#GiveGodTheGlory

Yesterday was the 7th Anniversary of when I moved to Maui.  There’s something about anniversaries and landmarks that make a person feel more inclined toward reflection.  Taking that combined with the fact that I am nearing my 30th birthday this May, here I sit, to give God the glory.

It was probably about 6 months ago I first heard the song, “Love Broke Thru” by Toby Mac. There’s these lyrics that I identified with in such a way that I felt like I needed to tell this story, and somehow this song was going to encourage me to do it.  The following is a portion of the lyrics:

Yeah, I was all but lost in the moment
I was young and runnin’ wide open
It was just another summer night
Had to be the last thing on my mind

When love broke thru
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ thru the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke thru

In May of 2009 is when love broke through to me.  I was sitting out in my car, alone. Outside of Planned Parenthood.  I went in because I knew I had contracted an STD.

Shame.  Such shame.  Without a doubt, my lowest moment.  Feeling worthless.  Who will want me now?

God did.

In those moments in my car that day, I heard from God like I had never heard before.

“I don’t desire you to feel this shame.”

“This is the result of sin.”

“This is why I desire sexual purity until marriage.”

These were the main things I felt that God was imparting to me.  In those moments I told God that I would not have sex again until it was with my husband.

My next thought was that I was no where close to meeting a man that would understand that in the circle of friends I’d been in.  My next thought was, I’m going back to church.

So let’s rewind. At the time of this experience in 2009, I had just turned 22 years old.  But really to give the depth of the story I’d like to give a little more background of my life.

My parents had 5 children, I was the youngest of the 4 girls and 1 boy. I also have another half sister, but that’s another long rabbit trail I won’t get into here. We were raised up in the Lutheran and Presbyterian church our whole lives under our parents roof. I can remember feeling very secure knowing that God made me and loved me.  I knew very simply that by faith in Jesus, who died for my sins, that I would have eternal life with God. I was a fearless little girl, since I certainly didn’t fear death, and I knew that I was purposed. My family gave me such a rich upbringing full of so much love. I really didn’t know hard times, anxiety was a foreign word to me.  The biggest thing that bothered me my first 18 years was if my friends and I weren’t getting along perfectly.  That being said, the first trial that tested my faith came when I was 7 years old.  My parents had just gotten divorced and very shortly after my dad got diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in his 40’s.  I remember the heaviness of finding out the news, and how my mom cried.  Somehow, the heaviness didn’t touch me.  I simply knew that God was in control.

 Our family was not the kind of family that actually read the Bible.  Now, excuse me if my parents were reading it on their own at different seasons, but I personally don’t remember anyone ever opening a Bible with me outside of a church.  I was in church for Sunday school, then church service, and then always on Wednesday nights.  I also went to Vacation Bible Schools and later from 5th grade to 8th grade I went every summer to a Presbyterian church camp, overnight for 5 days.  In 10th grade I got confirmed in the Lutheran church. I kept going on Sundays only then for the remainder of my years in high school.

For the most part, I really did like going to church events.  I grew up in Minnesota and South Dakota, and honestly it seemed like everyone went to church.  Of course, I can remember a couple of times when my mom bribed me and my brother to stay when we threatened we were going to walk out and go home.  One time we got half way home when we realized 5 dollars sounded really nice, so we walked back and sat through the rest of church.

When I graduated high school and moved away, I stopped going to church.

I kind of always had it in the back of my mind that I ‘should’ go to church, but I certainly had a lot of other things going on, and it wasn’t a priority.

I remember very well my 20th year, and I decided I really ought to get to church for an Easter service.  I was living in downtown San Diego at the time, and I didn’t have a car. I didn’t even know what church I would go to, but I called a cab to pick me up around 9 am and I asked him to drop me off at the church up the road.  I knew there were a couple of them close by so I went to whatever one started closest to when I got dropped off.  It was a very old congregation. Visually all I remember was seeing alot of white haired old people. But on a heart level, wow. Sitting there that Easter Sunday, at 20 years old, I finally realized why Christians celebrate Easter.  It is the day we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead.  He came back to life.  The tomb was empty. Death could not hold him.  He overcame sin.  He overcame death, so that we could too.  I actually sat there and wept.  I was so overcome with emotion.

It is hard for me to understand how I went to church all those years growing up, yet the best part of Easter had been the combination of time spent with family, good food, and lots of candy.  It had always been just another holiday.

Something changed that day.  God gave me a little bit more understanding.  But just a little bit.

I can’t remember if it was before or after that Easter Sunday, but around that time I had a brief (3 wks) relationship with a guy who my good friend had set me up with.  He was nice and cute, and we hit it off. But he was a passionate evolutionist.  He would talk about his passion for evolution and I just didn’t connect because of the gap in our worldviews.  I told him it wasn’t going to work out because I was a Christian, and I didn’t believe what he believed.   He told me he didn’t understand why that should bother me, and that he didn’t have a problem with my beliefs, in fact, he wanted to know, why did I believe what I believed?  He genuinely wanted to know.

I had nothing.  I didn’t know.  I’d never even read the Bible, how could I have an answer?

I had just always believed…and felt that the faith my parents passed down to me was true.  But in the face of an actual discussion with a person of opposing worldview, I realized it wasn’t something I even knew how to discuss.

So I did break it off; even after that he gave me an adorable mixed CD and told me he was happy to talk again if I wanted to.

Immediately after, I got my Bible out, my brown leather encased bible that I had kept from the Lutheran church when I got confirmed, that I had actually moved with me all the way to San Diego.

I decided I would read my Bible.  I had plenty of time because I was taking public transit at the time.  I figured it would also be good for warding off some of the strangers and very strange conversations that can tend to happen on public transit in a big city. Especially with a friendly, naive, very blond girl with a very unique haircut.

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I got this haircut done while I was a student at Paul Mitchell the School in 2006

I only got about 400 pages in…that means Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus…and who knows how much farther.  It gets a little hard to understand for awhile, a lot of details for sure. For a 20 year old with a lot going on, I didn’t stick with it.  I will say, though, I read about the creation story and I learned for the first time that God created the woman out of the rib of Adam, while he was asleep.  I remember learning that God put the rainbow in the sky for the first time as a covenant promise to tell Noah he would never flood the earth again.  I read the story of the first people and it was riveting.  If there’s one gift God has given me, it is faith.  I didn’t doubt the Words, not a bit.  I only couldn’t believe I’d never read the story of Genesis before.

It would be another two years of life before I came back to that Bible, and to church.

