Show Me the Candy

Doctor appointments have never been fun. There was so much anxiety taking Otis to the wellness checkups. I always felt like I was holding up my sweet boy asking someone, anyone, to give me a stamp of approval that he was doing ok and, truthfully, that I was doing ok.

Otis hated these visits. He was a ball of anxiety. If the doctor so much as looked at him he’d start crying and crawling up my body like a terrified cat:

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“Oh, Marie! My kid did the same thing! But then we started practicing our doctor visits so he’d know what to expect. It’s like Daniel Tiger says, “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do!”

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Yeah. No. We did that. But he still acted like he was having an unmedicated C-section when the doctor looked in his ears with that flashlight thing.

Naturally, 6 years of these kinds of visits, I wasn’t expecting much different from Wren. Like, I didn’t expect her to lose her mind like her brother, but I did expect some questioning looks. Maybe a firm, but gentle, “No.”

The doctor asked to listen to her heart and Wren silently pulled up her shirt for the stethoscope. We went into the other area to get weighed and measured and she stood stoically for everything. There was this quiet poise. She was not scared and made sure to be as obliging as a newly 2 year old can be. Since our doctor normally has students on staff Wren even sat through a couple of these twice, once for the student and once for the doctor. Everyone kept commenting that she was especially calm for a 2 year old.

She wasn’t giggly or hamming it up. She was clearly wary on some level, but she was marching onward, staring this challenge down with a steeliness I’m not used to seeing.

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The doctor and I chatted as I put Wren’s clothes back on and packed up her diaper bag. The appointment was obviously winding down when all of a sudden Wren’s lip starts to tremble and she angry whispers, “My… candy…”

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That’s what this was about! The perfect appointment. The obvious determination to stick the landing.

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At the last appointment Dr. Chen had given Wren a lollipop. Like a Lannister and debts, Wren always remembers who has candy. And this child had made up her mind that she would get another lollipop from this lady. So she showed up and showed out.

You wanna look inside my ears? Sure.

Take my temperature? Seems like a fair request.

Want to weigh me even though it’s incredibly rude to ask a lady how much she weighs AND THEN DISCUSS IT IN FRONT OF HER? Fine.

And when she thought the appointment was ending without proper payment? She was not playing.

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Dr. Chen agreed and got the candy bucket immediately. She looked through the bucket and asked, I’m sure not expecting a response, what color candy Wren wanted.

Wren gave a curt, “Pink.”

And in that moment I learned a lesson. Be like Wren. Do the work, and make sure you get paid.

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If you’re looking for an amazing pediatric practice go check out Woodbine Pediatrics. They give out candy.

 

Low-Key Arbor Day Celebration

Yall know The Poor Mom is all about those free and low-key holidays, right? Which makes celebrating Arbor Day a kind of a big deal in our house, and this year Twice Daily is helping us celebrate

On Friday, April 26th (aka Arbor Day) Twice Daily locations will be giving out organic lollipops with plantable herb and flower seed-bearing sticks. So once your kid is done with the candy they can plant the stick and they’ve just low-key celebrated Arbor Day!

The kids and I will definitely be doing this to make up for our low-key Easter celebrations. Pro tip: It’s ok to make your kids fill their own plastic eggs. It’s called fine motor skill practice. Just as our OT.

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Make a point to fill up at your nearest Twice Daily location this Friday, grab some organic lollipops, and plant those bad boys when you get home. But don’t forget to take a selfie and tag @MyTwiceDaily on Facebook! Because, like any good holiday, pics or it didn’t happen!

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Treat Yo Self!

Sugar Bowl Bakery‘s treats are in Publix right now! Their Madeleines and Petite Palmiers are a perfect treat with coffee, tea, or your Lola:

Yall know I don’t bake so when I received the samples I knew they’d be my go to treat for things to take to Bible study. And Wren loved them so much so we’ll definitely add them to our tea party adventures, too!

