My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

My Dearest Daughter,

Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams.

For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a girl!’ I dreamed of holding you, your tiny body cradled in mine as we rocked in a beautiful white chair in your bedroom covered in shades of purple and grey, your strawberry blonde hair sticking out of the blanket, while I sing you the songs that my mama sang to me. I pictured taking you to your first ballet class; watching you twirl, so proud in your tutu, stealing glances of yourself in the large mirror. I pictured the bows, the braids, the frills, the ruffles, the headbands, the shoes. I looked forward to introducing you the world of American Girl dolls and playing dress up and tea party. The beautiful, delicate doll house your great grandpa built for me is still sitting in your Grammy’s house with all the furniture and people carefully packed away waiting for your tiny hands to explore. But even beyond all of the girlie stuff I hoped we would always be close…sharing secrets together, going on mother-daughter outings and long walks talking about everything and nothing at the same time, hearing all about your first date, your first school dance, your first kiss, your first heartache; everything you might be too shy to share with your Daddy. I pictured you coming in to tell us you met ‘the one’ and then sharing in your excitement as you planned your wedding. And then I pictured you as you became a mom…my baby girl having a baby.

My dreams aside though you would have loved it here. Your older brothers would have loved you and have been fiercely protective of you. Kadyn would have taught you that it’s okay to be sensitive…you CAN be both sensitive and strong. And so can men. He would have taught you all there is to love about the arts and literature and would have read story after story to you, never tiring. Kai would have made sure you were a bit of a tomboy by teaching you all there is to know and love about sports. He would have talked your ear off about soccer and had you kicking a ball before you could walk. He also would have taught you mathematics and would have always been eager and willing to play any game or do any puzzle with you. Lukah would have taught you to love hard. He would have been the one to sit and listen to you gripe about boys and relationships and then make you laugh. And your Daddy. My heart aches for your relationship with your Daddy as much as my own. You were already a Daddy’s girl, even with just the thought of you. He would have made sure you knew you were loved, and beautiful, and smart. There never would have been a question. He would have raised you strong enough to be confident in your own choices and yet never too old to hold his hand. Sure, he would have relished embarrassing the heck out of you on occasion, but you would have secretly loved it knowing he was yet again showing his love for you. You would have known from day one how a woman should be treated just by watching him in action with how he treats me. I pictured you at your wedding, dancing with your Daddy during your father-daughter dance; he would have had tears in eyes and you would have found a way to let him know that you would be okay. And so would he. He would have encouraged you to be whoever you wanted to be and always follow your heart. He would have taught you that you don’t need to fit a certain mold, you are loved for who you are.

In my longing for you and my initial gender disappointment I’ve been told many things. I know people are trying to be helpful when they remind me that one day I’ll have daughter-in-laws or even granddaughters. But I also know that though they will be special in their own way, they aren’t you. I’ve also had people tell me that God gives us the desires of our heart, but I’ve learned that doesn’t always play out the way we picture. And I’ve been told if you focus on something long enough, hard enough, and put all your energy/mind on that thing, then it will happen. Now I can now honestly say that doesn’t always work. Sometimes there is a greater, more beautiful picture waiting than even we can understand in the moment.

Surely we are doing something right though in raising our boys because God is entrusting us to yet another. One more brave, strong, wonderful boy. With you in mind we will continue to raise them to the best of our ability…letting them be little while gently guiding them to be the men other parents would want their daughters to date. Men that will no doubt make amazing husbands and fathers. I can’t promise they won’t think they are ‘dying’ when they get sick (I think this must be an innate male trait) but I can promise that I will teach them to cook, to braid, and to do their own laundry. We hope to raise them to embrace their individuality and fight for their beliefs. And goodness will they know how to love. Strong. Loud. Fierce. Bold. Completely. Never ending. For to feel loved, to know love, and to be free to express love Just The Way They Are is above all the greatest gift we can ever teach them.

And because of that, it is with a tear filled face but excitement in my heart that today I say goodbye to the dream you were. You hold the dreams of my past and to hold on to you any longer takes moments away from my precious boys. At this point to want you here means one of them would not BE. And as I anxiously await the arrival our newest, and our last little I cannot imagine life without ANY of them. They are each so special to me and I love them beyond imagination. And you see, they deserve all of me, not just the broken pieces. And I deserve to have complete, whole happiness in each of them. From this point forward I am all in. They are each the dreams of my present, and the dreams of my future.