That’s where the story gets really vulnerable.

During those two years I had a series of relationships with a handful of men.  I’m not sure how to put it, because I know a lot of the details don’t matter.  It’s what was happening to my heart that mattered.  I was giving it away, my heart, believing that another person was supposed to make me whole by giving me their whole heart. It makes my heart clench up to even reflect on these past relationships.

I loved so freely.  But don’t misunderstand, not freely as in to more than one person at a time.  Never.  My heart doesn’t work that way.  When I was with a person, I was with that person wholeheartedly. To a fault.  To the point that that person became my God. To the point that I would sacrifice my everything; body, time, choices.

By the tender age of 22, I’d had more than a few deeply painful rejections from men whom I loved.

It was hard to understand how someone could reject me when there’s nothing I wouldn’t have given, and the relationship just seemed so good.

But God had a different plan.

Around my 22nd birthday I hooked up with a guy I barely knew, and certainly didn’t love. I was trying so hard to be impossible to reject, to the point I would give it all up in less than a couple weeks.  It was at that point I ended up outside of Planned Parenthood, alone in my car, when God reminded me how badly He wanted me.

I sat down today, February 28th, 2018, to journal and have some time alone with the Lord and listen to a sermon online.  I started to write about how thankful I am to be celebrating 8 years since moving to Maui today.  Like I said in the first paragraph of this blog, one year ago, anniversaries can give cause for reflection.  As I was sitting with the Lord, it came to me that maybe I should finish my testimony blog today and share it…

I knew I had started this blog awhile back…and as I signed into my account tonight and began reading, I realize I wrote this story out one year ago, and intended to share it then.  For some reason I couldn’t share it yet. It’s hard to share personal stories and sometimes the thought that it doesn’t really matter wins out, so I waited.  But tonight felt like a confirmation to just get this story out there.

Do you know how badly God wants your whole heart?

God promises He made all for a relationship with Him, and it will be the only way to satiate every need and desire that is in us, we were created with eternity in our hearts.  No matter how many good things you have or do in this life, if you find yourself still searching, I am here to tell you I found all the love my heart was looking for in seeking Jesus for the rest of my life.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

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My Dad. And much more.

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My dad and I in 2011. He went on disability shortly after this photo was taken.

I love my Dad.  His name is Jerry. I always liked that we had the same amount of letters in our name and that they both started with a J. I was his little look-a-like too, and now my son turned out to look quite a bit like my dad as well.

I said I would write a blog about my dad, because I shared awhile back that my dad got a Deep Brain Stimulation surgery done in hopes of helping his Parkinson’s Disease.  It has been more than a few weeks, in which time I had meant to share an update of his progress, but tonight I got the phone call I was waiting for.  My dad is coming home from the nursing home to be with my step-mom this coming Tuesday.  Upon hearing this news, I am ready to write.

My first memory of my dad was when he dropped me off at Kindergarten the first day. I wore a green jacket, and it was early. We probably showed up around 7:30 a.m. and we were the first ones there.  I guess he wanted to make sure I felt comfortable and could have a little time to settle in, but my dad is always early, so it makes sense.  I did feel comfortable.  My dad had the most confidence in me always, and he never went more than a couple of hours without telling me, “I love you, Jenna.”

Later that year or sometime in first grade I can’t remember exactly, my dad helped me through my first bullying situation.  A couple of boys a grade ahead of me bullied me on the way home from school and told me I couldn’t walk on the sidewalk.  A girl a couple of years older saw me from inside her house and she came out to walk me all the way home that day.  I lived in a small town called Luverne, MN.  It was about 5,000 people and I used to walk to and from school, which was a handful of blocks away. Of course when there wasn’t snow on the ground we would ride our bikes. Anyhow, I told my good ol’ dad about those bullies and here’s what happened. He took me into the principal’s office the next day, I identified them in a yearbook, and they were called down for a meeting with us face to face.  As if that wasn’t enough, my dad picked me up from school, and we found those boys walking home on the sidewalk, my dad rolled down his window and I’ll never forget what he said: “Don’t you EVER talk to my daughter again.” And they never did.

My parents ended up getting a divorce when I was around 6 years old.  The thing is, even though I was close to my dad, he had been a truck driver for the years preceding the divorce, and so when he moved 3 hours away to a house in the country in Forest City, IA, it wasn’t a change that impacted me (for example in comparison to the way it impacted my brother very differently) since I was so used to his absence a majority of the time.  Most people would assume that this had a negative impact on our relationship and ability to bond, but it’s a real special thing to be able to tell you differently.  My parent’s were committed to driving me and my brother, older by two years, every other weekend so we could spend two weekends a month with my dad. It may not seem like an awful lot of time, but you see, every other weekend I spent an hour and a half driving one way with my dad, and then back again another hour and a half to meet my mom.  He and my stepmom Diane, whom my dad remarried shortly after the divorce, like to remind me that I basically didn’t stop talking that whole time.

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Dad and Diane in ’95.

I remember the drives well. After having our fill of McDonald’s, we would stop by the gas station and my dad would let us get a pop (midwest term for soda :P) and a candy bar.  Well obviously that was enough sugar to keep us going.  I would catch my dad up on every detail of everything you could ever want to know. And he would tell me lots of stories, too, of course. Oftentimes he rode his pickup truck, which fascinated me because the floor on the passenger side had a little hole in it so you could see the road below, and I think the doors or windows weren’t able to close all the way, because I always was a little chilly and would usually cuddle up close to my dad or lay my head in his lap if I was real tired.  He never seemed to mind. Like I said, he’d tell me he loved me a few times during these drives alone.

That was just the drive time.  Boy, did we have fun on our weekends together.  Now don’t get the wrong idea and think that we had all the fun with Dad and mom had all the dirty work…Dad actually put us to work here and there. We did our fair share of picking rock. And, well, I guess I can’t think of too many other chores, HAHAHA…My stepmom was a very clean lady and she didn’t ever make me lift a finger.  She had a big old soft spot for me, and still does.  Our weekends consisted of a movie date, a bowling date, homemade french toast and homemade macaroni, driving around country roads and Pilot Knob which was a low traffic county park. That’s right, my dad would actually let us drive.  Go the speed limit and stay on the right side of the road, there wasn’t much to it, certainly no traffic lights around.  My grandparents Ray and Violet also lived about a country mile away, and my grandma rented a little booth in the Antiques ‘n More in town.  My brother and I spent lots of time appraising the value of her antiques, toys, and whatnot, and we would price them with our initials with the promise that whatever sold we would get commission on.  I don’t think the store had alot of traffic, and it wasn’t exactly a lucrative business for us, but boy did we have fun.  On days I spent with grandma I mostly sat around the shop reading R.L. Stine mystery scary fiction.  In the early years there was this restaurant next door to the antique shop called, “The Bungalow,” and that was the hot spot for all the early bird old folks.  My dad took us kids to have breakfast there many, many weekends with the lively group of Seniors.  I remember my brother filled his plate of pancakes with syrup almost to the brim.  Yech. Did I mention this meant we were out the door around 5:30 a.m.?

