Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

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


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As Beautiful Today as the Day I was Born

It’s fun to build a group of gym buddies. You see these people, “gym buddies,” at the gym most mornings of the week. They notice when you’re absent from a class and when you return they ask if everything is okay. You chat casually about life and family with usually little commitment beyond the gym walls. It’s fun!

Recently, I learned that one of my new gym buddies used to be an actress. She spent years in Los Angeles and Las Vegas doing her acting thing for mostly print ads and commercials; she even had some small roles on a popular crime show and soap opera. So cool!

The other day, she brought in a collection of a few of her ads and head shots (at several people’s request). It wasn’t long before a little group of people stood ooo-ing and ahh-ing over her little scrap-book. Everyone was blown away by how beautiful she was “back then.”

You are as beautiful todayIt was fun looking through her photos and reminiscing with her, but something rocked me in the pit of my stomach. I wondered if my gym buddy new how beautiful she was right now.

I said something to her in passing like, “You know you are just as beautiful today as you were in those photos.” She brushed me off saying, “No, I look much older now.” My words felt hollow, but I really did mean them.

Now as gym buddies go, you generally find out the basics of each other’s life, but the connection wouldn’t likely be deep enough for me to stomp my feet, shake her, and scream, “You are gorgeous! Right now!” And she really is, even from the little I know about her. I know she’s a mom. I know she has an awesome sense of humor and a great personality that easily makes “gym buddies.” Really, that’s enough for me to know she’s a beautiful person and that her little girls think she is the most beautiful woman in the world (Anna and Elsa being super close seconds of course).

Do you know someone that needs reminding of how beautiful they are?

Is it you?

Our bodies’ age! We get laugh lines, and stretch marks, and a few extra pounds, and a “distinguished” hair color, and maybe uglier hands (Is that just me? What is up with these dry, gorgeously wrinkled hands?!).

As Martina McBride says in her song, This One’s For the Girls:

“Every last laugh line on your face, made you who you are today.”

For all of us, on the days we feel less beautiful than we did “way back when,” I offer this simple prayer…

Lord,

Please help me remember that I am Your precious child, made in Your image.
Help me remember that to You, I am as beautiful today as the day I was born.

Please help me be patient and gentle with myself, Lord.
Help me remember that the only label I wear that matters is that I am Your beloved.

Amen.

Please pass this on to someone that needs a reminder!

Love,

Natasha

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50 Things I Never Want to Forget About My TWO Year Olds

People are always sharing this quote, especially when they find out you have young children: “The days move slowly, but the years fly by.” I couldn’t agree more. There are so many days that I look at the clock in shock that it is only 10am. How is that possible? We’ve eaten breakfast, read books, played outside, had a snack, watched Veggie Tales, had a bath…how is it only 10am! And how am I going to make it 3 more hours until naptime?

The “years fly by” part has never been more real to me than now as my boys are nearing the two and a half years mark. There are just so many signs now that they are growing up. Communication and language are huge parts of this as they say new words and longer sentences every day. It seems like yesterday they were pointing at their dresser drawer and today they are picking out a shirt saying, “Yellow shirt on Mommy.” It seems like yesterday they were dancing as I sang the ABC song and now they try to sing along and can identify A, B, C, G, O, and S. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was reading them books and now today they can identify every kind of truck in their truck book (I’m talking complicated trucks like big rig, airport fire truck, giant excavator, combine harvester, concrete mixer!)?

Of course we are so proud of our kids as they learn and grow and we know it is necessary, but there is a teensy bitter sweetness that leaves us grasping for their childhood like sand through our fingertips. These days I find myself stealing as many hugs and full on (usually snotty) mouth kisses as I can. I let my lips linger a few extra seconds on their delicate foreheads as I say a quick prayer for their protection. I force myself to slow down and enjoy the gentle grasp of their tiny hands as I help them down the stairs. I know these tender moments won’t last forever, but I just don’t want to forget them!

So, I decided to write down a few things that I never want to forget about my sweet two year olds. You don’t have to read them all, but I thought it might be a nice reminder for you to write down some of your favorites!

What do you absolutely not want to forget about whatever stage your little ones are at currently?

PicsArt_141574237063950 Things I Never Want to Forget About My TWO Year Olds

1.) Riding your bikes around the driveway, your little legs pumping so fast.

2.) Roo asking mommy for help, “A-Bu-Gee Mommy” (Help me please mommy).

3.) Tigger climbing into my chair when I’m not looking and then smiling that sneaky smile when I come back to sit down.

4.) Reading books together, both of you in my lap.

5.) When you put your arms around my neck for a “hard hug” .

6.) Kisses on the mouth.

7.) Tigger’s love of all things blue, Blue Thing (stuffed animal), blue socks, blue hat, etc.

8.) Your Shrek and Frozen movie obsessions.

9.) Roo’s fixation with Legos, a green block you call your phone, and a certain pink piece of plastic.

10.) Driving tractors with trailers up and down the hallway and all around the house with Daddy.

11.) You shoving your faces into deep into the corner during timeouts.

12.) The first time you said each other’s names.

