Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

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


26 Comments

Chronicle of a Serial Kisser

Does anyone else have a super affectionate toddler?

One of my little guys asks me about ten times a day for a “bik-ug,” aka big hug. Every single time he asks me, even if I’m wrist deep in raw chicken prep for dinner, I stop what I’m doing, get down to his level and give him his big hug (okay I wash my hands first if I have to). And then he goes off on his merry way until the next time.

I made a promise to myself when the hug phenomenon began several months ago that I would always immediately stop what I was doing and give him a hug when he asked, because let’s face it, he probably won’t be asking me ten times a day for a hug for very long.

I pray for my children that they will be able to show affection and be able to express their feelings, so hopefully he’ll be able to carry at least some of this sweet affection of his into his future.

Chronicle of a Serial Kisser

One day, grandpa took the boys to the park, so I could have a little precious “me time.” Later, he filled me in on the day and said they had a blast together, but mentioned that my little guy had to hug every mom at the park before he left. Yes, little man can be quite the charmer. I can just imagine my dad (grandpa) with shocked and nervous laughter trying to collect the little one and quietly put the hugging to a rest. I had a good laugh at the story and bookmarked in the back of my mind that I need to somehow teach him not to hug strangers.

Well, fast forward to today, we were in a cute local store and I was ogling their tea selection when a little old man that worked there came over and started chatting with the boys.

Well, it didn’t take long for my hugger to run arms opened wide toward the little old man and be swept up into his arms. He proceeded to give the man a huge hug, I’m talking the arms around his neck and head on his shoulder kind of hug.

I’m usually pretty cautious about stranger danger; I especially hate when strangers touch the boys’ hair (they have very cute curly/afro hair). I’m 75% certain that I might pat the head of the next person that pats their heads, just to show them how weird it is to pat a stranger’s head, even a toddler’s.

But, anyway, I digress, the below situation felt “controlled,” so I wasn’t too crazy about it…

I was about to collect my affectionate bear cub when he suddenly tried to give the old man a kiss. Now, the little old man was clearly from a different generation, one where he likely never even kissed his father or son, so imagine his great surprise!

The man finally figured out why the little dude was squirming so much, it was because he was trying to kiss him on the lips, of course the cheek wouldn’t do! AHHHHHH!

I grabbed the bear cub out of the man’s arms, threw the man a smile and said, “Honey, we do not kiss strangers. We only kiss mommy and daddy and brother and Grammie and Grandpa.”

Then I secretly laughed all the way to the cashier.

I know we need to teach our kids about stranger danger and all of that and I certainly don’t want my toddler kissing and hugging strangers….but I wish you could have all been a fly on the wall in that room to see the little comedy show I witnessed today.

Sweet little old man squirms in horror as he realizes overly affectionate toddler boy is attempting to kiss him…on the lips. The serial kisser strikes again.

Let’s maybe not go kissing strangers, but let’s learn to show affection to our loved ones as freely and openly as our kids do.

Does anyone else have an overly affectionate toddler?

How did you teach him who to kiss and who not to kiss!?

Love,

Natasha

125-tmb (2)

Check this out over at Miranda Writes’ Coffee Chat link up.

Advertisements


12 Comments

Holy Week Reflection: “The Literal Heart of Jesus”

In John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars (I haven’t seen the movie version yet), the main characters attend a cancer support group in the basement of a church. The meeting physically takes place in the center of a cross painted on the floor.

“We all sat in a circle right in the middle of the cross, where the two boards would have met, where the heart of Jesus would have been.”

The book’s characters mockingly call their support group meeting spot, “The Literal Heart of Jesus.”

Since Holy Week is upon us, there seems like no better time to contemplate the “literal body of Jesus.”

All year long we read and hear about Jesus’ ministry, the miracles He performed, and the message He shared. I don’t know about you, but I find myself getting rather swept up in His awesomeness and honestly forget sometimes that He was a man. A man that walked and talked and breathed and hurt and laughed and loved…just like us (or really us just like Him, since we’re made in His image).

As we walk with Jesus during Holy Week, it isn’t difficult to visualize Him as man.

Literal Heart of JesusCan you imagine His hands as He held up the bread and wine at The Last Supper, sharing Himself with His disciples?

Can you imagine what might have been going through His mind as He contemplated the fate He knew was close? Did He feel sadness when He was betrayed by one of His own followers? Was He afraid?

Can you imagine His head throbbing from the thorns pushed deep into His skin?