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This was about a year after my parents divorced and probably around the time of diagnosis of PD. My brother Sam is in this photo. Can’t you just picture us kids behind the wheel of a pickup truck?

I actually have a stepsister and a stepbrother I grew up with and got to spend these weekends with, also.  We were close in age, and so close in fact, that I would even go spend a weekend night with them at their dad’s house in town.  My mom was initially appalled by the fact that I would only spend one of the nights with my dad, but gosh, my dad got along with his new wife’s ex husband just fine, and they didn’t mind at all.  It was fun there, they had as many videos games as you could ever want to play, a waterbed, more junk food, a basketball hoop in the driveway, and lived closer to the YMCA and swimming pool.  While we loved the farm buildings to explore and play with the farm cats in the country, it was wonderful to have the option of being in town part-time, too.

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The only photo I have with my stepbrother Cory and stepsister Miranda. Our niece Sydney is also in the picture. Probably around 1999.

The rhythm of these events continued on until middle school or high school, when I started to get more involved in sports and theater, and I was unable to commit to every other weekend away.  It was a wonderful childhood, and only a small percentage of it, as I was with my mom a majority of the time,  which would also be a joy to write about.  The overarching tone is joy, and it’s amazing, because through it all, my dad lived with a disease called Parkinson’s.  He got diagnosed when I was only 7 years old, my dad was about 44.  The symptoms come on pretty gradually, and I don’t recall noticing my dad lacking for anything, or major symptoms standing out until I got closer to high school and college age.  Yet, it was something he always took medication for, and he made light of it.  The most common jokes he would say, for example if his head was shaking a bit or his upper body has some tremor happening, he would say “I’m just a bobblehead(like something you would have on your car dashboard),” or if my stepmom asked him to do something (like grab her cup of coffee or something ridiculously miniscule) he would say, “I can’t, I’ve got Parkinson’s.”  This one always got us laughing.

The first time that I took a great notice of his disease actually debilitating him wasn’t until 2010, when he was 60 years old!  Keep in mind, I moved away in 2005 upon graduating and only saw my dad about once a year after that.  It was the last time we went to a movie together in the movie theater, the Prince of Persia.  I remember my dad’s arm was shaking so uncontrollably and there was no way you could just ignore it and still follow the movie. I silently prayed that his tremor would stop, and within seconds, it did.  It was probably around that same visit, my dad and I drove to the store to get some groceries, and as we were getting out, he got back in the car and told me, “You go in, Jenna, I’ll wait here.” He literally couldn’t walk. He was in a “freeze.”  Parkinson’s is a disease that causes much rigidity, and causes the person to be unable to move for unknown periods of time, for my dad in recent years sometimes days of very little ability to move.

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My dad and Diane in 2010, the first year I remember witnessing how PD could debilitate my dad.

It’s like my dad was able to push through the symptoms until about age 60, but close to the time of my engagement to Jeremiah, my dad had to quit working for good. He had worked the previous 15 years or so at Winnebago Industries, ordering parts and customer service.  He would still get up and go to work if it only took a couple of hours for him to get “unfrozen” in the morning, but by this time, it was closer to 4 hours that he would spend trying to uncramp his feet every morning just to be able to walk before going into work by 6 a.m.  It’s not hard to realize if you do the math, he was up around 2 am every day towards the end just trying to push through, keep working. Keep using it, so he doesn’t lose it for good.  But even without a job to show up for, my dad has been needing to take medication every 2 to 3 hours max for years even throughout the night.  I don’t know for how many years but let’s say close to 10, that he’s never slept more than about 2 hours at a time, and maybe even then only about 4-5 hours a night. It’s not because of insomnia, it’s just the nature of the disease. You can’t sleep.  Your too uncomfortable. You can’t stay still, because you freeze up, it hurts too much.

My dad never actually offers these heart wrenching stories.  Mostly Diane tells me, or my dad will tell me details if I ask, but he doesn’t go out of his way to tell me any of this.  I can’t even express how humble my dad has become through the course of the disease. And at some point, we see it not for the course of the disease, but for the story that the Lord is writing.

You see, my dad used to be kind of a hard man in ways.  My siblings more than a decade older than me could tell you stories of his fury and discipline.  For me, I only ever had to see that fury in his eyes one time when I disobeyed him around the age of 6, and I’m not lying, I didn’t disobey him again. Not ever, not to my memory.

Picture this. My dad is walking up the front sidewalk to the house, and a farm cat walks in front of him, cutting him off; my dad kicks that cat like a soccer ball and says “Get the hell outta my way you damn cat!” He walks inside and doesn’t look back.  I saw this happen a couple of times.  Fast forward about 10 years. This man’s heart has gotten softer. My stepmom and him actually get three Yorkie dogs to keep inside their house, and they are my dad’s new best friends to this day.

I can honestly say since the time I was 18, there hasn’t been a time that I left my dad that we both weren’t crying.  On my wedding day, I was sure we would cry.  When he was there to walk me down the aisle, I told my dad, “Dad, let’s not cry, this is happy, let’s just walk and talk and be happy!” And we did! This was a miracle!

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Diane said it was a miracle my dad was able to walk me down the aisle. His symptoms had never been worse than the week he arrived to Maui.  The heat was horrible for him.

About three years ago I was able to ask my dad what the hardest part of the disease was, to which he said that it was the burden that Diane carried in taking care of him. But in regards to him, he said that often his back felt like the bones were being wrung out like a dishcloth.  He said he missed his strength the most.  And he cried.

The reason I can write about this without being overwhelmed with grief, is because even though Parkinson’s may have taken my dad’s physical strength, and seemingly many more things, it has not been in vain.  To me, it would all be in vain if my dad didn’t allow anything good to come out of it, and he just  felt sorry for himself. But you see, my dad has a relationship with the living God, Jesus.  My dad believes in the Bible, as the Word of God. This means alot of things, but in this context I want to say that my dad believes in the ultimate sovereignty of God, which means that God has ultimate control, yet my dad believes in the goodness and love of God even in circumstances we cannot comprehend why God would allow. My dad is simply thankful for the gift of life, the salvation that God provides, and believes God has a purpose for him. In John 3:16 the Bible reads “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” He presses on with the faith that he will be healed from this disease, if not on this earth, then in heaven, where Jesus has provided the way to upon death. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me”.

