WARNING: Do NOT cook this!

You win some, you lose some.

You win some, you lose some.

One of my favorite things about being a stay-at-home mom is that it affords me opportunities to learn some new skills and do special things for my family. Before I left the professional world, I was a pretty lousy cook. If you ever ate something I made between 2005-2012, I sincerely apologize. Now I’m a relatively mediocre cook but expert recipe-follower. Baking {desserts} is really my forte.

Unfortunately, for the last 4 months that I have been pregnant, I have also been extremely tired and had trouble getting motivated to cook. We’re all getting pretty tired of spaghetti and baked chicken. The last few weeks, though, my husband has been particularly awesome. I mean, he’s always great, but he has gone above and beyond at home, at work, with the kids, springtime yard work, taking care of me when I’m wiped out… Yesterday I decided that he deserved to be celebrated!

I went grocery shopping yesterday and decided to make something a little special and try out some new recipes to let him know I tried. And BONUS! I got dressed before 9 am today! Usually it’s closer to… 4 pm when hubs is on his way home. I made some tacos and quesadillas to ensure the kids would eat, and I wanted to add a unique and healthy Mexican-style vegetable to spice things up.

I found a recipe on Pinterest for “Mexican Cauliflower Rice.” Interesting… The idea is that you chop up cauliflower in the food processor and add Mexican spices to substitute it for rice. My daughter really likes cauliflower, so I gave it a shot. As usual, I followed the recipe to a T, and my final product ended up looking exactly like the picture! That never happens!

I am NOT going to share that recipe, though, because it was horrible. Literally the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth. My sweet husband ate all that I served him because did I mention he is amazing?? But I’m honestly shocked he didn’t spit any out. It is the first time in parenting history that I have not forced my children to eat at least one bite of their vegetables. Sweet Lord it was awful.

Thankfully those baking skills paid off and I was able to *Lloyd Christmas voice* totally redeem myself! with dessert. My husband loves cereal, and given the choice would probably eat cereal for dinner more often than normal food. Although his healthier 30-something self sticks with whole grain cereals now, his inner child is still addicted to Fruity Pebbles. We may have bought Fruity Pebbles once or twice in our 10 years of marriage, but none since the kids were born because then we’d have to share! When I saw this recipe for Fruity Pebbles cookies on Facebook, I knew it was the perfect treat for my man.

Here’s the recipe, shared from Renee Furman on Facebook:

Fruity Pebbles Cookies

yummm

yummm

1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 ½ sticks butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal
1 cup of white chocolate chips
2-1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together baking soda and flour and set aside.
Cream together butter and sugars. Add the pudding package and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in Fruity Pebbles and white chocolate chips.
Scoop 1” balls and place on your cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

The moral of the story is, if you want to celebrate someone special in your life, but you fail miserably on the first dish, don’t give up! Dessert is just around the corner. 🙂

*For more reciepes from Renee Furman (who is a complete stranger to me) and others, go to: www.facebook.com/groups/recipesanmore

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30 Reasons to Love Being 30

So, this week was my 30th birthday, and while many people dread this birthday tell-tale sign of uncoolness and aging, I’m really embracing this milestone. Being “in my 20’s” has never meant to me what it does to many others in our weirdo culture – prolonged adolescence, drinking, partying, hook-ups, relationships, exploration, etc. etc. – so I’m kind of happy to be joining the “grown-ups” in their 30’s who more or less have their junk together.

Last night my husband and I celebrated this blessed day with our annual steaks at a fancy restaurant (and subsequent crying over the tab). Today I will celebrate BuzzFeed style with the much-heralded 2010’s tradition of creating a list. You will notice that most of these correspond to accepting adulthood no matter what age is on the calendar, but turning 30 makes it pretty hard to deny adult-status, so I’ll include it here anyway. So here you go:

30

1. You have mostly figured out what you want in life – whether it’s what you want in a mate or how you like to spend your Friday night – and you’re not embarrassed to admit it.

2. 30-somethings consider wanting to be with the dorky guy or gal who makes you laugh or spending your Friday nights eating Dorito’s and watching Netflix as completely valid life choices. Because seriously, it’s your life.

3. You can wear comfortable shoes all the time and blame it on your corns.

4. You can wear adorable shoes that hurt your feet and claim you’re still too young for corns. Even though, let’s face it, you’re not.

5. You are old enough to know what your body needs and young enough to do something about it. Pregnancy aside, I am healthier and even better looking at 30 than I ever was at 20.

