When Your Spouse Starts to Feel Like a Roommate

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Exhaling loudly, I let myself fall onto our couch. I scan the room for the monitor to check if Mike is still praying with our toddler upstairs. I glance in the kitchen and see the dishes that have yet piled high again. The dogs are whining, needing to be let outside. I roll my eyes, annoyed that no one thought to let them out before dinner. It’s the end of the day and my patience has practically vanished. My energy left somewhere around the time I had to start prepping for dinner.

It’s days like these that I seriously don’t have the mental or physical energy to bother even connecting with my husband.

I hear him coming down the stairs as I start to unload the dishwasher. He slowly steps into the kitchen, looks around, and decides to feed the dogs. After unloading the dishwasher, I float to the laundry room to start working on that load that’s been sitting in there for a couple of days. Mike rhythmically moves to load the empty dishwasher. Even though we’re both exhausted, our absent-minded bodies move robotically to do our chores.

No eye contact is needed. No connection is needed. We move, doing what needs to be done, not realizing the slow beat of our tiredness is slowly eating away our heart-to-heart connection.

I used to think it was nice being able to do these things without having to talk about it much. I used to think it was the result of a strong marriage being able to ebb and flow around the home without communicating much. A little lie I tell myself.

A lie that builds a foundation on shifting sand.

It’s that deafening, quiet sound of methodical chores, questionless requests and rhythmical bedtime routines that I let turn my husband into a roommate.

It starts when we each settle into our routines in the evening, after a long day of working and parenting, that we slowly start the change. I grab my phone. He grabs his. We think we’re watching TV together as the sound of the commercials fall on deaf ears.

It’s when Mike comes through the door and I practically throw my son at him without so much of a greeting, while I rush back to the stove as the timer blares at me so my meatloaf doesn’t burn.

I see it as we start to go to bed at different times on a what seems to have become a regular basis. I see it as I start my morning chores while he eats his breakfast before heading off to work.

I then have to ask myself, how did we get here? How did we become the model marriage of robotic intimacy?

Flashes of a dinner spent asking about each other’s day gets replaced with managing kids at the dinner table. I see a fog around our evenings of actually watching our favorite show together and engaging about the plot and characters. Quiet time together in the dark mornings over a cup of coffee seem like forever ago. Intimacy that spread from the kitchen to the bedroom seems like a distant memory.

I suddenly feel this urgency to reconnect with my husband. My breath starts to quicken as I become angry, realizing that the man who knows my heart better than anyone, the man whom I am building a family with, has started to feel like a roommate.

I’m angry because I let it happen.

Sure, it takes two tango, but someone has to take the first step to get the dance moving.

I am learning more and more to appreciate these seasons in my marriage. When I feel my connection with my husband thinning, I realize God is pricking my heart as his daughter, letting me see that having a husband as a roommate is not what He wants for me or for my husband. That when we go through these seasons which seem harmless, are really precursors to a desert. Getting angry that I let my marriage cycle to this point is God’s red flag to me, gently waving in the distant, calling me back to Him.

It’s a weird dynamic to be angry about becoming distant with my husband yet grateful that I feel a closeness to my heavenly Father, whose voice I hear, whispering in his familiar voice.

The reality is this: when I feel this way with my husband, I more often than not am with this way in my relationship with God.

Morning quiet time with the Creator becomes a routine. Prayer seems formulaic. Talking with the Lord seems exhausting after everything I had to do that day.

And His beckoning to refocus on Him and His truth draw my up into his arms and open my heart to my husband again. I decide to make eye contact with my husband when we do the dishes. I decide to take back my empty chores and take my cell-phone glazed eyes and direct them to my husband, not a roommate.

I decide to take the first step. I decide to take back my marriage.

Before our strong foundation turns to sand.

Peace,
Glo

Marriage Struggles: When your spouse starts to feel like a roommate.

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Five Items Under $20 Your Kitchen Needs for the Holidays

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The holidays are coming and the cooking is happening. Holiday party at the office, party at your neighbor’s, cookies for your son’s first grade class and the list goes on and we haven’t even hit December yet! Not to mention the annoyance that happens when I go to make those mentioned cookies for my son and my husband did not clean off the sheet from his pizza from the night before. Thankfully, I got a hack for that. Read more below, you’ll thank me later.

