An Unattractive Greeting

I met another mom of twins this morning.

We were at a playgroup at a public entertainment center. My mom had noticed her little two-some first and then pointed out her twin grandsons. I turned just as she was pointing me out as the mom. Her boys seemed to be a little older than mine. She glared at me with a look that said, "YOU! You stole the last brownie!" Except she didn't say that. Instead, she said, "It gets worse."

Um, hello. Nice to meet you...

Really? That's what you say? "It gets worse." What kind of a greeting is that?

I mean, I know what she's saying. I know I haven't even hit the top of the iceberg as far as challenges go. But trust me, we've come a long way. I know it was difficult. I know it will continue to be challenging. But aren't you supposed to encourage other young moms in their adventures? Moms of twins or mothers in general?

So I made myself a promise. When I meet other young moms with babies - whether it's one or three - I'm going to smile and say, "Wow, that's great! What a blessing!" They all know it's challenging. They all know it will be difficult. They don't need to hear "It's gonna get worse." They need to know they've been blessed and they'll get through.

Just thought you should know.


Dose of Perspective

I had a wonderful dose of perspective today.

Andy was working late so I had planned to put the boys down on my own. I've only done it 100% by myself two other times before, but I knew it would be fine. It's taken quite a bit to get us to this point, but we've definitely come a long way. I had organized to go to my friend's house at 4pm and bring her dinner so we'd be home in time to start the routine.

During the boys' nap, I took a full-blown shower (which was wonderful, by the way) and prepared our dinner as well as a dinner for my friend. I got some stuff together for her and then loaded it all up in the van before sitting down at the computer to put ads up for my husband's rental properties. When the boys woke up from their nap, I fed them lunch, got them dressed and we headed to my friend's. Not bad. Not bad at all!

We got to her house a little late because I couldn't find it at first - I could quite possibly be the most dysfunctional person when it comes to directions - but I eventually did, thanks to her father-in-law who came out to flag me down.

He handled all of the bags and the meal, which was helpful because that meant I could take the boys in a single trip. One in each arm. He commented on how talented I was balancing one on my knee as I unstrapped the other from his carseat. Funny, I don't even think about it anymore. I tilted them to one side to close the door and then get the keys out of my pocket to lock the door before settling them back on my hip and walk inside.

Oh, and did I mention my friend just had twins? Twin boys. They're two weeks old!! So so beautiful. I wish I could say that I took a million pictures, but they were sleeping. I just didn't have the heart to surprise them with all of those flashes. Yet.

We talked for a while and the boys played with the coloring books and Goldfish I brought. Actually, they played with her father-in-law. Not quite sure who had more fun... :) But it was a wonderful visit. We talked about night feedings, adjusting to two babies at once and the flood of emotions. We talked about sleep schedules and weight gain. How I tell the boys apart and if they were similar at birth. I loved sharing some of our experience and tried to encourage her along her journey. I really hope I didn't overwhelm her with information. I didn't want to stay too long since the boys were sleeping - her time to do whatever she wanted!

As I got back into my van with my two toddlers in tow, a million memories flooded my mind. I remembered how small the boys were and wondering when things would feel normal again. The nights that never seemed to end and praying for daylight just so there was more activity on Facebook and people to talk to! Admitting to my husband that perhaps our idea of a larger family was just not possible. Not leaving the house for a year simply because the very idea of doing it on your own (and having to pump every three hours) was too overwhelming. Wondering if you really were capable enough for this - such a huge task.

She asked if I missed that stage. I thought for a moment and admitted, "Nope."

It's not that I didn't try and enjoy it as I was going through it. I did. I tried to hold onto those moments where I marveled at their teeny fingers and how it felt like their eyes could see right through me. Getting by on such little sleep and having NO idea if you're doing anything right. Thankfully, I took pictures to help me remember that time because it was such a blur!

Wow, I thought. We've come so far.

My boys hold their own sippy cup. No more bottles for us! They can soothe themselves to sleep at naptime and at bedtime. They sleep for 11 hours at night and take a 2-3 hour nap. They laugh, giggle, clap, give kisses, hugs and experiment with words. I can - and do - go places by myself and work on projects while they sleep. I'm cooking new meals and making them for others!

