I’m Back… Hopefully

Things have been a little crazy at messymom.com. Mostly because of technical issues causing my website to crash repeatedly all day every day. So if you come to MessyMom.com and it looks like it no longer exists, just hang tight because it probably just means the website crashed again. I really hope that won’t be the case anymore. I think J’s troubleshooting is starting to bring some resolve. I hope so because I have some exciting blog essays, guest posts, tutorials, and even a giveaway planned for the near future so keep your eyes peeled for that stuff. In the mean time here are some photos of what has been happening in my messy life.

I did my first photo shoot since my “maternity leave”. It was of a ballet recital. The whole thing was so powerful I was moved to tears and if all goes as planned SJ will be starting lessons with this group in about a week! There is more to the story, but I’ll try to keep my mouth shut until it’s officially official.

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Z got to bring home a Guenia Pig from school last weekend. I have recommended the book Humphrey the Hamster before and they do the same thing in that book series (have a class pet that goes home with students on the weekend). Z’s teacher says it’s a great way to make learning fun and connect what they are doing at school to home. I LOVE that!

 

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Today all of the kids are out of school due to snow. It’s really pretty outside. The snowflakes are so huge you just absolutely have to lift your head up, open your mouth, and try to catch them with your tongue.

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Z had his 2nd pinewood derby recently. He got 2nd place for creativity! It was a father son effort, but Z came up with the idea and did most of the work on his own. We are so proud of this little guy.

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SJ celebrated the 100th day of school in style. They were supposed to dress like 100 year olds (if you follow me on Facebook you probably saw a lot of these pics already). I didn’t have much notice that she was supposed to dress up so we just went through the closet and chose anything that happen to look like it could fit the grandma stereotype.

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J and I got to go see two of our all time favorite artists at a local venue. John Mark McMillan and Josh Garrels, for those who are curious. The last time I was at a concert was at this same venue and I was pregnant with Elle (it was John Foreman). This time she was outside of the womb and protecting those little ears with noise cancellation headphones.
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She was so great at the show. She slept through the whole thing!

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Lastly, we watched the Super Bowl with just the two of us (the 6 of us until the kids went to bed). It was a great excuse to chow down on pizza, appetizers, brownies, and pie. We had a great time and were happy to see the Peyton Manning get another victory. I know we are only a month and a half into, but I’d say 2016 has been a pretty great year so far.

By |February 9th, 2016|My Life|0 Comments

Acknowledging the Self Control Crisis

I recently did a book review of Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson. I mentioned the idea presented in the book to choose two character traits that you would want to be the main focus in your home.

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J and I chose Self-Controlled and Compassionate as our two character traits. J was the one to choose self-control and I went along with it because we are in this together. I have to be honest though, I really struggled with the idea of self-control as one of our main family goals. That did not sound like fun to me. It didn’t even sound biblical. Yes I do realize self-control is a fruit of the spirit, but subconsciously I hear the word “self” and I think “selfish” then add the word control and I think “controlling”. There is nothing I dislike more than a selfish controlling person. All we need is love right?

You guys must think I am crazy. The rest of you are probably obsessed with self-control and have it mastered.

So to avoid resentment about the very thing I am supposed to be imparting to my children I did a little research.

Scripture and truth about self-control began to resonate with me. It’s not glamorous. You won’t hear of people being honored at their funerals for how much self-control they had.

It’s a big deal though. It’s in the Bible for a reason and I am 100% on board with making it a priority in our home.

Obviously self-control that is contrived by legalism will only leave you feeling like a failure. On our own there is no way we can have a healthy balanced sense of self-discipline. Biblical self-control however is critical. It means having a backbone in the face of temptation and denying one’s flesh. It’s doing the exact opposite of what our culture says to do (which would only leave us hopeless in the end). The lust of the flesh is an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure as C.S. Lewis puts it.

Proverbs 25:28 says a man without self-control is like a city broken and left without walls. I have seen the affects of this. I’ve watched powerful ministries ripped to shreds due to a lack of self-control. It can cost you everything. You can have so much success that you are standing among the stars, but without following God’s command for self control the enemy has the perfect opportunity to kick the ladder right out from under you. Having self-control actually amplifies and supports the other spiritual fruits. It allows you to have integrity as you serve and move in the gifts of the spirit. I definitely want that for my children.

So when it comes to self-control as a core value in our home I’m still not like Ohhh yay! I love self-control. I know my kid’s will too. Now let’s practice by setting a jar of forbidden candy on the coffee table. Woo hoo!

