Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The New Year Is Upon Us

Since 2015 is now upon us, I thought I would put together a list of goals for the new year. I'm writing these down mainly for my sake, but feel free to read them too.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Run a half-marathon. This one is coming too quickly. January 10th, to be exact. Why did I sign up for this again? Bleh...

2. Memorize Scripture. I've done this two different times with Beth Moore and Living Proof Ministries and I'm doing it again this year. It's a great way to meditate on and memorize 24 Scripture passages.

3. Pray diligently for my kids. Brie is 11 years old and will be exposed to so much over the next few years. I want her to know Christ in such a way that everything she does reflects her relationship with Him. My prayers for Jonah include continued healing from autism, school success, and becoming more social. And for Vivienne, I'm praying for obedience as well as for wisdom so I can help her use her "powers" for good and not for evil.

4. Act and look younger. Brienne still comments on the "crinkles" around my eyes and I really need to fix that, if possible. (Can you say "eye cream?") (Also, every time she says "crinkles," I want to punch her in her young, youthful-looking line-free face. Ah. I jest.) But more than looking younger, I need to act younger. I've always thought that having young children was supposed to make you feel younger, but that has yet to happen for me. I guess I need to be more intentional about playing and being silly with my kids.

5. And to go along with #4: Laugh more, yell less. This particularly applies to bedtime. No matter how impossible that may seem...

6. Try not to kill my dog. And I'm not even joking. This resolution entered the list because Mikey just peed all over my kitchen and dining room. For the ten millionth time. And Vivi was splashing in it because, "puddles!" I'm over his uncontrollable bladder. Ain't nobody got time for this.

7. Study God's Word consistently and read the Bible with my kids often. This seems self explanatory, but it's unbelievably difficult to get up before everyone else and study the Bible. Mainly because if Vivienne hears the coffee pot or sees the glow from my iPhone, she thinks it's wake-up time. (I swear she has supersonic hearing and can see through walls.) And as far as reading with the kids, my little ones have a really hard time sitting still for any length of time. I think the South Georgia gnats have a longer attention span than they do.

8. Eat more whole, unprocessed foods. This is a biggie. Did you know a recent study suggests that by 2025, 1 in 2 kids born will have autism because of all the crap that's in our foods? Speaking as a mother of a child with autism, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Plus, whole foods help cure a variety of illnesses, so why wouldn't we want to eat more of them? I know, I know. Easier said than done. And I'm pretty sure Nutella isn't considered a whole food. Darn it.

9. Serve and open our home to others more. We have a tendency to come home from school, work, activities, etc. and shut ourselves in our house, not wanting to be "bothered" by others. But Christ never said to huddle inside our homes. He instructed us to open our homes to those around us. This is a goal of mine, even when our kids are running around like monkeys. I also want to find more opportunities to serve as a family in our community. This has been especially difficult here in Georgia for a variety of reasons, but I'm keeping my eyes open for ways to serve.

10. Potty train Vivienne and convince Jonah to poop in the potty. (Too much info for you?) I would love for both kids to be completely potty-trained before we move this summer. Vivi loves to wear panties but she also loves to pee in them. She does it on purpose and then smiles when I discover her puddles everywhere. Did I mention that she's delightful? And Jonah - for some reason he is terrified of pooping in the potty. I've tried everything. Candy bribes, iPad bribes, threats. All to no avail. My next step is to bribe with presents. That's how desperate I am.

So, these are my goals for 2015. I'd be curious to hear your suggestions and some of your goals, too.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Breaking the Nativity

I can't believe it's already mid-December. I just realized it has been over two months since my last blog post. Apparently, things have been just a little bit crazy around here.

We had a quick chaotic trip to New Orleans in October. It was fun. But traveling with little kids is hard, y'all. It's like the kids just have some sort of innate ability to sense our fear and trepidation. And they understand that once we're all strapped in the car and driving down the road, they have our undivided attention and we are their prisoners. It's a flippin' hostage situation. "Get my juice!" "Not this movie!" "Vivi's talking to me!" "Jonah looked at me!" Aaahhh! I've said it once and I'll say it again:

Traveling with kids is what hell must be like.

And once we actually got to New Orleans, Jonah had a meltdown as we attempted to walk around the French Quarter. And Vivienne had a meltdown at the Aquarium. And they both had meltdowns at various random times throughout the weekend. Peter and I had already decided that we were using this New Orleans trip as a sort of trial run to get ready for our trip to Disney which was scheduled for Thanksgiving week. But after three days of hotel living, tantrums, and flat-out exhaustion, we realized our kids were not ready for the "Happiest Place on Earth." 