6. Buuuuut if you want to eat a Cinnabon for dinner because it was just one of those days, nobody can stop you. You’re a grown up, darn it!

7. Whether it’s from starting a family of your own or watching your parents age like regular humans, you really appreciate the value of life and TIME. You know well enough not to waste it.

8. People stop giving you strange looks when you admit to having multiple children. Okay, I’m really just hoping on this one. Somehow I think I will always get that look when I tell people I have 4…

9. You stop caring so much about what other people think. I mean really, all the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate…

Shake it off, girl.

Shake it off, girl.

10. You can make conversation with that random person at the grocery store over the rising cost of eggs and your mutual dreams of owning chickens so you can have all the eggs you want and goshdarnit y’all wouldn’t charge so much for eggs because the world deserves delicious eggs! …and that’s totally not weird. Okay, maybe a little weird, but not AS weird.

11. You know your limitations and are okay saying “no.” Well, not all of us are here yet, but we are learning or at least aware that we need to learn. It’s hard, I know.

12. You take your health seriously, and that means making choices that improve your whole life. Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep… You could bypass these and get away with it 10 years ago, but at 30, you get your priorities straight.

13. Maybe this is just me, but I have my first wrinkles and I love them. They are “crow’s feet” – or, as my mom always said in a much more positive tone, “smile lines,” – around my eyes, and I love that they show how I love to smile and laugh. Embrace that aging, folks!

14. At the same time, seeing those signs of aging reminds me of #12…. So I wear sunscreen every day, even in winter. At 30, you start recognizing the importance of those little things that make a big difference in the long run!

15. You can get super hype about things that are actually a big deal. Nobody cares about your high score on that video game anymore, but DUDE I JUST GOT A NEW RIDING MOWER AND IT IS LEGIT. Now that’s something to celebrate!

16. You have learned a thing or two and can for the most part take care of yourself without calling your parents. You may even be taking care of other people on your own! Go you!

17. Just because you can survive without calling your parents doesn’t mean you should. Growing up means you appreciate all they did in raising you, and {hopefully} you can even talk to them like a friend. Go call your parents right now and tell them you love them!

18. Having children causes us to rediscover some of the magic of childhood. Whether you have kids to help you or not, growing up means you can accept and admit your love of goofy things without worrying about what others think. You love coloring books? Have at it! Like to play in the mud? Gardening is so en vogue. Dance party all by yourself? That’s what Spotify is for!

19. You grow out of adolescent insecurity and begin to accept yourself for the incredible human being you are. And that’s pretty awesome.

20. You have no idea what teenagers are saying anymore because their ever-changing lingo has left you in the dust. And that’s totally okay.

21. You were lazy enough before to learn the value of hard work and a little elbow grease. That means you take better care of yourself, your home, and your things, and you can truly be proud of your work.

22. You are insanely annoyed by motion gifs that keep playing on repeat after you have already seen them. (See: #19 above) It’s okay to scroll down far enough that it won’t show up on your screen anymore. It’s the only way to stop the madness!

23. You’re not {entirely} afraid of failure. Whether it’s changing jobs or changing your motor oil, you’ve done this – or something like it – before, and you can risk making a mistake for the gratification of doing it right on your own. Hey, this is a process for all of us; if you’re better off now than you were at 20, then you’re doing great.

24. You have friends (or at least people) that you’ve known for 20+ years. You can reference something that happened 20+ years ago. This freaks you out, but it’s cool, because that shows the magnitude of your 30 years of life!

25. You realize that 30 is actually a lot of things to put on a list…

26. You – for the most part – know how to get what you want. Whether that’s going back to school for that dream career, taking care of your body to get in shape, or seeing a counselor to help you through your issues, you can look at a problem and, daunting as it may be, find a solution.

27. You understand the importance of finishing what you start, even when you realize that you probably should have said 15 things instead of 30…

28. You don’t get carded for things anymore. I don’t drink or smoke or go to clubs, so I am not regularly in a situation to be carded. However, a few weeks ago a busy restaurant hostess offered me immediate seating in the bar area if I was over… Yeah right this way.

29. You have at least a couple of things that truly belong to you and you can be proud of. Whether that’s a house, car, nice set of china, or maybe some offspring, you can look at things around you and say, “Hey, at least I still have this.”

30. You appreciate and value a job well done, and you accept your best effort for what it is. Even if that is a list that maybe needed a little stretching to make it all the way home, you accomplished what you set out to do, and that deserves a pat on the back.

Hey, 30 is awesome! You are awesome! Happy Friday, everyone!

