Fearless Faith

And through the brokenness, God had a plan for us…

Today is a day of emotion and heartache. I hate that it’s been a month since I last posted… but today I am desperate for the writing therapy and I’m jumping right in.

Two years ago today I lost my dad in a car accident. He was 57 years old. He was leaving our house and headed home after a Friday evening spent with family.  I will forever remember him leaving our house that night. “Remind me tomorrow when you’re out to get the Kreg Jig out for you. Love you. See you tomorrow.”

For months I cried myself to sleep…. cried out to Jesus… buried myself in my bible. I cried in the shower when I felt guilty about making my husband pick up my broken pieces. I cried in the bathroom stall at work as silently as I could.  I cried every time I was in the car driving by myself.  I even remember crying while walking out of a grocery store because the clerk asked me “how are you today?” and it took everything I had in me to put a grin on my face and say “fine”.  It’s a crazy limbo of wanting everyone to know that you are absent because you’ve lost a piece of you and not wanting to talk to anyone because it hurts to talk about it.  I have never been so broken.  I prayed daily… throughout the day… in meetings… while driving… while laying in bed awake all night. I have never been so reliant on God to heal me… to take away the pain… to make me whole again.  Could that ever happen? Would I ever feel normal?

And through the brokenness God had a plan for us…

After the loss of my dad we truly recognized how little time we have on Earth and we were committed to making the best of all the time we had left.  We stopped pushing off goals and decided to make them happen.  We decided there was no reason to wait to have a baby… our lives are too short… let’s just do this.

I was pregnant 3 weeks after our decision to try for a baby.  Wow! Not what we expected.  My doctor said to expect at least 6 months.  Then 8 weeks later I went to my first doctor’s appointment.  My doctor excitedly announced “Oh! There’s two in there”.  That’s right, TWINS.

Our world changed… our prayers changed. And I realized what God was doing for us.

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In all of my pain and brokenness I turned to Jesus.  I remained hopeful that life would someday be good again.  And even though it was easy to ask “why?” it was never easy for me to blame God for the tragedy that turned our lives upside-down.  He took our heartache and blessed us with two… He helped us mend our broken hearts by filling them with more love.

The twins were born 6 days after my dad’s first birthday in heaven. Everyday, I look at our twins and praise God for the love and fullness it has brought to my life.  And while I desperately want my children to have their Pawpaw in their lives, something tells me they’ve already met.

Grief is a strange thing.  It comes in waves.  Sometimes they are little gentle waves that brush upon your toes.  And other times, they are unbearable waves that knock you down and swirl you around in the undertow.  Grief is never something that is “healed”… it is something you bear… sometimes easy… sometimes debilitating. The truth is, I’ve never gone back to feeling “normal” in the way that normal felt at the time of his passing. There’s a new normal… and honestly I carry guilt with me all the time when the new normal feels okay.

But as a stay-at-home mom to Pawpaw’s favorite little twins, I have never felt so fulfilled… so alive in Christ… so grateful for the blessings we have.

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I know this one was heavy. But thanks for being my therapy on an emotional roller coaster day.

Mission Motherhood

I can wear a baby, but my shoes have to come off?

Navigating airport security is a bit of a cluster with little ones. Since Christmas will soon be here and many of you may be traveling I thought I’d share my perspective on flying with babies. My family recently took a week long trip to Orlando, Florida with our 11 month old twins. This was our first experience flying with them and I have learned a lot about how to make the process easier.

Things to keep in your carry on bags:

  • Change of clothes for mom and dad – if a baby has a blow out while they’re in your lap, you’ll need a change of clothes too. 
  • 2 extra outfits per baby
  • Extra pacifiers 
  • Snacks – we used the 3 compartment formula holders for a variety of snacks (gold fish, corn Chex and Cheerios) 
  • Empty baby bottles and extra bottles of water (Make sure you take them out of your bag and put them in a separate bin when going through security. Tell them you have water for babies and they will allow you to take it through after testing the outside of the bottle.)
  • Sippy cups if your babes are drinking water – it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. 
  • Books and small toys – preferably something they haven’t read or played with in a while. 
  • Changing pad for airport bathroom diaper changes. 
  • Gas drops. Our girl has a tendency to get gassy and squeals about it. So for the sake of the other passengers keep some on hand if your babes are prone to belly bubbles. 
  • Tylenol in case of unexpected teething pain. 