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A fairly recent photo, replacing my aunt’s mailbox.  My dad loves to stay busy.

The testimony that my dad has lived is one of great faith.  My dad has never let anyone feel sorry for him. He’s got too much joy.  If you had the pleasure of meeting my dad, it’s likely that it won’t take you long to realize my dad has a disposition, an optimism, that is palpable, that you cannot possibly feel sorry about. You can only feel encouraged. Because my dad can persevere and live in the present.  I know that through these circumstances, my dad has grown into the man that he is, and I have been so impacted by his outlook on life, that I can’t in all truth say I wish my dad never would have gotten Parkinson’s. It’s been something that has shaped us. I feel like I was never allowed to take my time spent with my dad for granted, because even as a little girl, I knew in the back of my mind, this disease was ultimately a devastating diagnosis.

Today the news of my dad’s recent improvement from the Deep Brain Stimulation a shower of God’s grace.  Diane told me that she had him home over the weekend and for the first time in years she didn’t have to lift him out of a chair once, and he didn’t wake her up at night once. She says she doesn’t want to let him stay one more good day in the nursing home where he’s been the last 6 months or so.  The objective of the DBS is to alleviate symptoms that the medication was no longer helping.  My dad’s fine motor skills have improved, he does not feel as rigid or as weighed down, but is able to get up by himself and walk around better without falling.  Maybe the best of all is that he’s been able to sleep closer to 6 hour stretches without the need of medication during that time. We can all understand the many benefits of sleep and I imagine that alone will go so far in improving the quality of his life.

All of the details surrounding the fact that my dad was able to get this surgery are too many to write about, but we consider it a miracle.  I need to tell you that my dad’s care by the Mayo clinic began with an act of faith on the part of my step-sister.  She is a Dr. of Psychology and while she was still in school a couple of years ago, she found the email of one of the top neurosurgeons that worked at the Mayo Clinic in MN.  She wrote him the story about my dad and his circumstances and not being able to afford the care that he needed.  She simply asked if this Dr. would consider seeing my dad for free, just once, to offer any type of advice.  He wrote back within hours, and said YES.  He saw my dad for an appointment and spent a couple of hours with him and my step mom, offering advice that was helpful, such as not to eat protein within a half an hour of his medication (that was taken every two hours).  For some reason it counteracts the medicine.  Who knows why no one had told my dad that before, but better late than never.   From then on, the Mayo clinic continued to see my dad occasionally in the years following.  It was their team of doctors who suggested that my dad get evaluated for the DBS.  It’s a very small window of people that can get this surgery, as you need to be advanced in the disease to the point that medication does not help alleviate the symptoms anymore, yet you cannot be so advanced that you have onset of dementia, or that you are wheel chair bound.

When my dad qualified for the surgery and was able to get funding through the state from  a bill that was removed within days of his qualifying, it was almost too good to be true.  The doctors were so optimistic about the surgery for my dad, that both him and my stepmom thought maybe he could come home from the nursing home immediately after.  He got the surgery back in June, and his progress was good right off the bat, but then regressed, and then has very gradually improved over the last two months.  Which brings us to the present. Today, what a gift; my dad will be able to spend his days at home, next to his wife, because of the grace of the surgery provided to my dad.  I am so thankful for the extension of days, however many they may be, that my dad can live in less pain and more freedom of movement.  I know he will continue to bless all who know him, including my family when we get to spend time with him in just a few weeks.   I had been at a place where I had really surrendered my dad to the Lord, believing it would be merciful to take him sooner than later.  His mercy came in a different way, and it is one that I pray my kids can grow up to know their grandpa over the years and encounter his Godly legacy of faith first hand.

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My dad, the only boy of 5 children. He was about 4 in this photo, approximately 1953. I can see so much resemblance to my dad in my son, Caleb.
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Caleb Robert Jerald Weaver

Not just my children, but my husband has really only spent very small windows of time with my dad, maybe an hour, and he was not well.  He has yet to glimpse the character of my dad who has given my personality and my whole being so much shape and the portion of flair that it is. Because of the improvement of my dad’s disease, I believe we will be given the gift of conversations with my dad to laugh, to hear about his life, and make some unforgettable memories together with the men I love so dearly.

Thank you for reading this part of my heart.

Dad, I hope you enjoyed the recalled memories. Love, your baby.

 

 

A Mountaintop Experience.

imageRaising my babies has been really sweet now that we’ve made it without one of them being sick for a whole few weeks.  Since mid December, one or more or all members of the family have been sick about every 2 weeks and that’s sadly not an understatement.  It started with the barfing flu mid December that caused me to miss all 3 of the holiday parties I had planned to go to. By the second week in January, we all had the body flu; fevers, bad fevers…that’s right, Caleb actually had a seizure from his 105 temp.  That was scary, hello emergency room, hope to never see you again. I actually claim that week to be the worst week of my life. I was laid out in bed for 5 days with a fever before I finally realized I had a bacterial sinus infection. Each day growing this feeling of depression.  You know how you have windows of regained strength, I kept telling myself the fever will be gone tomorrow…and 5 days later…I finally got on an antibiotic and could feel it working within hours.

It was the most difficult position to be  unable to take care of my babies, my husband, and my household chores the way that I am used to being able to, and the way in which my family depends on me. I had angels all around me, literally, friends, neighbors, bringing meals, cleaning my house, unfortunately unable to watch my kids because we were all still possibly contagious.  I don’t know what I would have done without all of the support I received, not to mention from my husband who had to take the entire week off work to care for us.  I’m thankful I don’t have to know what it’s like to not have that support.  This island ohana, these people who pray for us and love us and surround us…are a huge part of why Jeremiah and I can’t see ourselves anywhere but here right now.

One of my best friends even took a day off of work, showed up with a bag from Target filled with disinfectant spray (for the couches and any surface), vitamin c, homemade ginger tea, hand soap, and face masks for her and I to wear while she cleaned my house and bathed my children and swept my floors, and just sat in the living room to wait for the baby to wake up so she could bring him to me…the face mask oddly enough added some comic relief to the situation, and it made me feel better about her exposing herself so selflessly to our very sick household.  It is love like this that allows me to look back on the situation and take away something to be inspired by.