Happy Birthday to Us

Me on my 7th birthday. Yeah, I'm awesome.

Me on my 7th birthday. Yeah, I’m awesome.

I have been planning this post for 364 days, but I still don’t know how to start…

Today is my 30th birthday. Woohoo! I’m actually pretty excited to be hitting this milestone. I have heard that your 30’s are the best decade, or at least the best so far, because you kind of settle into your lifestyle. After all the changes I have had over the last decade, I am really looking forward to the next one! I feel strong and healthy, so I’m really not concerned about the number. Having been doing this married-with-kids thing for nearly 10 years now, it just seems like about time my age caught up with the rest of my life. It’s not turning 30 that has me emotional today.

One year ago today, on the morning of my 29th birthday, I lost my 4th child.

Here’s my disclaimer that my story is to follow. Trigger warning to those who have experienced miscarriage.

It was early in my pregnancy – just about 6 weeks – and from the beginning I had sensed that something wasn’t quite right. I didn’t want to seem morbid, so I kept my “paranoia” (intuition?) to myself. The day before was a Sunday. My husband and I were visiting a different church as part of the ordination process we were undergoing with our denomination. The day was very normal until right after we checked our kids into the children’s areas. We were walking back to the sanctuary when I felt something sudden and strange, and I rushed to the bathroom. That was when it started. Trying to be positive, I told my husband things were under control, so we could stay at church until I had reason to leave. When I talked to the doctor, he told me not to worry; just rest, drink lots of water, and come in the next morning.

All that day and night, I prayed that if I was going to miscarry, I wanted see the baby and know for sure. Although I know it happens and can’t be helped, I had a fear of passing my child in the toilet and never knowing it.

When I woke up the next morning, I stood up and knew this was it. And thankfully, the Lord answered my prayer. Having spent a few years working in a crisis pregnancy center, I know what a 6-week-old fetus looks like. There it was, just about the size of a grain of rice. Although very, very small, and for a very, very short time, I was able to see and touch my baby. That was my gift.

I went in to see the doctor, and an ultrasound confirmed what I knew was true. My sweet husband took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel, as was our tradition after each OB visit during our previous 3 pregnancies. I went home to rest and insisted my husband go back to work. That night we ordered pizza and watched Frozen while I snuggled with the 3 healthy babies I carried to term.

March 24, 2014 was a chilly, overcast day. I wanted to bury my baby in the sun, so we waited a few days. On a warm, perfect spring day, while my 3 living children were all at school, I called my husband at work and begged him to come home to bury our child. The day was so pretty, and I didn’t want to say goodbye any other way. He left right away, and we took our baby to my parents’ house.

We bought some brightly colored flowers to place in a box with our baby. We wrote notes to her on the outside of the box. I wanted to place her in the “orchard,” a group of 3 or 4 fruit trees on the far end of my parents’ property. However, Jeremy wanted the site to be closer to the house so we could easily see and visit and think of her. So we buried our child under a tree near the house, next to the hot tub and in view of the playset, so our whole family could be part of all the action.

I look at her every time I walk outside.


This day has new meaning for me now. I share my birthday with my baby, who was “born” on the same day 29 years later. Today I am sad, but I don’t want it to always be this way.

Today I am keeping my boys home from preschool to play outside and squeeze out every last snuggle I possibly can.

Today I am getting my car washed at the good place I usually am too cheap to pay for, because it’s free on my birthday. And it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Go figure.

Today I am getting a free full-fat Frappuccino at Starbucks because I can.

Let’s be honest, today I am racking up as much free stuff as possible.

Tonight I am taking my daughter to her soccer game and cheering for her the way my parents did for me.

After the game we will hug and cuddle and read bedtime stories. Then, after the kids are asleep, I will force my husband to spoon me and play with my hair until I fall asleep.

Tomorrow I will send all my kids off to school, and I will visit my baby under the tree at my parents’ house. And I’ll cry.

But today, it’s my birthday. It’s “our” birthday.

Happy birthday to us.

Happy Spring!

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!

There is something magical about springtime. It’s called outside. After being stuck inside through the long, cold winter, going outside on a spring day is heaven.

Just three weeks ago we were snowed in while the governor declared a state of emergency. This past week has looked more like this:

Sidewalk chalk = spring!

Sidewalk chalk = spring!

This is really exhausting when you're 3 and don't actually know how to use a scooter.

This is really exhausting when you’re 3 and don’t actually know how to use a scooter.