Can you imagine His face smeared with blood and sweat and spit?

Can you imagine how His arms and shoulders must have been on fire with the weight of the cross?

Can you imagine His bloody knees as they hit the ground for the third time?

Can you imagine how His legs must have been shaking, exhausted from the long journey to His death?

Can you imagine His feet breaking and bleeding as the nails were driven through them?

Can you imagine the excruciating pain in His lungs as He drew His final breath?

No, it isn’t difficult to imagine Jesus, the man, during Holy Week. His suffering (for us) was brutal and sadly easy to visualize.

As I read about “The Literal Heart of Jesus” in John Green’s book, I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus’ heart is the part of Him that might be the most difficult to visualize and understand.

Through all of the betrayal, the thorns, the spit, the beating, the cross, the crucifixion…through all of that…there was no hatred in Jesus’ heart. How is that possible?

We threaten to “kill” people when they cut us off in traffic. We “unfriend” someone when they say something that annoys us on social media. We give our spouses the silent treatment when they forget to do the chore we asked them to do five times. We yell at our children too easily. We won’t even lift our heads to acknowledge a passing stranger.

But Jesus, no. While every inch of Jesus was in human misery, He was not hating. While He hung dying on the cross, He was forgiving. That kind of unconditional love – in the midst of so much hate being shot at Him – is unfathomable. We can barely understand it as humans.

Cleary, His was the Most Sacred, most incredible heart that has even existed on earth.

As we enter into Holy Week, while we are heart broken by the pain our Lord experienced to save us, let us more so be in awe of and strive to embody His unconditional, incomprehensible love.

Wishing you a meaningful and blessed Holy Week.

Natasha


12 Comments

Joy in the Junk of Life

Joy is pretty awesome right? I mean, I’ve always loved the idea of joy. I know there are times I definitely feel joyful. I enjoy pinning joyful reminders to my inspiration board with thousands of other joyful Pinterest users. I always covet those shabby chic signs made out of barn wood and hand-painted with joyful messages.

“Choose Joy!”

“Joy is a choice you make every day.”

“Got Joy?”

To me, joy has always kind of been in the same category with grace. Both, super awesome. Both, have a God connection. Both, would leave me stuttering for a few seconds if someone put me on the spot asking me to define them.

How do you define joy? What is the first thing that pops into your head?

Many people define joy by quoting instances in which they feel joyful. Joy is being with my family. Joy is a great conversation with a friend. Joy is giving back to my community. I feel joyful when I do X. But, that isn’t really defining joy, it is just stating when you feel joy.

A quick dictionary search of the word joy returns defining words such as delight, elation, glee, bliss, and jubilation. Certainly those words describe joy to some extent, but all of those words are feelings. So, they aren’t really defining joy either, but rather they describe the feeling you get from joy.

Is joy a feeling? Maybe, but I’ve always felt joy is more of a state of mind or even better, a state of heart.

I recently heard Kay Warren speak at a Women of Faith conference. She shared that on the absolute worst day of her life, the day she found out her son had committed suicide, she still managed to choose joy. I thought, if she could choose joy while in the midst of a mother’s worst nightmare, what does that mean for the rest of us?PicsArt_1414758402715 We all experience challenges, stresses, and sadness in our lives. Choosing joy in those tough situations, doesn’t mean we are celebrating them. It doesn’t mean we’ll proclaim from the roof tops if we hate our job, “I love my crappy boss!” We won’t sing and dance with joy if our car gets totaled or our water heater quits working. We won’t high five strangers if we get robbed. We won’t knuckle bump our waiter if our order comes out wrong or if our food is cold.

Joy is not a feeling you feel in a happy moment that just goes away; true joy is a state of being.

Joy is rooted in your belief that God is in control.

To have joy, is to have confidence that God’s got your back.

Joy is a lack of anxiety, because you are at peace, fully trusting in the Lord.

PicsArt_1414758945807

When I asked my husband if he bought into the idea that joy is rooted in our relationship with God rather than merely a feeling, his response nailed exactly what I had been trying to describe. Leave it to my wise hubby!

He said,

“When you are right with the Lord, it’s like armor, you will still get hit, but you will be more resilient.”

The morning after I wrote the majority of this post, I opened my bible to the reading for the day and God delivered the perfect verses.

“Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11 

“In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17

Things happen in life. We will have bad days. We will have sad moments. But, I truly believe if we have a spirit of joy in the Lord, it is like armor protecting us, helping us to not be totally consumed by darkness. If you have joy, finding joy in the “junk” of life is easier.