Tips and tricks for navigating the airport:

  • Have your travel partner or a family member drop you off curb side rather than parking in long term parking. My husband dropped us curbside and then took our car to long term parking and rode the shuttle to the terminal. It was easier for him to ride alone than it would be for us all to lug babies and luggage onto a shuttle bus. 
  • Take a stroller that will hold your infant carrier car seats (if you’re going to have to travel with car seats). We took the Baby Trend Snap n Go for easy airport transport and rented a double jogger stroller at our destination. 
  • Take wearable baby carriers. We used the Ergobaby carriers. As you near security strap those babies to your chest. Security will want the car seats and stroller to go through the x-ray machine so it’s easier to already have the babies out of the stroller when you get to that point. 
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off because getting shoes on and off while baby wearing can be annoying. 
  • Put the babies back in their car seats/stroller while navigating to your gate. 
  • When you get to your gate, make bottles up and have them ready for takeoff because it’s is obnoxiously cramped on the plane to try to hold onto a baby and fix a bottle. We wanted our babies to have bottles for take of to aide with releasing pressure and easing ear popping. 
  • As soon as your flight starts boarding, get the babies back in their wearable carriers. Put your stroller and car seats into their “GATE CHECK” bags
  • Board as early as they let you. (We flew Southwest which we loved, but we didn’t check in ahead of time because we assumed we could board first with family boarding. With Southwest families board after zone A boards. If we checked in ahead of time we may have had the opportunity to load in group A.)
  • Sit accross from the aisle from one another or in front of/behind each other (depending on the size of airplane). We were on a 757 and they have 3 seas together on either side of the aisle. There are only 4 oxygen masks for the 3 chair groupings so they won’t let you have 2 lap children in the same row.
  • Keep your diaper bag with toys, snacks and bottles between your feet. 

Happy traveling, Mommas! Stay calm and go with the flow. Things can go awry even when you’re prepared. Although it still helps to be mentally prepared! 

Mom Must-Haves

Twin Essentials for the 1st year

When I found out we were having twins I was so overwhelmed with the amount of things that we would need.  If you are a soon to be twin mom and you’re looking for ideas for your registry, you’ve come to the right place. Here is my list of essential items:

  • 2 Cribs – we bought ours second hand and spent $300 which was a huge savings
  • 4 waterproof mattress covers
  • 6 sets of sheets – My grandma and aunt made cute sheets for me because I couldn’t find any gender neutral sheets that I liked in store.  Here is a “how to“.
  • 2 car seats (obviously) – We loved our Britax B-Safe 35 infant carriers which we are still using at 1 year old.
  • 2 days worth of bottles (approximately 16) – We loved the Avent classics, but don’t buy new nipples until you know your babes are ready for the next step. We bought size 3 nipples and we will be done with bottles before they ever use the size 3 nipples.
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Spectra S2 breast pump – this is hands down the best investment I made for our babies
  • Handsfree pumping bra
  • Bulb syringe – I tried the Nose Freida too, but I found the bulb syringes to work best for me
  • The First Years Lanolin Free Nipple Butter – This was in a gift basket I received and it was by far my favorite nipple cream. It was silky smooth making it easier to spread than thicker lanolin creams I had tried.
  • Insulated lunch bag for packing bottles
  • Back pack – a diaper bag just wasn’t cutting it after 3 months.
  • Portable changing pad for the back pack
  • Changing table – I didn’t think I’d need one but after the first week of changing endless diapers my back needed the relief of a changing table. We bought a used one off of Facebook Marketplace for $25.
  • 2 high chair/booster combos
  • 2 Summer Infant travel high chairs
  • 2 Chicco Lullago travel bassinets – we absolutely loved these and used them until our twins were 6 months old
  • 2 waterproof bassinet mattress covers
  • 4 bassinet sheets
  • 4 Swaddle Me swaddlers – worked great for the early months
  • 4 Halo Sleep sacks – loved using these after the babes started rolling
  • 6 plush bath towels – we were gifted the small hooded baby towels which worked great but knowing how quickly they outgrow them it may be easier to start with standard towels that are exceptionally soft
  • Diaper Genie and refills
  • 12 Terry cloth bibs and burp rags – these were great to use when they were itty bitty for bottle feeds.  They often dribbled from their mouth or spit up so it was nice to have an absorbent bib. Family members made mine but here is a “how to“.
  • 2 silicone bibs
  • 2 extra laundry baskets with wheels (because you don’t want to lift anything late in your pregnancy or soon after birth)
  • Postpartum belly support band
  • 10-12 outfits per child and 8-10 sets of pajamas in each size
  • Aquaphor
  • Triple Paste
  • Gas Drops
  • Calming Lavender Baby Lotion
  • Baby bath tub
  • Summer Infant Dual Video Monitor
  • Summer Infant Portable Playard– we love spending time outdoors so this was awesome to have. I could work in my flower beds and let the babes hang out and play. It was also great for our camping trips.
  • 1 push behind walker
  • 1 activity table
  • 1 exersaucer (we bought ours used for $35)
  • 2 play mats
  • 2 auto Rock n Play
  • 2 Pack n Play (we bought ours used for <$20 each)
  • 2 Boppy pillows
  • Double Baby Trend Snap N Go stroller
  • Double Baby Jogger City Mini GT
  • Double umbrella stroller (bought used for <$15)
  • Canvas storage baskets – we have 8 and use every one of them
  • Leather rocker recliners – we decided to forgo your typical rocker glider for the nursery because they share a nursery which means we didn’t rock the upset baby in the nursery while the other was sleeping in there. We just bought rocker recliners for our living room instead. Leather is essential for cleaning up spit up and spilled milk.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save diaper and formula subscriptions
  • Photographer package – I would’ve saved so much money and avoided annoyances if I would’ve just signed a contract with a photographer who did newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month photos.
  • DSLR Digital Camera