So, baby girl, with a kiss and prayer I send you off. I pray you can bring hope to a couple that may be in the thrown of trying desperately to have a baby and currently feeling hopeless. They need you more than I do. And every time I hear of a ‘miracle’ baby I will smile and think fondly of you.

Kisses,

Mommy

Our Sons Are Watching Too

This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and their personal perception of their outward appearance and how the only way to truly overcome that shame is with a heart change. I absolutely agree with everything she said….almost.

How many times have you heard the following?

Women need to get their thoughts of their appearance in check because our daughters are watching. (Something similar was also said at the Shine conference)

Or…

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to.

Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than us but here in Bend, Oregon we have 11 weeks. So, I’ve created a different theme for each of the 11 weeks. The idea is to have a go-to for ideas and inspiration when/if we find ourselves in a summer rut. Keep in mind that I am also fully in support of boredom because after all, boredom breeds creativity. I just don’t want boredom every.single.day 😉

What I tried last summer was to have a different plan for each day of the week…e..g. Mondays involved water, Tuesdays involved a park, Wednesdays involved a hike, Thursdays involved a service project, and Fridays were usually an activity. However, I found that without an actual plan I didn’t follow through. So, I’m still going to incorporate each of those things but add a weekly theme as well. So here go…

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

A Heart’s Desire for Mother’s Day

Ironically, yesterday was a difficult Mother’s Day. I say ironically because I have 3 babies that I can hold, squeeze and hug. I was brought coffee in bed, was able to celebrate with both my mother in law and my own mom. It really was a beautiful, perfect Mother’s Day. Yet, there was a part of me that felt empty, lacking, and robbed because of our recent loss. I couldn’t help but ache for all the women that were without yesterday. All the women that wanted to be celebrating yesterday, but weren’t.

Because I have 3 earthly children I know that I cannot fully appreciate those have a desperate heart’s desire to be celebrating Mother’s Day. However, because I also have 2 heavenly children, there is also a piece of me that understood how truly difficult Mother’s Day must be. There was a part of me that wanted to turn off all of social media and hide and I have children so I can only imagine how hard it must have been for those that do not. Mother’s Day has to be a painful reminder.

And yet, I have to say, that all you women aching to be a part of Mother’s Day…YOU are amazing. All of you that have lost a mother, longed to be a mother, held a positive pregnancy test only to say goodbye to your baby before you got to say hello, waited in agony for the 2 week wait to pass by only to grieve the baby the wasn’t there, you who have a heart’s desire for Mother’s Day…you are strong, brave, courageous, and admirable.

So to all the moms in the thrones of raising littles; the ones that can’t sit down for a moment to relax on Mother’s Day because they are too busy wiping noses, pushing cars, combing doll hair, or helping dress, bathe or feed their children…

To the moms that are in the trenches of the teen years where their kids may not want anything to do with them…

To all the single moms that have children too little to know yesterday from today, or all the single dads that have 2 roles to fill…

To the moms that have had their littles grown and gone…

To all the moms that are separated from their kids for whatever reason…

To all the moms that have loved and lost long before they should…

To all the women that have played a significant role in raising a child…yours or someone elses…

To all the step-moms who have very large shoes to fill…

To everyone that has lost a mother of their own that taught them what being a mom was all about…

To all the women that have had the courage to place a child up for adoption because it was in the best interest of the child…

To all the adoptive moms that have embraced motherhood wholly and completely despite “conception” being different…

To all the moms in waiting…waiting for the positive pregnancy test, waiting for the phone call to say a family has chosen you, waiting for a pregnancy to stick…

To all the women that have been unable to have children of their own despite their heart’s desire…

Happy Mother’s Day

You’re only “that parent” to yourself

It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be at least that anywhere else we decided to stay put. However, because of the crowd inside and the fact that it was pouring outside we ventured into the area between the interior and exterior door. That’s when it happened. I was chatting with our friends when all of a sudden lights were flashing and sirens wailing.

My son pulled the fire alarm.

EllaMenoPea

A friend of mine from college recently started EllaMenoPea.  — selling handmade kid’s furniture and toys. Cody, the founder and father of 2 ADORABLE little girls, makes every single one of his products in Washington. All of his products are sturdy, eco-friendly, and so adorable. I mean take a look at these…

 

EllaMenoPea1 EllaMenoPea2 EllaMenoPea3 EllaMenoPea4

Most furniture these days is made of MDF which is why it all falls apart so quickly. EllaMenoPea guarantees they will never use MDF to build their products. You can therefore ensure they are built to last. Built to last and stylish…yes, please!