Find an awesome recipe online, but it calls for a food processor? I don’t know about you, but food processors are a tiny investment, so many folks don’t have one and you need to make cookies NOW. Don’t worry, I got a tip for that too to help you “process” that dough.

I am always looking for ways to make my life easier in the kitchen. When it comes to managing food for your household and you’re on a budget, we all need the little help we can get. I thought you’d like to see some of my favorite kitchen items I use ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. And guess what? They’re all mostly $20 or LESS. So without further ado, here are some items you are going to want to check out to make your kitchen life a little easier this time of year.

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂

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Silicone Cooking Sheets
I seriously do not know how I survived this long without these genius cooking sheets. I can put the stickiest cookies known to man on these puppies and when they are done baking, the crumbs and crusted goods just wipe right off with the dish rag. Forget crusted cheese pizza you have to scrape off with some heavy duty elbow grease! Forget worrying about your baked chicken sticking to the pan. No joke. These sheets alone will save you time in the kitchen. Dare I say, they may make you WANT to bake cookies…

Handheld Mixer (Beaters)
I didn’t even know what a food processor was until a few years ago. Yes, I lived in a box, apparently. I guess I heard of it but it seemed like a mystery to me. I remember reading recipes that called for a food processor and I just shrugged my shoulders moving on to the next recipe. I remember watching Martha Bakes and she used one to make some cookie dough. It dawned on me that I had been using hand-held beaters for as long as I can remember to basically do any job a food process does (within reason, obviously you can’t chop carrots with beaters!). My tip for you is to have these on hand for that recipe that requires mixing with a food processor. They take up little space and are awesome to have for a quick go-to in your kitchen to speed up the mixing process. Your Thanksgiving snickerdoodle cookies will thank you. And your friends will love that homemade cheesecake you whipped up with these bad boys.


Hand Blender
If you have been dying to make some homemade soup, or need any sort of quick blending, pureeing of any kind, then you seriously need to consider having one of these in your home for the holidays. And better yet, I bet you use it throughout the year too. I use mine to make baby food, a quick yogurt smoothie, or a yummy berry glaze for my waffles. This little guy is so versatile, don’t be quick to shrug it off as a waste of space. It will help you make the yummiest broccoli and cheese soup. Trust me.

Handheld Slicer & Dicer (with storage container attached)
This one is $22 but I absolutely LOVE IT and I would guess this is another one you’ll use more than just for the holidays. I HATE chopping onions for a wintry chili. I can’t stand cutting up carrots for stew. I just want it done quick and fast. I received one of these as a Christmas gift from my mom a few years back and I don’t know what I did without it. The clean up is easy. I can move it around wherever I need it in the kitchen because there are no chords. This is definitely one of my staple kitchen items that gets used even more than during the holidays!

Pan Organizers
I don’t know about you, but during the holiday season I tend to cook more. Shoot, during the fall and winter alone I find our stove and oven use triples! It’s during these times when I grunt and groan because pans and sheets don’t get put back where I’d like and I can never seem to find that one small skillet I love to use for breakfast sausage. This feeling of angst increases during the holidays. There’s no time like the present to make your kitchen as accessible as possible so you can enjoy baking without the searching and groaning. I bought one of these a few years back and it has made grabbing pans so much easier. I bought this one too to organize my cookie sheets and muffins pans. It’s fabulous.

Here are a quick few more of my favorites in the kitchen to cut down on annoyance, because hey, wine can only do so much 😉 and to help cut down on the budget if I need freeze or reuse items.

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silicone muffin cups–because you can freeze any liquid in these and reuse them for all your baking needs!
2 cup pyrex with lid–becuase measureing 1 and 3/4 cup never felt easier.
ice cube trays–because I’m addicted to freezing leftover turkey, chicken, or beef broth to reuse for later.
cooling rack–because I get tired of using parchment paper to cool cookies
gallon freezer bags–did I mention I have a freeze-the-leftovers problem??

What about you? What are some of your favorite, staple items in your kitchen that are fairly inexpensive? Tell use below!
Peace,
Glo

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One Item You Need to Transition Baby from the Swaddle

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I don’t know why we think we need to hurry and get our babies out of their swaddles. There’s this annoying urgency about the process I think us moms feel. Personally, I just got tired of messing with it and when we had someone else watching the baby, it’s a pain to make sure they swaddle correctly. Although, I will say, I loved the swaddle we used for Bubby and I didn’t want to fix something that wasn’t broken, so Asher was in his swaddle for a little while.

