Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

Striving to answer the call to motherhood and wifeyhood with joy, Jesus, and crazy dancing.


On Noticing Defining Moments & Failure

In fourth grade I had a defining moment. Not some big scary thing that happened to me, but an experience that formed me for years to come. It probably passed other students by and was forgotten forever, but it stuck with me.

For the first time in our young lives we had a 4th grade student council. There were the tradition roles like President and Vice President and then there was the PR role (public relations), which basically meant you were in charge of making posters for different events throughout the year. THAT was the position that made my eyes sparkle! I wanted to be the PR chair!

We were told to select which position we wanted to run for and then we were tasked with putting together a speech to deliver in front of the class and campaign posters to hang throughout the classroom and hallway.

On noticing defining moments.jpgI was all over it! I remember practicing my speech over and over with my parents. I remember my dad giving me advice to emphasize that phrase a bit more or use a little more enthusiasm when you say those words. I remember my mom reminding me to smile during it. I remember coming up with what I thought were insanely clever slogans again with the help of my parents, “One for all and all for Holl,” and “She’s one Holl of a candidate.”

There were two open PR positions, three people running, and with every bone in my body and every fiber of my being, I believed I was going to win one of those positions. I had this in the bag! I actually don’t think I was even aware of the competition, because I just assumed I’d win the position of my dreams.

And then voting day came. And then the results were in. And then Kurt and Emily won. And I lost. I remember being shocked. I remember thinking about how people picked two other people over me. Did people not like me? Were my slogans not cool? Was my speech not good? I remember this as my first real loss. My first real failure.

I know I was disappointed with the loss, but I was blessed to have parents who told me constantly they were proud of me, so that helped in the recovery. I didn’t stay in a dark hole about the loss for long. I moved on and it wasn’t something I remember caring about much the rest of that year.

BUT as I look back and think about formative experiences from my childhood, this one will always stick out to me as probably the first moment I experienced failure AND it formed how I viewed failure for many years to come. Basically, avoid it at all costs!

If you think back to your childhood, is there an experience that impacted you in a positive or negative way well into your adulthood? Maybe you aren’t even yet aware of how deeply something impacted you.

Did you have a defining moment, a moment that taught you to start living or doing things a certain way?

This experience taught me FAILING = TERRIBLE. Don’t fail. Don’t come in last. Failing is bad. Failing is scary. Failing is embarrassing.

This probably helped me in some ways, by developing my attention to detail, my drive and determination, and my attitude to want to win and strive to be the berst. It also caused me to play it safe, be overly cautious in trying new things, and to carry a bit of perfectionistic stress. This just may be one of the reasons I was too terrified to ever go out for basketball and why until late high school I only ran for “safe” positions like secretary or treasurer instead of president.

Fast forward 25 or so years later and I have quite a different view of failure that I’ve learned over many years of just living life, from reading many leadership books, and most recently through the amazing things I’m learning from my network marketing business. I no longer fear failure. I don’t play it safe and I don’t avoid trying new things. I am so much less concerned about what other people think of me and I strive to not let other people’s opinions of me have impact on how I see myself. This is a much more freeing and exciting way to live life. As long as you are striving forward and learning through your fails, then failing in a way is a blessing.

So, this got me thinking about how one small grade school experience impacted my life for so long. My children will in 4K next year and I think about them and their future experiences. I wonder what experiences will have the greatest impact on them both positively and negatively. Will I notice those experiences when they are here? How can I support them through those experiences?

You better believe I’ll be on the lookout for those moments for them! They will have to learn their way through things on their own. I know that’s part of growing up. BUT as their momma, I can help by listening, answering questions, sharing from my experiences, and offering advice when needed.

And I hope that I’m a good example to them on dealing with and not fearing failure.

So…..

Be on the lookout for those defining moments!

&

Fail forward. Learn from it. Without failures, we cannot have the hero moment! No one wants to read a book or watch a movie when someone just fails or when someone just wins all the time. People love the hero moment; the moment when we overcome and emerge victorious!

God bless our children!

Love, Natasha

 

 


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How to Mother from YOUR Strengths

How to Mother from your TalentsMy favorite cookie cutter shape is the circle with the smaller circle in the middle. It looks like a little donut and you can pop out the middle circle to create another tiny circle cookie. Two sugar cookies are better than one right!? I have fond memories of duking it out with my sister for Grandma’s few precious tiny circle Christmas cookies. The silly adults were fighting over the peanut squares, but the tiny circles were the true gold. Okay, the peanut squares are ridiculously good too.