So that is why the last weeks have been especially sweet.  If we never walked in the valleys, we couldn’t recognize the mountaintops, you know?  Does that mean I’m on a mountaintop?  Probably not.  But there’s lots to be celebrated.  For starters, my husband is funny.  It’s not often that he’s home with the kids alone for very long, maybe 2 hours on average.  Apparently he’s never had to take a number two during those times.  I say this because awhile back, both kids were crowding him at the toilet.  He acts like this has never happened before and says emphatically, “All I want to do is clip my toe nails and take a crap!” That’s a paraphrase…there was also something to the effect of not wanting to do it with the kids around, you know, wanting to do it in privacy.  LOL Mom’s, ya hearing this? It’s like, Helloo…yeah, that’s definitely too much to ask. Your best option is to lock the door and get to do it in the bathroom alone *most likely with two kids screaming outside the door, wanting in.  And while we’re on the subject of bathroom talk…I took notice that my husband bought a new tube of toothpaste, yet there are still two tubes with just a little bit left.  I kindly ask him to use up the other ones before switching over, and he says to me, “I am not trying to squeeze one more turd out of that thing.” (I seriously laugh as I write this.) And now all I can do is laugh at that every time I’ve squeezed another turd out. Two weeks later, I think I’ve squeezed the last turd out of the tube.

We’re also celebrating that Melody is really starting to get the hang of using manners.  It’s come with much reminding and encouragement and also using manners towards her, of course.  Today at breakfast, though, she said all on her own, “Ganks for makin eggs mom.” Melt my heart. And she’s reached a stage of responding with a firm, “No!” to quite a few requests.  Well, she’s learned really quickly how much softer it comes out to say, “No ganks.” She’s real casual about it too, “No ganks.” You really can’t help but want to laugh, even though many times you really didn’t mean to give her the option to say no.  I guess I’m the one who needs to learn to use the right language, huh?  She’s also gotten pretty good at responding, “Okay mama” when I speak to her about something.  The problem is she’s saying it after I’ve said, “Melody–” she’ll cut me off, and say it, before I’ve even said what I need to say. “Melody-” “Okay mama.” “Uh, Melody I didn’t even say what you need to hear yet.” “Okay mama.” It’s tricky business teaching dialogue. Oftentimes their choice words are so cute you don’t want to correct them.  “Me have some little bit this?” “Baby song go to seep” (repeatedly sang to her baby) “hah-gog(hotdog)” “Wipe mine butt papa” “Mine mommy do it” (about basically everything that anyone else tries to do for her.)

And Caleb, well he’s basically known to all the toddlers around us as K-Love. None of them can actually say Caleb, but the favorite Christian Radio station here is called K-Love and it sounds really close so we just let them all say that.  It’s pretty darn cute.  Caleb turns 1 on April 15.  He’s been just the sweetest little boy we could have asked for.  He does everything a baby should do, eat, sleep, poop, babble, play, crawl, smile, and bug his sister, really well.  She totally adores him, and he adores her.  That’s not to say she doesn’t hold out toys in front of him, wait for him to go for it, and then snatch it away and say, “NO Brudder! Can’t have that!”  She still pushes him over from time to time, but the little turd tells on herself, “push him over” and “go sit timeout?”  He’s creeping up on matching her in weight though so I’m really not concerned about her hurting him.

Another recent celebration, is that I’ve joined in a group of women from my neighborhood to pray for one hour, once a week.  It’s not that I don’t, or can’t pray all throughout the days, I do; but as busy as this season is, it’s rare to spend this long in an uninterrupted time of intention with Jesus.  For one hour we bring our journals and bibles, and the only format is a poster with a theme, and related verses we can feel free to use as a guide or not. Each woman puts a name on the poster whom we are specifically praying for that evening, and this allows the group to echo the prayer for that person also.  But we only pray aloud together the last ten minutes.  That means for 50 minutes it’s silent, just me and God.  I can bring all of my confessions and burdens.  All of my everything.  Any requests I may have.  Lifting up the souls God has laid on my heart. I just bring my heart.  And it’s transforming me.  It’s transforming our relationships.  It’s transforming eternity, I really believe that.  If there ever is a mountaintop, that’s high enough for me.  I say that, because truly time spent in prayer (just talking to God) and time spent reading the Bible (God’s Word to us), has an effect of bringing me peace like no other, yet the world and all of it’s distractions keeps vying for my attention, and I’m quickly in a valley.

When I can allow my focus back to heavenly things, my experience is exactly like it says in Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

My favorite story.

I may or may not be tossing mango and sweet potato flavored super puffs around my floor for my 10 month old to crawl after so I can start this blog post and keep him entertained.  He’s slept all of about 40 minutes since being awake since 7 am and it’s almost 3 pm.  Both Melody and Caleb were down for a nap, but half way through when Melody woke up…she also woke up her brother, and although she happily went back to sleep, he did not.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about.  All I know is I want to write.  It’s an escape. It’s fun.  I’m from a family who loves to reminisce.  It’s not because we think life was better back then.  I’m not sure why, maybe because it’s been so long since all five of us siblings lived in the same area, and to speak of the past, is to relish in a time when we all were so near and making memories together.

As silly as it sounds, I’ve been unsure how to get current pictures to add to my blogs. Our computer is so full we haven’t put new ones on since before Caleb was born, hence, the pregnancy photo as my featured photo.  So I decided to add, rather, an old photo and tell you the story behind it.  Sometimes in my present reality it can be difficult to write about it when I’m so “in it,” without sounding too jaded.

The story of this photo is and has always been my favorite story that I’ve ever experienced, and that is when I met Jeremiah.IMG_0096

This wasn’t the first photo of us together, but it was one of the early ones.  The First Photo of us together was taken by a photographer at the luau we went to on our First Date.  I’ll spare you the awkwardness (actually it’s not uploaded anyway, I would totally share if it was :p)  But this story goes back further than our First Date.  Let’s start at the First Sighting.

I had moved to Maui almost 6 years ago to the day, February 28th of 2010.  I started going to Hope Chapel almost immediately and so it was sometime in March that I was driving to church and had my mom in the passenger seat, she was visiting.  I was on the upper road in Kihei close to Safeway when I noticed the man riding a blue motorcycle passing me.  He was tan with dirty blond hair, a pair of shades but no helmet, a t-shirt and jeans, and alas, tattoos on each arm.  I’m not particularly attracted to tattoos, but this guys whole image was undeniably luring. I simply turned to my mom and mentioned to check out the babe on the bike. I’m fairly certain the thought crossed my mind briefly that wouldn’t it be nice to meet a cool guy like that at church. But soon, out of sight and out of mind, he was gone.