The time did come though when we wanted to drop the swaddle and transition him without it. I am someone who likes to research and figure out how to make that process as smooth as possible. Enter the Zipadeezip. I came across this nifty little suit during my Google searches and the prints are adorable, so I ordered me one.

The company, Sleeping Baby, are really nice people when it comes to customer service. I had ordered a couple more during one of their flash sales and ended up not liking the material for the “summer” one, and they very promptly sent me a different one after I returned the one I didn’t want. Once we got the one we wanted, I realized just how cute Bubs looked in it.ziippywithname2

 

WHY I LOVED THIS THING

*I feel like the Zipadeezip still gave Bubby the feeling of being covered and cozy, but the freedom to move around when he wanted. Seriously, they can crawl and roll freely in this puppy.
*Asher stilled liked to rip his face off or suck on his hands FOREVER. The covered hands keep this problem to a minimum.
*Ohhhhh the prints! I LOVE their selections.
*They have great flash sales.
*Great to have that extra warmth when needed.
*Great options for different material choices.
*His Zipadeezip became his lovey for sleeping, really.
*Made transitioning to sleeping with nothing really easy too!

SIZING

Lots of folks ask about sizing for the Zippy. You can see here that at two months, the small was a little big on him. His feet came out of the pockets but that didn’t matter really. His hands stayed in it pretty well, which was nice since Asher was a serious hand sucker! Their site lays out the sizing really well I think. If you have a taller baby, the feet will fit just fine too.

We had our size small until he was about seven months. Then he just got huge and we went to the medium. I have heard of people having the small forever before they go to the medium. Once we got the medium, the small seemed tiny! I definitely think there is a big size difference, but one thing that’s great about the Zippy is that it still works really well until the baby “grows” into it.

DIFFERENT MATERIALS:

I was excited to see that they had different materials to choose from! We have all four seasons around here so we needed a little variety. The summer blend works well, but I wasn’t a fan of the hint of polyester feel it had to it. So we do the cotton for spring through fall and then had an UH-mazing fleece one for winter. I loved the fleece. I seriously wanted one for myself.

MOM HACK for the this product:

I needed to be outside as much as possible to fight off postpartum depression. I don’t know about you, but i needed to figure out how to keep my kid warm so I could run when it was pretty cold out. Enter the fleece Zipadeezip.
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That’s right. The Zipadeezip fits loverly while baby is strapped in the seat. You’re welcome.

PRINTS:

I can’t get over the variety of prints they have. I love them all! They have lots of good gender neutral ones too so you can reuse them for more than one baby. This moon and stars one is my favorite! By the way, I have no idea how I was able to snap a pic of him while he was asleep. This kid is a LIGHT SLEEPER like his momma. Lord help us.
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PRICING:

OK, so they aren’t super cheap. At least not to me. However, I say it over and over, sometimes the peace of mind is worth it. AND if you can use it on more than one baby then I think you definitely get your money’s worth. One of the great things about Sleeping Baby is that they have all sorts of sales when you sign up on their site. Sometimes it’s $10 off a Zipadeezip or free shipping or buy two, get one free, kind of stuff.

So there you have it. My must have for transitioning from the swaddle! What about you? Do you have a tip to add? Grab a cup of coffee and let us know 🙂
Cheers,
Glo

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Why We Decided to Trick or Treat

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Last year I wrote a post about To Trick or Treat or Not To Trick or Treat? and this post generated a lot of positive discussion from friends whose opinions I think are valuable. I had many comments on Facebook from parents who had differing views about Halloween and how to handle trick or treating.

For some of you readers, this may not seem like a problem at all. But for someone like me who grew up in a home that did not condone being scared as a fun activity, you enter into this time of year with some caution. I am not one who messes around with fear. I think the Bible is pretty clear that the spirit of fear does not come from the Lord and it’s something we should be on guard against. I do not want to take Halloween lightly. I think it’s a time of year that can release a lot of darkness and negativity and honestly, sin in the world. Some people can breeze through this time of year without a care and stroll through a haunted house without giving it a second thought. I am not one of those people and I don’t plan to raise my son as one of those people either. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against folks who can go through the Edgar Allan Poe Haunted house. If anything, I would like to join my friends who can go out for a night of haunted houses. But I also wont take my son to a haunted house someday pushing him down the hallway because it’s supposed to be “fun to be scared.”