Santa blogWhat’s your favorite cookie cutter shape? Come on, this is a very serious and important question! Don’t even tell me your fave is the weird Santa Claus one that when frosted looks like a strange little blob. (But if you did pick the Santa Claus one that is totally cool, be you….but really, the blob? That’s what you picked? No really, it’s cool.)

Anywho….

Just like the many shapes of cookie cutters, so are each of us unique as moms. Did you like that segue (I know, I had to look up how to spell segway correctly too, don’t worry). We have all been blessed with a unique combination of strengths and experiences that allow us to mother just as we were meant to.

“God’s design is perfect. He created us. Does it make us perfect? In a sense, yes. We’re who He uniquely chose to mother our children. We can’t improve on God’s design. Yet often we try to squeeze ourselves into molds of motherhood that don’t fit.”    -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo

Imagine how much less stressed we’d be if instead of trying to become the kind of mother that we clearly are not, we would just mother from our strengths.

What does it mean to mother from our strengths?

It means embracing our strengths and using them as a mom. I’d say one of my strengths is creativity and when I’ve mothered from my creativity the boys and I have had days that have shined! One of my favorite memories is taking my boys around our yard and finding different things in nature to make “Jesus crosses” with. We had so much fun exploring that day and they learned how to create, about Jesus, and had fun outdoors. Those kinds of activities are in my wheelhouse!

One of my weaknesses is probably interior decorating. I’d say I have a unique sense of style, I know what I like and I can pin for hours exactly what I’d like my house to look like, but I just can’t seem to translate it onto our walls! The boys are three and still the walls of their “nursery” are bare except for a small cross and their little footprints, which we made at the local clay art store. Previously, I’d see how beautiful some of my friend’s nurseries and kids’ rooms were and I’d get a little down and stressed comparing. I felt like I was lacking as a mom, because my children didn’t have rooms as pretty and well put together.

This is one of those weaknesses that to me isn’t worth stressing over. Instead of comparing, I’ve grown able to admire my friends’ talents in this area, compliment them, and be content that my kids’ rooms probably won’t look as perfect. And that’s okay, because they don’t seem to miss it. Some weaknesses are not worth your stress!

Cookie cuttersThere are some weaknesses that are worth working on! I hate yelling at my kids. I noticed when they became toddlers, I become a yeller. That is not a behavior that I wanted them to see from their mother and certainly not one that I wanted them to pick up. I remember my boys fighting and screaming at each other and I’d eventually get upset and scream back at them, “STOP SCREAMING NOW!” Hmmmm, now in a child’s brain, I’m sure that really made a lot of sense to them. Mommy is screaming at us and telling us not to scream. This is a behavior that I’ve prayed out of me and worked really hard to change. I hid a lot in the laundry room or in my closet to cool down (eat chocolate) and then emerged again with my super mom cape. Some weaknesses are worth working on!

Here are some ideas to mother from your strengths:

1.) Identify your super powers: Do you know what your strengths are? Where are you thriving in your life? Where you are thriving is probably where you are strong. Share your strengths with your kids! If you don’t know your strengths, ask a friend who you trust or take a personality inventory. Where are my fellow ENFJ’s at (Myers Briggs)?

2.) Choose the right crew: If you have good momma friends, you know how blessed you are! Schedule regular time with them. Good momma friends are the ones you can be yourself with. Always be on the lookout to build your crew! You can never have enough awesome momma friends; you learn something from all of them. Also, recognize if a friend is causing you consistent stress or drama and be content that it may be time to let them go.

3.) Banish comparing: Comparing yourself to other moms causes unnecessary anxiety, stress and increases your insecurities. If you are confident in your strengths and content with your weaknesses, you’ll be better able to compliment and build your friends up for their strengths rather than tear yourself down because of comparing.

4.) Increase your box: Like I mentioned earlier, some weaknesses are just not worth worrying about. Figure out which weaknesses you are just going to be content with, because they really don’t impact your family in important ways. Then figure out which weaknesses might just be underdeveloped strengths. Those are the ones worth working on. We are always told to think outside of the box. Well, I think it’s okay to think inside the box as long as you’re always expanding your box. As moms and in life in general, constant learning keeps our minds young and helps us be our best self.