It was maybe 10 minutes later that my mom and I were parked and walking into Hope Chapel, when I caught a glimpse of a guy walking in just feet behind me. It was the guy on the motorcycle! At church!  He hadn’t removed his shades yet so I didn’t get a look at his eyes, but I glanced back one more time before I sat down, and noticed him speaking with one of the sound guys in the back of the sanctuary. Surely, this guy is a regular here, I knew.

 

It was months before we would actually meet, 3 months after I moved to Maui, I met Jeremiah on May 28th after a Friday night church service. There were many more sightings of him at church in those three months, but later Jeremiah would tell me he did not remember seeing me, as his radar was not on, he was sort of seeing someone else already. The night we met was at a place on South Kihei Rd. called Wok Star. Alot of the young community from our church often goes out after the Friday night service to hang out at a restaurant and get pupus and maybe even some karaoke at Sanseis.  I walked up to the restaurant which was a bunch of picnic tables on an outdoor lanai (patio) and Jeremiah was sitting in the very first seat when you walked up.  I got so nervous in that moment, because we had made eye contact and I had to say hi, it would have been more awkward for me to just walk on by at that point.  So I did, “Hi, I’ve seen you around a bit. I’m Jenna, what’s your name?” He tells me his name is Jeremiah and I think that is such a beautiful name. “Well, nice to meet you,” I say before bolting to a seat at another table.

Yet, the entire dinner I’m glancing over to his table and thinking to myself, ‘This guy better not leave before I get a chance to speak with him.’ So before it gets too late, I just walk over to his table and ask if I can sit down.  It’s not so awkward because I do know or atleast recognize the 4 girls at the table. **Very important detail: Before leaving the service earlier that evening, I had seen Jeremiah with a pretty brunette girl and wondered if that maybe was his girlfriend, but fast forward to the restaurant and she was sitting at a different table from him, far enough away I didn’t see her there at all.

Leslie was the girl sitting right next to Jeremiah, and she immediately engaged me in conversation asking me where I was from. “South Dakota,” I say, to which she responds, “Wow! Does Jeremiah know that?”  I tell her we’ve only just met and he turned to us and asked what we were talking about.  Well would you believe that the next thing out of his mouth is that he is from South Dakota, too?

You guys, no one is from South Dakota. Okay, not exactly a true statement, but a true statement is that in the years Jeremiah and I have both been away from home we could count on one hand the people we have met from South Dakota on our travels. This was truly bizarre.

Before the conversation was over I found out that Jeremiah had moved to Oahu at the age around 20 to do a Youth With A Mission, it is a Christian discipleship and outreach that lasts about 6 months.  He did a 3 month Bible training program and then spent the last part of it in India and traveling around and sharing Christ.  This especially struck a chord with me because I had recently heard about YWAM and was seriously considering doing that.  He said after moving back to Rapid City that he decided he could work just as easily in Hawaii and he and some friends moved to Maui.  Fast forward almost 9 years and he’s still single (sort of, ha) and still pursuing God.  I excused myself from the conversation before it became too obvious that I was smitten. I mean, without embarrassing myself too much, that’s an understatement.

That night I wrote in my journal something to the tune of, “Either there is something wrong with this guy that he’s still single, or he’s just been waiting for me.”  I only had to wait a couple of days to talk to him again.  I saw him after the Sunday service and he told me he needed a haircut. **Another very important detail: Jeremiah ended the relationship he’d been in that very day with the pretty brunette girl.  They had never even kissed, just had a handful of dates and the awkwardness never quite went away, especially after she didn’t even sit by him the night I met him 😀 😀 😀

Later that week he came to my salon, and this was no small commute for the island mindset.  He drove an entire 45 minutes to where I worked.  No one else I knew from church ever did that in the entire two years I worked there. Anyway, we hit it off from the start and the rest is far too many details for far too little attention span I can give to this.

It was a year and a half before he proposed to me and another 8 months before we were married on September 1, 2012.

I just found this photo too while looking for a wedding photo. Gosh, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Can’t you tell just by the way I’m looking at him?

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And here, we made it to the day we got to commit our lives to one another.  It wasn’t easy getting there, nor getting that ring on, nor is marriage itself easy.  But I couldn’t have chosen any other way, I just knew he was it for me.  And I love him.

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Free time?

So much happens in 30 minutes time, let alone an entire day with two small children, that by the end of each day, who can remember anything really.  I show up to work on Monday, and when the gals in my salon ask how my weekend was, the answer is almost always the same.  “I think it was good. I really can’t remember.”

What makes the days longer than usual lately is that Jer has been taking quite a few side jobs and working past his usual 4pm arrival home time to 6 pm instead.  [We have been taking every job that comes our way because we are putting a down payment on a house before the end of the month!] That makes an almost 12 hour day with these small people, Melody and Caleb.  I know there’s so many mothers that do this long of a stretch every day due to their husbands work schedule or whatever the case may be.  I’m literally speechless and at a total loss for words to describe how amazing these women are.  I much prefer the days when Jeremiah leaves around 7:30 and is home by 4:15.  Just under 9 hours.  And we start looking forward to his arrival around 3 pm.  Seriously.

I walk Melody up to the mail box each afternoon, she begs, “maio” (mail), and repeats it a few times all throughout the day.  She really likes getting the mail.  And when we go to get the mail after it arrives around 3 pm I tell her “Daddy’s going to be home soon.” “Yeah,” she says with a smile.  She then lingers at the top of the driveway, hoping to stay outside to play near the road or go visit our upstairs landlords.  But she’s almost always naked, so I tell her no, we cannot stay outside without any clothes on.  Yet, she gets out the door quite often without those panties on, but I’m trying my best.

Just recently Melody learned how to climb in and out of her crib.  I’m thrilled.  She’s only 23 or so lbs, so it’s not that lifting her in and out is breaking my back, but it’s one more thing she can do by herself, and I celebrate pretty much all of those milestones.  Especially this one, considering many of the times she’s wanted to be taken out of her crib, or put in it, I am nursing brother on the bed and have to interrupt his feeding.  Any words I would say to describe how I feel about that would be an understatement of the irritation it is. Yet, simply one of the cons of having two close together.  Not a deal breaker.