The problem for me is that once I open that door, fear kicks it wide open.

So how am I going to handle this topic as I raise my little family?

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After much consideration and prayer, and after reading lots of positive responses from some of my friends, I have decided to take a completely positive view on Halloween. I love traditions. I love making family traditions. Why not make Halloween a positive family tradition? There can be many positive family memories made from creating costumes for trick or treating. Much laughter and joy can come from making homemade candy. Not all decorations need to be gross bones and blood. Plus, there’s always the perk of putting up orange christmas lights lights that can last through Thanksgiving. 🙂 That sounds like a win win to me.

I don’t plan on going into this time of year with a blindfold on either. Just because I choose to glean positive from Halloween, doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to the the reality of evil that abounds this time of year. As my children grow older, I’ll be sure to use the right opportunities to teach them that fear doesn’t come from God. That demons and evil are real and not to be made light of because there is a goofy ghost poster at WalMart. I will teach them that prayer is powerful and our lifeline to fight against the Enemy.

So this year we’re taking Bubby trick or treating. He’s currently into watching Curious George on TV. Carter’s must have read my mind because their monkey costume was on sale. Cha Ching!

If I can just convince Husband to dress up as the Professor in his yellow suit with that yellow hat…

What about you? How do you handle Halloween? Is it something you had to wrestle with?

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Five 80s Movies You Need to Watch for Back to School

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When I am starting to get that itch for fall, I have a few movies in my stash that I pull out just for this time of year. When peppermint candles burn in my house and garland adorns our mantel, I pull out my favorite Christmas movies. Spring in the air? I’ve got a movie for that. It’s sort of a tradition really. I do this with music too. And food. Can’t forget food. Hot dogs. All the hot dogs for the 4th of July. Hot dogs and The Sandlot. Who doesn’t love the Sandlot? If you don’t like The Sandlot, then you might as well move on buddy. You clearly are not a true patron of all things pre-teen that is Patrick Renna and duh, baseball of course.


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When Labor Day weekend approaches, there are two things happening.
1) Summer as we know it has ended. Kids are pretty much back into the full swing of school. Parents are usually singing Hallelujah. Kids are typically in denial about how much they missed their friends and put up a fight about going back.

2) Starbucks brings the annual street crack Pumpkin Spice back and all is right in the world. Last year it came back as early as September 8th, so we’ll see what’s in store for us this year.

As you transition to this awkward time of year that is not quite fall but not so much summer anymore, and if you’re lucky to have a pumpkin spice in hand, you need to have these five movies on your watch list. I couldn’t imaging this time of year without the mass movie production that came from the 80s. I don’t know where I would be in life if I didn’t know “Hey, you guys!” existed.

Watching them all on Labor Day weekend is not a requirement, but if you’re looking to kick off the change in the weather and get through your the whining of your kids, then pop these movies in and I promise, everyone will be a little bit happier.

If there was only one movie I could pick for this time of  year it would The Goonies. The movie is totally geared for the end of summer with hilarious one-liners you’ll be muttering to your kids when they complain about chores or what’s for dinner.

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Just remind them that there are three things they need to know in this life:
1) “Goonies never say die!”
2) “Hey, you guys!”
3) “The marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroin goes in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs.”

If all else fails and they are begging you to chauffeur them around, use this opportunity to teach them that they can’t always get what they want, unless the learn the value of the truffle shuffle. Oh and if you can’t get them to quit obssessing about the movie, use this as an opportunity to do a little history research to see what the cast is up to these days.


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There’s all this great advice going around on social media about teaching your children to be open to new friendships and to “unwrap” that special gift that is a new student. Yah yah, that’s great but all kids need to know what life is like when you become the little ripass in class and that Saturday Detention is real. At least, it used to be. Enter The Breakfast Club. I am not sure how you get through life without watching this movie and learning that Simple Minds pretty much sparked a teenage rebellion. Plus, you can still teach them about that special gift you might find in a student they never would have considered giving the time of day to.


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If anything, you could use this opportunity to reflect on how amazing 80’s music is and that Judd Nelson had great hair. Plus, who can forget Molly Ringwald applying that lipstick?

I have decided that I might lose some of you here with this one but I feel the need to remind us that John Travolta was a dancing/singing machine who also had amazing hair. And I just can’t help but think of Grease when I think about the end of summer and everyone going back to school. Not to mention that I have a soft spot for musicals  movies that have fun music.

