Category Archives: Mommyhood

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…”

now i get it keegan-michael key GIF by The Paley Center for Media

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.

get paid danny devito GIF by QuickBooks

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.

hip hop reality GIF by WE tv

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

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).

Image result for youtube sharer

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?”

guilty bruce wayne GIF by Gotham

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…

adrienne banfield-jones praise GIF by Red Table Talk

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

For the love of pie

“Pie. Pie! PIE!”

What on earth is the small human chirping about?

“Do you mean rice?”

“Pie.”

“Pie… Small Human, I have no clue what you want. Can you show me?”

The small human grabs my hand and starts walking up the stairs, “Pie. Pie. Pie.”

She stands in front of the freezer.

“Pie.”

I open the freezer and look around… has she ever had a pie? From a freezer? It’s not impossible. I mean, frozen-let-them-thaw pies are the only kind I know how to make…

“Pie!”

“Where?”

She points. The box of popsicles.

Small Human loves her some ‘pie.’ Loooovvvvessss it. She will run in the kitchen chirping (“Pie, pie, pie”) and stand next to the freezer until Mark obeys gets her a popsicle. Once I asked Otis what did Wren love and he quickly answered, “Pie.” And she has taught the whole family the meaning of pie because, as my father-in-law says, “This is Wren’s world and we’re just living in it.”

john crist comedy GIF by interstellardesignz

The One Where She Potty Trains

I never really wrote about potty training Otis, but just trust me: It was a process.

I had heard, like all moms, that I should wait for the signs. So I’d google The Signs and try to figure out where he was on the Ready-To-Potty Scale.

Hiding to pee or poo? Not really…
Taking off wet diapers? Nope.
Interest in potty behaviors? Not even a little bit.

I thought the internet was lying. Kids don’t really do these things! You have to force them! Convince them! THEY LOVE SITTING IN THEIR OWN CRAP! I mean, who doesn’t, right?!

And then I met 10 month old Wren.

She would ask for diapers to be removed (or remove them herself). In her pretend play with dolls someone is always pooping and sitting on the potty. She carried the toy toilet around from Otis’s fire station for a solid week. Once she insisted on nursing while I was on the potty and when I told her to either nurse while I was on the potty (the disgust on her face at the suggestion made me pee my pants into the toilet) or wait for me to finish she promptly handed me some toilet paper and tried to flush the toilet. She knew how the system worked.

I’ll be honest, early potty training is just as scary, to me, as late potty training.

“Are we sure she is ready?”

“(Remembering potty training Otis) This is going to be a mess. UGH. Diapers are cool, Wren. TRUST ME.”

“Where is my baby?!?! WAH!”

“Are we totally against a third baby? Where are you going?!?”

This past weekend, at 18 months old, Wren pulled on her diaper and said “Poo. Poo.”

I took it off for her and she sat down on her little potty and started ‘trying.’ She then noticed that I had just put the diaper to the side, ready to put it back on her as soon as she ‘tried.’ She got up, picked the diaper off the ground, walked it to the trash can, and came back to the potty and went pee.

you are amazing franchesca ramsey GIF by chescaleigh

I’m not gonna lie, we still haven’t started officially potty training, but I’m thinking this is gonna be a cake walk.

Colors of the Wind

I’ve started describing myself as a weird Christian. Because if I just say I’m a Christian then you’re going to think I’m like the Christians you hear about on MSNBC or Fox, and I’m not like those.

I can’t express how seriously I take God. I believe the things most Christian professing people believe (He made everything in the universe, there’s a spiritual battle going on, Jesus is God and died on the cross for my sins, the Holy Spirit is real), but then I believe other things.

Like that He speaks to me. Regularly. And my job is to listen. Is it very Pocahontas/Colors of The Wind? Yes. Yes, it is.

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If you follow me on Instagram you may remember when I was doing those Jesus work outs with Megan and Rev Wellness. What’s a Jesus workout? Basically, Megan would have scripture and questions for me to consider and meditate on while also telling me to do 10 squats. These were some of the most intense, life changing workout sessions in my life. One session in particular stuck with me…

I was on my back doing some exercise and the whole session had been about being able to hand everything over to God and trust Him with every dream in me. To love the Giver more than the gift. So I’m on my back doing this exercise and Megan says something about being like Moses and being ok with not seeing the promised land.

