Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

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


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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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Whips, Chains, and Water Features

I had a really interesting encounter today. I swear, I am a magnet for these things.

The boys and I decided to walk around downtown and enjoy the sunshine-y morning after the gym. We made a quick stop at a coffee shop where mommy fueled up with some java and we shared a lemon-blueberry “cookie” scone (really just a scone, but I called it a cookie hoping they’d be satisfied with it instead of the real cookie they were begging for…50% of them were). Anyway, we continued on our walk to the center of the downtown, which houses a large grassy area where we could run around a bit.

Once we arrived, the first things that got the boys’ attention were the large water fountains spraying water into the air. I never really got these specific water features. Sure, they are “cute” and add something to the downtown, but are they for ascetics only or are kids supposed to play in them or are you just supposed sit down on one of the benches fixed directly around them and take in their understated glory? It’s no Bellagio show! Seriously, where are the “rules”?

Whips, Chains, Water FeaturesAnyway, the first thing that caught my attention was the twenty-something couple that entered the park and proceeded to lay down together in the center on the cement. The woman had what appeared to be a short chain-linked dog leash around her neck and the man was leading her around on it.

Enter my internal conversation: Huh, I must have just seen that wrong. right? I bet that was just a long necklace. Huh, nope, nope, he really is walking her around like a dog. That’s normal, right? Nope, nope, not normal.

The conversation in my head continued with my plan to keep the boys’ backs to the couple, because I really wasn’t in the mood to A.) explain to my toddlers why we shouldn’t walk another human being around like a dog or B.) see my toddlers inevitably walking each other around like dogs later that day.

Well, my plan worked. It worked until the couple came right over by us and the water features. One of my little boys was in the process of working up the courage to touch the top of one of the smaller water features. The other of my little boys was 10 feet away screaming at the lunacy of getting wet in the water feature.

Dog leash lady came over to us, shaved head and neck full of chrome, and asked my son, “Do you want to see something fun?”

My response while taking a few steps back was, “Like fun-fun or fun-terrifying?”

Her response: To rip off her coat (don’t worry she had a tank top on) and run back and forth through the fountains until she was completely drenched. I’m talking water-logged drenched.

One child looked on with utter delight and one watched in confused terror.

When she stopped running through the fountains, she came back over to us and while I pretended to act like this was all cool and normal, I said something to my appalled child like, “See honey, she had no fear!”

What I was saying inside was: “What the beep is going on and how do I get the beep outta here. And how does this weird stuff always happen to me?!”

Me looking at her completely drenched clothes: “Wow, I hope you don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon; your clothes are soaked!”

Her: “I just wanted to do something to cheer him up!” she said while pointing at my little guy who had been screaming. “I like to do anything to make children happy!”

Her Boyfriend: “Well, we do have that meeting with my boss in 45 minutes.”

We talked for a few more minutes and I learned that they were currently staying at the Salvation Army and that they have a four month old son in foster care that they are trying to get back. And that he works for a friend, who was “pretty cool” and probably wouldn’t mind if his girlfriend shows up to the meeting completely soaked.

I couldn’t help but ask about that dog leash though….

Me: “So, what’s with the dog leash?”

Her: “It’s an inside joke between friends, because I get lost easily. So, he has to lead me around.”

Me: “Oh, well, can I tell you what my honest first impression of it was?”

Her: “Sure!”

Me: “Well, honestly all I could think of was how it was so objectifying to women; I mean you are letting him lead you around on a leash!”

Her: With sincere surprise in her eyes like she had really never thought of that, “No, no.”

Him: “I didn’t like the idea of it at first either.”

Me: “Anyway, just thought I’d tell you my honest opinion. So…good luck with your little one and at the meeting with your boss. Thanks for trying to make my kids smile. My parking meter is almost up, so…..bye!”

And at that very moment my water loving child ran face first into the water feature and came running back to me shivering and smiling with delight.

I’m not going to lie, I judged the pants off these people and I tried to avoid them. Given everything scary that continues to happen in our world, in normal public places, in large cities and in small communities, I suppose my initial response wasn’t really that crazy.

It wasn’t until she told me that they were living at the Salvation Army that I felt something soften slightly in me and I felt my demeanor towards them change. It was that instance that I realized I was talking to Jesus’ people.