And thank goodness we cancelled that Disney trip! Because, dun dun dun... Jonah and Vivi got the stomach virus. One week before Thanksgiving. It was loads of fun for all! I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say, we went through three cans of Lysol trying to disinfect that mess. Then immediately following the stomach bug, Vivi got the flu. Yippee! Then my parents came for Thanksgiving, and we just really tried to not infect them with all our nasty germs. I'm not sure we were successful... 

While my parents were here, my mom taught Vivi the song "Hush, Little Baby." You know the one. The sweet lullaby that you quietly sing over your child as you rock her to sleep. Yeah. So now every night as I rock Vivienne, she yells that song at the top of her lungs. The. Top. Of. Her. Lungs. 

I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand the meaning of the words "hush, little baby."

Thanks, Nanna. 

And with sweet Vivienne, if you give an inch, she takes a mile. One night after I rocked her for a bit, she wanted Peter to rock her. For days afterward, she thought he should rock her after I finished rocking her. Um, no. Ain't nobody got time for that. 

And one morning, she woke up at some ungodly hour. Like 4:30 a.m.  And wouldn't go back to sleep. So I took her to the couch and tried to get her to rest with me for a bit. Yeah. So for the next couple days she thought she should nap and sleep on the couch instead of in her bed. What the heck?

But she can be stinkin' hilarious, too. This was our conversation one night at bedtime:

Vivi: You daddy. I Mikey.
Me: Oh ok. Hi, Mikey dog. How are you?
Vivi: Can I go outside and poop?

Um... Huh?

And the other night, after hearing, "I pee in my bed," Peter opened her bedroom door to find Vivi stark naked in her bed, clothes and diaper thrown on the floor, standing in a puddle of pee. Grinning proudly.

I know every parent has stories like these. But y'all. I'm too old for this.

With Christmas just around the corner, we've been talking a lot about the birth of Jesus. Now don't get me wrong - the kids are dying to get under the tree and tear into their presents. But I'm trying to do my best to give them a healthy perspective of what Christmas is actually about. We made a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake last weekend and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. I'm not sure my little kids fully understand it all, but we're trying. We've also been reading parts of the Christmas story and we've made several ornaments to go on our advent tree. The kids really love doing that.

I've been wondering if all this talk of Mary and Joseph and the baby is sinking into Jonah's and Vivienne's little brains. The answer became clear to me last night. I walked into the living room to see Vivi throwing the Little People nativity set on the floor. (You know how everyone on Facebook is posting sweet pictures of their precious children playing contentedly with their little nativity set? With all their little toys worshipping Jesus? Yeah. That's not happening in our house.)

I looked at Vivienne and asked her what she was doing to the nativity set. Her reply? "I breaking it!"

Oh. Of course you are. Because that's what we do with the Christ child and His family. We break them.

But then, in runs Jonah, screaming, "But baby Jesus! Baby Jesus! I need the baby Jesus! I need Jesus!"

And it hit me. When was the last time I needed Jesus? When was the last time I was desperate for Him? A year ago when Jonah was diagnosed with autism? Two months ago when we were agonizing over where our next move will be? When was the last time I truly sought Him? When I truly needed Him?

I feel like Vivienne, like I've broken the nativity. Like maybe I'm not living my life as if my every breath depends on the Savior of this world. I've tried hard to help keep Christ in Christmas for my kids, but have I kept Christ for me?

The world is so full of distractions, full of things, even good things, that take up our time and draw our attention away from Christ and the reason we are put on this earth. To bring glory and honor to Him. And it seems that no matter how early I get up to have some quiet time with The Lord, something is going to draw me away from Him. Whether it's a seemingly urgent email or a crying baby or the dog needing to be let out. There is always something to distract me.

My prayer is that I will not let this season pass by without fully resting in Christ. My desire is to want Him so deeply that I will feel desperate for His presence daily. And that is also my prayer for all of you, my friends. Take time to reflect on the miraculous birth of the Christ-child. But also remember Christ's sacrifice on the cross. He came to earth, lived a sinless life, died a sinner's death, and rose from the grave so that we can have abundant life. So that we can bring glory to Him. He wants to lead us and guide us through the hard times, the good times, the exhausting times. He is always with us. May we live desperately for Him. Because, in the words of Jonah, "I need Jesus."