What I do know though is that the media is screaming indulgence! Our society reeks of entitlement. We are a nation of instant gratification who would rather point fingers than take responsibility for anything. We have a self-control deficiency!

Enough is enough. It’s going to take an intentional effort on my part to teach my children the truth. God has given us instructions, a path, and a plan. The Holy Spirit guides us and has given us the reins of self-control. I want myself and my family to grab ahold of those reins.

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

-1 Corinthians 9:26

 

 

By |February 2nd, 2016|My Life, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hanging My Hat

I took this week off from blogging. Not because I didn’t feel like writing (because I really have). I just needed to focus on Elle this week. We had 4 different appointments so it’s been intense.

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After waiting a month for these evaluations, and really hoping for some concrete answers, we walked away with more questions. It wasn’t bad news. It was just conflicting. I feel like my hands are tied right now and I have prayed Lord is this just a season of waiting? Is there anything I can do to help my daughter? and I felt in my heart the word that was given to me at the beginning of the year. Next. And I was reminded to do the next right thing.

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So I called our current audiologist and asked if I could just come meet her in person and she graciously agreed. She allowed me to stop by right then! How amazing is that? We sat down and talked. She answered my questions. We came up with a plan. I needed a plan guys. I am a planner. I was willing to not have one if it was the right thing, but this was an answer to prayer for me.

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The plan right now is to hold off on hearing aids. With her head still being wobbly and her still sleeping so much, the hearing aid would be more of a nuisance than it would be beneficial. Once she is upright and on the move then we will do a hearing aid in the left ear.

Granted all of this could change. There is so much up in the air right now. I feel like my entire head is up in the air. My mom likes to use the idiom “where do you hang your hat?” and that is it. I needed to hang my hat on something! Another month of waiting for the next ENT visit, ABR, or genetic testing results would just make me go crazy. I can’t hold onto this hat. I need to hang it and so for now I know that is no hearing aids, I will continue with early intervention therapy, and continue monitoring for fluid and hearing tests. Even if it changes, I’m going to be okay, but for now that’s the plan . That’s the next right thing.

Thank you for all of the prayers. I know that they have made an impact.

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By |January 30th, 2016|Special Needs, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Strong and Kind

I decided that instead of a brief synopsis at the end of the year of all of the books that I remember reading, I would do a review (or at least share some thoughts) of the books as I read them one at a time.

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I just finished Strong and Kind: and Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed by Korie Robertson.

I feel guilty because I kind of gave the book a bad wrap when I shared on Facebook last week. I said I was anxious to move on to another book and admitted to falling asleep reading it. It’s not my all time favorite parenting book and I’ll admit, not being a Duck Dynasty fan probably takes away a lot of the appeal. However, I did glean some valuable wisdom from Strong and Kind and I am really glad I read it.

The title Strong and Kind are the two main character traits that the Korie and Willie Robertson wanted to instill in their kids as they were raising them. Toward the beginning of the book there is a list of character traits to pull from.

The idea is to choose your top two from the list and be intentional about teaching these habits to your children as well as exhibiting them yourself. Of course it’s hard to choose just two. We want all of them. Korie even mentions that in the book. You should want all of them and strive for all of them. But by choosing two above the rest you can really focus and have a better chance of actually following through because you are making it a priority.

Here is the list and I don’t remember if you are “supposed to” add your own, but I don’t see why not.

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I sent this list to J and it took him days to decide. I was more inclined to choose the first two that popped out to me. I’m not too surprised. That really is typical of our personalities. He chose words of power and determination, while mine were more about the heart and emotions. Again, I am not surprised. We’re opposites (remember my Ricky and Lucy comparison?).  I like to think that we balance each other out. So we settled on one of his words and one of mine. That is how we came up with Self-Control and Compassion. I bet you can guess who chose what.

I’ve been thinking and studying what these words really mean and what the Bible has to say about them. It’s been a very positive experience and I plan to share more soon.

What two words do you think you would choose for you family? I know it’s hard, but even thinking about it is a good exercise every parent should consider. So despite my skepticism in the end I did like Strong and Kind and if you like the Duck Dynasty clan then I would definitely recommend it.

By |January 21st, 2016|Parenting Tips|2 Comments

Postcards Wanted!!!

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Attention Messy Mom readers! I have a great opportunity for all of us to spread love and kindness by simply mailing a postcard. 