Sometimes your spirit of joy gets widddled away from years of junk or from one terrible junk filled year. I’ve heard that many people  gain two to three pounds over the holiday season and then don’t lose that weight. In one year, two pounds doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if you multiple two pounds times 30 years that means in 30 Christmases I’ll be 60 pounds heavier. Pass.

I’ve definitely had my joy widdled away in the past. A year in an awful job, years of infertility, the death of my sweet father-in-law, and an awful, traumatic experience a few months ago…while I’ve been able to have happy moments and see my many blessings through it all; these things have left my joy lack-luster and me worn out.

These things test us, they pile up, and widdle away our joy. We can’t let them. We need to remain close to our Lord especially in our darkest, most lonely moments. If you feel joyless, try working on your relationship with God. I’ve really been focusing on my relationship with God and I can honestly say I feel like I’ve finally gotten my sparkle back. Sure, I still have moments when I want to scream or cry, because my boys won’t stop screaming or crying. But, I feel that sweet armor around me, I feel rooted in His joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusted and found help. So my heart rejoices; with my song I praise my God.” Psalm 28:7

Love, Natasha


7 Comments

Adoption Language: To Say or Not to Say

Believe it or not, there is actually a great deal of controversy over adoption language, meaning the words and phrases we use to describe adoption and all those involved.  Let’s face it, what isn’t there controversy about these days?! I could be posting about my favorite lolly-pop flavor and a dozen people would find someway to be offended, another 25 would comment on how it’s crazy my favorite flavor isn’t the same as their favorite flavor and a handful of people who are always much smarter than everyone else would remind me that I missed spelled lollipop and that the preferred term is sucker.

And you know what…that’s okay! Thank goodness we can all hold and express different opinions.   Thank goodness we can all like a different lollipop flavor; mine is rootbeer by the way.

Lollipops

Words are powerful; the way we express our opinions truly matters.  As Hawk Nelson says in his song, “Words can build you up, words can break you down, start a fire in your heart or put it out. Let my words be life.”

I mention this simply because people and families touched by adoption may use slightly different language to describe adoption and that is okay as long as the language used is respectful to all parties involved.

So, taking that into consideration, here’s how we talk about adoption.

Adoption Language Tips:

  1. CONSIDER: Birthmom, Birthdad; INSTEAD OF: Real mom, Real dad
    We use the terms birthparent, birthmom, and birthdad when we talk about the people that gave our children life. The term “birthmom” for example, is not meant to diminish the significance of our birthmom by saying, “she gave birth to you, that’s it.”  Rather, “birthmom” to us describes the amazing woman that choose life for her children; the woman who loved her children enough to let them go for a chance at a life she felt she couldn’t give them. 
  2. CONSIDER: Chose adoption; INSTEAD OF: Gave her child up for adoption
    We use the term “chose adoption” when we talk about the decision our birthmother made for her children. To say, “she gave her children up for adoption,” implies it was some quick, easy decision in which she just happily handed her little one over.  We are taught that the correct “positive adoption” terminology to use is, she “made an adoption plan.” That seems a bit too business-y to me. We say “she chose adoption,” because it communicates that our birthmom made the decision that adoption was the best option for her children. 
  3. CONSIDER: Blessed by Adoption; INSTEAD OF: Adoptive Parent
    There are still times I find myself describing myself as an adoptive parent.  As adoptive parents (see what I did there), we struggle to find ways to describe ourselves. We know we are “normal” parents to our little ones, but we are also part of a unique larger group of families who have adopted. Instead of saying, “I love meeting other adoptive parents” try “I love meeting other families touched/blessed by adoption.” 
  4. CONSIDER: Open to any race; INSTEAD OF: Race doesn’t matter
    On the road to finding our adoption agency, one of the first questions agencies asked us about was race. It’s easy to say, “Oh, race doesn’t matter to us.”  People say that with open hearts and good intentions, but if you think about it…race does matter or at least it should. It matters, because it is part of the child’s identity and as a parent it will be your job to help educate and celebrate that part of their identity with them. 
  5. CONSIDER: My child; INSTEAD OF: My adopted child
    When you adopt, there is kind of this strange line between being proud that your family has been touched by adoption and just being the normal family that you are. You don’t have to introduce your children as “your adopted children.” Your children are now just YOUR awesome children and your family is a crazy “normal” family. Don’t get me wrong, talk about adoption with your kids, answer questions, and if it feels right for your family celebrate  “adoption holidays” like Gotcha Day. But, also be sensitive, especially as your children age that they may not want a reason to stick out or be different.

