Sunday, January 26, 2014

Insta-Ruthie Mae

I can't believe this little sweetie is 12 weeks old. I've loved every moment with her so far. Honestly, I think I've only gotten annoyed with her once! She is just so lovely and pleasant to be around. I miss her when she's sleeping. She's like a drug. Need more! Can't get enough!

Don't let this one fool you. Ruthie Mae sleeps like a bear in hibernation mode! She gives me solid 8-9 hours, gets a quick snack around 5am and then sleeps until 8 or 9am. Pure bliss.

Dainty lady likes to have her diaper changed. All. The. Time. As in, fusses when she farts. High maintenance much?

Stirring veggies on the stove calls for puttin' baby in a laundry basket. It was dirty. Doing what I can to keep from raising a prissy princess.

Her left eye closes tighter than her right when she smiles. This strange but heart warming trait comes from her papa.

Lookin' good in teal.

Happy 12 weeks Ruthie Mae! And goodbye 4th trimester!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I Learned From a Bar of Soap

This is the bar of soap in my bathroom.

We began our soap journey with the typical fun loving hand pump and foaming liquid. It's easy to see that object as a toy, though and we found ourselves wasting lots of soap. As well, Lazarus had a difficult time pushing down the pump which resulted in him neglecting to wash his hands altogether. Enter genius mom moment - Bar soap! Let's go back and do things the old fashioned way. You can't mess up bar soap, right? No more wasting and now Lazzy can wash his hands!

NOPE. They ruined that one, too. They soak the soap in water until it resembles playdough. They break off tiny pieces which get stuck in the drain, clogging things up. They poke holes in it. 


Why does soap have to be SO FREAKIN' HARD!?! This lead me to realize a cold hard fact : Kids are ruiners.

It begins in pregnancy. They ruin your appetite, your sleep cycle, your sex life. They stretch you (literally) and ruin your body. 

When they're born, they ruin your sense of self and take away your independence. They stain your favorite shirts and interrupt every quiet moment. 

As soon as they are able, they leave crayons in their pockets and ruin whole loads of laundry. They demolish that freshly baked banana bread when you're not looking. They can trash a room in 3 seconds flat.

They take away your dignity any time you're in public, loudly commenting on other people's appearances and throwing fits for no reason. Heck, they take away your dignity at home, too. I can't remember the last time I used the bathroom by myself!

Kids are ruiners. They are born this way-selfish and needy with absolutely no filter. But it's in the midst of their ruining that they teach us profound lessons about life. They take your "relationships and partnerships are 50 50" mentality and flush it down the toilet. They teach us that true love and service takes all 100% of us, even if we get nothing back. And {gasp!} it's not a waste!

Pouring yourself out for the sake of relationship is absolutely worth it. Giving all of yourself is what Jesus asks of us when he says "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

I find myself crumbling apart when the kids don't say "thank you" for dinner. Although we are teaching our kids thankfulness, it's not why I cook them healthy meals throughout the day. I do it to feed them, to love them and serve them. I do it because it's my privilege to nourish them and spend time with them while sharing a meal. If it all depended on their deep thankfulness and 5 star ratings at the end of each meal, we'd all be starving! No, we do it because they need us.

Everything we give to our children is worth it because God will use it. Even the things they take for granted,  the things they ruin and the ways they embarrass you, these things are being used to bring forth life and it's worth it. Our kids teach us how to serve our spouses, friends and family. They teach us that it's okay to give your all, even if things get ruined. Because whatever is ruined cannot compare to the reward received in giving.

My soap looks weird. My favorite jeans are ruined. Dinner is burned. My cd player is broken. Cookies which are meant to be shared with our small group are stolen and secretly eaten in bedrooms before 9am. But who cares?!

Whether you're a mama with an ugly bar of soap, a nanny, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, a grandparent - I encourage you to see these little ruiners and embrace the lessons they are teaching you. In this season of life, I am learning so much about what it means to serve others. Patience is not just waiting for something. It's waiting with a happy and peaceful heart. In the same way, true service is helping those around you with a peaceful and happy heart. There is freedom in embracing the fact that things will get messy. Your stuff, your plans and your reputation might get ruined. But these little hearts will grow when you serve them anyway. It's totally worth it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting Back Our Health

We've got cabin fever!!! I've been sick since before Christmas and I'm going crazy! I couldn't talk for over two weeks, so homeschooling was out of the question. Ruthie Mae coughed through the already long and painful nights, so sleep was also out of the question. It's been rough but we've all turned the corner. I'm no longer whisper yelling at the kids and we've picked up our curriculum and started educating ourselves again.

Ruthie Mae is 10 weeks old now, practically a teenager! Her brothers continue to dote on her and talk to her in high pitched squeaky voices. Kinda cute, kinda weird. I'm just so thankful for our health and that we're able to leave the house again. It's true that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Review - Favorite Moments

We began last January in St. Louis, entering the 8th and final semester of seminary. The boys were 4 and 2 and their friendship just beginning to blossom.

Their fashion sense was blossoming, too :)

In February, we visited Nashville (and celebrated my lil' sister's engagement with the world's largest bonfire!), we fostered a newborn boy who stole our hearts, and found out we were pregnant!!
Photo: Bonfire, with Christmas trees! (@jessemeeks)

March was a challenging month as I slowly climbed out of the first trimester while caring for a newborn. I won't lie, it was a rough month!

April was another life changing month as we visited Bellingham and interviewed for Dan's current job.

May was a big month as I entered the 2nd trimester and Dan finally said goodbye to his seminary days. 

I was one proud wife!!

We finished off the month with the world's coolest 5th birthday party!

June was spent packing, saying goodbye and driving away from our St. Louis community of 4 years. But before we left, we enjoyed that under rated city!

July in Nashville

August and September were spent exploring Bellingham and getting into a new routine with homeschooling, and celebrating Lazzy's 3rd birthday. We also welcomed Uncle Owen from Malawi!

In October, Dan was ordained and my family visited so we could camp out for Ruthie's arrival.

November brought us our Ruthie Mae and December was a blurrrrrrrrrr.

It was a year full of change, rejoicing and loss. Who knows what 2014 has for us! It really could be anything!