Some of you probably heard about the deadly tornado that tore through North Texas the day after Christmas. Hundreds of houses were destroyed. Unfortunately The Sorenson family (shown above) were one of the many tragically uprooted from their home over the Holidays. Everyone is well, but the whole house is demolished. As you can imagine loosing a home and your belongings is tough no matter what, but for Colton (shown on the left) it has been especially difficult because he has SMS and it is hard for him to understand all of these changes. 

Here is where we can help. Colton LOVES mail. His aunt (who is a friend of mine) says he likes to check the mail several times a day. He even has a special photo album for post card collections. 

Would you take just a little bit of time and effort to send this sweet boy a card? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he could get postcards from all over the country or even the world? His birthday is in February so any kind of mail would be really special and help him get through what could be the most difficult thing he will ever have to endure. Colton is turning 12 and his sister Tanner is 9. 

It’s such a simple gesture on our part, but it would mean so much to them. For those of us that have children it’s a great opportunity to teach that there are people outside of our home going through all kinds of struggles and we can help by showing the love of Christ in many different ways.

Please message me here or on Facebook, Twitter, commenting or wherever and I’ll give you their P.O. box address. I am going to keep on reminding you about this and I’ll share updates as they arise. My email is themessymom@gmail.com

Let’s make this birthday the best ever for this awesome kid.

By |January 20th, 2016|Creativity, Special Needs|7 Comments

Elle at 2 Months Old

I don’t have a lot to report. It’s been a long emotional 4 weeks since learning of Elle’s hearing loss. I feel like I have come full circle emotionally and I’m back to being okay. I might go through another wave of adjustment when I learn more at the end of the month (after her ENT and audiology appointments). For now though, I am doing well.

Elle is great.

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She did have a little ear infection and had to go on antibiotics, which stinks. I have never had a baby that young on any kind of medication at all. When I was giving her the amoxicillin one day the kids asked why she needs medicine. I told them it was because she had an ear infection and Z said “WHAT!? She’s deaf?” I said “No.” and before I could even get another word out they started running off to the next thing. I was prepared to explain more and tell him that she is not deaf, but she is hard of hearing and what that could potentially mean and how none of it actually has anything to do with having an ear infection. I figure we’ll let them know at the end of the month when we get these critical appointments out of the way.

As far as the other developmental milestones Elle is really chill.

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She is awake more often these days, but still sleeps a lot. She is starting to coo just a teeny tiny little bit and she’ll smile for us every once in a while.

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We had a meeting with the early intervention specialists and they decided to add an occupational therapist along with the speech therapist. I am not thrilled about this. She is developing fine, but they said she is borderline delayed with the way her hands stay balled in a fist and she could use a little more neck control. They aren’t concerned, but they feel like it would give her a little boost. For now I agreed to the therapy (mostly because I am a big wuss). We’ll see how it goes. My goal is to interfere as little as possible and just let her be a baby.

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That’s really all the updates. I should have more info  in a couple weeks.

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By |January 14th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Messy Mom 2015 Book Reviews

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Last year I did multiple posts reviewing and rating the books that I read in 2014. The next year I had the best of intentions to take notes as I read. I wanted to be prepared to deliver excerpts and thoughts from each book.

Did I do that? No. So each review will be short and sweet. The “Messy Mom Rating” is just a heads up about what kind of content is included because I like to know these things when I read a book. It’s easy to do when you are going to watch a movie, but books don’t include that kind of information. Anyway, feel free to skim through and be inspired. Also, please let me know what you have been reading. I am always looking for recommendations.

  1. American Sniper by Chris Kyle

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This book is such an unusual pick for me, but I have connections with the Kyle family. I have never met Christ Kyle, but we went to the same High School so I really enjoyed reading about his background. American Sniper definitely gives a close up look at war. I learned so many new things as I read and it challenged me to really assess my feelings about killing, guns, military etc. The book has a ton more details than the movie, but I thought the movie was good too and did an excellent job keeping the story accurate.

Messy Mom Rating: R This book is full of profanity and violence.

2. The Woman Who Can’t Forget by Jill Price

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This book is about a woman with an exceptional memory. She remembers everything she experienced in life since she was a toddler. You could give her any date and she could tell you exactly what happened int he news and everything. She is plagued by memories as they just pop up in hear mind constantly.  The average person has about 3 to 5 involentary memories a day, but it is about 10 times that for this woman.