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(For you movie buffs out there, I know, I know. Grease came out in 1978, but to redeem the value of the 80’s, feel free to pull out Urban Cowboy or Staying Alive. Talk about steamy Travolta.)

Wanna remind yourself of some sweet nothings to whisper in your loved one’s ears? Need a refresher on Summer Lovin’? I’m pretty sure any husband looking for a good time from his wife would like to be called “stud” and taken down to the beach to get frisky in the sand. Just don’t take off your pants. Gotta watch out for that sand. Ah, teenage summer romance.


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Everyone once in a while I find myself quoting Back to the Future. “Great Scott!”

“Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” I used tell that to my students during the first week of school. Good way to find out who my movie buffs were and if you’re a good parent, you’ll teach them to your kids. When I’m looking for some serious emphasis on what’s about to happen…

And who can forget the power of advertising in movies during the 80s? Back to the Future pretty much sparked the revolution that is using name brand products on screen. Pepsi and Nike are still sending Spielberg thank you letters to this day.

I don’t think you can begin the school year without reminding your kids how lucky they are to go to a school where they are free to express themselves and enjoy the luxuries of extra curricular activities that kids used to have to fight for. And if they don’t get what you mean, you show them Footloose. And then you play the soundtrack for them. Small town kids oppressed by crazy parents who forbade dancing sounds like an uprising all teens should be made aware of. If anything, it might teach them some better dance moves than twerking.

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Oh, and don’t forget that Pumpkin Spice. It’s the best crack gift you can give to yourself this time of year.

What about you? Do you have any movies that you like to watch during a particular time of year? Do any of these movies make you think about going back to school?

Peace,
Glo

 

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Cheers Mom, I Get It Now

I remember scrolling through Michelle’s site and thinking, “This gal gets me!”. Her honest writing and cheeky thoughts about fashion and fitness, oh yah and how could I forget, WINE! had me from the start. I decided not to hold it against her that she lives in Canada. 🙂 Michelle is what I would call a no-nonsense writer. She’s direct and tells you what she thinks. I appreciate that in a writer, as I’m sure many of us do. It’s good to find someone you know who is out there over and over, being as honest with you as they can be as a writer. If you’ve haven’t found Michelle yet, hop over to her site and say hello!

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With a few-week-old baby curled into me as I sat on the couch, the day brought about a time of reflection on my short experience in motherhood. The previous weeks of taking care of a tiny human had been challenging. The demands of a newborn had changed everything from life as I’d known it…

I’d changed physically, mentally, and emotionally to anticipate the role of mom throughout 9 months of pregnancy, through labour and birth, and I changed even more so in the bumbling, inexperienced, stressful moments of assuming that role.

There were many skeptical moments where I questioned whether it was “all worth it” as I’d been reassured by other well-meaning moms. The weight of motherhood was settling around me like a lead blanket.

“Oh. This is what it feels like to be a mom.”

Heavy. Suffocating. Painful. Emotional.

It was terrifying to have a piece of my heart and soul separated from my own body to vulnerably exist out in the great big world.

But amidst all the complicated difficulties, there were powerfully contradicting feelings of joy, purpose, comfort, and belonging. I was a Mom.

It Was Then That I Understood What It Meant To Be A Mom

I really did, and in a way I couldn’t have possibly comprehended before baby. Becoming a Mom was one of the best (and most challenging) things I’ve done in life. The exhaustion, the changes in my body, the pain and trauma of birth, the explosively poopy diapers, the cries that couldn’t be consoled, endless laundry, and dependency of another life

As terrifying as it all sounds, there was something wonderful and joyous even in the most difficult aspects. Even in the toughest times, there has always been a small corner of my heart that laughed, smiled, or thanked God for the opportunity to experience life as it was in that moment.

And then there are the stop-your-heart moments of cuteness and life-fulfillment experienced in a way only Moms can relate to… those tender moments that forever imprint themselves into our maternal memories. The smell of newborn hair. Snuffly baby snores. Tiny fingers barely curling around one of yours. A first smile. Melt-me-into-a-puddle moments… moms, you know what I’m saying.

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As a new-ish member of the Mom-club, the depth of understanding has now settled in, and reality has formed an indescribable appreciation for my own Mother and all others out there. I get it now. The craziness. The emotions. The fear. The selflessness. The sacrifice. The joy. The love.