Nothing quite says spring like sidewalk chalk and picnics in the park. Since I became a stay-at-home mom almost 4 years ago, I have never felt more like my mother than when I say, “go play outside!” It’s still too rainy and muddy to do this every day, but the days of waking up and heading straight to the backyard are so close I can taste it!

I’m now expecting our 4th child, and this is my first pregnancy as a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately I still don’t have that second-trimester burst of energy I really need to keep up with 3 small kids, so the timing of this weather is perfect for me. I can sit in a chair on the patio while all of us benefit from some much-needed Vitamin D therapy. We are all counting down the days until my parents open their pool. I’m picturing long days of sunshine, nap-producing exhaustion, and joint-relieving buoyancy – that is, if I can find a float that can hold me up.

Today we are venturing out for a day at the zoo. Wish us luck! We normally only go on the annual free weekend or when a friend with guest passes invites us, so we don’t feel so horrible about leaving early if we have to. Today we are paying full price for 5 people! Hooray! No, seriously. Pray.

What is your favorite springtime activity? Got any free or cheap ideas to share with a broke mama over here? Let me know in the comments! And enjoy this beautiful season!

Gender Reveal!

gender teaser

I know you only clicked on this because you are ever so curious if baby #4 will be a girl – to even out our family (2 girls and 2 boys) – or a boy – to… give us 3 rambunctious boys. But you know I’m all about that bass those teasers!

From the moment I learned I was pregnant with my first child, I knew she was a girl. I don’t know why, I was just so sure. All my dreams were of little girls, and it seemed every baby commercial I saw included a little girl. I just knew it, and I was right. When time came for #2, my pregnancy was so characteristically different, I was 80% sure it was a boy. Sure enough, Sweet Prince turned out as expected. With my 3rd, I kinda thought it would be a girl, but I didn’t really have a clear idea. I really only thought that because I couldn’t come up with any good boy names, so I hoped for a girl to make it easier. Little Man turned out to be a little man, and thus we have our family.

I always imagined we would have another girl, and maybe we did. I miscarried two children in 2014, and either one of them could have been a girl. We will never know this side of heaven. Broken and bruised from those losses, I had all but given up on that dream. My husband and I discussed permanent measures to prevent pregnancy (and, in my mind, miscarriage), and we contacted DCS about becoming foster parents.

But GodHere we are expecting a healthy baby in August!

After my Little Man was born in 2011, I committed to losing the weight I gained and kept through all 3 pregnancies, and – hallelujah! – I did! Having been fairly sedentary even before having our first child, I was in the best shape of my life. I was strong, thin-ish (I have to be realistic on this one), and more in touch with my body than ever. Even with an incredibly easy 3rd pregnancy, I was convinced this would be my best one yet. I have been through a lot both physically and emotionally this year, so maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be, but I was still doing great. When I found out I was pregnant again, I was prepared for an active, healthy 9 months, gaining 20-30 pounds I can easily lose post-partum.

Then reality hit.

As it turns out, every pregnancy is different. And sometimes they are hard. The first trimester of my 6th pregnancy was characterized by constant, wish-I-could-throw-up-but-can’t nausea and wicked insomnia for weeks at a time, which led me to a very zombie-like state of fatigue. Although the nausea mostly subsided by week 13-14 and the insomnia has become infrequent, that second-trimester burst of energy I was counting on never showed up. I am not quite halfway through this pregnancy, and I’ve already gained 25 lbs. While my attitude is great, I admit it is really hard to look and feel like I did at my unhealthiest.

I keep telling myself, You are pregnant. You are pregnant. You are pregnant. The way I feel (and the weight I have gained) is so much like my first pregnancy, I have been quite certain this baby is a girl. My husband felt the same way. Last week we went for our fetal anatomy ultrasound to be sure. As the ultrasound tech moved around, we joked about how after all these children we should know what we were looking at. I was able to pick out “some organ” that turned out to be a kidney and a couple of limbs in varying positions, but when we got to a shot between the legs, my husband and I both audibly gasped. The tech said, “Well, I guess you know what that is!”

I’ll spare you our possibly-NSFW ultrasound photo and give it to you straight:

It's a boy!

We are thrilled to be adding another baby boy to our family! As much as I dread trying to come up with another name that sounds decent with “Unthank,” Sweet Prince and Little Man can’t wait to teach him how to run and play and climb on everything. Princess took a little convincing, but once she realized she will forever be queen of the castle, she warmed up to the idea of another boy in the family. I am most excited for my Little Man. He has always had these “youngest child” tendencies, and it drove me crazy because I knew he was not intended to be the youngest. It just doesn’t suit him! He needed a younger sibling to really come into his own. We are almost as happy as he is to “take care da baby” in just a few months.