Immediately I knew what the promised land was. Nashville Sudbury School. If you aren’t following me on Facebook then quick recap: me and 7 other families started a school so that kids could practice self-directed education in a democratically run community. Our first meeting was in the fall of 2015. We’ve been at it for a minute.

Getting this school up and running was my everything from March 2017 to June 2018. MY EVERYTHING. I spent lunch breaks running all around Nashville touring any place that might be even a little appropriate for a school.  I USED A PHONE AND TALKED TO STRANGERS in order to find out what paperwork needed to be turned in and when to start a private school in Tennessee. The other day I got a catalog of courses a fire protection professional could take to stay up to date on fire codes in my mailbox because that’s how often I was googling the codes manual for educational institutions. I CALLED AN IRS AGENT.

And I was doing all of this for my kids. My little boy isn’t designed for school. And my little girl might burn it down (fire codes be damned!). All of this work was because I wanted to give my kids a place to be free.

My stomach tightened at the idea of handing over NSS. I couldn’t possibly do all of this just to not be a part of it on the other side…could I? Would God seriously ask that? My brain really couldn’t imagine it. Honestly, it reminded me of when I broke up with my high school/college boyfriend, walking away from something you had worked really hard to build for no real reason?

The minute the lease was signed I knew something changed for me on a deep, cellular, spiritual level. This school needed to be built, but it wasn’t where we needed to be any longer. I heard God whispering that it wasn’t what was planned for us, but I fought the whispers back because what about my sweet boy? Where else could he go, I argued…

Two weeks later I met up with a friend I had made during the Sudbury stuff, Catherine. She went to Christ Lutheran, one of the churches we considered renting from, and was a passionate supporter of  self-directed education. We really only knew each other a little bit. She came to tour a space with us and came to a founders’ meeting. I liked her and felt a kindred spirit with her because the Venn diagram of Christians + Sudbury is pretty small, but that was pretty much it.

When we got together I immediately start blabbing about NSS updates because I assumed that was why she wanted to get together, to talk Sudbury. So we did that for a minute and then she was like, “I asked you to meet because I think you might be a weird Christian, too. And I wanted a friend to talk with about God stuff…”

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We spent the rest of our time sharing how seriously we take God, His word, His salvation (big and small), and His unending ability to meet us wherever we are. This is semi-unrelated, but this summer was also the exodus of some of my fiercest prayer friends so the birth of this friendship was giving me all the “God takes care of all your needs” feels.

rickey smiley jesus GIF by TV One

I even asked if I could take a snapshot of where God suggested me as an answer to her Psalm 145:11 prayers.

“Can I take a pic of your journal?” I am so weird.

Fast forward to June. God quits whispering. He starts using His inside voice. We pray. A lot. Because this isn’t about starting a school for me. This has always been about my kids. And walking away from this wasn’t God asking me to walk away from something I could put on my resume (“Marie Starter of Schools!”). He was asking me to walk away from something I have a lot of faith and hope in to help my babies, specifically my little guy. To say this was gut wrenching doesn’t begin to cover it.

But here’s my clue to knowing a decision has God’s hand on it: Peace. My spirit is settled even if none of it ‘makes sense’ on paper. The minute my spirit settles and rests in the confidence of my Father in heaven, I usually don’t think twice. I start moving towards His leading.

So we did. We walked away. We went on vacation. We caught our breath just long enough to hear God invite us to something new with my weird friend Catherine and Christ Lutheran, Simply Sudbury.

Last week, NSS passed their fire marshal inspection. And I wasn’t there for it. I didn’t get the “Congratulations! We did it!” email because, well, I am not part of the we any longer. The reality of not being in the Promised Land despite having witnessed all of the burning bushes and Red Sea partings gave me some feels, but it didn’t put even a tiny dent in my peace or even my joy. As I watched Instastories of their fire marshal inspection I cried real tears of joy on my side of the Jordan River*. Because He’s good. So very, very good.

Do I think God is in this? Yes. It has all the Color of the Wind vibes for me.

Does that mean I have any idea how the rest of this will turn out? Nope. Not a damn clue.

*Is it the Jordan they crossed? I am totally relying on a Ginny Owens lyric so that could not be Biblically correct so…