and I thought,"Why haven't I taken the girls to a park? Why haven't I taken them to a lake? Why haven't I taken them to feed ducks?" And my answer to those questions came to "because she is 29 and has an endless, boundless supply of energy and I am 49 and do not." (And, said 29 year old also has a thriving photography business! Talk about energy!)

Of course, that isn't the real reason. It's the one I allow to get planted into my thoughts on a regular basis though. It goes a little something like this, "Carol, you're too old for this. You don't have what it takes any more to raise two more children. They deserve more than you. They deserve a stay-at-home mom who can pour into them everything they need on an hourly basis. Their little lives have been in such turmoil for so long, they deserve to wake up at a leisurely pace and enjoy the morning without being rushed off to day care. You can't give them that. You're too old. Too settle into your career." (insert other excuses here)

And I am oh so sick of these doubts. We love these babies. We have a tremendous support network of friends. We were called to this, and we know that if God called us then He will equip us.

Lord help me in my unbelief this day.

All that to say, I don't really know what to say.

Day 144: Daddys and Daughters

I am not too much of a girly girl. I don't wear a lot of pink. I don't reapply my make-up during the day. I'm more at home in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt then I will ever be in a dress.

I can totally relate to Taylor Swift's song (I don't know the name of the song, and I might not even have the artist's name right!) but it says something like,

"She wear short shorts, I wear sneakers. She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers."

That's me. I'm the girl in the sneakers on the bleachers.

But there is something that comes over me from time to time, something deep down in my soul, that makes me want to twirl. And I mean, T-W-I-R-L.

I'm talking ballerina, spin around, arms extended, twirling. It's about the most girly thing I do. And I do it well!

It's very uncharacteristic.

I attribute it to my love for dancing that was instilled in me at an early age by my parents. They danced. I would sometimes hide out on the stairs and watch them slow dance at night after we had all gone to bed (or so they thought). Sometimes, in the middle of their dance, my dad would twirl my mom around and she would laugh a laugh of deep contentment.

I longed to be the girl in my daddy's arms, twirling around and laughing.

This weekend, my daddy and I will celebrate our first ever daddy daughter dance. I'm looking forward to being twirled around. Except he's 70 now with two bad knees, so who knows how the evening will go!

All that to say, I'm looking forward to being the little girl in my daddy's arms.

Day 143: Salvation

I've started this blog three different times today, erased it, started over, erased that, logged off, logged back in, started over, erased it. . . madness.

I can't decide how to tell you this story and do it justice. I'm sure I will reduce it (with my limited writing prowess)to a trite story of insignificance, but it was such a great moment that I really want you to grasp it in it's fullness.

I met a woman at church today. She'd been many times, but suddenly fell off the face of the earth. Her life isn't easy. She's a Christ follower and her husband isn't, and that's only the tip of the iceberg that makes her life very difficult.

She told me she'd been away because she was struggling with some of our theology, namely the notion that we believe once you are saved you are always saved. Once you have received the gift of salvation through Christ, you cannot lose that gift.

She just can't believe it. And yet in not believing it, she has been tormented by this fear that she would lose her salvation.

So I just asked her, "Do you believe that a God who would sacrifice His ONLY son for you would then sow in you such a deep fear that you would lose the salvation He sacrificed so much to offer?" And she burst into tears.

I said, "The God I worship doesn't sow fear into the hearts of His followers. In fact, He tells me not to fear."

And all this took place in the FOYER before church ever started. And the message today? Salvation through grace. Amazing.

I'm sure I haven't done this justice.

All that to say, trust me. It was cool. I watched someone get delivered from a very deep fear. Way cool.

Day 142: Dinner Dinner

I don't really know how to start this blog tonight.

I thought about telling you how difficult it has been over the months to find a food that the girls love that they don't end up being allergic to.

I thought about telling you how difficult it can be to come home at 5:30, pick up two toddlers who have been in day care all day, try to cook dinner while giving them all the attention they need AND cook something that is good and good for us all.

But instead, I thought I would tell you a story that really depicts what a great mom I am. A story that depicts how much my babies love my cooking.

Tonight, we were sitting around in the living room, (Zack, the girls, and Christina)talking and playing silly games, when all of a sudden Mike walked in the front door carrying two boxes.

Baby S yelled (really more a squeal of delight) "PIZZA!" Baby N heard the squeal and went running for her high chair trying to climb over the front of it, over the tray, saying over and over and over, "pizza, pizza, pizza."

Keep in mind, these girls barely speak at all, and yet THEY BOTH can say "pizza" as clear as a bell.

All that to say, pizza. It's what's for dinner.