Wow. We've come so far.

So tonight I am filled with gratitude and humility. God has brought us through. Just as He promised. We have not yet arrived at the Promised Land. We still need to navigate our way through the unknown territory of the terrible twos, potty-training, the sharing concept (and that's even before we hit school, girlfriends and driving!)

We have so much to look forward to.


A Place of Comfort

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave."
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
I came across this quote the other day and it has both challenged and encouraged me. What do I do - on a daily basis - to know that my husband is welcome in our home? That is a safe place for him to return to? After some of the days I have with my boys, I feel like my home is anything but tranquil.

Why does it seem like I was such a better housekeeper before I had kids?

It seems like no matter how much straighten up I do before 5:45pm, I've got at least one box of wipes spilled on the floor, the MegaBlocks thrown all over the dining room and dishes piled a mile high in the sink. (All of this while I'm watching Ben push his Little Tikes table over toward his high chair so he can climb onto the window shades. Aye.)

I can't do it all. Trust me. I've tried. I just can't.

I was talking to my friend the other day and mentioned my dilemma. She said that she had had the same frustration. With four kids, she just couldn't create a wonderful world of cleanliness to greet her husband every day. Rather than giving up entirely, she asked her husband what ONE thing he would be happiest to see. What ONE area/section of the house he'd like to have cleaned so when he walks in the door, he can feel relaxed. For her husband, it was the dishes in the sink. "Alright, I can do that," she said. Every day before he comes home, she makes sure that there are no dirty dishes in the sink. And he likes that!

So I asked Andy. And do you know what he said? The counter. But not the entire counter, just the area less than 2'x2' just next to the door. Really? That's it? I can do that. It's only been four days and I am proud to say that that little area has stayed clean. (At least when Andy arrives home ;) I couldn't believe how much stuff I tried piling on that tiny little area during the day! Andy has noticed the fact that this small piece of counter has stayed clean and almost everyday, he thanks me for making the effort.

What do you do to create a house where your husband hates to leave and just can't wait to come home to? Even if your house looks like a small tornado made its rounds, be sure to greet him with a smile and a hug. Let him know you're glad to see him. And wait at least fifteen minutes for him to de-stress before you go into the drama of your day. Do ONE thing at a time. And trust me, he will notice. And YOU will be the one that is blessed!


A Time for Everything

One girl sits during her lunch break, dreaming of her prince charming.

Another plays with Barbies in the dollhouse made by her grandpa.

One gets a manicure and then meets her friends for lunch and shopping.

One watches television while she counts her unborn baby's heartrate.

Another takes a quick nap before her last prenatal appointment.

Another holds her precious newborn in her arms and stares at her perfect features.

Another wakes up at 3am to the sound of her baby's cries and comforts him with her touch.

Another throws her arms up in desperation, counting down the hours until bedtime.

Another woman drops her kids off at Grandma's so she can get a pedicure. Her first one in ten years.

Another woman attends her son's high school orientation.

Another woman watches her husband walk their little girl down the aisle.

One woman plays with her grandson and his blocks, glad to give her daughter a break.

Another woman listens to the silence of her house, anxious for her grandchildren's arrival.

And yet another woman watches The Daily Show and plans her day of cleaning and doing laundry.

These women represent the many seasons we all go through. The short, short seasons of our lives. It's easy to look ahead or backward and long for the simplicity, quiet or peace that seems to be on the other side. But the truth is that these are merely seasons. They are not meant to last forever. Some are short, some seem long. They all, however, take time and need to be experienced before the next one arrives.

Consider the passage from Ecclesiastes 3 (The New International Version)
1    There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9    What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil -this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

I love that 11th verse: "He has made everything beautiful in its time." It's nice to know we are a work in progress. And that the ultimate result is glorious.

So if you're having a bad day, be encouraged. Tomorrow is another day.
If you're having a really good day, be encouraged. God has many more beautiful days ahead!

In His time.