Tonight I was feeding Caleb baby food and I noticed his head appeared to be sweating profusely.  He’s pretty much bald still at 7 and a half months, and it looked like sweat just dripping in all directions from his crown.  I touch my hand to his head to see if he’s warm or sticky or what the deal was, and I realize it’s not sweat after all.

“Melody.  Did you spit on brother?” She says yeah. She’s always smiling for some reason when I ask her did she hit/bite/throw a toy at brother.

She’s really good at telling on herself.  So proud too.  So what did I do?  Well, I told her to go to timeout, which is in our closet and she trots her little naked butt into the closet.  Immediately, as usual, I hear her saying “Sorry brother, sorry,” and she comes out of the closet a ways to see if she can come out.  I tell her no, she needs to stay until I tell her she can come out.  She comes out one more time before I give her permission to come back out in the living room.  I had her wipe his head off, kiss it, tell him she’s sorry for spitting on him, and if she spits on him again, she will get a spanking.  She obviously understands and says, “Okay, mama,” although, her mood is still breezy.

There’s so much humor in child raising, even though in the moment you can feel so angry.  There’s a hundred little moments that make up each one of our days. They just move a little slower when your doing almost everything for everyone every minute of the day. Which leads to my blog title, free time…

Awhile back my friend told me that while she was grocery shopping recently she ran into someone who remarked something along the lines of, “Oh it’s so great you have some time to yourself, some FREE time!” (Because she did not have her baby with her.)

Let me tell you, my friend was pissed.  Seriously.  It makes me laugh EVERY time I recall this story.  Because I can just picture my friend being gracious and responding, “…yeah.. ” with a forced smile.  Really, though, she’s thinking, “SERIOUSLY! FREE TIME? AT THE GROCERY STORE? THIS IS MY FREE TIME I’M SUPPOSED TO BE EXCITED ABOUT!?”

How do I feel about this story? What is my response?  Do I enjoy my time at the grocery store without my kids? You bet.  I went to Costco and Whole Foods and CosmoProf ALONE two weeks ago.  I browsed at least 1/3 of the aisles at Whole Foods. It was amazing.  But I do relate to my friends reaction.  There’s this line I hear often from my clients in the salon when I am talking about how I only work two days a week.  They say, “Oh, I bet it’s so nice to get out of the house.”  It is.  It is wonderful to get out of the house and break up my week.  It is so difficult (and atleast just as amazing) being Mom everyday, and I feel beyond blessed to be Hairstylist on Monday and Tuesday.  It’s not that I find this remark offensive or that it invokes anger. It’s just that it often occurs to me I could write several blog entries on simply “Getting Out The Door,” and these people have no idea what a loaded statement they are making.

Can I condense this scenario of “Getting Out The Door” [specifically in the case of me getting two kids to daycare and myself to the salon for a 9 hour day and all that entails] to just a portion of this blog entry? No.  It truly stands on its own experience.

Exhaustion has started to set in just thinking about it.

So with my free time now, I think choosing sleep would be a wise choice.

 

Today is one of those days.

Today is one of those days, like many before, that I have said, Today, Today I am writing a blog.  Well damnit, today I am writing a blog.  It was a day that started at 5:22 a.m. as I got up to feed Caleb, my almost 6 month old son.  I think he only woke up one other time last night, but I wouldn’t bet money on my accuracy of proper recollection on much at this point.  Anyhow, I started a crock pot full of chili right afterwards since I had prepped things the night before and then I proceeded to make breakfast for the hubs since he had asked me pretty nicely the day before, “Do you think you could get up to atleast say Hi to me in the mornings?”  By 6 am I pointed out to him I had not only made breakfast, but I also had dinner made, BAM. He was pretty pleased, I mean that’s pretty amazing.  And for the first time in a long time, my husband and I ate breakfast together on the kitchen floor.

So then Caleb wanted to nurse again…after all I’d be pretty irritated if I were him, being woken up at 6:30 am from noise in the kitchen.  It was pretty good timing because I even got in a quiet time of reading the Word after Jer left and before Caleb woke again.  And by this time it was unusual that Melody hadn’t waken up yet, (besides the time she woke up at 5:45 am when Jeremiah needed to take a shower since he didnt the night before eeeeh)…the shower is REALLY loud…and all of this activity takes place within a one bedroom style Ohana.  It’s pretty up close and personal.  And clausterphobic at times.  But like I was saying…Melody would usually be awake for good between 6 and 6:30, it’s an answer to prayer that she even went back to sleep at 5:45, but I really beg God when she wakes up that early “Please God. No. No. No. nonono.”  So I pulled Caleb on the couch with me and nursed him to sleep and I dozed off… SO GOOD! Melody did wake up finally at 7:15, serious sleeping in action today.  She’s so happy when she sleeps in til even 6:30.  Just a sweetheart.  She wakes up and says one of a couple things, usually “out”(of the crib) or “milk.”  That’s a good morning.  A bad morning is when she wakes up crying saying “mama.mama.mama.mama.” Those mornings are not so fun.  But usually all it takes to totally absorb her emotions is to read her however many books she wants. I’m the best mom in the world to her anytime I’ll sit down and read her a book.

It was one of those days where by 7:30 a.m.  my son peed on my bed before I could get the diaper on him, and then I get the diaper on, and he poops, and by this time he’s on the floor, and he poos all over the floor because I changed him prematurely.  Seriously, gross.

Then Melody ate some of the steak and eggs I had made earlier and a pancake from yesterday I’d reheated, and she was still hungry.  So even though I was trying to get to a MOPS meeting (Mothers of Preschoolers) on time by 9 or so, when your two year old asks for more pancakes, you just make time.  While we were making pancakes, brother put himself to sleep laying on his back in the middle of the living room floor.  So cute. Well he slept too long I ended up not leaving for MOPS until 9:30…and I HAD to get gas. Ugh.  Don’t you hate when you could have done that errand the night before with NO kids…So I got gas and I got to MOPS by about 10.  I started walking towards the entrance and Melody stopped following me, turns back to the parking lot…I follow her “where are you going, Melody?” She says to me “Flower!” Of course no one else would know what she was saying but I would know…this is our routine, every time we get to church she picks two red hibiscus flowers from the bushes.  Every time.  Even when I’m late.  So cute.