 

Things we got that we didn’t need

  • Wipe warmer
  • Bumbos – we used them for such a short period I’m not sure they are worth it
Fearless Faith, Mission Motherhood

One Body

Lately I’ve found it difficult to communicate that I feel like I’m currently incompetent in my job.  No one likes admitting a struggle…especially when (in my mind) so many people would be like, “What are you talking about?!  You’re a stay-at-home-mom!  How can you be incompetent at staying home?!”  Well, I have a 7-year-old who is at school during the day, but I’m home with a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old and I feel like I’m drowning.  My entire adult life has been devoted to working with children and learning about children and playing with children and helping and laughing and guiding children.  So in this time that I’m home with my own two children, why is it that I feel like I’m not enough?  Why is it that I feel like I’m unable to provide the consistency, structure, flexibility, and grace that I’d be providing in a classroom?

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I start working when the first kid wakes up…which on some days is 4:00am…some days is 7:00am…  Eventually they nap, and IF I’M LUCKY it’s at the same time…so then I clean…and, by the time I think I have a second to get my thoughts together enough to read or write or take pictures or stare at the wall for 30 minutes– 52 seconds have gone by and one of the kids is awake again.  I typically smell of coffee breath and baby puke…and there have been times when I’ve felt resentful toward each and every living thing in this house– including my children and the dogs…because they are yet another thing that I stress about as I’m drifting to sleep at night:  Do they [the dogs] have food?  Have they had any water today?  Oh my God, I don’t think I let them out after dinner…wait…DID THEY GET FED?  How is October still alive?…but, really, does she have an ear infection?…and what is that rash on her belly?–She is SO old…HOW IS SHE STILL LIVING?  Oh my Jesus, Tommy will be devastated when she dies…I HAVE to make sure I’m the one to find her.  Geez, then what will I do?  I can’t lift her……  I wonder if Tommy gave her meds tonight…because I gave her meds…did I unintentionally overdose her?  Can dogs have kidney failure?  Oh my GOD, Summit had to have just pooped on the floor…No?  THAT was just GAS?!  Uhhhhhhhh why am I not sleeping?!  …DID we overdose October?  I hope she’s okay…Uggggh…I’ll just get up and go check on her…

Does that sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only mom who does this.  I’m sure there are dads that ALSO do this very thing…but not in my house, because my husband can fall asleep in about 45 seconds and will not wake until ready to be woken.  Doesn’t that sound AMAZING?!  I hear EVERYTHING…and, as soon as I’m awake, the cycle of thoughts starts all over again: Please tell me there aren’t wet clothes in the washer…I think I switched them…but I really don’t want them to smell like mildew…I should get up and check…but what if Jett hears me?…wait, when did Indie eat last?…should I just go ahead and feed her while I’m awake?…oh, she’ll be due to eat in 30 minutes or so…I might as well just stay up……

At small group a few weeks ago, we read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26– And, while I’m sure the author did not intend for these words to apply to household roles, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of comfort as I allowed this scripture to sink in.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