Whatever you call yourself, your babes, or the people that blessed you with those little ones, however you talk about adoption; may your words bring life and love.

Love,

Natasha


14 Comments

10 Ways to Use the “F” and “S” Words More

Wait, what words were you thinking of?

I was thinking about two of the most difficult and most necessary words in our vocabulary, the “F-word” is FORGIVENESS and the “S-word” is SORRY.

Rocks - f-s wordsI can remember arguing with my sister when we were little and while I don’t remember the content of the arguments, I do remember the aftermath…the apology forced out of us by our parents.  My parents were big on apologies and big on doing it right away!  Mom and Dad always said, “Never go to bed angry.”  As a little girl this meant having to hug my little sister and say the dreaded words, “I’m sorry,” seconds after our fight had ceased, which of course meant we were both still fuming.

Have you every given a hug to someone and it felt like hugging an ice sculpture?  It feels icy cold with no effort on the hug-back.  That’s what those apologetic hugs were like back then.  If the hug wasn’t bad enough, we usually ended up saying “sorry” 25 times before it sounded loud and clear enough and “like we meant it.”  The truth is, we didn’t mean it, not at that moment, seconds after our spat, but looking back I can now appreciate and understand the lesson in forgiving and asking for forgiveness that our parents were trying to teach us.

Motherhood and wifey-hood provide endless opportunities to hone your use of the “F” and “S” words.

Here are 10 Ways to Use the “F” and “S” Words More:

  1. Never Go to Bed Angry: Life is short and you never know what will happen in the next week or next day or next minute.  Don’t let the last words you speak to someone by words of anger or pain.
  2. Apologize in Person: There are so many ways to get a message to people today!  Even if you have done the hurting via social media, don’t apologize through social media or a text!  Apologize in person, so you can look the person in the eyes and give them an “I’m sorry” hug.  At the very least, pick up the phone!
  3. Take Responsibility: Watch yourself, it is easy to say, “I’m sorry, BUT…..”  If there is a BUT in your “I’m sorry,” then it probably isn’t authentic, because you are not taking full responsibility.  This is especially easy to do as a parent.  I’ve caught myself about to say, “Mommy is sorry for yelling, but you were being really naughty.”  That is a fake apology that basically is saying, “I’m sorry, but it really was your fault.”

    “If there is a BUT in your “I’m sorry,”
    then it probably isn’t authentic.”

  4. Be an Example: The best way to teach our children and others how to ask forgiveness and how to forgive others is through our actions.  It’s important for our kids to see us humbling ourselves, acknowledging, “Mommy messed up; I’m so sorry; I’ll try better next time.”
  5. Mean It: If you say, “I’m sorry,” mean it!  Saying “I’m sorry” and making the same mistakes over and over again eventually renders the “I’m sorry” meaningless.  A true “I’m sorry” is coupled with, “I’ll try better!”
  6. Give Second Changes:
    “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -CS LewisForgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  7. Be Cautious When Demanding Apologies: Children especially do many well-intentioned things that turn into mini-disasters.  For example, if your little one is attempting to bring you breakfast in bed, but accidently spills the tray all over the carpet, do not crush him by demanding an apology!  He had a true servant’s heart!
  8. Forgive People You Don’t Know: Someone cuts you off in traffic.  The waiter at the restaurant was so rude.  The cashier at Walgreens forgot to put the stamps in my bag!  How much angry-time do we dedicate to these people?!  I promise you, those people didn’t give you a second thought, so don’t waste another second being upset with them!  Release and forgive!
  9. Ask God for Forgiveness: “The Lord never gets tired of forgiving, never.  It’s us who get tired of asking His forgiveness.” -Pope Francis
  10. Forgive Yourself First: Stop the negative self-talk and negative self-attacks.  If we don’t forgive ourselves first, we remain weak; it blocks our ability to truly shine!


Friends, I hope this post helps you find ways to use the “F-word” and “S-word” a little more fearlessly!

PS: Yes, dear little sister, I do forgive you for passing gas on my pillow all those years ago and I hope you’ll forgive me for regularly licking every piece of the pizza fries to “claim them.”  Hug and sorry!  