Maybe the woman who allows someone to walk her around on a leash and the man that “leads” her around are the tax collectors and prostitutes of today. Those were Jesus’ people then and these are Jesus’ people now.

I was pretty emotional actually on my drive home thinking about my interaction with these people. I felt like I not only interacted with Jesus’ people, but also with Jesus himself.

Was I kind to Jesus?

Did I care enough about Jesus?

Did I judge Jesus unfairly?

Did I cloth Him or feed Him?

Did I listen to Him?

Did I love Him?

You just never know when you’ll meet Him. Well, actually, you know exactly when you’ll meet Him…the next time you meet or interact with ANYONE. It’s just so hard to remember that sometimes.

Keep running through waterfalls,

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: Naked Parenting by Leah DeCesare

No this is not a book about how to parent while wearing less clothing. Sorry if that disappoints you! I’m not judging. Okay, I am judging, ya weirdo. Just kidding. Okay, not just kidding.

Anyway, this is a quick, easy read with some great advice on raising confident kids.

Here are my top ten favorite tidbits from the book.

Book Worm Wednesday: Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids with Confidence
by Leah DeCesare

1.) “Nothing you can do or say will make me stop loving you.”

I definitely want me children to know this throughout their lives! No matter how upset Mommy gets, no matter how naughty you act, nothing you can do will change how much I love you! Yes, there will be consequences to your actions, but they do not change my unconditional love for you.

“Make sure they know they are loved! “Douse them in kisses. Let the ‘I love you’s’ flow. Smoosh them in hugs and be present.”

2.) “Building in free time, family time and unstructured time is just as important as providing opportunities for kids to gain new experiences and build their skills in sports, music and other enrichment activities.”

This is so difficult to remember in our society today. It seems like sports and extracurriculars jam-pack our kid’s schedules and are always more important than family time together. We want our children to have as many opportunities as possible to help them grow and to become well-rounded individuals. Let’s not forget that dinners together, game nights, and family road trips are important sports too!

3.) “Be honest in your praise and assessment of your children’s strengths and weaknesses.”

We just want to encourage our kids and see them succeed right!? I’ve never subscribed to the every child gets a medal philosophy. Doesn’t an award for 25th place teach our kids that they will be rewarded for mediocrity in the future? It doesn’t teach them the truth that they will fail in the future. Sure, I’m not going to tell my two year that he stinks at basketball. It’s too soon to know if he stinks at basketball. BUT, I am careful not to congratulate him and cheer after every awful shot he takes. I cheer after the baskets he makes and when he misses one by a mile, I say something like, “Oops, that one didn’t go in, try again.” Just an example, but you get it.

4.) “Children should know they can get honest answers from their parents about anything. Questions are opportunities to share values and beliefs….Through open communication, kids know they can come to you for honest answers and they know you respect their questions and won’t laugh at them.”

Please Lord, help my kids to always feel comfortable to come to mommy and daddy with ANY questions about ANYTHING. Please Lord, help mommy and daddy prove through our behavior and communication that we welcome ANY questions about ANYTHING from our children. Please Lord, don’t let my children learn about the “important stuff” from the media or from other children.

Naked Parenting5.) “Notice how often you speak for your kids instead of letting them talk….By encouraging kids to communicate their own needs and questions, you’re letting them know you believe in them and they’re learning self-sufficiency and independence; qualities that will serve them throughout life.”

6.) “Teaching kids how to set goals, and map out mini-goals along the path, is giving them the tools to really be anything they want to be.”

I think we forget this part sometimes as parents. We encourage our kids to dream big and tell them that they can be whatever they want to be, but we forget to teach them the tools to turn their dreams into reality.

7.) “If you don’t want to take it away, don’t say you will. If you say you’ll take it away, then you must follow through.”

This quote is from the “Naked Discipline” chapter. This one is tough! In the heat of the moment, sometimes we blurt out consequences that later we wish we wouldn’t have. If we say it, we really have to follow through or else we are teaching our kids that they can get away with stuff and that we don’t keep our word.

8.) “Don’t rob your child of the accomplishment, of the success after the hard work, because you don’t want him to feel frustrated. Let him feel the tough emotions, stand beside him to support him and love him, but he must go right through the crummy stuff to get to the good stuff.”

