“You’re Gonna Miss This”

“You’re gonna miss this // You’re gonna want this back // You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast // These are some good times // So take a good look around // You may not know it know // But you’re gonna miss this”

– Trace Adkins

I love this song.  It’s a song that has particularly stuck with me the past fifteen months of my son’s earth-side life.  I give myself this gentle reminder during the days I feel like I could pull out my hair while curled in a ball and stuffing my face with ice cream in the closet.

Today he was ready for bed and went to sleep an hour and a half earlier than usual.  I nursed him and he started dancing around the room leaving me wondering if he was really ready for bed.  A few moments later he turned off his tranquil turtle night light that he usually adores, walked over to me and put his head on my lap.  Seconds later he lifted his arms for me to scoop him up.  Little mister burrowed into my chest/belly and gnawed on his hand for a good five minutes, soaking my shirt with the endless amount of drool that comes with trying to cut four teeth at once.  Soon his little body relaxed, arms around me, and I bumped him higher on my shoulder where he snuggled in and his breathing feel into a soft rhythm blowing against my cheek.

I thought…I have a laundry list of things I could get done with this extra hour and a half of peace in the home without a little one running through it like a tornado…or I could sit here, snuggle and rock…because I can.

Because I am going to miss this.

I am going to with these days hadn’t gone by so fast.

So I rocked.  And as I snuggled my little boy I began to reflect.

I love the season of life I am in right now.  It may be hard at times, but it is so sweet and beautiful.  But I do miss other seasons, just a little…

I miss the late nights of Halo (which I am terrible at, but the guys put up with) until 4am at our Detroit apartment – often several nights a week…only to wake up for a 6am client at the gym and to go back to bed immediately after.  I don’t know how I stayed awake enough to train her.

I miss the Thursday night prayer meetings we had in that same apartment, where a half dozen friends would gather and we would record praises for the week and prayers for the coming one.  I still have that journal.  And still pray for the item we listed first every week that we are still trusting God for.

I miss the hours we would spend at the rock wall on campus – working a route, practicing butt starts, setting routes and becoming pretty decent climbers along the way.  Turns out 2-3 hours in the evening a couple times a week (before retiring to the apartment for Halo) really does something…and gave this chick the ability to do a pull up or two.

I miss that season where it seemed we hardly had two dimes to rub together and even put a car into storage for half the year to save on insurance costs since we weren’t really in need of two cars anyway at the time, but we had SO MUCH FUN.

I miss the quirkiness of storing our chest freezer in the spare bedroom closet of the Pontiac apartment…and how maintenance would give me the strangest look because of it.

I miss the ability to walk a couple buildings over to the tennis courts where I learned how to keep a ball INSIDE the fence…I am still a pretty shoddy player, but I was able to practice a lot!

I miss being able to walk across the street to a sub-par grocery store, but a conveniently located grocery store none-the-less instead of having to hop in my car when I need something the 24 hour easy-to-walk to CVS doesn’t have now.

I miss playing the game with my hubby of “who is going run outside to lift the gate” for a friend who was coming to visit us at the apartment on the rare occasion that the gate was actually down…and then getting up the courage to run through it with my car when my card (along with everyone else’s in the complex) wouldn’t work to make it go up in the morning when we tried to leave.

I miss the pick-up games of soccer, largely comprised of international students from around the world…and the world cup viewing parties we would have at apartments or on campus on a laptop.

I miss being able to sleep in until 9:30 on a Sunday morning and then rushing and blaming each other when we were late for church at 10.  Shoot, I miss being able to sleep in until 9:30 ANY day…ever.  Or being able to sleep through the night without waking once to pee, listen to determine if the cries will stop or just intensify or simply waking for no good reason other than my body is used to it by now.

I miss being able to stay out late (and by late I mean past 8:30) without trying to find a babysitter, because the boy’s bedtime is at 8:30…or heading out with my hubby on a whim because we felt like it or a friend wanted to hang out at 10pm.

But in the middle of missing those amazing memories and moments, I wouldn’t even think about trading the present to go back for them.  Because I know I am going to miss these moments.  And if I spend too much time wishing for the past or longing for the future I am going to miss making memories today.  Hard days are hard days and we all have them…with or without kids, with or without jobs, with or without money and if we stop, we can find beauty in the midst of the tears and chaos.  And then we pause…because when we find that beauty, we know that we’ll be able to look back and say “I miss those moments.”