Day 141: Moving Out

My sons are moving out. I know many of you are saying in your heads right now, "It's about time." And it is. For them. For us. It's time to move forward with all of our lives.

I will bet that the last year+ has not been easy on them, (other than the free rent and meals thing) because the thing is, when your children live with you, they are still your children, and you still have this need to treat them like your children.

The things that annoyed you when they were children and lived at home, still annoy you when they are adults and live at home. The dirty laundry, dirty dishes, dirty bedrooms, dirty bathroom, dirty cars. Yep. Still annoying.

It's not like I don't have dirty laundry, dishes, bedroom, bathroom and car. I do. But it's somehow more annoying because THEY should be clean and tidy. But they aren't.

And I'll just bet that they are annoyed with me reminding them that I am annoyed with all of that. And asking where they are going and when they'll be back and who they'll be with and reminding them to be safe, and drive safely, and not to drink and drive, or text and drive, or speed and drive.

So it's time for them to move out. The next step is here. On to adulthood. And careers. And marriages. And children. And life. I pray their lives will be filled with the most incredible adventures and a sense of purpose planted deeply in them by God.

All that to say, we won't be empty nesters. We still have babies. But we will be emptier nesters. And I'm pretty excited about that. (And a little sad)

Day 139: There Should Be Rules

I've been kind of heavy lately in my writing, so I thought I'd lighten up a bit.

My husband is so cute when it comes to little kids. If you ever want to see the lighter side of Mike Jones (yes, he has one) then you are going to see it when little kids are around.

Seriously, he's a goofball.

He uses this high pitched and INSANELY loud voice.

And the kids eat it up.

However, when it comes to teenagers, mmmmmmmm, not so much. He's not a fan.

I mean, I think he wishes he could be, but he isn't. He has no patience for their sarcasm or their attitudes or their antics.

Now, take these two traits and combine them with Halloween, more specifically trick or treating.

When the little kids come to the door, Mike is so engaging and entertaining. Oooing and ahhhing over every costume. Praising them. Telling them how beautiful and/or scary they are. Even pretending terror when the costume warrants it.

But if the big kids come, you can sense his frustration. One year he even refused to give the big kids candy. Sent them away with a lecture instead of a snickers bar. (I believe our pumpkins got smashed. Which on a side note, my friend, Kim told me LAST NIGHT that the exact same thing happened to her once for the same reason. That's why Mike doesn't like teenagers.)

Anyway. I decided we should make some rules for trick or treaters. There is the "manners" section and the "you're too old to trick or treat" section. Feel free to add yours.

1. If the light is off, DON'T RING THE BELL
2. If I give you candy, say "thank you."
3. If I open my door and greet you, say something. Don't just stand there with your bag open.
4. Don't scare the little people inside the house. For Real. I mean it.
5. Don't make up that lame story about why you have TWO BAGS that you are filling up.

1. If your voice has gone through "the change" . . . you're too old to trick or treat.
2. If your body has "developed" . . . you're too old to trick or treat.
3. If I can't tell if you are a hooker or a trick or treater . . . you're too old to trick or treat.
4. If you drove yourself to my house to trick or treat . . . you're too old to trick or treat.
5. If you grew your own beard for your costume . . . you're too old to trick or treat.

All that to say, I'm sure you have some rules you can add to this. Feel free to jump in. Maybe we'll make a poster for next year.

Day 138: What to Pray For

I have two sayings that I say a lot.

"It's hard to know what to pray for."


"I could make a case either way."

These are phrases I use when I don't have a clue what to do, OR if I know what I would do, but it doesn't match what the person seeking my advice WANTS to do.

So, when I feel this way, as I do right now about many things, I simply pray for wisdom for myself (since I am the one being asked for the advice), and peace for the other person who has the decision to make.

Sometimes it really is hard to know what to pray for. Our heart, our desires, our emotions, our brains, our experience . . . ALL of those things can get in the way of hearing God and what He wants.

There have been times when I have wanted something so badly that I have worked hard to make sure that very thing happened. Some call this manipulation. Some call it being a control freak. I simply call it a lack of faith. A lack of faith in what God has planned.

And I have been learning this for some time, but it has been especially clear over the past few months how disastrous THAT behavior is. Getting your own way, a way that is in opposition to what God has in store. Not good, people. Not good.

So I won't control, though I want to. Though I want to scream at the top of my lungs and say "DO THIS. DON'T DO THAT!" I want to say, "There are other options. There are other choices. The consequences of THAT decision will be far reaching."

Instead, I will pray. Pray for wisdom and peace.

All that to say, breathe. I'm breathing, Lord. Perhaps I need wisdom and peace as well.