So true, but so hard. We don’t want our little people to suffer in any way, but we have to remember we won’t always be immediately by their side to protect them from everything.

9.) “When our oldest was a baby, we began the tradition of taking a fresh cut from our Christmas tree and writing the date and a special memory of that year’s celebration on the wedge. We now have a basket full of tree trunks and it’s a wonderful time each year when we pull them out and read them.”

I just love this idea! I think we’ll start this tradition!

10.) “Let kids in on aspects of the family finances at age-appropriate levels.”

You obviously aren’t going to overwhelm your four year old with how many bills mommy and daddy have to pay every month. BUT teaching your kids about money, how to earn it, save it, share it, and how much things cost not only teaches them about finances, but also about gratitude.
Hope you enjoyed my top ten tidbits from this book!

Love,

Natasha


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Book Worm Wednesday: Carried in Our Hearts by Dr. Jane Aronson

The author, Dr. Jane Aronson is a pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine. In this book, she has woven together a beautiful and unique compilation of adoption journeys. The stories shared are mostly about international adoptions and largely from families on the East coast (some from well-known people). There are wonderful things to soak in from each family’s experience.

Book Worm Wednesday: Carried in Our Hearts
By Dr. Jane Aronson

1.) “The world is a better place because he’s in it,” said Lynne Deluca about the baby, now young man she adopted many years ago; her son has AIDS.
What a beautiful way to think about our children. The world is a better place because you are in it my sons. What would happen if we all consciously thought about our children in this way each day? What would happen if we thought of every child in this way…the ones yet to be born, the ones on the other side of the world, the ones in our backyards?

2.) “It turns out that she gives me so much more than I could ever give her,” said Kristin Davis about her daughter, who she adopted as a single parent.
When you adopt, you may frequently hear people singing your praises and telling you what a huge heart you have, because you have “saved those children and provided them with a better life.” Who knew adopting meant automatic sainthood?! Anyone that has grown their family through adoption knows the secret…that anything we give our children is nothing close to the gift they are to us. They are the little saints.

3.) “We should send up a prayer to her parents…Maybe she was just conceived,” said Picoult as he and his wife were anxiously waiting for their little one.
It was the Christmas before we received the call in July that our sons had been born. I remember lying in bed and suddenly having an overwhelming feeling that my child was alive. It turns out that feeling was right, well, almost right…my SONS (as in twins) were alive and cozy in their birth mother’s belly. Without your child’s birth parents, you wouldn’t have your child. Why not pray for the people that gave your gift life.

4.) “Surrender, Shonda. Just…surrender. One birth mother I knew and one I didn’t. One was middle class, one was poor. One was in her thirties and one was barely in her twenties. But the situations were, oddly, exactly the same. There were babies growing in bellies and it didn’t have a thing to do with me. They weren’t my babies yet. I loved them and I loved their birth mothers and I decorated nurseries and bought baby clothes and came up with names, and all the while, running through my mind in a continuous loop, was the reminder that anything could happen. That I needed to surrender to the process.” 
Shonda Rhimes had it right when she said the above; you really have little control over the adoption process; trying to control it will drive you crazy and make the wait worse. Have no fear fellow Type A’s, you at least have control over all of the paperwork. You determine how fast or slow you complete and submit it, you can make copies and organize it in a pretty binder, you can even slap priority mail stickers on it and track the paperwork’s trip back to your agency. But after that you wait. You surrender, knowing you’ve done your part of the process for now.

Carried in our Hearts 5.) “She arrived without tears but also without a smile. I found myself waiting yet again. And the minutes became hours and the hours became days. No smile. I remember on day three when I was even funnier than usual, she looked up at me for less than a second started to smile, then quickly looked away with that almost but not quite smile following her gaze, then fading away. She wanted to smile but intentionally held back. In that moment, I understood that she had to make sure that this was for real. She had to be cautious and that caution was probably one of the early instincts she learned to survive,” said Elini Coffinas of the little girl they adopted from China.
Sometimes it’s “love at first site” and sometimes it takes longer. Patience parents. Our little ones have been through a lot. Babies miss the mommy they had for nine months and they may have met many new caretakers since their birth. Older children may have seen their mommy die or know she choose something else over them or know she desperately wanted to keep them but couldn’t; they may have lived in dozens of homes and met dozens of parent figures all prior to meeting you. Trust may take time. Patience.