For her not only is she forced to remember, but she sees it all vividly and her whole body responds with the exact same emotions. So even though she is an adult now and she is not longer devastated that she missed her field trip at school she would emotionally experience everything that felt when it happened at 8 years old! She said it’s exhausting and I can only imagine that it would be. That part of the story is kind of depressing, but it is one of the most fascinating memoirs I have ever read. I highly recommend this book if the brain and psychology intrigue you.

Messy Mom Rating: PG

3. Foxcatcher by Mark Schultz

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Foxcatcher is a true story about two professional wrestlers that were brothers and how they were connected to John DuPont (one of the wealthiest men in America). Dupont was pretty much insane and he ends up being a murderer.  Some parts of this book were boring other parts were riveting. There is a lot of wrestling in it. I enjoy learning about a variety of topics and olympic wrestling is definitely out of the box for me. The book was decent, but it is pretty creepy.

Messy Mom Rating: I really don’t remember what kind of content was in the book, but the movie is rated R so that’s probably what I would rate the book.

4.  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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The Girl on the Train is a murder mystery. I like how the plot twists and turns. The main character in the book is an alcoholic and I felt like the author did a really great job expressing what that would be like to struggle with that kind of addiction. Even though it’s sad I had a lot of appreciation for that aspect of the book. It’s like I have a better understanding of what some people are going through that deal with that.

Messy Mom Rating: R because this book had some sexual content and language. It may not be “rated R” but I can’t remember so I’ll just play it safe and give that warning.

5-7. The Kiss, Black, and Red by Ted Dekker

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I have written some of my thoughts already about Ted Dekker. I think he’s a great author. The Kiss is a thriller and I enjoyed it. Black and Red are the first two in a series of Fantasy novels. I don’t really get into stuff like that, but my husband has thoroughly enjoyed the books. He has read several others and he usually into novels at all so that is saying a lot.

Messy Mom Rating: G he’s a christian author and the books I have read of his all have a positive message

8. American Wife by Taya Kyle

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I have a ton of respect for Taya Kyle (The American Sniper’s wife) and all that she has been through. I didn’t love this book, but it wasn’t bad. It’s pretty much the Chris Kyle story from her perspective. There was some really touching and interesting parts, but I didn’t find myself that interested in the book. Maybe it was just bad timing, but that’s my honest opinion.

Messy Mom Rating: PG

9.  The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter 

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I LOVED this book!!! It’s about a newlywed couple in a tragic car accident and the wife looses all of her memory of her husband. They have a really cute story of how they met. The book is a tear jerker but such a beautiful testimony of how they fall in love a second time. I watched the movie and it was NOTHING like the book. I recommend the book, but not the movie. That’s just me personally.

Messy Mom Rating: G It’s  a christian couple and they give glory to God through the whole book.

10. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

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I loved this book too. The author is the same woman who wrote and starred in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. If you are interested in adoption or even if you just want a candid look at what it is like for women who struggle with infertility then I recommend this book. It’s not that I loved every bit of it, but it was really good.

Messy Mom Rating: PG It’s clean, but it’s not a faith based book if that makes sense.

 

By |January 12th, 2016|My Life, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Top 10 Ways You Know You Are Obsessed With the Docuseries “Making a Murderer”

I hardly ever watch any TV and maybe that’s because when I do get into a show I really get into it.
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So maybe you have heard of the new series on Netflix called “Making a Murderer”. It’s kind of like a glorified 48 hours Investigates. I heard that if you liked the first season of the Serial podcast you will like this, and so I started it and finished all 10 episodes over the past 4 days. I don’t even know how to get the show out of my head now. I’m sure with all the surrounding hype I can’t be the only one dealing with this.

Here is my list of Top Ten Signs You Are Obsessed With “Making a Murderer”

10. You talk to people like a lawyer asking yes and no questions.

Is it true that on January 3rd you sent me a text message stating that we needed to hang out soon?

That’s all. No further questions.

9. You have bizarre dreams like that Brendan Dassey lost weight and Steven Avery married the old lady in the prison.

8. Despite hearing it 200 times you still aren’t sure you know how to pronounce or spell Manitowoc.

7. Your husband falls asleep during your rant about the case.

6. You start using a Wisconsin accent. Come on yous know you do! Yeah?

5. You want to kick off your shoes and have a chat on the couch with Dean Strang.

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4. You accidentally call it Natflix instead of Netflix (this only applies if your name is Natalie. You can insert your own name).