“Instead of fighting God’s design, let’s start recognizing and honoring our unique, God-given personalities! After all, it’s the message we’ve given to our children their entire lives: You’re special. God made you like no one else in the world. However, many moms believe the complete opposite about themselves. We create in our minds an image of a “good mother” and judge ourselves on whether we live up to it.” -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo

Enough!

Love,

Natasha

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Parenting Advice from my Lawn Mower

Man alive, I had a rough week last week with my recently turned 3 year old twin boys! They went from my sweet boys to what people call “three-nagers” overnight! I was pretty desperate to find some mommy inspiration anywhere I could this week and it turns out that inspiration came while mowing the lawn.

I’ve only mowed the lawn a handful of times in my life. It isn’t that I refuse to do it, it’s just that I’ve been scarred since I was a teenager when I tried to surprise my dad by mowing the lawn and ended up giving it a professional scalp job instead! Since then I’ve mowed the lawn a few times since I’ve been married and my husband (and neighbors) lovingly laugh at me while pointing out the very neat triangle patches of grass I seem to miss every time. Oh well, I tried! It really is funny; last time I even stopped the lawn mower and walked all over the yard inspecting my work. Perfect! Then, later that night, I realized I missed a whole side! Seriously, it probably just grew really fast right?!

Anyway, here’s what I learned about motherhood while mowing the lawn…

Parenting Advice from my Lawn Mower1.
Mowing the Lawn:
The perfect straight lines are lovely, but it gets cut even if you zig-zag.
Motherhood: Quit trying to be perfect, they are growing up to be wonderful kids even with your imperfections.

2.
Mowing the Lawn: You kind of want to do it for the tan and the exercise.
Motherhood: You kind of want to do it to make sure you’ve got someone to take care of you when you’re old. (Come on, I kid.)

3.
Mowing the Lawn: You plow over the weeds and they disappear…until they come back bigger and badder. (Please just let “badder” be a word today.)
Motherhood: You can only cover up bad behaviors in yourself and your kids for so long until they turn into real problems.

4.
Mowing the Lawn: You have to stop for an occasional water break.
Motherhood: You have to stop for occasionally often coffee breaks.

5.
Mowing the Lawn: On hot days, you sweat a gallon of sweat.
Motherhood: On most days, you sweat worrying about them, even though you’re trying your best not to be a mommy-hovercraft.

6.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes despite your best efforts, you miss a patch of grass.
Motherhood: You try to do everything, be everything, teach them everything, give them every opportunity; you can’t do it all, but you’re doing your best.

7.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes you get blisters on your hands and your upper body goes numb from the lawn mower vibrations.
Motherhood: Sometimes you feel beat up and numb from exhaustion, but you’ve got to fight back against the negativity your ego is trying to feed you, because you’re a great parent!

8.
Mowing the Lawn: You just keep pushing even when you’re exhausted, because you just want to finish the entire lawn.
Motherhood: You just keep pushing even when you’re exhausted, because you have little miracles that need you!

9.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes you run out of gas or need to change the oil. When that happens, I call my hubby to help.
Motherhood: Sometimes you run out of gas and need to immediately schedule a massage and a date with a good girlfriend.

10.
Mowing the Lawn: There are always obstacles in your way, but it’s kind of fun to run circles around the trees.
Motherhood: There are always obstacles that pop up, but rather than stressing that things didn’t go according to your plans, choose a positive attitude and make it fun!

11.
Mowing the Lawn: You get in a groove, like you’re on auto-pilot.
Motherhood: When you get in a groove, you are quickly shaken back to reality, because the “norm” doesn’t stay the norm for long. Seriously, how can they love Goldfish one week and hate them the next?! And how can 12:30pm be the naptime sweet spot for 3 weeks, but then they don’t want to sleep until 2pm the next week?!?

12.
Mowing the Lawn: When you’re finished, you have an awesome sense of accomplishment.
Motherhood: You’re never finished, but they’re always yours and you’re so proud of them!

Have a great week! Let’s keep in touch! Please connect via Facebook or Twitter.