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They are in Publix now (right in front, next to the registers if you’re in Brentwood) so go treat yo’ self this April!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Was Fun, Let’s Do Two

Miss Wren,
This year with you has been so much fun. We have watched you become a little girl filled with personality and charm. There was a sense during your first year on earth that you were going to be our serious kid. Hard to make laugh. Giving the world a knowing side eye.

But this year you’ve shown us your silliness. You are quick to giggle and dance and be a ham. There’s a wisdom here that I pray you carry with you the rest of your life. You don’t owe anyone your silliness. Give anyone and everyone that knowing side eye until you feel comfortable, until you know they deserve what you want to share. These are called boundaries and they are good, my sweet girl.

This is the year you learned the phrase, “Follow me.” I smile when you tell anyone to follow you because the confidence that comes with your directive is palpable. You know what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you’re confident that you can lead others there, too. You were born with a confidence and steadiness that people read books, go to conferences, and pay lots of money for. I’m excited to see you’re leading us.

There’s also a fearlessness in you that terrifies me. My “favorite” memory of this year is when the Big Kahuna was having a bit of a meltdown and was gearing up to try and hit anything close by. Out of the corner of my eye I see you and your tiny 1 year old body step to your 7 year old (much bigger) brother.

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You saw someone that needed to be put in their place and you were ready to fight the good fight. I held you back, and I guess I’m just amazed that I had to do that. Hold a 1 year old back from fighting a 7 year old…

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You sing so many songs, love your puddles, and take wonderful care of your baby dolls. You cuddle with your dad every night to watch babies on YouTube. You whisper “Bubba is sad” every time he is upset and sent to his room. You demand our cats play along with your Doc McStuffins dreams. And you nursh. A lot.

I love you so much, Sweet Girl. I pray and know that God will use the confidence and fearlessness He gave you to bring light into this world.

Love,
Mama Bird

Prayers and Pregnancy

I believe I have a special gift of encouragement when it comes to praying about pregnancies. I don’t know what it is, but God will give me supernatural faith that certain babies will be born. Now I don’t put God in a box about how He is going to define our natural understanding of words like ‘birth’ and ‘baby’, but He gives me the faith that something will come out of nothing.

So He uses me to encourage. He tells me to text people to remind them of His limitless authority over every single atom in the universe. He gives me dreams of friends and family (and myself) usually with huge smiles plastered on their faces telling me that they’re pregnant. He tells me to send Mother’s Day cards in anticipation of His promise. He tells me when to quit praying followed quickly with texts letting me know “Hey, so… we’re pregnant.”

I do believe that prayer requires belief. I think that’s why we have to pray for help with our unbelief. And there are tons of things I pray for that I simply don’t believe will ever happen, but pregnancies and babies? My belief is growing to where it knows no bounds. He has authority over everything pregnancy related.

I trust His authority in pretty much every way when it comes to babies, but other things? Not so much. I want to believe He has authority over everything, but I don’t. I see my circumstances, and I pray, “I know You’re God. And You made me out of nothing. You make babies in wombs that shouldn’t have babies. But this? These finances? This dream? This obstacle? This is too big. You can’t fix this.”

Recently the Holy Spirit started whispering, “How have I taught you to pray about babies? Pray in the same way about other things. About everything.”

Write thank you cards
Our Father gives good gifts. And what do (most) people do when they get a good gift? They write a thank you card. This is especially true if the gift giver wasn’t there to see you receive the gift. You let them know, “I got it! It’s lovely/perfect/exactly what I wanted!” Once I have prayed about a baby and my bones know that this baby is happening I start saying thank you. Over and over and over. Because saying thank you says you’ve received the gift and you can’t receive something that doesn’t exist, right?

I’m doing the same with my non-baby prayers. Thank you, Lord, for giving me what I have asked for.