3. Eventually you know exactly how far to fast forward to get through the ridiculously boring instrumental intro.

2. You are a part of the growing number of armchair detectives.

and the number 1 way you can tell you are obsessed with “Making a Murder”….

You blog about the top ten ways you know you are obsessed with Making a Murder. 

By |January 8th, 2016|My Life, Uncategorized|4 Comments

NEXT

I wasn’t going to do a word for the year this year, but then God just sort of dropped this in my lap and was like Yes you are.

The first way the word “Next” came to me was because I was wondering what this next chapter of our story would be. We have overcome many of the major life hurdles that we have encountered over the past 4 years. We found a house to rent. We had our 4th and final child. My husband completed school and got a job that is an actual career. I feel like we are entering a new season of life and are ready for the NEXT chapter.

Then the word came to me again in something that my Children’s pastor (from way back when) wrote in a comment that she left when I shared my birth story. She said how proud she was of my “determination to just do the next right thing”.

Just do the next right thing.

I had never heard of this quote before, but I have been mentally chewing on it ever since. It fits the scenario of my birth story so well because I had to focus on each thing, step by step. The baby was going to come so I acted on it. After that her head was out and I knew I needed to do one more push and get her body out. After that I knew I needed to wrap her up. After that put her on my chest. After that call the hospital and so on.

There was no planning it out. I was just doing the next right thing. It’s all I could do.

Since then baby Elle has been diagnosed with hearing loss and there is so much that we don’t know. Will she loose all her hearing? Will she have hearing aids? Will she need therapy? For how long? I can’t see the whole picture at all. No one can. It drives me crazy. What I can do is rely on God and just do the next right thing. So there is that word again. NEXT.

Lastly, I feel like the Lord has also prompted me to get help from those NEXT to me. When SJ was diagnosed we had just moved. All of my friends were far away in another state and it was tough. Here we are nearly four years later and I still have friends far away, but I have so many friends that are close by too. All of these women have been texting me, praying for me, and encouraging me. I need that more than anything! I need those neighbors, partners, allies to come along side me and walk NEXT to me as I go through this uncharted territory. 

The next season of life. The next right thing. The people next to me.

NEXT.

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I can’t wait to see what happensas I continue to unwrap the word and all that it holds for 2016.

By |January 4th, 2016|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|6 Comments

New Years Resolutaaaaah

I love New Year’s Resolutions. I absolutely love planning and goals. I am such a nerd in that way and I’ve never denied it. Last year all of my 2015 goals went out the window when I became pregnant.

Mary Carver wrote something on Incourage recently that really hit home with me. She said

“Yeah, it’s true. I totally get a crush on New Year’s resolutions, the bad boy of all goal-setting strategies, the one I swear off every year because he’ll just end up hurting me. That one. Yes. I fall for his charm (and the possibilities! the potential!) every time.”

That’s me. In fact I have so many possible goals they even have subcategories.  I could make a list of lists for 2016. But I won’t, because I know this year is going to be about the essentials.

So besides the obvious like God and family there are two things that I want to focus on this year and that is

  1. Myself
  2. My friends

As far as what this looks like I would like to have 10 tangible memorable documented things this year that I do to invest in myself and 10 special outings with friends. If there is more than that great, but it’s easier said than done. Trust me. Every year I resolve to do one date a month with my husband. I say this every. single. year. and it’s never happened. Yet here we are married 15 years and going strong so I guess I can’t worry about it too much. Anyway, all that to say I think 10 is realistic.

We are facing a lot of unknowns in 2016 given the recent diagnosis of our baby girl. I always say Being a mom is a full time job, being a mom with a special needs child is another full time job on top of that. It takes up a lot of time, energy, and resources. I know that if I am going to take care of four kids and juggle all the upcoming appointments I am going to have to take care of myself. I also know that I can’t do it alone and lately God has been revealing to me several times a day that I am not alone. Not only because He is with me, but because He has blessed me with so many friends that care about me.  

So of course I have goals and lists that are rattling around in my head. I hope this is a productive year for us on multiple levels, but I am not going to write all of these things down like I normally would at the beginning of the year.

Even though this year is starting out differently than I had imagined we are in a good place. That was my word for 2015 “Good”. My word for 2016 is “Next” and not to be cheesy, but I will share about that next time.

Happy New Year Everybody! 

By |January 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|4 Comments