Natasha

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Same Playground, Such Different Lives

We’ve probably all experienced similar “fun” on the playground. Rowdy big kids plowing over smaller kids. Kids fighting over swings or their turn down the slide. Kids throwing rocks. Maybe it’s your kids that day clogging up the slide by running up instead of sliding down or jumping on the wobbly bridge to nearly knock little ones off just for kicks.

We have grown to just expect this stuff at the playground. Generally, there is a parent or guardian nearby eventually encouraging their little people to “take turns,” “let that little boy go next,” “stop eating sand,” “not walk in front of the swings,” or whatever it may be.

Same Playground, Such Different LivesI keep a pretty close watch on my little guys when we venture to the playground, but as they get older, I try not to hover! Playground play is a great way for them to learn how to interact with other children. I want them to be able to use the “taking turns” skills I’ve taught them. I want them to try to work out their playground problems by themselves. I want them to see and play with children of different ages, races, and sizes. I want them to explore and discover new secret spots beneath the bridges and slides. I want them to find bugs and pretend rocks are cupcakes and chicken nuggets!

Every once in a while however, you’ll have that playground experience that makes your blood boil! I had one last night.

The boys and I were enjoying the beautiful weather at a local park with several play areas. At the first playground we played for a few minutes in glorious solitude and then almost like they were craving other children to play with, they demanded we move on to the next playground that had three older kids using it. They were rowdy and throwing around a plastic bubble gum container that nearly hit us several times, but we were all unphased. The parents called out the occasional, “settle down” or “don’t hog the slide.” Nothing out of the ordinary here!

Our last stop was to the toddler playground. When we arrived, there were four little boys (ages 5 and younger) already there playing; their parents were nearby. I watched in awe as they flying squirrel-spider monkeyed it all around the playset. They were standing up on the steering wheels, climbing on top of the tunnel slides, walking across the top braces of the bridges, back and forth, climbing higher and higher and then back down again. Geesh, I’m exhausted just remembering it.

It became clear to me the moment we arrived, we were fresh bait and two of the kids came circling around us immediately. Picture me, a crazy Pac-man momma going from slide to slide to the stairs and back to the slides, everything we decided to do, the little spider monkey boy purposely raced in front of us to get there first and then wouldn’t move out of the way to give the boys a turn. He didn’t have shoes on, so he had really good grip and could really climb and move fast!

We gave up on the slides and they went up on the bridge instead. That’s when I met the five year old. I know he was five, because he told me. His exact words were, “I’m five, but my grandpa says when I’m 18 I can go in the alcohol and cigarette stores.”

Then he got really frustrated that his blue slushy drink was out of liquid and wanted me to take the cup and fix it for him. Again, I sent a stare to the parents; seriously, help your kid! He threw a tantrum that I wouldn’t take his cup and mustering up all the helpfulness I could, I told him, “Honey, you just have to shake it up or you might have to let it melt a little.”

Meanwhile, 3 year old ninja continued to nearly knock my kids off the bridge and block them from using anything on the playground. I could tell my boys were getting frustrated, but they were still playing it cool.

We went over to a smaller tunnel slide and my son got half way down when the little ninja climbed up the slide and tried to climb over my son to the top. My little guy was stuck in the middle with his leg bent back and I couldn’t get to him, he was screaming. I didn’t want to touch spider monkey, because let’s face it, you just don’t do that today and because his parents were right there… still doing nothing. I eventually got my little guy out and with authority, he and his brother raced to the other slide to try to get a turn. Nope. This time the little ninja actually just crawled over their bodies.

That was it. I calmly grabbed him under the arms and gently took him off my kids. Then, less calmly I said to the parents, “I’m sorry, but is this your kid?!”

They said no.

Me: “You’re kidding right?”

Them as they are leaving: “No, they aren’t our kids.”

Me a little worried that these young kids are unattended: “Well, where are their parents?”

Them pointing to an old man sitting what felt like a mile away, “Maybe him.”

Me: “No?”

Then I asked the 5 year old, “Where is your dad?”

He said, “I don’t have a dad.”

Me: “Where is your mom?”

Him: “She’s working. I might get a stepdad though if my mom gets married to Todd.”

Me pointing to the man sitting with his back to the playground a mile away: “Is that your grandpa?”

Him: “Yes.”