Let go
I say thank you for the answered prayer, but I also release any control over what my ideas are about what His answer is going to look like. When I dreamed about Wren I knew it meant that my family was growing, that my heart was going to be filled in new way. But I didn’t tell God what that meant or how it would look. Because if I’m telling God how it’s going to be then I’m asking Him to submit to me, and no. That’s not a good look. I was totally open to it being that we adopted or that cousins would be coming soon. Most of all, I was letting go and trusting that however it unfolded (pregnancy, cousins, a neighbor kid that we unofficially adopted) it was good and from God.

And the best way for me to release my desire to control all the things? Focus on the face of Jesus. I always imagine Peter walking on water and then getting distracted by the wind. My flesh wants to control and tell God how it should be. I know this is happening because my body gets tense and my vision narrows and my mind races. But then I whisper His mighty and powerful name. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. And in doing that, my spirit returns to submission to Him and His ways, not mine.

Heartbeats, ultrasounds, and encouragement
Before you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time pregnancy doesn’t feel real. You don’t look pregnant. Most of what you’re feeling you’ve felt before during a bad episode of PMS. But then you hear the heartbeat, and now you know. Something new is here. Something is alive.

And I’ll never run a marathon, but I imagine it’s how runners feel when they get a cup of water or see the cheering spectators during the race. Your spirit perks up, you know you’re no where near the end, but right now you have enough strength to go forward just a little bit.

Heartbeats and ultrasounds are that during pregnancy. A peek at the finish line. A peek at how all of this is going to be rewarded.

I’m not going to lie, I think I have a gift. I think God has given me a supernatural sensitivity to some people’s pregnancy journeys. And I think He has done that so that I can be an encouragement to my friends and family. The texts and prayers and dreams are supernatural ultrasounds to remind you that He sees and knows.

There’s a thing in marriage therapy where you tell couples that you’ll hold the hope for them. Hope is so heavy when it looks like everything is crumbling down around you. While I’m no longer a marriage therapist, I do think that God gives me this sensitivity, not that I can brag about it, but so that it can minister to others. I pray it shows them that God sees and hears. And that when it hurts to hope, as I imagine it does when you want a child desperately, that others can help you hold that hope.

I know that I’ve encouraged others and that gives me the confidence to ask God to encourage me in the other things I’m praying for. So I regularly pray to hear the heartbeat of things He’s bringing to life, but that I can’t see quite yet.

Perspective
Like any red blooded American, I want my prayers answered and I want them answered now. First, that posture is so wrong. So very wrong. There’s something interesting about pregnancy in that you absolutely can’t rush it. The baby is done when it’s done. You can’t take more vitamins to make it cook faster. You can’t eat the right potion of peppers and eggplant to make it come out quicker. You can try to make it hurry up, but at the end of the day you’re not in control and you’re just along for the ride. The quicker you get that in your heart and submit to that truth the easier pregnancy is.

I don’t imagine any other prayer request is much different, especially when it’s a gift coming from God. I am learning to patiently submit to His timing in all things.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head for the last year, and this is me getting them out and sharing them with you.

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I learned it watching you

 

The minute I heard about unschooling it made sense. Learn what you want, when you want, and how you want. The first time I heard about it was in this Nashville mommy blogger’s post where she bashes the idea. I read that post and it all clicked. All of my future children would be unschooled. Case closed. I never read or thought another thing about it.

Today I know a lot of families that allow their children to practice self-directed education (aka unschooling). And I have yet to meet someone that became a believer quite as quickly as I did (my Simply Sudbury friend, Catherine, excluded). Most of my friends found it to be a journey. The ideas made sense in some ways, but many wanted more research or literature. How do unschooled kids end up? Do they get jobs? Do they survive in the ‘real world’?

I’ve been marinating on this. Why, God, did it click so quickly and easily for me? Especially when you consider I was freaking amazing at school. If anyone was going to think school is awesome, shouldn’t it be me?