So I rocked and snuggled for a half hour or so – with my drool soaked shirt, son on my chest and baby in my belly kicking at his/her older brother.  I smiled and I cherished the moment, because I know I am going to miss this.

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Brave enough to banish guilt

I had a meltdown this morning.  Sobbing I texted my hubby to pray for me because I just couldn’t handle my son anymore for the moment.  He is a 13 month old ball of uncontainable energy with that utterly defiant, boundary-pushing, toddler streak going on.  After a terrible night of almost no sleep after 3am for no legitimately good reason – at least in my mind – he was being a nightmare.  I can only take so much food throwing, biting, hitting, hair-pulling and whining.  I snapped…and for a not-so-brief moment I wished that he wasn’t my child…that I was simply babysitting him for the morning and pretty soon his mom was going to pull up and happily take him off to anywhere but my house.  But alas…he is mine.  And he isn’t going anywhere.  My wonderful hubby asked if he needed to come home…no…I just need you to pray I replied.

I was not very beautiful in word, thought or deed this morning.  I yelled, I fought back…I maybe, probably pulled his hair a little harder than what I normally would do to get him to release mine.  Sure, some think that you should never-ever-ever pull their hair back, but let me tell you – when I start to go for his, he lets go.  I was feeling like a terrible mom.  In one breath I was yelling at my toddler and in the next sobbing telling him that I know I wasn’t being a very good mommy, I wasn’t being nice, but I couldn’t handle him.

I think in these situation when we are at our wits end and desperately praying we don’t completely screw up our kids because of these days it is really easy to feel guilty.  Guilty that we aren’t holding it all together.  Guilty that we yell when we “know” the mommy we met at the park would never raise her voice.  Guilty that we sit in a corner playing a game on the phone for 15 minutes…or 30 while our kid(s) wreck havoc on the house…paying attention only enough to hear them bustle about – at least they are alive.  Guilty that we aren’t enjoying every minute because it goes so fast as we have heard five billion times.  Guilty because because when they fall off the coffee table that you have told them they couldn’t climb on like a broken record you don’t feel bad…and since the fall didn’t look too bad, you don’t even make a move in that direction.

But you know what?  This morning – I felt brave enough to banish the feelings of guilt.

Because NO mommy has it all together.  Because EVERY mom curls up in the corner of a room or stays much longer in the bathroom to avoid interacting with their child(ren) at some point.  Because every mom makes a disciplinary decision that in hindsight, probably wasn’t the bed.  Because every mom wishes that their kid would grow out of some stage…no matter how fast the time actually flies.

So instead of feeling guilty I simply chalked it up to what it was – an awful morning where I was not in the place to handle my kid well.  It doesn’t mean I love him any less for wanting to wish him away momentarily.  It doesn’t make me an awful mommy.  It doesn’t even put me close to taking the title of the worst mom.  It means I am a mom.  Experiencing the fullness of this mom journey and job.  The good, the bad and the downright ugly.

Postscript:

Thankfully today, we caught a break.  Instead of the 45 minute naps that he usually likes to take, my little boy has taken TWO blissful…and I mean BLISSFUL hour an a half naps.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does…it’s magical.  God knew I needed a little “magic” this day more than most.  Either that or he heard the desperate cries of a hubby who didn’t want to come home to a completely frazzled wife. 🙂  I was able to journal, spend some time with Jesus AND work on a craft project I have been making painstaking slow progress on.  Should I have done some work…sure…but I did what my soul needed in order to be refreshed and press forward as a better mom and wife!

 

Things I love about being a mom…

As any momma knows…this parenting gig is hard.  It doesn’t matter if you have one, two or ten kids.  If you have a child that sleeps like a dream or one that revolts at the thought of sleep.  If you have been a mom for two weeks or twenty years.  If you work outside the home, stay home or land somewhere in between.  If you have a bunch o’ money or are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

It’s hard.

Hard, oh really?
Hard, oh really?

I’ve been at this mom gig for almost 9 months now…to one fabulous little boy…who does not sleep like a dream, but I guess he could be worse.  He’s been walking for almost a month; that makes things challenging/interesting/fun/hard.  I land somewhere in between with work – working part time with part of my part time being at home (which sounds awesome…and sometimes is…but sometimes isn’t) and then working a couple hours two nights a week as a personal trainer (so does that mean I work like 3/4 time total?) – definitely not having a bunch o’ dollars, but we have a comfortable home that I love and we can pay our bills.