My personal favorites are the numbers and fractions. What an excellent way to teach kids basic math and fractions in such a tangible and visible way.

As if that wasn’t enough to check out their products, you should also know that EllaMenoPea gives back to the Ben Towne Foundation. So cool.

To see all the different products currently available check out the website:

EllaMenoPea

Photo Credit: EllaMenoPea

25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth

If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there.

After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body is capable of doing is amazing. And you’re about to meet your child for the very first time. Your first baby will be a complete life changer. Going from being entirely selfish to having a helpless, screaming creature in your house that needs all your love, attention, and patience will be a huge change to your reality. Take it from other dads…it is the best change ever (though it may take you awhile to get to that realization…or it may not).

I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about things soon to be dads need to know about birth…

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Alternatives for things to put inside Easter Basket other than candy

I just found this on Pinterest and thought I would share it here since I know a lot of you are looking for an alternative to candy. Check out the full post for great ideas on things to put inside your child’s Easter Basket besides candy. Alternative to Easter Candy
Here is the full article:

Growing A Jeweled Rose: Easter Egg Hunt

Photo Credit: Growing A Jeweled Rose

Demystifying Workout Excuses

 Guest Post: by Sarah Mayo of Sarah Mayo Health and Fitness

 “I just don’t have time!”

 “I’m just so tired. I don’t feel like I have the energy.”

“I’ve had such a long day- that’s the last thing I want to do when I get home.”

“I’m not a morning person, and that’s the only free time I would have.”

“The cost is just too expensive.”

“I feel guilty taking time away from my kids to do something for myself.”

Excuses. Reasoning. Justification. Call it what you will, but as moms, I am sure we have used them all. I know I have at one time or another. But the truth is, they aren’t true. At least not all of them. But somehow, we find ways to talk ourselves out of doing what we know we need to, and this is the way it plays out. I don’t claim to know every mom in the world- her schedule, her triumphs, her strengths or insecurities. But I do know what mine are and these excuses used to own me, define me, shape me. BUT… they don’t have to and here’s why…

Life Before Kids

The other day I was asked if I remember what life was life before having kids? Sure…

Life before kids was quiet, carefree, and without much responsibility. We were able to sleep in (or sleep in general) until our hearts content, make plans on a whim, and our house was always clean. We rarely frequented the doctor. 
Life Without KidsOur quiet house is now loud. It is filled with chatter and coos, giggles and baby laughs, I love you mommies and I love you daddies. Our restfulness has been overtaken by sleepless nights and early mornings. Our once clean house has become cluttered with toys, children’s books, and Disney DVDs. Every room has a unique touch of child…small shoes by the door, mini washcloths by the tub and potty seat in the bathroom, bibs and highchair in the kitchen, and jeans the size of my foot strewn across the bedrooms. Our plans on a whim have become events, even the smallest outings, meticulously planned weeks in advance (something that can never be understood unless you have kids of your own). As for responsibility? Yikes. And the Doctor visits? We are now on a first name basis. In fact, Kadyn is know as the “child with the most severe allergies in the clinic.” Double yikes.

I miss the boys when they are sleeping even though I cherish those precious moments. A clean house is no longer at the top of my priority list and all the extra loads of laundry?…I think I spoke to laundry in my last post…I smile as I fold their tiny little clothes thinking of them wearing each outfit (MY and MY HUSBAND’S laundry is another matter…and I never said I enjoy putting the laundry away). 

We are all things boy: trucks, dirt, and bugs. Blue, brown, green. Overalls, crocs, camouflage, polos, baseball hats, and big boy undies. Blocks, trains, cars. Play-doh, Legos, remote control cars. Running, jumping, climbing. Owies, kisses, and Band-Aids. Trikes, wagons, and forts. Frogs, spiders and lizards. Hammers, noise makers and flashlights.

I will miss these days; days of baby cracks, night lights and special blankies. Padded jammies running down the wood floor hallway, endless hugs, and saying each letter “k” as a “t.” Days of baby rolls, all about mommy, and seeing life through the eyes of a child experiencing them for the first time.

Of course there are days that I want to pull my hair out, days that I wonder why God chose me to trust so much, days where I wonder if I will ever sleep a straight 8 hours again and days when I wonder what I am possibly doing wrong. Days I think if I hear one more scream, I will probably go insane. There are days that I need to step away, just to catch my breathe. And that’s ok. 

Through it all, I am always reminded of how wonderful being a parent is.


What was life like before kids? Boring.