Then I read this blog post, Ours First, from ASDE by Dr. Kelly Limes-Taylor Henderson.

Marginalized groups have been learning the world for a long time, and without school. Before and throughout this colonialist era, it is the way we learned to manage our food systems and organize communities. It is the way we learned to predict weather and navigate seas. It is the way we learned transportation routes and our stories. It is the way we learned ourselves and others. It is the way we learned who the oppressors really were, despite what they told us about themselves in their schools.

It is the way we learned to survive under Western colonialism and imperialism. And it is the way we will thrive beyond it.

And…

Your people have been doing this – existing and resisting, learning the world and their freedom – for years and years. They’ve been doing it for themselves and with each other, and without school as we know it. Despite how the narrative is compiled around you, then, and despite whoever tries to sell you whatever is already inside of you, remember:

Ours. First.

Self-directed education, the idea that you can trust that you’ll learn what you need, when you need, and how you need, made immediate sense to me because it’s what I grew up seeing.

My mom and grandmother are two of the smartest, most capable women I know. I look back at my childhood and I knew that my mom didn’t have an education in the formal sense, but she is smart. Yes, she has her ditzy moments, but even that I saw as a sign of her emotional intelligence and playing to the reality that acting like you’re dumb can buy you social goodwill. I think about how she got on a plane in her early 20s and moved to another country to marry a man she knew, but not really. I think back to my childhood and how she always made the world feel safe for us, how it always felt like she knew what she was doing. And she did this without google, yall! She figured stuff out because that’s what you do.

Then there is my grandma. She came to live with us when I was in 2nd grade. She worked all over Nashville, and would get all over town on the city bus. This alone makes me open my mouth in awe because public transportation can confuse the best of us. And even though she also doesn’t have a formal education, she’s so smart. She knows how to cure things, how to farm, how to engineer. I remember being in labor with Otis, hooked up to all kinds of machines monitoring this and that, and my grandmother squinting and looking at my fingernails to see how my blood pressure was doing. This world was never scary to her because she is a fearless problem solver.

So I guess these women, and really all of the amazing Filipinas I am blessed to know and love, were always a testimony to me. I watched them build entire, productive, full, blessed lives without ever getting a stamp-of-approval from a school. I watched them trust their instincts, abilities, and eventually God to navigate this world.

I ‘got’ unschooling so quickly because I already knew that unschoolers turned out just fine because, in a lot of ways, unschoolers raised me.

Let’s Read the Bible Together

I posted on my FB page about how reading the Bible regularly has changed my life, and before I start another “Year in the Bible” plan I wanted to invite anyone else that’s interested to join me.

I didn’t think anyone would be interested. I’m not a pastor so it isn’t like I have any extra knowledge about the Bible. I haven’t even taken a religious class outside of a couple of Sunday School lessons and Priscilla Shirer Bible studies. And how, exactly, would people ‘join me’ in reading? And, again, why would invite people to join me on something I don’t know anything about?

But some of yall were interested in this idea! And you clicked the invite.

So now I’m fretting a bit because, crap. Yall clicked the invite and now there’s maybe some kind of expectation? But I’m doing this one step at a time, and I haven’t heard much else on what’s next so I’m just going to share a few thoughts I have on reading the Bible before we start…


GRACE ABOUNDS

Because we’re starting this on New Year’s it feels and looks and quacks like a New Year’s Resolution. “I’m going to read my Bible in a year!” you whisper confidently to the mirror. Great! If you respond well to New Year’s Resolutions then yes! It’s a New Year’s Resolution!

But if you’re even a little like me, and you go into something with big dreams and then reality creeps in and you miss a workout or you eat that bag normal portion of potato chips and you’re like, “Forget it. This life isn’t for me” and you quit, can I beg you to not see this as a New Year’s Resolution? Approach this thing we’re doing with as much grace for yourself as your little brain and heart can muster.

You are going to ‘miss’ days.