Love,

Natasha


28 Comments

Date Your Spouse: 5 Dates in 5 Weeks

Have you ever complained that your life is void of spontaneity? Have you grumbled that your spouse just isn’t as romantic as he used to be?

When my boys were just a few months old I read a book on baby sleep habits. One thing I’ll always remember from the book is, “sleep equals sleep,” which meant the more rest baby gets throughout the day during naps, the better baby will sleep at night.

I got to thinking; it is kind of the same with romance in a marriage. Romance equals romance, which means the more romance you put into your relationship, the more you will see reciprocated. This may not be true for every relationship, but it is for mine. When I go the extra mile to be thoughtful with my husband, it is always reciprocated in surprising and sweet ways.

date your spouse 5

I’m not talking about anything extravagant, expensive, or complicated….it’s the simple things that really seem to add up in a relationship.

So, my challenge is, instead of complaining about how your marriage is lacking of romance, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Turn up your romance game!

PS: I’m generally not into cheesiness. I’ve been known to roll my eyes at Anne Gedde baby pictures and I only call my hubby things like “snuggly-umpkins-muffin-bear-sugar-lover-face” with strong sarcasm, BUT I also think a good dose of CHEEZINESS once in a while is good for the soul….and makes you feel flirty and like kids again!  Cheeeziness makes you laugh and don’t we all love to laugh!!

So, feel free to order extra cheese on these dates!

turn up the cheeseHere are 5 simple date ideas to try, one-a-week for the next five weeks. These are simple dates you can do when the kiddos go to bed and they won’t cost you!

  1. Week One: The Love Fort (Please pronounce “love” in a super cheesy voice….LUUUUUV):
    • Build a fort out of blankets in a spare bedroom or other room where your hubby won’t see it. Fill the fort with lots of blankets and pillows. (Kids can play in the fort by day!)
    • Send your hubby a text invite him to join you in the “Love Fort” at a specific time.
    • Before the “Love Fort” date, cut 10 small hearts out of paper. On each heart, write down something you love about your hubby. Write down the first things that come to your mind. Tell him you love his eyes or how hot he looks all dressed up for work! Be creative!
    • When date time arrives, retreat to the “Love Fort” with your heart notes to wait for hubby. Play some music on your phone and turn on your flashlight app for some mood lighting.
    • Share the 10 hearts with him and seal each one with a kiss! Embrace the cheesiness….it’s fun!

 

  1. Week 2: Dessert Picnic
    • Make or buy a favorite dessert; grab your fave adult beverage.
    • Lay out a blanket in a lesser-used place of the house. Light some candles.
    • Enjoy a dessert picnic after the kiddies go to sleep. Talk about your bucket list!

 

  1. Week 3: Breakfast Surprise
    • Have a date before the kids wake-up!
    • Get up a tad early and make coffee and breakfast. You could make something special or just have cereal together!
    • Put on some “pump you up for the day” music and light some candles. What the heck, sneak in a dance too.
    • Talk about 5 things you are each thankful for today.

date your spouse 2

  1. Week 4: Redneck Dinner
    • Set-up a folding table and chairs in your driveway.  The neighbors really got a kick out of this when we did it.  My husband got home from work and slowly opened the door and asked with a smile, “Um, honey, why is there a table in our driveway?”
    • Prepare the table with a candle, plates, silverware, wine, and wine glasses.
    • I prepped all of the food inside and had it ready on a tray, which I took outside when my hubby got home.  Make whatever you want for food; I just made sandwiches with veggies and fruit on the side.
    • We had the kids eating with us too and they got a kick out of the change of scenery.  When they were finished, they played in the front yard and my hubby and I scooted closer and sipped our wine with smiles!

 

  1. Week 5: Time Capsule
    • Grab an old shoebox and fill it together with classic time capsule goodies.
    • Ideas to include: a current newspaper, a few photos of you together and with the kids, a little list of current things like stamp and gas prices, what your kids are into at this stage, where you are at in life (work, vacations, family happenings), etc.
    • Also write a little love note to your spouse, but don’t read each other’s!
    • Seal up the box and mark it with the “do not open until” date. Store the box somewhere you’ll forget about it for a while (or bury it if you’re feeling energetic)!

 

Good luck romancing! Just try something different; do something to get out of the funk of life and LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH!!

I look forward to hearing your ideas on other fun dates and your experiences from the above 5 weeks of romance!

Thanks,

Natasha

 

 

 

Shadow photos by Katie Frank.