–I’d love to say that I immediately relate this piece to my relationship with the world…or with the church…and how I can be Jesus alongside everyone and to everyone because we all have something vital to offer…sometimes what I need to do is bring it down reeeeeally small, put on my egocentric shades, and apply it to where I am right now.  This might not be the case for you, but for this stay-at-home-mom, it’s easy to let my mind drift to:
“Well, I’m not earning a paycheck…”
“Well, I’m home all day…why have I not gotten the laundry caught up?”
“…Why are there still dishes in the sink?  …Why has the vacuum not left the closet in three weeks?  …Why does the bathroom smell like urine and why is there toothpaste residue?”
“Well, I’m home all day…why does my barely-two-year-old not know his colors, shapes, and alphabet?”
“Why is dinner not ready?”
–But, after reading this, I’m trying to give myself more grace and to give God more credit.  I have always felt equipped to work with children…the difference now is that I am working with the same children every minute of every hour of every day for years– and it often feels like there are no true breaks. There’s no clocking out…and my role rarely changes. I am “Mom.” And even though “Mom” wears so many hats, the role is still “Mom.” Everyone in our home has a role…everyone has a job… Is my job any less important because I’m “not earning a paycheck?”  Is my husband’s job any more important because he does?  Am I failing miserably at my job because I’m unable to mark every single task off my to do list every day?…or is my husband failing miserably because he’s continuing to wear clean clothes to work and therefore producing laundry?  …Just as my life would be significantly impacted if my husband suddenly quit his job, his life would be significantly impacted if I suddenly quit mine.  Even when I think I’m getting nothing accomplished, I’m drowning in baby puke, and I’m a lousy excuse as a stay-at-home-mom…I need to remember that: “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” No single person makes our family the unit that it is– it’s a collective effort from each part to produce one body from our house and transform it into our home.

Isn’t it amazing how a piece of literature from thousands of years ago has the ability to be this breathable document that can provide so much peace and clarity to present day circumstances?–and it might not provide that to anyone else…but, for me, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Has there been an instance in which you’ve stumbled upon the perfect scripture to shine light on a current or past dilemma in your own life? We would love to hear your stories! Feel free to comment below or join our Facebook group of the same name: Birds of a Feather. Thanks for flocking with us!

Happy Homesteading

Meal Planning Crash Course: Week Three of October

Sad story, bro:  I wrote a draft last night and didn’t hit publish, because I wasn’t quite finished with the final links…and none- of- it- saved.  (Enter crying emoji here.  …Can I use emojis in WordPress?  …Can I use emojis on a laptop?  Remind me to research this at a later date.)

jettCan I also tell you the whole truth?  I didn’t make a single meal that was on my menu for last week.  Wanna know why?  Last week felt chaotic–and flexibility is key with a newborn.  And this week…I’m 1 for 3.  BUT I have faith that as long as I keep planning and purchasing the ingredients I need for what’s on the menu, eventually I’ll get to a place where I can actually focus on the intended meal.

 

 

kids

 

 

What’s your experience with cooking after having a baby?  Did you find yourself eating healthier?  Could you follow a menu or meal plan?–or did everything feel like you were flying by the seat of your pants every night?  I’d love to hear what you think and how you tackled family meal times.  ♥

 

 

Disclaimer: To those of you who know me, this may come as a surprise to see that I’ve written an entry on the blog about meal planning.  Please know that my intent is to share weekly meal plans of the most simplistic “easy-to-throw-together-and-have-leftovers-for-the-next-day’s-lunch” type of meals.  Basically, I’m just sharing with you what our family is eating to give you a fresh idea for your family’s menu.  I hope to have the next week’s menu posted by Wednesday each week, so you can prepare for the grocery store, if needed.  ALSO: I plan 5 meals a week.  That leaves one night for leftovers and one night for dining with family/outside of the home.  The majority of the meals you will see are not super healthy…and none of them are conscious of gluten, dairy, or other allergies that are so prevalent; however, if you would be willing to leave a comment on how you’ve tweaked the recipes to make them more “diet friendly” or “dairy/egg/gluten free” or even just better overall (I’m not a chef and I won’t be offended), we would LOVE your input.


October 2017

Week One:
Mama Mary’s “Homemade” Pizzas
Chili (we pair this with a cornbread mix that happens to be gluten free and delicious)
Chili Dogs (I feel like this is self explanatory, but: Prepare hotdog, then cover with leftover chili and cheese.  Have a salad on the side so you’re having something that your body will thank you for.)
Chicken Salad Sandwiches (I linked my latest favorite.  I had it for lunches regularly when I was following Weight Watchers. ♥)
Baked Burritos (If you don’t bake them, they can be prepared in bulk, SaranWrapped, frozen, and microwaved for later consumption.)