You are going to not get all of the day’s reading done.

You are going to not feel like it.

The point of this isn’t to feel like you’ve added homework to your life. The point of this is to use the Word to get to know a God that desires a relationship with us. You’re going to hear a voice that wants you to feel shame for messing up or for not feeling like reading and that voice is NOT from the Holy Spirit. It’s a great time to get in the habit of telling that voice, “Not today, Satan.”

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This past year I was able to read every day, but I wasn’t getting the entire day’s reading done, and the app will tell you how many days you’ve missed. And I ended up, like, 3 months behind and I’d kinda sit in this space of, “Ok, I’ll read 2 days worth today and I’ll be caught up.” But then it became this desire to ‘catch up’ and not a desire to know God. So the Holy Spirit reminded me what the point was and there was this little button on the app that lets you ‘catch up’ and basically resets the plan so that you don’t have any more ‘missed days.’ This was grace in action, and I loved it.

JUST ASK

If you’re new to reading the Bible it’s going to be really easy to feel like it’s irrelevant to your life. How can reading about a miracle done in the middle east a billion years ago matter to me? What on earth am I supposed to do with a story about a guy who kills his brother? NONE OF THIS MATTERS!!!

I’m gonna say that whatever prompted you to join me wasn’t an accident. I believe with everything in me it’s the Holy Spirit moving and nudging you here. So, in the same way I suggest you say, “Not today, Satan” when you’re feeling crappy, I’m going to suggest you literally talk to the Holy Spirit as if He’s a person (because He is) and ask, “What are you trying to teach me, Holy Spirit? Please make me sensitive to what you’re showing me in the Word.” These questions to the Holy Spirit are commonly known as prayer. Simple, right?

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I really believe that if you open your heart this way before you read the Word you’ll get a tingle to something. It might be one sentence or even one word. But something will jump out at you. Underline it. Highlight it. Text it to yourself.

Also, lots of things you’ll read will probably leave you with more questions than answers. Write those questions down! They are some of my best conversation starters with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make sense of it and then listen to where He guides you. Sometimes He just tells you and gives you clarity. Sometimes He tells you to talk to someone about it. Most of my google chats with Mark are me saying, “I just read this and that is not how I’ve understood it before…” and we end up having really fun conversations that give me new and deeper understandings about God.

TIMING

I have never been too strict about when I read my Bible, but I have found that it being part of my routine has made me more consistent. When I was pregnant and waking up every night at 3 in the morning, that was when I’d do my readings. Then Wren was born and I was on maternity leave for a couple of months and I found that the early morning feeding was the best time to do it. Then I went back to work and found that during the 10am pumping session was the best time to do it. Today I usually get it done while I’m laying in bed and everyone is asleep, and I have an imaginary ‘rule’ that I can’t check anything else until I do my readings. Find a part of your day that happens pretty consistently and see if you can’t tag the Bible in there. The Bible app also has an audio thing so you could listen to the day’s reading on your drive to work, too!

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TRANSLATION

I was in a Sunday School class last year and someone mocked the idea of reading the New Living Translation like it wasn’t real. This made my blood boil because that’s what I read! It’s an easy to read translation that doesn’t get me stuck feeling like I’m reading Shakespeare. I am gonna suggest finding a translation that you enjoy reading, and not get too caught up in it being the most scholarly translation. My two cents: You can quickly and easily change the translation you’re using in the Bible app so feel free to find a version that makes it as easy as possible to digest the Word.

 Ok, I think that’s all I’ve got. I’m so excited to see what God does here!

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Seek and Find

Every parent wants to give their kid a ‘Wow’ present. I remember that feeling of waking up on Christmas morning and all the magic and joy of seeing The Gift under the tree. I want, more than anything, to give my kids that same feeling of joy.

The problem is that the older your kid gets the harder it is to capture that joy in a toy. Otis is especially hard because from what we can tell his joy comes from just being around his family. He is full Elf when he hears that I’m not going to work and we get to spend time with Bobbby, Lindsey, Meesa, Shawn, and Tater.