So there you have it! We’re having a baby boy early in August! Name suggestions are welcome, so long as you are not offended by blatant rejection. 😉 Have a great week!

Old and Free: the Confusing Art of Growing Up

Yesterday my 4-year-old and I had a little conversation about jobs. What is a job? Why do people have jobs? What is daddy’s job?

“What is YOUR job, mommy??”

This is an interesting question, what with posts like this out there. (Go ahead and read it, maybe we’ll talk about it later, but I’m not up for that debate today. ;-))

“My job is to take care of you. I make sure you have everything you need and are safe and healthy.”

Then he asked, “What is my job?”

“Your job is to play and learn! Part of what you’re learning is how to honor Daddy and me. Your job is to grow up.”

“When will I grow up?”

*sigh* “Sooner than you think, buddy.”

Do you remember dreaming about growing up when you were a child? Did you wonder what you would look like, what career you would have, what your family would be like? For some reason, my 6-year-old self really thought I would defy genetics and reality and turn out looking strikingly like Midge, Barbie’s freckled, green-eyed, redheaded friend. I was short and blonde with blue eyes and a great tan but no freckles. Kids, huh?

Pretty much exactly what I expected my life to look like.

Pretty much exactly what I expected my life to look like.

Recently I have spent a lot of time on the phone with our insurance company. (Yay for high-risk pregnancies!) My daughter cried last week because I bought some Girl Scout cookies, which reminded her that I “lost” the flyer she supposedly brought home last fall about joining Girl Scouts. (I remember nothing of the sort.) This morning I took 7 bags of trash and like a zillion empty cartons of milk and juice to the dump today, then felt like a jerk because I didn’t want to walk to the recycling section in the rain so I put the plastics in the “household trash” dumpster.

This is adulthood.

Not what we expected, is it? Growing up is so strange how it happens so gradually but you never see it coming. You get glimpses here and there – you catch yourself more excited about going to Home Depot than the mall, or when you run into an old friend who asks what’s new with you, and the only response you can think of is, “Well, I got a new washing machine this week. It is soooo much nicer than the old one, and it’s front-loading so clothes don’t get caught on the agitator!” Did I even know what an agitator was 5 years ago? When did I learn that term?

But it comes. So swiftly and unexpectedly but exactly like it should and like you knew it would. It just always seems to come sooner than we expect.

Growing up can seem like a depressing shift from “young and free” to “old and responsible and physically can’t sleep past 9 am on a Saturday.” What I’m learning from my 4-year-old is that growing up is a shift in perspective, but it also invites us back to the places we have lost in the process. My job is more than to keep my kids safe and prevent premature wear on their clothing by purchasing an agitator-free washing machine. I get to help them see the world by participating in it with them. My job is to climb trees and run races and color and make Play-Doh creations and cartwheel and ride children’s toys at dangerous speeds down my parents’ driveway. Growing up means understanding the consequences, but it doesn’t mean giving up on the risks.

We’re just old and free. 🙂

Go ahead and eat that raw cookie dough, baby. Yeah, it has eggs in it. Risk taker over here!

Go ahead and eat that raw cookie dough, baby. Yeah, it has eggs in it. Risk taker over here!

What I Learned from My Son in the Bathroom

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,  that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2:4-5

If you have a smartphone and any sort of social media account, go download TimeHop right now. It is one of my favorite apps. Basically you give it permission to access your social media accounts, then it will pull up whatever you posted on that day in years past. This is especially fun for someone like me who has been using Facebook more or less since its inception, back when it was just for college students and you needed a .edu e-mail address to get approved (aka the good ol’ days). It can be hilarious or painful, depending on what your past self was like, but it’s especially great for parents, because it takes us all back to the sweet, funny, or otherwise post-worthy moments of our kids’ earliest days.

I, however, am not one to limit my Facebook posts to the perfectly share-worthy. I’m all about being real, and sometimes that’s not pretty. This week, TimeHop reminded me of a not-so-pleasant time in my past.

My then-2-year-old had expressed interest in potty-training several months earlier. In fact, I had him #1-toilet-trained in 4 days of “boot camp” at home. But buddy, #2 is a different story when it comes to toddlers. This child has an iron will and even more iron rectal strength. I have NO IDEA how he held it for DAYS, even WEEKS, especially with the massive quantity of Miralax I was giving him. At one point we ended up in the ER with impacted stools. They gave him a HUGE enema and told me to be prepared for an immediate explosion. HE HELD IT FOR 3 MORE DAYS. The doctors were shocked when they released him, still not having had a bowel movement. I’m telling you, this child is special.

