Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Being a mom = Exhaustion!

So, I just want to let you all know that being a mom is hard.  I know this seems obvious, but before I became a mom, I think I thought it would be easy. HA!  I mean - if you had asked me, I would've said, "Yeah, it's hard!"  But I really think I pictured me just rocking my baby to sleep, laying him down without waking up, playing quietly at a restaurant while we ate, picking up his toys when mommy asked, etc.  And since I had been a teacher, and knew several "classroom management" strategies, I thought this job wouldn't be that different.  If I can take care of and teach 25 kids for 8 hours, surely I can take care of ONE kid!

Well, August 5, 2009 God humbled me greatly!  Of course, I love Caeden so much!  More than my words on this blog could ever express!  And I truly tell God "thank you" for him EACH DAY!  I didn't even know if I was going to be able to have kids, so he was a huge blessing from the beginning.  Although, that is not to say that I haven't had several hard days, many with tears....especially his first year.  Between the ages of 12-24 mos, it got much better!  But then he turned two, and decided that he didn't really need to obey mommy & daddy anymore...and it got much harder again.

I'm sure raising a child will go through "phases" of easy times and harder times.  But this past week has been extremely hard on both Reid & I.  We both end the day feeling emotionally exhausted. He throws the worst tantrums, tells us "NO!," completely ignores us and does the exact opposite of what we say, takes toys from his friends, hurts his friends, just crazy stuff!  I'm so afraid and have cried that I've created this in him - that I've made him this way!  I know he has a difficult temperament - he has had one since he was a baby.  But I also know that we, as his parents, have a huge influence on how he turns out too.  I pray for him every day, that God will shape his strong will (a.k.a. stubbornness) in a way that will someday glorify God.  I've tried so many strategies it's not even funny! I've gotten advice from friends, the Bible, parents, mentors, books, and even my own self.  And nothing seems to work.

I try so hard to be consistent.  Of course, I know I fail sometimes, just because there are times he does things when I don't notice, or times (I'm afraid to admit) that I'm trying to do something "important" and I ignore what he's doing because at least it's keeping him busy.  I've tried so hard the last few weeks to stop that though.  Whatever I'm doing, I stop and correct/punish/talk to him.  Everything just seems helpless.

So here's the encouragement.  I went to bed in tears two nights ago, and sat down to do my Bible study.  And both of these verses were there for me to read:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

This verse reminded me that even in my weariness, I can come to him, as his hurting little girl.  I can cry on Jesus' shoulder, and give him this burden of feeling like a failure.  And he promises to give me rest, an internal peace, if I truly hand Caeden over to him.  It also says that I am to let HIM teach me.  If I take on HIS yolk (burden), it will be much lighter and a perfect-fit for what I need to do as a mother.

"O Lord, you...know everything about me.
Your hand will guide me and
your strength will support me."
Psalm 139: 1 & 10

This was so comforting to me!  It reminded me that God knows everything about me (even more than I know about myself) and that he still loves me so much!  He still just holds me and embraces me!  And no matter how much of a "failure" I feel like, His hand will guide me and His strength will support me.

Lastly, I got up the next morning and was doing my workout to the beloved KLRC.  The second song I heard was "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman.  If you haven't heard this song before, the song starts by saying:

You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today;Matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away.You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door.And while I may not know you, I bet I know you wonder sometimes "does it matter at all?"Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you...

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made youCause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face,And tell the story of grace,With every move that you make,And every little thing you do.

Of course this spoke volumes to me!  I need to be persistent, not give up, and do it for God's glory!  I'm doing this to bring a smile to HIS face!  And as long as I'm teaching Caeden, in obedience to God, I'll be pleasing my Maker - and that's what matters.

Soooo....If you made it to the end of this post, you're truly a faithful follower. :)  I know this was not a typical post of mine, but I felt like I wanted to share this, because it's been so prevalent in my mind lately.  And I'm hoping that when I've had a really rough day, I can re-read this post and be re-encouraged. :)  Thanks for listening...I mean, reading... 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Working on #3....

So, a few weeks ago, we decided on 12 things we want to do in 2012.  #3 on our list was to eat at three new restaurants this year.  We're really bad about going to the same restaurants over & over, afraid to try new places.  So we decided to venture out...I know, daring, huh?

Well, last night we tried our first new restaurant.  It was Greenhouse Grille in Fayetteville.

The experience was great!  Apparently this is a restaurant that tries to live as "green," and natural as possible.  They even have an on-site garden that they use to get their vegetables from.  All of their meat is grass-fed (beef) or free-range (chicken).  All of the water they use is filtered.  And even their sodas and beers are "natural."  They use many recycled products and LED lighting.  The atmosphere itself was very interesting.  This isn't the place you want to go to get onion rings and chicken fingers.  After Reid & I looked at their menu, we were joking that it was all a foreign language to us - we didn't know what anything was.  So we had lots of questions for our waitress... :)

We ended up both going with burgers, but a "new" kind of burger.  Reid got a Buffalo Burger & I got a Bean Burger.  Surprisingly, they were both really good!  We had sweet potato fries that they bake, so that was great!  I think I loved that we were eating out, and that we weren't putting poison into our body.  Overall, I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to try somewhere different for a date night!  We thoroughly enjoyed our time there!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Caeden: 28 mos old

These are things Caeden was doing in December 2011, when he was 28 mos old:

EATING: He willingly prays before meals, and sometimes contributes his own prayer.  He was still acting picky about the food he likes.  His favorites are still macaroni and cheese, pizza, grapes,and Wheat Thins.  One thing we've been battling is him just not wanting to eat much dinner, ever...even if it's something he likes.  So I don't know - Maybe he's just not much of a dinner person...