6.) “What we have learned about adoption thus far is that a child on the other side of the world whom you may have yet to meet, who doesn’t look like you, and who may not even speak your language, can bless and inform your life in immeasurable ways.  -Meredith Kendall Valdez
So. True.

7.) “…each of these children is real and individual, not part of a critical mass too sizable to serve and protect.  Each has a little face that smiles and cries, little hands that grasp and pray, and a little heart that feels and needs.” -Meredith Kendall Valdez
Heart-wrenchingly powerful.

8.) Paperwork
The mountains of paperwork to complete during the adoption process was a common theme in the adoption journeys in the book and I’m sure in your own adoption journey. You might be so excited to fill out all of the paperwork immediately! You might procrastinate and burry it with dread at the bottom of your to do pile. You might start and then get overwhelmed. You might have to redo certain pieces, because your agency lost it (make copies!). Know that you are not alone! If you adopt, you do paperwork. It’s part of the journey. Not the most fun part, but part. Remember, the longer you take to finish your paperwork, the longer it will take to actually officially start the wait.

9.) ‘When the time is right and the children are ready, it will all fall into place and not before,’ an adoption agency worker told June Inderwies during her wait.
Your baby is your baby! It will all make sense once she is finally in your arms.

10.) “The Children Left Behind” is the title of the final chapter of Aronson’s book.
For all of the children lovingly adopted, how many more are left alone? The title of the final chapter, really saddened my heart. There are so many children waiting. Just waiting because they are a little too old, have a disability or illness, have psychological issues from all they’ve been through, or just because there are so many. For those sweet children I pray.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite ten tidbits from this book!

Love, Natasha


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Book Worm Wednesday: Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra

I’m a book worm. Reading is near the top of my list of fun things to do. As a mommy however, I don’t always dedicate as much time as I would like to reading. I’m working on that starting…now. If I can find time to watch brain deadening shows like America’s Next Top Model and The Bachelor, I can find time to read, right!?

What I enjoy even more than the actual reading is taking copious (possibly pointless) notes on whatever I am reading and then looking back on those notes to help me remember all of the awesomeness and inspiration learned.

The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed taking notes. I remember taking great pride in keeping a notebook for each college class and extracurricular and filling those notebooks with well-organized notes. The other truth is that I have a selective memory and while I’m inspired and awed at times by what I have immediately read, I rarely remember it (the selective part is that I’m great at remembering pointless things).

So, for me note taking is both functional and fun.

Book Worm Wednesday - ChopraIn the spirit of reading more and sharing my notes, I’m starting a series called, Book Worm Wednesday, in which I’ll share my TOP TEN favorite quotations, thoughts, or snippets from a book I’ve read.

Here is my first ever, book worm Wednesday from Deepak Chopra’s book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.  How to Create a New You.  Chopra can be a bit out there sometimes and I don’t always agree with everything he writes, but for the most part his books leave me feeling challenged and inspired. I like books that make me slightly uncomfortable and that challenge the norm.  This one does that!

Book Worm Wednesday: Top 10
Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul. How to Create a New You
By Deepak Chopra

1.) “…identical twins, born with exactly the same DNA, look very different genetically when they grow up: certain genes have been switched on, others switched off. By age seventy, images taken of chromosomes of two twins don’t look remotely the same.”
Genes actually change and adapt as life unfolds. You’d think once identical twins, always identical twins, but that isn’t the case! That means we have a chance to impact what we are dealt.

2.) “On August 7, 1974, a French acrobat named Philippe Petit breached security at the Wrold Trade Center. He climbed onto the roof and, with the help of confederates, strung a 450-pound cable between the two towers. Petit balanced himself with a twenty-six-foot pole as he walked out onto the cable, which stretched 140 feet. Both towers were swaying; the wind was high, the drop below his feet was 104 stories, or a quarter of a mile….He made eight crossings on the wire, which was only three-quarters of an inch in diameter.”
Chopra used this story in his section discussing how the brain is flexible, ever-changing, and capable of constantly learning. He claims you can “teach an old dog new tricks.” We are all capable of amazing, we just have to unlock those possibilities. I was fascinated by this story. It left me yearning for a simplier time when a guy could get past security with a 26-foot pole and pull off an innocent (although dangerous) stunt like this. It also left me wondering, what could we all DO if we had NO fear?