While we had this conversation, little ninja continued to harass my boys, so I finally just scooped them up and started walking to the car. The entire walk my boys were chanting, “Mommy, naughty boys don’t get ice cream.” I thanked them for being so patient and reminded them how it’s nice to share and take turns when we’re at the playground. When we got home and they got ice cream.

The experience was actually pretty blood boiling intense as you’d expect when strangers get aggressive with your kids!

I broke into tears though that night as I retold the story to my husband. The kids were nearly the same ages as our children. They were basically alone, unwatched, and uncared for at the playground. I don’t know the details of their lives, but I suspect they aren’t really “naughty boys,” they are just little boys that need more attention, affection, and direction.

The five year old’s words replayed in my head, “I don’t have a dad.” I cried again, why do some little boys grow up with the most amazing dad ever and other little boys don’t get one?

I remembered that little boy desperately begging for my help with his blue slushy; it felt like a desperate plea for attention or a kind, motherly moment.

Three and five year olds shouldn’t be worrying about cigarettes and alcohol; they shouldn’t be figuring out how to terrorize the next kids that show up on “their” playground.

We play on the same playground, but we live such different lives.

Please send up a prayer with me for our children; for the world’s children. Keep them safe Lord. Help them know you and guide their sweet little feet.

Love,

Natasha

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Mini Van Got Keyed; How Shall I Survive?!

Does anyone ever feel like they are called to something greater?

First, I am in no way saying that being a mother isn’t the greatest. It is a wonderful gift and perhaps the most important job in the world.

But sometimes, as a mom, you get bogged down in all of the poo and boogers and start to fixate and worry about really silly stuff and miss the “something greater.”

VanAs we left church recently and began to load up the van, my husband mentioned that it looked like someone had keyed the side of our van. I ran over to his side and sure enough, there was a long line across the side. I was fuming! In the church parking lot, really!? As I investigated further, I nearly broke out into hives as I noticed not only one long line, but an almost artful crazy keying of the entire side and front of our van. Circles, squiggles, lines….on the door, by the handles, on the hood…it was all over! I was so angry at the thought that someone would ruin someone else’s property so deliberately, but I also felt kind of creeped out, because I felt like we were targeted. Was this vandalism personal? Was someone watching and laughing from the bushes at my obvious anger?

When we got home, I jumped out to evaluate the destruction further, spouting things like, “You just can’t keep anything nice these days!” and “What is wrong with people; who would do this?!” Then using my best detective skills, I suddenly noticed that all of the lines were mysteriously only at a height where my toddlers could reach. The memory of the little airplanes with wheels I bought them last week slammed into my head with mocking laughter. “Mahahaha, silly woman, it was your own kids that art-worked your van when they used it as a landing strip for their airplanes, not some scary stranger.”

Well, I was still really ticked off, but much less so when I had identified the alleged little vandals. I thought, “Ugh, now I not only have to drive a minivan, but I have to drive a keyed-up ghetto cruiser!” I was brought up to respect your property, keep it up and in good shape, so this was hard for me to swallow. I know dad, you are probably sweating just thinking about this, but maybe you can help me buff out the scratches!

Scratches in a van, annoying for sure, but still so very arbitrary.

My brother-in-law has been in the hospital for weeks; my super star mother-in-law and her team of helpers have been with him every second. I’m sure she is just beat. I just learned that a dear friend has been suffering from major depression for months. How did we not know? A friend from my mom’s group just asked for prayers for a mother of four who was diagnosed with a stage four rare skin cancer. She has four children!

I’m sure you could come up with your own list similar to the above.

In the midst of all that dark, heavy, sadness, here we are, spending precious time being annoyed at something someone posted on Facebook, stressed about the toddler meltdown that happened at the grocery store, anxious about the future or finances, tired because the kids aren’t sleeping well, crabby because we don’t get enough date nights, and just complaining and worried all the time about silly things. Silly, joy draining things.

If Facebook annoys you, take a break and be thankful you even have a computer and fingers to type with.

If your toddler has a crazy meltdown, take a deep breath, feel solitude in the fact that thousands of moms around the world experienced a similar tantrum today and send up a prayer of thanks that you have been blessed with children.

If you are anxious about the future or finances, do whatever you can to set yourself up for success and spend the rest of your time on your knees asking for guidance and strength. Thank God you are healthy and even have a future to care about.

