Category Archives: Mommyhood

Making Space for Failure and Faith

If obeying God doesn’t make you wonder out loud while driving to work if He’s even real or not, you might need to come in a little deeper.

I’m sure when Abraham was walking up the mountain with Isaac he was like, “Am I sure God is real?”

I’m sure when Moses was practicing his elevator pitch before meeting with Pharaoh he was like, “Am I sure God is real?”

I’m sure when Mary had to tell Joseph she was pregnant she was like, “Am I sure God is real?”

And while Jesus didn’t question whether God was real, even He was like, “Could we go over the plan again? There is no other way to accomplish Our goals? Cool. Just wanted to be thorough…”

And last month we had to close re-imagine what Simply Sudbury would look like. And the imagination that was required made me wonder while driving to work, “Am I sure God is real? Did He really tell me to do this? Have I lost my mind? Am I looney?”

Our enrollment was low and finding volunteers was getting more difficult. Renting space for what felt like a regular play group felt wrong. Could we have forced the issue? Stretched ourselves in inhumane ways prop it up? Faked it until we maked it? Yeah, maybe.

But at my core I believed Simply Sudbury was something that God had told me to do. And I don’t think God is in the business of propping up dead things. He speaks into existence. He breathes life. He resurrects. He doesn’t deal with the dead and fruitless.

So when it didn’t look very alive or, my favorite word, sustainable, I laid the idea down. And I can’t tell you how much peace I had laying it down. How beautifully gentle the process was. All of our enrolled kids found new places to land.

But letting go of Simply Sudbury didn’t mean God was done or that I had heard wrong last summer. I kept praying. What on earth was all of that for, God? Why?

I remembered some of the thoughts I had had before the whole thing started. That all of this work was because God wanted to make space for kids that didn’t have a place in traditional schools.

Rehoboth.

When we started Simply Sudbury I had considered naming our little school The Rehoboth Learning Center. That via educational freedom God would make space for everyone. And as we wrapped up Simply Sudbury I went back to this idea and used it as a compass (something all Enneagram 9’s must do… find your compass!) to recalibrate. This is something I often pray for women that want to be moms. While you wait, I pray that you get to embody the thing you are hoping motherhood will let you experience. If you long for motherhood because of a desire to nurture something vulnerable then find someone vulnerable and start nurturing. If you long for motherhood because of a desire to guide/shape/mold/influence the future then find new ways to guide/shape/mold/influence. God is so wonderfully creative in how we get to express these deeply held desires. There is rarely one ‘right’ way. It’s a wonderful way to practice the skill of “Acting As If”. It’s also a wonderful way of entering a posture of “Not my will, Lord, but Yours.”

God had called me to make space. So how else could I make space?

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The week we closed down Simply Sudbury I received an email from Thisbe and Noah. They are building Promise Park. A park designed to be inclusive of the many kinds of needs kids have. A park that valued play. A park that valued playing together. A park that wanted to make space for everyone.

They wanted to know if I could help.

It might seem like a simple coincidence. But this email and their mission felt incredibly holy. God knew that as I let go of the dream of what Simply Sudbury could be, I would need some faith fuel. A reminder, from Him, that despite what I saw in the physical He was still working in the spiritual. That there were still creative ways to join Him in making space.

And when I met with Lindsay from Thisbe & Noah I was even more encouraged. The entrepreneurial spirit, the passion for inclusion, the excitement about play. It was everything my heart needed to know that what I was hearing spiritually wasn’t totally wacky. God was still moving, even if it wasn’t how I expected it.

This is the important thing about faith. When we make room for believing God is who He says He is, we have to make room for nothing about the process to look like how we think it ‘should.’ We have to make room for something to look like a failure in the physical sense (the crucifixion) and being a brilliant victory in the spiritual one (the resurrection).

We have re-imagined Simply Sudbury. It’s now The Learning UNstitute. Our mission to make space is refreshed and sustainable and delightfully creative. We are doing what we can with what we have, and if you’ve read enough of the Bible you know that that’s all God ever needs when it comes to faith:

Give Him what you have. He’ll do the rest.