Week Two:
Breakfast (This is my husband’s night to shine in the kitchen!  He makes scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy…and it’s so amazing. –Oh, one more thing:  We use Pillsbury frozen biscuits.  They are the closest to the taste of homemade we’ve found…minus the effort.)
Potato Soup
Sloppy Johns (Okay, so it’s Sloppy Joes…but my daughter has always called them Sloppy Johns…so that’s what we call them.  Also, I’ve attached Dad’s recipe, as told by Dad.)
Tater Tot Casserole (I linked a recipe in another blog…Is that even legal?!  Am I going to get arrested?!  …I’m only half kidding.  But I haven’t tried this recipe yet, so I’m not sure what adjustments I’ll want to make.  If you try it before I do, let me know what worked and what you changed!)
Burgers (with a side of broccoli...nomnomnom)
*Note: My husband typed the recipes he uses for the gravy and the burgers…that’s why the wording and format is a little different than mine.  …I talk and carry on…and he’s very to-the-point.

Week Three:
Fajitas
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Pasta in Olive Oil (You will want garlic bread and salad to pair with this.  …Are you aware that you can buy OLIVE GARDEN dressing?!  It is HEAVENLY.)
Chicken Noodle Casserole (I love to serve this with corn and blueberry muffins.  SO GOOD.)
Jambalaya (If you are feeding kids or someone who gets heartburn easily, you might want to give them a head’s up before eating this.  It’s got a bit of a kick.)

Happy Homesteading, Uncategorized

Meal Planning Crash Course: Week Two of October

Week two of October is up and ready for your clicks and input!  I apparently am unable to stick to my word of getting this up and posted by Wednesday morning…Thanks for being patient with me!  …Here’s a picture of why I can’t get anything accomplished in a timely manner.  They’re cute, aren’t they?  The newborn in my husband’s arms is pretty mild still…but the other two keep me on my toes constantly.  CONSTANTLY.

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Curious: What did you guys have for dinner this week?  Or what are you having for dinner?  Have you tried any of the recipes my family has used?  What did you like, dislike, or change?

Disclaimer: To those of you who know me, this may come as a surprise to see that I’ve written an entry on the blog about meal planning.  Please know that my intent is to share weekly meal plans of the most simplistic “easy-to-throw-together-and-have-leftovers-for-the-next-day’s-lunch” type of meals.  Basically, I’m just sharing with you what our family is eating to give you a fresh idea for your family’s menu.  I hope to have the next week’s menu posted by Wednesday each week, so you can prepare for the grocery store, if needed.  ALSO: I plan 5 meals a week.  That leaves one night for leftovers and one night for dining with family/outside of the home.  The majority of the meals you will see are not super healthy…and none of them are conscious of gluten, dairy, or other allergies that are so prevalent; however, if you would be willing to leave a comment on how you’ve tweaked the recipes to make them more “diet friendly” or “dairy/egg/gluten free” or even just better overall (I’m not a chef and I won’t be offended), we would LOVE your input.


October 2017

Week One:
Mama Mary’s “Homemade” Pizzas
Chili (we pair this with a cornbread mix that happens to be gluten free and delicious)
Chili Dogs (I feel like this is self explanatory, but: Prepare hotdog, then cover with leftover chili and cheese.  Have a salad on the side so you’re having something that your body will thank you for.)
Sandwiches (I linked my latest favorite.  I had it for lunches regularly when I was following Weight Watchers. ♥)
Burritos (If you don’t bake them, they can be prepared in bulk, SaranWrapped, frozen, and microwaved for later consumption.)

Week Two:
Breakfast (This is my husband’s night to shine in the kitchen!  He makes scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy…and it’s so amazing. –Oh, one more thing:  We use Pillsbury frozen biscuits.  They are the closest to the taste of homemade we’ve found…minus the effort.)
Potato Soup
Sloppy Johns (Okay, so it’s Sloppy Joes…but my daughter has always called them Sloppy Johns…so that’s what we call them.  Also, I’ve attached Dad’s recipe, as told by Dad.)
Tater Tot Casserole (I linked a recipe in another blog…Is that even legal?!  Am I going to get arrested?!  …I’m only half kidding.  But I haven’t tried this recipe yet, so I’m not sure what adjustments I’ll want to make.  If you try it before I do, let me know what worked and what you changed!)
Burgers (with a side of broccoli…nomnomnom)
*Note: My husband typed the recipes he uses for the gravy and the burgers…that’s why the wording and format is a little different than mine.  …I talk and carry on…and he’s very to-the-point.