Celebrating Ten Years of Us

Justin and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary tomorrow. I distinctly remember writing our seven year anniversary post and it feels like the years are just flying by, regardless of how hard and slow they seem day by day sometimes.

One of my favorite memories of marriage this year is from when I was in labor with Luke. I was sitting on the hospital bed, holding a popsicle during a contraction, and he quietly walked over and took the popsicle from me. When I mentioned this to him several months later, he didn’t even remember doing it. But he knew me (this was baby #4 after all) and he was paying attention.

Raising Boys in a Sex Scandal Society

Recently, there has been a long string of sex scandals or allegations revealed by the media: Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Matt Lauer. The hashtag #metoo has reaffirmed that sexual assault and misconduct are common. The same story is repeated over and over. Men don’t respect women. Men use women. Men objectify women. Thankfully, not all men. There are few things better than good men and I know men that I would trust with my life or with the care of my children. But that kind of character can’t be assumed, even in the church.

Even IF we didn’t see the same behavior in the church, I find the church has little space to speak life to women who have been abused or violated or shamed because the church is largely responsible for electing a president who thinks this behavior is perfectly acceptable. And he said so long before he was sworn in. We ruined our credibility on the subject.

This is largely why feminism exists. If you think feminism is the ultimate evil, check yourself (and I’m not endorsing current-day feminism). I have seen grown men comment publicly on the internet that it is no big deal to grope a strange woman, that she should feel honored that she’s attractive. No one actually believes that garbage, right? If women were treated with dignity and respect, as people with something important to contribute, there would never have been a need for feminism.

Fighting Overwhelm When Life is Crazy

Four is the number of children. Not the perfect number (unless that’s what you have, of course), not the number to aim for, not the number because it’s “even.” Four is the number when people start counting your kids when you go in public. I always wonder if those people think they are being subtle because I can almost see them moving their finger from head to head as their mouths drop open. And then they ask, “And that baby is a boy too, isn’t he??”

Yup. Four. All boys. Yes, they are all mine. No, you don’t need to feel sorry for me.

Of course, there’s a certain amount of crazy you sign up for when you have four small kids. It can be crazy when four small children all need something at the same time and you’d be surprised how often they all need something at the same time.

6 Reasons Why I Sleep Train

I’m a fairly relaxed sleep-trainer. We need to be flexible because of our lifestyle; we will not be home every single night at 8:30 to put the baby in his bed. (You need to know why you are sleeping training and what results you want to be successful at this. Don’t just adopt someone else’s plan.) I want to have a consistent nap routine and bedtime and to be able to put him in bed awake and him go to sleep on his own.

This is not a how-to post. There are tons of great resources on sleep training that you can Google. You can even take my favorite method: read a bunch of different stuff on it and cobble together something that works for you. This is a WHY post. I want to share why I sleep train and why that makes a difference for our family. Our home needs to work for everyone and this is one of the ways we’ve made that happen.

(And, as always, if you don’t sleep train, feel free to click away and go on with your life. No judgment here. This is what works for us.)

Stop Telling Yourself You’re Tired (even if you are)

I wake up tired and go to bed tired these days. That’s life with a newborn.

At least that’s what it easy to tell myself.

Now don’t get me wrong; that is life with a newborn. But not just life with a newborn. That’s life with a job with a crazy schedule. Or life when you’re ill. Or pregnant. Or caring for a sick child or parent.

My real problems- not the exhaustion- start when I think I’m the only one. When I think I have it worse than anyone in the world.

That is my go-to reaction when I’m tired: self-pity. I’ve learned to constantly reframe what I’m thinking. There are a lot of people that are tired. For most of us, it’s a season and we will one day get more sleep.

Mamas Are the Magic Makers

I cut the slices of banana bread, trying not to drop any crumbs on the head of the wrapped baby that’s nestled under my chin. I take a moment to kiss his head before the two-year-old helps me fill the plastic minion cup with water. Playgrounds are thirsty places. I break up fights, shove my phone into my pocket, and slide on my flip-flops before locking the door behind us.

Those walks to the playground happen early, before we even sit down for breakfast. These are 90 degrees days and we are trying to slip out and back in before it hits the mid 80s. We look at leaves with purple edges and watch birds of prey circling around the edges of the treetops. We investigate a dead stink bug and throw sticks across the fence. We deal with bad attitudes while we climb across the playsets.

These can seem like bleak times. We are surrounded, inundated if we choose to be, by news of genocide and terrorism and hatred. We can turn on the tv or log onto twitter and see so many things that are wrong with the world. Even our own personal lives, blessed though they may be, can be overwhelming and discouraging as we plow through times of hardship and struggle.

How to Speak Truth over Your Laundry + a playlist

Last week I found myself drowning in laundry: piles to fold, piles to wash, more in the washer and dryer. There were children constantly needing correction (for the same thing as the day before!), dinner to make, and oh look, the rug needed vacuumed again. That’s when I decided there was no point and I might as well not even bother. It wouldn’t matter if no one ever cleaned our floors again, right?

It’s not that anything big was wrong. I was just tired and being tired makes me more easily discouraged.

Side note here- I know in these situations that I’m just tired and nothing’s really wrong because when I wake up feeling rested I’m sure I could take on the world. Diagnose the problem: it’s not that life is bad; it’s that I’m tired.