There are days that pass by faster than I can blink and I am left mourning the fact that my little boy is growing SO FAST.  Then there are days that drag so slow I am constantly looking at my watch to see the minutes tick by as we wait for nap time, and then when dada comes home, and then sweet, oh sweet, bedtime.

But after having a rough night last night and first couple of hours of the day (seriously, little mister woke up on the wrong side of the crib this morning and then when I brought him to bed with me to snuggle and sleep for another hour or two after dada goes to work as is our usual routine, he tossed, turned, kicked, pulled my hair, grabbed my nose, bit my chin, etc for the longest time…we maybe dozed for 20 minutes…and then it took him a good couple hours to find his normal pleasant disposition) I paused for a few minutes to reflect on the joys that I have found and the things I love about being a mom…

…and then the little monster mister work up.  After my first typed sentence.  He woke up SCREAMING.  And screamed, and screamed.  And saw the neighbor pull into his driveway…and he craned his neck to look to see if his dada would come out of the car.  And screamed when the neighbor did.  And then finally dada pulled in the driveway, took him into his arms, and all was well with the world.

Dada for the win.

So five hours later I can sit down – after leaving dada at a game night with some friends because it was little mister’s bedtime and it was impossible for me to set him down in a different room with the laughter and occasional barking dog.  He didn’t want to miss the party.  So I left…and now, sweet silence.  I can write…

Without further ado…the things I love about being a mom:

– Little mister’s smile. Y’all that thing can melt my stone-cold heart in .000312 seconds flat.  It’s an arbitrary number

– The way he looks peacefully sleeping, all snuggled in my arms

– How he sometimes wraps his arm around me when he curls up next to me in the morning for our last hour or two of sleep

– His laugh.  It’s delightful

– The mom community I have been invited into.  My church does an awesome job of supporting mamas – in our mom2mom group that meets biweekly during the school year and coming this year in the MOPS group that will be meeting on the off weeks – and they provide childcare for it.  Tuesday mornings…if you are in the Auburn Hills, MI area you should definitely come!

– Nursing…I think if it wasn’t for nursing my active little mister wouldn’t stop for a moment during the day to cuddle

– Watching him explore the world around him and make new discoveries (like cool whip finger paint:)

finger paint

– His little arms stretched up to me, wanting me – even if it often feels like an inconvenience

– The faces he makes

– Listening to dada pray over him at night

– His excitement when you come home from being gone ten minutes or ten hours

– The fact that my little mister LOVES to be outside

– Knowing that, for at least this moment in time, dada and I are his favorite people in the world

It is such a privilege to be called mom (and I love the fact that he is starting to say “mama” and “dada” – legitimately, although not all the time).  The late nights, early mornings, not being sure when night became morning, messes, loaded diapers, endless laundry, frustrations, etc pale in comparison to the precious times with my baby boy and watching my hubby have those moments too.  Being a mom…it’s a hard job…but a job I love.

The wonders He has done

Psalm 78:4,6-7 “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”

I want my son to know the wonders that God has done.  I need my son to know the wonders that God has done.

The rest of the Psalm goes back and forth telling of God’s great wonders toward His people, their rebellion, His wrath, His mercy, their turning back.  These aren’t just minor wonders either – they are major things: he divided the sea and led them through, he split rocks in the desert to give water, etc.

I need to let my son know what God has done.  Oh he will know what God has done through Jesus.  He will know the gospel.  But he needs to hear stories of God’s faithfulness and greatness in my life from the small to the big.  Things like:

– Sparing my life…when I almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning…in Argentina

– Providing the right doctor to deliver him when homebirth plans went south due to his stubborn breech position

– Providing just enough financial support for me to stay on staff with InterVarsity the past five years

– Sparing my dad’s life when he was run over by a farm tractor

– Sparing my father-in-law’s life when he experienced a heart attack while skiing…when in to the hospital much later (something like a day and a half)…and proceeded to have quad bypass surgery

– Providing for my hubby and I when he graduated in the year with the worst unemployment stats our generation has seen and it took him two years to find an engineering job

– Allowing us the privilege of purchasing a home that we love close to recreational opportunities

– Giving us AMAZING families that we are blessed to be a part of

– Allowing us to connect with and serve in a FANTASTIC church with a church family that has blessed us in so many tangible and intangible ways.