13.) Tigger’s love of all things fire truck/fire fighter related.

14.) Roo and Baxter our dog = best bugs, Roo giving Baxter hugs.

15.) Feeding Baxter, one scoop each. And the time you nearly decapitated the dog by shutting the sliding door on him prematurely.

16.) You “helping” Daddy do dishes.

17.) You “helping” Daddy stir the pancake batter every Saturday.

18.) You both finding “Jesus crosses” everywhere.

19.) When you ask for Grammie and Grandpa, especially when mommy says no to something, “Grandpa!!!”

20.) Over and over, asking for your cousins, “Abby and Hannah, Abby and Hannah,” again, usually when you are mad at mommy.

21.) Running all over the house 15 minutes before bedtime, every night.

22.) Your preference for “blue jeans”

23.) Tigger, when you wake up to a potty accident and say, “Diaper all wet”

24.) Giving you one fruit snack after one lap around the driveway, for a whole pack of fruit snacks.

25.) Enjoying our grocery shopping trips together thanks to the huge free cookies from the bakery.

26.) Your first time trick or treating as a Chicken and a Duck.

27.) Roo’s obsession with all thing garage door, “garage door up,” “garage door down,” “garage door Mommy!”

30.) When missing daddy, “More Daddy go home,” “Daddy home”

31.) Hill running at Grammie and Grandpa’s house.

32.) “Helping” fold clean laundry. Mommy gave you one sock at a time to run to daddy in another room, daddy made the pairs, you ran the pairs back to mommy.

33.) The new winter Olympic sport you created: Olympic Snow Tricycle Riding

34.) Tigger being able to name all of the trucks in the big truck book.

35.) Helping us set the table.

36.) Sprinting to the bathroom in excitement when it’s time to brush teeth.

37.) Roo helping Daddy put your tricycle together.

38.) “Daddy up” & “Mommy up”

39.) Magically appearing in a room out of thin air, “Ello Mommy” (terrifying at times!)

40.) The magic of redirection.

41.) Packing your “valuable” toys in Mommy’s gym bag, so I can protect them.

42.) You using your mattresses as trampolines every morning. Happiest way to wake up ever!

43.) Squirting each other with water from plastic toys in the bathtub.

44.) Putting your “supplies” in the back of your tricycle baskets before you ride around.

45.) Tigger trying to carry two jeeps, two fire trucks, and two Legos around everywhere and insisting on bringing them all along when we leave the house.

46.) Roo’s love of oranges, “More ooonge please”

47.) Little butts in the air sleeping style.

48.) Tigger’s need to have TWO blankets for bed.

49.) When we tried to sneak out of church early and Tigger yelled, “Bye Jesus” (Mommy did the same when I was little!).

50.) When you try to put your winter hats on yourselves and they are all crazy with your little ears sticking out every which way.

It’s the small stuff right!?

Here’s to remembering what’s important.

What do you want to remember???

Love,

Natasha


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Book Worm Wednesday: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Book Worm Wednesday Happiness ProjectThis book idea came about when the author, Gretchen Rubin was contemplating her life one day. Sure, she was happy, but could she be even happier? The Happiness Project is “an approach to changing your life.” It is a year’s worth of monthly themes to help you focus on pumping up your happiness in those specific areas. The book feels relevant especially because of the extensive research and random facts Rubin shares throughout.

While reading, I couldn’t help but feel she is a kindred sista of sorts, because we have many things in common, such as our obsessive note taking and list making. While I love her “12 Commandments” of life and her “Secrets of Adulthood,” if I ever met her I’d remind her not to get too bogged down in rules and lists! Sometimes the very things we hope keep us organized and on track are the same things that keep us stiffly in our box.

Book Worm Wednesday: Top Ten Tidbits
The Happiness Project
by Gretchen Rubin

1.) De-clutter High:
I don’t know about you, but when my house is a mess, I feel stressed. I’m not talking about the kids toys are all over every room, kind of mess. That’s just life with kids. I’m talking about the ketchup fell out on my foot again, the pantry is puking half eaten packages of crackers at me, and when are those lazy laundry elves going to come and tackle these piles, kinds of messes. Rubin dedicates a whole section of her happiness project to tossing, restoring, and organizing. If you need a quick happiness high, try cleaning out a junk drawer! It seriously works and you’ll crave more!

2.) “Give proofs of Love”: 
Rubin appropriately selects to “Remember Love” in the month of February. One of my favorite goals in this section is to “give proofs of love.” It’s wonderful to share the words “I love you” with our loved ones, but it’s even better to prove it through our actions. I’m not talking about showering someone with lavish gifts here, but rather how we can simply show love to our family and friends. Leave your spouse a love note. Bring a pregnant friend dinner. Offer to babysit. Ask someone if they are okay. Just do anything that says you thought of them and care!

3.) “Enjoy the fun of Failure”:
I nearly broke out into hives in this section, because I hate failing! Failure… fun?!!?? Come on Gretchen, you’ve got to be kidding me. I think we all know deep down that we learn from our failures and that we try not to make the same mistake twice and that our failures make us stronger and all that jazz. BUT failing makes you vulnerable and yuck, who wants to be that?  Okay, I’m being a little silly here, clearly we want to raise kids that know “sometimes we fall down, but we always get back up.” It’s healthy for them to learn that everything in life won’t always be perfect and that that is okay. So, let’s do like Rubin and know: “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough” AND that there’s a time to “nudge myself out of my comfort zone into my stretch zone.”