If you are tired because the kids aren’t sleeping well, again, know you aren’t alone and remember those little ones won’t fit in your cuddle spot for long. Hold them tighter, even if it’s 3am and the third time that night you’ve come to their rescue.

If you are crabby because you haven’t had a date night, schedule one, even if it is cuddling on the coach when the kids go to bed. Be thankful you have a significant other to miss and to love.

If you are a worrier or complainer (aren’t we all sometimes), let it go. Quit allowing anxiety to steal your joy, your life, your something greater.

Life is hard. Being a parent is hard. The little snags and stresses we experience are real. But there are things that are harder and more stressful than the little stuff we blow up into fake big stuff.

Maybe the feeling we feel sometimes – the feeling that we are called to do something greater – will push us to change the world in significant ways! Or maybe this call to something greater is really just a call to be a “greater” mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend (dad, hubby, brother, son, grandparent, etc.) wherever life finds us right now.

We can be greater if we stop focusing on our arbitrary problems, live lives full of gratitude and instead reach out to the people in our lives that are suffering from the real stuff.

If we all did this, it would change the world in significant ways too.

This is not a 30 day challenge; it is an every second of our lives challenge!

Fight first world problems with gratitude!

Love,

Natasha

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No, We ARE NOT Chasing Butterflies

It is Farmer’s Market season here again! There is no way I’d rather spend my Saturday morning than waiting in line at our favorite bakery, praying there will be at least one ginormous scone left, grabbing a freshly dripped cup of coffee from a local roaster and then strolling through the booths of fresh spring goodies.

It is also so much fun to see people headed back to their cars with their Farmer’s Market score of the day. Everyone seems so happy already thinking out where they are going to hang those massive flowering baskets, or what on earth they will bake with 5 pounds of fresh rhubarb, or convincing themselves how wise they were to spend $30 on pastries and bread alone.

I find the Farmer’s Market so refreshing! It’s great to get ultra fresh foods, support local families, be outdoors, and spend time with family.

One of my favorite parts of our Farmer’s Market is the bright orange food truck that serves some of the most creative, fresh, and flavorful food in town. Usually, I visit the food truck at the end of our Farmer’s Market visit to put a few more minutes between the breakfast I’ve already eaten at home, the enormous (I’m sure calorie-free) scone I just downed and whatever I’m about to order and pretend is lunch even though it’s only 10:15am.

Recently as the boys and I were waiting for our food truck treasure, I noticed a mom with her three young children sit down at a nearby bench. Mom left the kids and walked just a few feet to order from the food truck. The kids quickly got up off the bench and started being kids. When mom noticed they had left the bench she yelled at them and all I heard was, “NO, WE ARE NOT CHASING BUTTERFLIES!”

Butterfly

Do you ever find yourself in one of those extremely rare “My kids are being perfect angels today! Best day ever!” bubbles? I was in one of those bubbles at that moment. It was a beautiful sunny day, we scored the last two “candy cookies” (M&M cookies) from the bakery, I was about to indulge in an awesome orange food truck sandwich, and the boys were being awesome! Sweet, precious, happy bubble moment!

So, when this mom yelled, “NO, WE ARE NOT CHASING BUTTERFLIES!” to her kids, I’m not going to lie, I road my happy bubble for a few seconds and was thinking, “Whoa, settle down lady, they are just being kids!” And then I laughed, because I remembered how quickly the happy bubble can pop and how the “No Chasing Butterflies” mom could easily be me in the next minute when my toddlers start being, well, toddlers.

Have you had a happy bubble moment?

Have you had a judge-y mom moment?

Anyway, this incident reminded me of how easy it is to say crazy things to our kids in the heat of a moment. In reality, I’m sure that mom absolutely wants her children to chase butterflies! I mean, people have entire Pinterest boards filled with images and quotes about how we should chase butterflies and all that jazz.

What have you said to your children in the heat of the moment that didn’t really make sense?

Have you said something crazy to your kids and then had a good laugh later after thinking about it?

At mass on Sundays the priest uses this big brush-like thing (fancy name: aspergillum*) to sprinkle (MONSOON) us with holy water. My boys have really been into recreating this moment at home. They build holy water sprinklers out of tinker toys and then run around the house flicking them at each other and singing the “Come to the Water” song we sing on Sunday. It really melted my heart the first dozen or so times it happened. One day, during the boys’ at home holy water blessing, I realized that they were actually dipping their holy water sprinklers into their milk glass. I came into the kitchen to find milk splattered over the floors and walls and a full cup of milk tipped all over the floor.