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Unfortunately, he also really loves opening presents and wrapping up his aunts and uncles would be… difficult.

But, yall. I found The Gift.

Meet The Sharers. YouTubers that are just super sweet, happy guys and Otis loves them. They do that little hand signal thing and Otis throws it up regularly and will say, “Mom, stay awesome and share the love” (which is what they say when they begin and end videos).

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It clicked a week before Christmas that Otis would lose his mind over a red Sharer shirt. He’d never take it off. It would fill him with joy that he’d never experienced before. I’m not being hyperbolic. He would love The Gift.

I order the shirt and it’s scheduled to get here on time. Phew.

A few days later a manila envelope is in the mailbox. I open it and a quick peek says it’s The Gift. Yay! He’s gonna flip, yall. I toss it in the closet that is holding all of our Amazon boxes, and go about life.

Christmas Eve and the kids are in bed. We start wrapping the presents. We don’t leave presents under the tree because I’m not in the mood to be asked about opening gifts for weeks on end. Everything goes out on Christmas Eve after the kids go to sleep.

“Where is the manila envelope from the closet?” I ask.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

Hmmm….

I tear the house apart. I start looking in the weird places like the freezer, my underwear drawer, and behind the lawn mower. I stand in the middle of rooms just staring hoping it will jump out and yell surprise.

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I did this until almost 2 in the morning. My heart was feeling so broken and hopeless. I had to find The Gift. I just had to.

Obviously, I was praying the whole time, but finally I had to sit down and get serious.

“Lord, please! I need to find The Gift. Where is it?!? If he doesn’t get The Gift he won’t have The Joy.”

And then I heard the Holy Spirit gently convict me…

Guide him to find the The Joy in The Gift of Me.

I was/am dangerously close to training my child to find Joy in the things of this world which would be fine if it was possible. We all know that by dinner the joy of most Christmas gifts has worn off. We know that the high of the perfect present is fleeting, but we keep chasing it down. And no matter how perfect that Share the Love shirt is (and I cannot fully explain how. perfect. this. gift. is.) it isn’t anything compared to being in relationship with Jesus. So instead of stressing and using my energy to find a shirt, I thanked God that He made this relationship possible and prayed for wisdom about how to guide Otis best towards Him and His joy.

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Stand Your Ground, Little Bird

I was running up and down the stairs putting laundry away and I hear general rough housing start downstairs. It’s only Wren and Otis. Surely this isn’t going to end bad-

“MOM! WREN SCRATCHED ME!”

Me:
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Wren:
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I walk half way down the stairs and see Wren sitting behind her brother pulling her own hair looking at me like, “You know this mofo isn’t innocent, right? This is an open and shut case of stand your ground.”

“Otis, did you pull your sister’s hair?”

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And I guess I just thought having kids 6 years apart was gonna spare me from this…

Sssss is for Snake

The kids and I recently watched a video of a snake eating a chicken. I don’t know why. Stop trying to understand my ways.

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Wren loved it. Whenever she gets my phone she’ll ask for ‘snake’ followed by the most adorable hiss you’ve ever heard. And then she squeals when I react because she is delighted by the ‘fear’ she has created in me. The picture above is one of the best smiles I’ve ever captured, and it’s actually her in the middle of one of her hisses. My sister and cousin have both pointed out that she’s a Slytherin in the making… and that’s a good thing?

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In other hiss related news, my baby boy has learned about the letter S. He is in love with the S sound, and loves pointing out every letter S he can find while we read their* Daniel Tiger book. Which can we talk about how he wants to listen to me read a book? Yes, it’s a pre-k book. Yes, he’s seven. Yes, he’s never been into a book before now. But he is getting excited about this and I’m just like…

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You guys. I cannot love these babies any more than I do. It’s impossible.