4.) “Sing in the morning”:
Rubin has the advice to “sing in the morning” in her “Lighten Up” parenting chapter. I say, life’s a musical, why not sing…all day long, like one big crazy Glee-athon?! I may not have my brother-in-law’s amazing Josh Groban-y voice, but I can seriously rock out some Jesus Loves Me and Baby Beluga (okay, and secretly some Patsy Cline). One of my littles, chants for the “ray-o, ray-o” (radio) to be turned on during breakfast. Music has amazing mood altering abilities, so don’t be afraid to sing and dance crazy with your kiddies. Even if you really stink at it, they probably think you’re the most talented singer/dancer they’ve ever seen and they will try to copy your every word/move (I have two year olds, I’m guessing if you tried this with teens they would think you’re cray-cray).

5.) “Take time to be silly”:
Is there anything better than your child’s laughter? “Taking time to be silly means that we’re infecting one another with good cheer…”

6.) “Master a new technology”:
I told my husband before we had kids that he better stay up on all of the latest technology, so he can be “cool” to our kids and know what the heck they are up to. Now look at me, I figured out blogging. In fact, I’m so saturated by social media that I occasionally take fancy breaks like thousands of other mommy bloggers. We can these breaks “social media vacations” or “social media fasts” or “I quit Facebook.” Anyway, mastering a new technology does make me happy (ish) or at least like my kids would think I’m cool if they were teenagers.

7.) “Stimulate the mind in new ways”:
In Rubin’s mindfulness section she says, “As I looked for ways to become more mindful, I realized that using my brain in unfamiliar ways would enhance my experience of the present moment and my awareness of myself.” I like the idea of using the mind in different ways; it’s gotta help keep you young right?! Just try something new: yoga, drawing, dancing, comedy club, join a gym, go for a hike, volunteer…something out of your normal routine.

8.) “Laugh out Loud”:
We are so serious. A speaker I heard on the radio the other day reflected that when crazy things happen to us we say, “some day we’ll laugh about this.” She countered, “why not laugh now?!” Laughter has the power to calm boiling point moments. In those moments, it could either get ugly or get funny. I bought those disposable sippy cups with a straws for my boys. They really like drinking out of straws. I can’t tell you how much milk has been donated to my counter, floor, and face since I bought those darn cups. Just this morning, I carefully secured the cover only to have milk shoot up from the straw into my face. In that moment, I had a choice, I could throw a mommy tantrum (and I felt my blood boiling) or I could laugh it off. Luckily, laughter won that round.

9.) “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

10.) “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Amen!

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Natasha


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Why Does it Take a Tragedy for Us to Remember What’s Important?

life is precious photoMost of us have experienced some sadness or tragedy in our lives or in the lives of people we know.  We find out a grandma has cancer or a friend of a friend has miscarried or a son has died too young.  It doesn’t matter if it is something that has happened within my family or within a friend’s family twice removed, I feel absolutely rocked in those moments.

Bad news saddens us.  Our hearts break for those closest to the bad news.  We spout of reminders to ourselves and others, “life is so short,” “life is precious,” “life is fleeting.”  Then we emerge from those moments resolved to treasure our loved ones and lives a little more dearly.

And we generally do, for the next hour or the next day or if we’re lucky for the next month.  And then we forget and jolt back into the routine of our lives.

Why does it take a tragedy for us to remember to treasure what’s truly important?

We try!  We really do.  But, Life. Is. Busy.  We are running to appointments, carting kids to practice, repainting our bathroom, making the next sale, grocery shopping, working out, meal planning, or whatever it might be….and that is usually all before our second cup of coffee!

The other day, I was helping my little son walk up the stairs into our house and it was taking FOREVER (I know, give me a break, right?).  I was literally tapping my foot and I rolled my eyes, all as I was holding his precious hand waiting for him to MOVE!  That was yet another: hold up crazy mama moment!  Slow down mama.  Be thankful you have this little treasure and savor these beautiful toddler fleeting moments.

When tragedy strikes, do you ever think of your own mortality?  At the end of this life, what will matter?  What will people say in my eulogy?  Will the CEO of the company you are breaking your back for right now cry for you?  Maybe, but you’ll probably be lucky to get flowers before they clean out your desk and rehire your position.  Will all of the stuff filling up your house and garage join together and pray around your casket?  Doubt it, bet they’ll instead enjoy a trip together to Good Will.

I don’t mean to be morbid here, but honestly, what’s it going to take to get us to wake-up and start really living this life before its too late?

Please join me:

Let’s not wait for tragedy to treasure this life.
Let’s slow down and savor it.
Let’s take care of “our people.”
Let’s say yes only to what truly matters.
AND let’s remember to put the above on repeat every day so we don’t forget.

Prayers to those in pain.

With Love,

Natasha