SLEEPING: Caeden still sleeps well, and he did great with all the moving and traveling during the month of December.  Slept around 11ish hours at night and 1-1.5 hours at nap. He still stays in his toddler bed, which is great.  During this month, he discovered that he loves to sleep with his sock monkey Marvin.  And Marvin has a blankie too.  So in his bed are Caeden, Marvin, Caeden's blanket, and Marvin's blanket.  He won't lay still until all four are positioned just right. :)

PLAYING: Playtime is more & more fun since Caeden's getting more into pretend play.  We love to hear his imagination.  He loved to play with his baby Jesus manger this month, and LOVED reading Christmas books!   Some other favorite toys are his train table and basketball goal.  He's doing better about playing by himself, but would still rather have us playing with him a lot of the time.  I also have to mention here that he's remembering most of his friends names now.  I asked him one day who his friends are at school, and he named off 5-6 names.  Next week, when I was signing him in, I looked at the roster and they were actual "real" names in his class. :)  And if I tell him whose house we're going to play at, he knows who we're talking about.

LANGUAGE: He is having little conversations now, and can have miniature conversations on the telephone. And he's to the stage where most people can understand what he's saying - we don't have to translate as often. :)  It's funny to hear him and Ella playing, and having their own conversations!

CHRISTMASTIME: Obviously, we were busy with lots of activities in the month of December.  But he did great adjusting to later bedtimes, various naptimes, and just a different routine in general.  We had a fun month and enjoyed all the traditions we continue every year.

LEARNING: Honestly, we kinda slacked off on "formal" learning time this month.  Of course, Caeden was still learning during playtime with us, but not "formally."  However, we did Advent each night this month, and he LOVED it!  Every night at dinner, he'd say, "I wanna read Advent!"  By the end of the month, he could tell us most details in the story of Jesus' birth, and learned so much through it!  This is more important to me than any amount of academic learning anyway!

So our schedule was way off this month!  I won't even attempt to post it.  The only thing that daily stayed the same was mealtimes and naptimes, which are below:
7:30 -- Wake up & Breakfast
12:00 -- Lunch
1:30 -- Nap
5:30 -- Dinner
8:00 -- Bedtime

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Crystal Bridges

So, a few nights ago, Mommy had a Girl's Night Out and Daddy took Caeden to a local art show.  It was in Springdale and displayed some artwork done by local artists.  Surprisingly, Caeden absolutely loved it!  He would look at each painting so intently - pointing out to Daddy what he saw.  In some of the abstract pieces, he would see certain aspects before Daddy would.  So, we decided to venture out to the world-famous Crystal Bridges Art Museum today.  We live about 10 minutes away, but hadn't been since it opened.  Overall, Caeden did a great job.  Of course, we went through kind of quickly because his attention span isn't super long, but we enjoyed the outing.  I think Reid & I will go next weekend by ourselves when Caeden is with Nana & Papa.  After we went through the galleries, we went on a short walk on some of the surrounding trails.  For those of you who haven't gone yet, I would highly recommend it.  I'm not much of an art person, and I even thought it was pretty cool!  Definitely worth the visit - and it's free!  Can't beat that!

Taking a break in the middle of our hike

Front of the museum

Friday, January 6, 2012

Learning new things...

YAY!!  We met another milestone today!  I've said this so many times, but I love staying home so we can practice lots of different things toddler have to learn. ;)  And one of those things is how to ride a tricycle!  We bought Caeden his first tricycle a few months ago, and as hard as we tried, he just couldn't ride it.  But we've practiced off & on...  Since today was BEAUTIFUL outside, we took advantage.  Caeden got on his tricycle and very slowly took off!  He did it!  He was pedaling and was so proud!  We pedaled up & down the street (very slowly, but that's okay).  It was so exciting seeing him do this for the first time!  Love seeing him reach milestones (even small ones like this!).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 Things we Want to Do in 2012

Normally, Reid & I aren't much into New Year's Resolutions.  But I saw an idea on a friend's blog and loved it!  We decided on 12 things we want to do this year.  We picked the number TWELVE because it's the year two-thousand TWELVE!  Some of the things are fun, some more serious, some practical!  We're excited to see what stories and memories will come of accomplishing these 12 things!  And yes, Reid & I came up with this list together - It wasn't just me informing him of what we're going to do. :)

1. Take Caeden ice skating.
2. Go on a small vacation - just our small family.
3. Eat at three new restaurants.
4. Read a John Grisham book together.
5. Paint one of the rooms in our house.
6. Contribute more money to our IRA.
7. Visit one new state park.
8. Ashley is going to go "real" mountain biking with Reid.
9. Eat more vegetables.
10. Hang a large, family picture in our living room.
11. Eat at Waffle House at midnight.
12. Go to a piano bar.

So, there ya have it folks!  Here's to a great year!