This was a bubble pop moment for me. This was my recent, “quit chasing butterflies” moment! It was just so cute until there was milk everywhere. I started mopping up the milk with towels and yelled, “WE. DO. NOT. DIP. Our Holy Water…Thing-ies…IN. OUR. MILK!” Then I gave them each a towel to help me clean up and quietly laughed at the ridiculousness that just came out of my mouth. And later I made a point to look up what those Holy Water thing-ies were actually called; see above*).

Have you had a bubble pop moment?

Here are the lessons I was reminded of at those times:

  • If we don’t cry over spilled milk, then we don’t yell over spilled milk either, Momma!
  • Words and the tone of our words are so powerful, especially to our children!
  • We need to encourage our children (and ourselves) to chase MORE butterflies.
  • Don’t judge other moms, because it could be you in the next minute (or second)!
  • Enjoy the happy bubble moments and laugh more when they pop.

Love,
Natasha


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Adoption Loss: Thinking of My Almost Daughter on Mother’s Day

I hope all of the mammas out there had a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend. I had a lot of fun! The kids slept in, they were perfect angels in church, and I scored the very last white frosted, filled long john at the gas station. Ahhhh, the simple things in life!

It took longer than expected for me to become a mother. For years, I remember holding back sobs as the priest asked all of the mothers to stand for a special blessing during Mother’s Day mass. I’m so very thankful for my little miracles. I love that I can say I have sons! I have sons!

Last month my husband and I were expecting to welcome the next little miracle into our family, a daughter. Unfortunately, the adoption fell through.

While I spent this Mother’s Day so grateful for my little boys, a little piece of me mourned for the little girl that I thought would call me mommy.

I’m praying for her, her birthmother, and for everyone who has experienced an adoption loss.

Waiting on our next miracle

To my sweet almost baby girl.

I never had the chance to meet you and you will never know who I am, but if I could, I would tell you how much I loved you while I thought you were going to be my daughter.

My heart was pounding with joy as the agency first told me about you and that your birthmother had chosen us as your forever family. We had all been praying for you and for your birthparents for so long and we were so thankful to finally learn about you!

I was so excited to tell your daddy about you for the first time. I wrote him a letter from you that said you were only about 3 pounds and still warm and cozy in your birthmom’s belly. The letter ended with, “P.S. Will you walk me down the aisle someday daddy?”

He was so shocked and happy, “A little girl. A little girl!”

You were due to arrive the day after my birthday and you would have been the best birthday blessing ever! I had visions of our future April birthday celebrations.

We prayed for you constantly, for your health and protection. We never stopped praying for your birthmother either.

And then it seemed like your birthmother had changed her mind and you were suddenly ripped from our future.

I hadn’t even held you in my arms yet, but I already missed you. I had already fallen in love with you and your birthmother and now you were both never going to be part of our lives. I cried…a lot.

A few months passed, but I could never quite let you go. I prayed for you and your birthmom every day. I’d imagine your birthmom at her job, on her feet for hours, and I’d ask God to bring her comfort, strength, energy, and peace.

Then, a week before your due date, something changed again and it looked like you were suddenly going to be my daughter!

We were just so thankful and excited to finally meet you and your birthmom.

Your big brothers talked about, “bringing baby sister home.”

We packed up all kinds of lovely baby girl goodies and traveled to meet you.

I imagined God being with your birthmom, calming her fears and easing her pain during the C-section. I asked God to place His healing hands on your birthmom’s belly and body to take away her pain after the surgery. I asked God to totally engulf and protect you in His loving embrace.

We waited and prayed and waited. And again, it became clear that you wouldn’t be our baby girl after all.

Day after day, I’ve prayed for you, my sweet almost baby girl.

I’ll never know why our paths crossed the way they did and for only a short time, but I trust in God’s plans for both of us. Perhaps you or your birthmother needed a sea of extra love sent your way or a mountain of prayers prayed for your health and safety. I know we were at least able to share that with you. May God bless and protect your future my sweet almost daughter.

To those suffering from the pain of adoption loss, may God give you strength.

Love,

Natasha

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Original photo by Katie Frank Photography.