I’m sure if you have never potty trained a resistant, strong-willed child, you think this is all very funny. But honest to God, I have never felt more desperate than those months of fighting my Sweet Prince over poop. I tried so hard to make it work. I would put him back on the potty when he would get up, I would coach him and sing to him and offer him marshmallows and Skittles. I read books and made up cheers and watched him get exceptionally good at Temple Run. Yet still, every day he would have tiny bits of poop in his underwear or Pull-Up – not enough to empty his bowels, but just enough that I would have to wash it/throw it away. And not just once or twice. I’m talking 8-10 times a day. Sometimes more. Sometimes it was every few minutes. I couldn’t afford to throw away 8+ Pull-Ups every day (especially with little brother still in diapers), so he exclusively wore underwear, because laundry is cheaper than Pull-Ups. But that meant on the occasion he just couldn’t hold it anymore and finally had that MASSIVE BM, it was in his underwear. Usually in a public place. NEVER in the toilet.

The day I posted this 2 years ago is one I won’t soon forget. He had to go so bad. He was crying and crying about how bad he was hurting, and I had him sitting on the potty with my iPad for over an hour. If he didn’t have to go, he would sit there and play games until his legs were numb, but when it was really time to go, all he did was cry. This day, I was over it. I remember him going through a dozen pairs of underwear that day, but that wasn’t totally abnormal. For some reason though, I snapped. I held him on the toilet when he tried to get up. I screamed and cried more than he did (which was a lot, and completely inappropriate for a grown woman). I screamed some more. I scared him. This only made things worse. I recall slumping down in the bathroom floor and bawling about how hard this is and how I am the worst mother on the planet.

And I posted this status:

timehop

I was as broken as I have ever been. And over poop. Gosh. I felt so desperate. I put one of Little Man’s diapers on Sweet Prince and held him. I hugged him and cried and apologized. I needed help. Not help from a potty-training expert or even encouragement from another mom. I needed Jesus. At our lowest point, all we need is Jesus.

That day I gave up potty training. The boy went back into diapers, and while he still held it for days at a time, his messes went in the trash can and I stopped worrying about it. A few months later I took my youth group to the beach and my mom managed to potty train him while I was gone. Go figure.

The important lesson I learned was to let it go. I thought I was being tested by putting up with Sweet Prince’s stubbornness; I was “God” in my mind, dealing with a rebellious child. But the truth is quite the opposite. Sometimes I am so convinced of my own rightness that I miss the obvious solution under my nose. (The kid just wasn’t ready, duh.) Sometimes I fight and scream and cry and complain and work and try and force things to happen when it’s just not time. I wasn’t God in that picture, my son was. He cried and pushed back, because he ultimately knew the timing wasn’t right. He wasn’t ready. He was hurt by my constant pressure, and I know my actions often broke his little heart. But you know, he never gave up on me.

I know, I know, he was 2. But that same child at whom I screamed in the bathroom would snuggle up to me at nap time. He would softly ask, “Mommy, oo way iff me?” and would face me, his little body curled up in the curve of mine, and wrap his arms around my neck. He often slept with his nose touching mine, hot breath and firm grip reminding me that he loves me, even when my actions didn’t express the love he deserved. That precious child who has challenged me more than any other has also so greatly demonstrated redemption. I can make such a mess of a situation, but love covers a multitude of wrongs. Sweet Prince isn’t just a pet name; he is my knight in shining armor: a tender, gentle, and affectionate bearer of truth in love.

When I get stuck in my head the way things need to go in my life, I often try to make it happen. I tell God, “Look, this is good! And you are good, so you want good for me, so this needs to happen! See how logical it is??” I am unfortunately skilled at rationalizing the desires of my flesh to justify my frustration when they don’t pan out as I planned. Sometimes I push and fight and scream and cry and complain and work and try and force things to happen… But He never gives up on me. What was God teaching me that day about my own rebellion and need for grace? That his love never fails. It never gives up. It never runs out on me. And thank God for it. Because I need more and more and more.

Thank you, Jesus, for my son, the light of my life. Thank you, Jesus, for your grace, that covers all my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for your timing, which is better than mine. Thank you, Jesus, for all the no’s that I needed when I thought differently. Thank you, Jesus, that your plan is for my good and your glory. Nothing else matters.