I could keep going on listing different ways God has displayed his greatness in our lives.  Not only does my son need to hear the stories behind these, but I need to remember what God has done…that I would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

I have a suspicion that the call to tell the next generation is as much for us as it is for them.  What are the wonders God has done in your life?

How to set goals you can actually achieve!

As a personal trainer and wellness coach I can’t count the number of times I have talked to people about their goals – generally fitness and wellness goals, but I have heard hundreds and maybe even thousands of goals from hundreds of people.  A general trend I have observed is that people don’t know how to make goals…or at least goals that will hold any weight when it comes to motivating them to take steps toward achieving what they’d like to accomplish.  I hear the following type of goals all. the. time.

“My goal is to lose weight.”  “I want to tone up.”  “I would like to look like Michelle Obama.”  “I really just want to be more fit.”

Reality – those goals are crap.  Yes, they are a start, but they are crap.  How much weight?  By when?  What does “tone up” mean?  You see these goals aren’t SMART and it is likely that whoever set them will never stick with them.  It the fitness industry (and across the board anywhere where there is goal setting…maybe you’ve used it in your workplace and just haven’t thought to apply it to your life in other ways) we like to set SMART goals.  Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely (I wish I could take credit for coming up with that genius acronym, but alas I can’t…someone about twenty years ago came up with it!).  Let’s break it down.

Specific: Your goal needs to be clear and free from ambiguity.  The goal should answer the “W” questions: Who, What, When, Why, Where…so for instance instead of “my goal is to lose weight” someone could write, “my goal is to lose 10 pounds by July 1st so that I can set a good example of a healthy lifestyle for my kids.”

Measurable: There needs to be some way to measure progress toward your goal and to note when it is accomplished.  “To lose weight” does’t meet the criteria to of being measurable because you don’t know when you have accomplished your goal.  To say ten pounds is measurable.

Attainable: The goal can’t be extreme and so far out you cannot reach it – it also helps to answer the question of how you are going to do this.  You don’t have to write it in completely with your goal, but you should have a plan for how you are going to achieve your goal to make sure it is attainable.  Ten pounds in six months is attainable if you have a plan of attack.  So how are you going to do it?

Realistic/Relevant: Both terms are frequently used, but is this goal something you are willing to work toward?  It is worth your energy and effort to go for it and will you?  If not then your goal is not realistic or relevant, but if you are willing to put in to the effort to work toward it (really work toward it) than it is probably realistic.

Timely: Goals can’t last forever, they need a deadline or the motivation will never be there and the date probably shouldn’t be more than six months or sometimes a year out.  Often six to eight week goals are most helpful because motivation starts to wane when you can’t measure specific progress toward your goal for a long time.  You could break down the ten pound weight loss goal into two five pound segments if six months seems daunting.

So there you have it – how to set SMART goals that you are much more likely to stick with – not just for fitness and wellness, but for the new year.  How many resolutions have you made only to break…probably because they weren’t SMART goals.  As I have thought about what I’d like to accomplish in the new year in light of these parameters here are few goals I’ve set for the new year – without going into detail about how I will accomplish them:

1.). 12 races within the 12 months of 2012 so I can improve my fitness level and enjoy competing once again: I want to complete 12 races in the year 2012 – road races, triathlons, duathlons, whatever they may be…12 races this year…an average of one per month although I have the flexibility to do more than one in a month if I know that a particular month will be difficult to find a race that I can do.

2.) Complete an Olympic distance triathlon by the end of August so I can conquer my fear of the swim and prove to myself that I can do it:  That doggone swim has stunted my progress for too long and I refuse to let it hold me back!

3.) In addition to my regular quiet time, set aside one additional hour per week for prayer to deepen my relationship with and dependency on Jesus.

One final word about goals: You need to WRITE THEM DOWN.  The reasons why would take a whole different post…but writing them down makes them much more concrete and real and you’ll be more likely to achieve them.  If you don’t know where to start with goal setting think about setting goals in one or more of the following areas: physical fitness/health, spiritual, mental, emotional, relational.  A list of twenty goals will be daunting, but five or six well written goals will send you on your way to achieving them in the new year!