3.) “Seeing is active.”
It is up to us how we choose to see other people.  When you see a homeless person asking for money, do you see with fear and suspicion, which causes you to assume that person is lazy, dangerous, or just going to squander money on alcohol?  OR do you see them with love and compassion, which causes you to sincerely want to share your wealth or words with them, because you see them as a brother or sister.

4.) “Being the opposite of bad doesn’t make you good.  It just makes you the mirror image of bad.”
I’m reminded of the Matthew West song, Do Something, “It’s not enough to do nothing, it’s time for us to do something.”

5.) “The existence of a Saint Francis, an Einstein, or a Leonardo da Vinci indicates that human potential can reach amazing heights.”
Chopra described the above people as being at the cutting edge of evolution for their time.  How fascinating that we could all be at the cutting edge of evolution for OUR time if we tried.

6.) “People expend a lot of subtle energy in pushing down thoughts they don’t want to face.  Denial and repression seem appealing as short term solutions.  What you don’t think about may go away.  But there’s a sticky quality to bad thoughts…”
This is so true. Do you sometimes find yourselves remembering the “bad stuff” of the past?  For example, I remember few things about grade school, but I will never forget being put in the “slow” reading group, the time another kid switched my perfectly colored weather mobile pieces with his shoddily colored ones and that the teach thought I was lying about it, and losing the first student council race I ran in. We easily remember the bad and push it down deep, so we don’t have to deal with the pain. Those bad thoughts totally are “sticky”!

7.) “Don’t identify with your thoughts.  They aren’t you; they are passing events in the mind.”
As parents, who can’t identify with this one!? I mean, hello, mommy guilt. Have you been here too?: I yell at my kids. I feel horrible for yelling at my kids. I tell myself I’m an awful mother for yelling at my kids. Therefore, I must be an awful mother right? YIPES, time to cut the negative internal talk momma! You yelled at your kids once, but that doesn’t make you an awful mom, it makes you an awesome mom that identifies she needs to do better next time (thanks for joining me on that tour of my internal thoughts).

8.) “Don’t fixate on being right all the time. Being right is just a disguise for making other people wrong. In the shadows, you secretly fear that something is wrong with you, which is why you fight so hard to appear infallible – you think it makes you good.”
Does anyone else have any Nancy-Know-It-All’s in your lives (no offense to Aunt Nancy)? I mean, honestly, you have an opinion on THAT too?  Why do you care? Well, maybe Chopra has something here. Next time I encounter a Nancy-Know-It-All, instead of giving myself a headache from all of the internal secret eye-rolling, I’m going to remember that deep down, maybe “Nancy” just doesn’t love herself as much as she should (even though it seems like she loves herself way too much).

9.) “I had posted a mental plan about having a good day, and piece by piece the things I expected didn’t come true….Expectations don’t come true, and the result is disappointment.”
Sometimes as parents, we try to plan perfect days for our kids, because we want them to have fulfilling experiences filled with learning and fun. In our obsession to make everything just so, we lose it when things don’t turn out as we had envisioned. It rains, so we have to cancel our picnic. Kids get sick, so we can’t have play dates with other kids. Kids poop right before it’s time to leave, so we are late for our appointment. We know this stuff happens, because it always HAPPENS! If we could just calm our expectations down a bit, we wouldn’t let the inevitable unexpected (oxymoron much) stuff ruin our day or mood.

10.) “I am enough”
Chopra talks extensively about the ego in this book and the ego’s vision of fulfillment.  The ego is fulfilled through material things, winning, accomplishments, keeping score, and being in control even at the expense of others. The ego needs more, more, more.  What if we lived with the philosophy of the soul instead, “I am enough”? Don’t take this the wrong way (don’t see it like the ego would). “I am enough” doesn’t mean you don’t need God or anyone else, it means enough with the want, want, want. Enough with the searching for fulfillment and happiness everywhere else instead of within.

Hope you enjoyed these tidbits. Happy Book Worm Wednesday!

Love,

Natasha