MOPS is a group of women that meet with intention of building community and finding encouragement in relationships and women who are in our walk of life.  Raising little people, that is.  It’s freakin tough.  Understatement.  All-consuming.  So usually there is a message or testimony shared by a woman for us to have discussion with at our tables and ponder and hopefully live out.  Today the woman shared that she had been given a piece of advice that when her kids sleep, she should only do things that are life giving.  She should not discredit creativity as not being productive enough.  She should do things she can’t do while her kids are awake. For her this turned out to be sewing.  She shared how this time, even though she wasn’t resting as in sleeping, she was in fact resting, and it was recharging her and allowed a quiet time for her to be alone in her thoughts, or with God in her thoughts.  How true is this, that in silence, we can rest.  It can be quite hard to shut your brain down, but it’s a good circumstance to begin with to find rest.  I’d also like to mention that the reason creativity should not be dismissed as not important, is because what a silly thought when we think of what a creative God we have.  Of course we should revel in creativity.

My day continued leaving MOPS and heading to where my husband has been building houses in the neighborhood we are going to move into sometime in December.  Because they are framing the last house of the 56 homes, their boss had a party for them to celebrate the accomplishment.  Quite nice, right? Lots of delicious food and beers and even a jumping castle for the kids, and the 10 or so employees all got to work a half day and enjoy the grinds by noon.  So I took the kids to join in on the fun.  My husbands boss had a couple of competetive games planned for the men.  This was not like any daytime celebration I’d ever seen.  Their boss had a bunch of identical skill saws which weighs somewhere around 12 lbs.  This doesn’t sound like much, but they had to hold it out in front of them with one arm without bending their arm and then see who could hold it the longest.  Welp.  Guess what.  My man held it the longest.

The prize? Oh yes, there were prizes, not just glowing pride.  The prize was a brand new skill saw.

The second game he had the guys hammer 10 nails into a thick block of wood and see who could do it the fastest.  Well I tell you what, I was changing Calebs diaper and I walked out just in time to catch Jeremiah pound in the last 4 nails, and it took him all of about 10 seconds. Uhh..Who won? My man!! The prize was a brand new nail gun.  Apparently the value of these two tools is upwards of $500!  I mean, whose boss does that? (Besides my boss who gives me a month free salon rent every time I have a baby, :D)  So all that to say, we both have amazingly generous bosses.  And actually, all that to say, I was so proud of Jeremiah I came home and recorded the story in Melody’s “journal” that I keep for her since her baby book only goes up to 1 year.  And now I’m writing it here.  Because today was one of those days.

Today was one of those days that my daughter not only slept in past 7, and took a one hour nap in the car today on the way to meet Jeremiah for lunch, she also took a THREE HOUR NAP when I got her home this afternoon at 2:30.  Yeah, she slept til 5:30. Well I kept waiting for Caleb to crash so I could try for my recharging, creative, new perspective on naps…LOL yeah. He fought and fought and successfully stayed awake until 5 pm.  Finally in the ergo baby carrier, he crashed, I crashed, and then Jeremiah got home at 5:30 and we all woke up.  Thankfully Melody ate some of the chili I made in the crockpot even though she called it pasta.  Potato Pot-ah-to. I proceeded to clean the house for 3 hours after the kids crashed. And today is a day I finally wrote a blog.

Don’t lose your brain.

A common phrase in this household is, “Don’t lose your brain!”  It’s kind of a mantra I’ve made up.  When Melody is screaming for no good known reason.  Or when Caleb won’t nap…after alllmost falling asleep like ten times in a row.  I remind myself not to lose my brain.  Because all natural parts of me want to lash out.  Seriously.

Please don’t take me too seriously though, I do not have postpartum, I do not seriously consider harming my children, I just get really frustrated a lot, and try not to take myself too seriously.  Because they’re kids.  They’re not supposed to be able to reason. Not yet, anyway.

I’ve been wanting to start “blogging” (for Gramma Anna, that’s what they call this, not sure why…) for a couple of months now, ever since the second kid came along really.  Probably because talking to my friends and family got so much more difficult, because when I do have time, like now, it’s precious.  But overall, life isn’t as precious if my loved ones don’t know what’s going on in our lives and I don’t know what’s going on in theirs. So here’s to attempting to be better at that.  Maybe now that some of you know more about us, you will reach out and share funny (and serious) stories with me even if it’s through Facebook or text or whatever. For the record, I got my first car with air conditioning about a month ago, so now when I drive places (which isn’t that often) I bring my bluetooth and have some more opportunities for conversation. (It’s difficult to talk on bluetooth while driving with your windows down…which is imperative in the hot Maui climate if your car doesn’t have a/c.

Caleb looks like he’s starting to drift off, I finally found my brain and put him in the swing.  Ahh… the swing.  It can be a real help alot of the time.  But Caleb is almost 3 months old.  Almost to the age where my “Sleeplady’s Goodnight Sleeptight” book tells me he needs to be napping in a crib of some sort.  Well, that’s easier said than done.  You see, we live in a one bedroom “ohana.”  It’s a word that means a few things in Hawaii, one meaning is family, and another is a “house” or detached cottage or studio type rental.  So we live in a house attached to our landlords and good friends, the O’Brien’s.  So Melody naps in the crib next to our bed, and for Caleb we have a co-sleeper that Jeremiah built and is right next to the bed opposite the crib.

Nope, Caleb’s definitely not asleep. Little turd.

The reason I finally sat my butt down to write my first blog was because it seemed obvious that even though both kids “need” a nap, and I would love a nap, it wasn’t going to happen that both would nap at the same time.  And it hasn’t, but Melody has been asleep for 45 minutes, and so here I am.

So back to the napping situation.  Since Caleb woke up at 4:30 this morning, (yeah, I got up too to feed him, and Melody woke up at 5 am, which is a little earlier than usual but not much), he really should have had a nap by around 7.  He did get about a 30 minute nap but now it’s another 2 and a half hours later and he’s still fighting sleep.  But to get him in a quiet environment long enough to get him “drowsy but awake” and ready to lay down… well that just doesn’t really happen with a toddler following your footsteps and talking loudly and wanting to be picked up also, or wanting me to follow her outside to play in the dirt.  So I do my best, wearing Caleb in the baby K’tan carrier quite a bit and following her around outside.  I made the mistake today though of putting her in the K’tan.  Now she knows it can work for her too, I’m screwed. Jealously just took on a whole new aspect.

It’s pretty special though, this life of a mom. It brings a whole new compassion for my own mom, and every mom.  It’s an art. Learning how to best love your family, whilst trying to keep a clean house and actually getting dinner on the table.  Because you can’t eat eggs and quesadilla’s for every meal, unfortunately.  And since I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight actually, I better get to getting busy figuring that out.

Until next time.

Life through our eyes, a stay at home mama, her toddler and even littler guy.