Related:
We’re selling lumpia to raise money for Promise Park. Let me know if you want some! We’ll be delivering it on Sunday, November 17th and need your orders by Wednesday, November 13th! Get more details on this facebook post.

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Making Space for Everyone

We just got back from Disney World, and I’m slowly posting about it on IG. We had a wonderful time and my parents really made a bunch of dreams come true and accidentally produced two new Disney freaks (you think I’m talking about Wren and Otis) (I’m talking about me and Melissa) (We have a problem, yall).

Disney is a lot of work. There’s money and planning and lines and heat and whining. And when you take a kid like Otis? Where you aren’t sure how he’s going to receive all the magic? It’s a whole new level of stress and anxiety because you want him to get what every other kid gets when they are at Disney World… but what if he doesn’t? What if it’s all too much? What if it’s all a disaster?

Now Disney ended up being great, but the truth is that the anxiety about how Otis is going to handle new situations and places, especially places that are supposed to be fun, is always around. There’s always the question of whether the pumpkin patch or the science museum or the zoo is going to be worth the extra effort it might take. When you’re a parent with a kid with different needs you are always looking at the world wondering if there is space for your kid in it…

Enter Thisbe & Noah’s Promise Park at the Nashville Zoo.

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Promise Park is an inclusive playground designed with ALL children in mind. It’s going to be a place where all kinds of needs have been considered. The sensory needs, the cochlear implants, the wheelchairs. And my favorite part is that the equipment is designed so that kids with and without disabilities can play along side each other.

Right now they are raising funds to make this project a reality. And we can help! Thisbe & Noah is hosting Piggy Promises. Our kids can use their entrepreneurial spirit and come up with ways to raise money to make Promise Park happen. They are handing out a piggy bank, tote bag, and helpful fundraising information to participating families. Raise money (car wash? lemonade stand? talent show?) and turn the piggy bank in on November 3rd and get a free pass to the Zoo. The family that raises the most money will even win a year pass to the Zoo! They will have a booth at Boo at the Zoo where you can pick up a Piggy Promise tote bag and learn more about Thisbe & Noah.

I’m not sure what our family is going to do yet, but it will probably be facepaint related because we’re kind of awesome at it:

Hope the Poor Moms will join us in making space for everyone here in Nashville!!!

 

 

Monster Jam Nashville Summer

Earlier this year Otis went on a Man Date with his dad and poppy to watch Monster Jam at Nissan Stadium.

The testosterone levels were high. Poppy couldn’t even get in because he forgot he was carrying his pocket knife (as a gentleman does) (Mark walked it back to the car).

Otis loved the whole spectacle.

Grave Digger was out in all his neon green and purple glory:

It was headphones-required loud in a “THIS IS AWESOME” kind of way (hat tip to our occupational therapists that made it possible for him to handle the sensory overload of all this!!):

And we can’t go to the gas station without Otis begging to open the window because he wants to ‘smell the Monster Trucks.’
(That request gets an obvious no.)
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We are definitely a Monster Jam family now, and we can’t wait to see the show on June 22nd at Nissan Stadium. And if you want to be a Monster Jam family too, leave a comment on this post with your favorite sight/smell/sound of summer and you could win a set of 4 tickets to Monster Jam!

Monster Jam ® , the unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, most family-friendly motor sport in the world today will tear through Nashville for one adrenaline pumping events at Nissan Stadium on June 22. The 2019 Monster Jam season will see athletes on each tour battle it out every weekend from January to May to be crowned the tour champion and receive an automatic bid to Monster Jam World Finals XX that will be held in Orlando for the first-time-ever. Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not
only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles per hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motor sports action seen around the world. Now across all Monster Jam events, fans in every city will have the chance to vote for the winner in the two-wheel and freestyle competitions by real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones. Fans are invited to the pre-event Pit Party where they can get up-
close-and personal with the Monster Jam trucks and drivers, take photos and get autographs.

GIVEAWAY INFO:
1. One comment on this post is one entry. Limit of 3 entries per email address.
2. Have to use a valid email address because that’s the only way I can contact you.
3. Drawing will be done on Tuesday, June 4th at 9am. Winner will be contacted via the provided email.

 

 

 

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

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?”

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…

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