To all the Moms out there, YOU ARE AWESOME for all you are and all you do. I hold all of you in higher regard than ever before.

Cheers!

Michelle Thevenot

Article originally published on MT Bottles blog

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michelleheadshotMichelle Thevenot is a work-from-home mom-boss and creative entrepreneur from Osler, SK, Canada. Manager of several small businesses, artist, blogger, and preventer of household destruction by a toddler-dog duo (partners in crime, those two), her hands are full, but so is her heart as she lives her passion. 

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How I Missed the Most Important Day of My Son’s First Two Years

When you start meeting other writers you really only have a few ways to get to know them. One of those ways is to stock their writing and if you’re lucky, they’re blog or personal site. I met Kamsin from a writer’s group created by another author I love (Sarah West) and instantly was drawn to her writing. Why? because Kamsin is a reflective person who causes me to reflect on decisions I make throughout my day. If you get a chance and peruse Kamsin’s site, you will find that she is a genuine writer who really strives to be in the moment and enjoy her journey as a mother in Japan. I encourage you to take a few minutes and say hello on her site! Oh and she’s British which sterotypically makes me interested in her writing. I mean who doesn’t like to read something while imaging a British accent??

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A few days ago when I brought my son home from daycare, it seemed as if he was a different boy to the one I had dropped off that morning. Older? It was only 7 hours since I’d last seen him. Taller? All his clothes still fit. But the way he walked was different. A little more confident. He knew something new about the world.

He goes to daycare twice a week, and he doesn’t always come home more grown up than when he left. Some days those leaps, when they come, seem to happen during nap time. There are days when I am sure he has grown taller. Days when his face has clearly changed and he wakes up with a new look in his eyes.

And so a child grows. Some days a whole new version of your little one gets downloaded while they sleep. The list of things they can and can’t do gets rewritten constantly. When you’re waiting for each new skill to appear it can feel like nothing much is changing. Then all of a sudden you find yourself wondering where your baby went.

In long, exhausting days and in the blink of an eye, my son has transformed from helpless, sleeping baby into a two year old with boundless energy. He acquires new skills every.single.day. I can barely keep up let alone keep track of all the milestones.

During the first year of his life I dutifully took a photograph of him every month on his birthday. The teddy bear next to him in the pictures quickly became smaller than him. And at 9 months he crawled away, barely giving teddy a glance over his shoulder. I had to snap quickly to keep them both in the frame.

In the final photo on his first birthday he is just a week away from taking his first wobbly, in-such-a-hurry to get walking, steps. And he is clearly still a baby.

But when it comes to all those other milestones that mark the first two years of life I have been less conscientious. I am not very good at recording the milestones as they take place.

He learned to smile. Roll over. Hold his head up all by himself. And I forgot to write any of it down. I can tell you when he crawled because it seemed to take so long to happen. He got so frustrated in the weeks beforehand and it was such a relief for us both.

Then it was just 3 months later when he walked. And I say walked but really it was two wobbly, insecure steps. Repeated over and over till another week or so had passed and he finally starting putting all the steps together.

And as for first words, Mama and dadda not included, his first word may have been bear. Or was it Daisy (our cat’s name)? Or maybe bye-bye. How can I not know this?

What about all the milestones that it didn’t even occur to me to look for? Like the first time he jumped with both feet clean off the floor. Or walked up a flight of steps all by himself. That one took me by surprise as he walked himself up half a dozen steps while we were lounging by the pool on holiday. “When did you learn to do that?”, I wondered.

And what is the point of all these milestones anyway? They let anxious mothers and the child’s physician know that everything is developing on track. And sometimes they are boasting rights. “Little S said thank you all by himself today. Growing up so fast!”

Maybe it’s just our human need to observe, and make note of the passage of time.

The milestone I’d most like to record however, has no defining moment. There was no clear line and yet at some point he crossed it. When did my baby become a little boy?

In Japan, where we live, there is no word for toddler. He was an “akachan”, or baby, but somewhere along the line people started calling him “chichaiko”, little child.

And the mischievous look he gets in his eyes is all boy. His love of trains and cars and kicking balls has bloomed. Like someone flicked a switch and all of a sudden he knew fire engines were cool.

When did this happen? Why wasn’t I paying attention?

I missed his last day as a baby and his first as a little boy.

Was it when he learned how to blow raspberries, laughing hysterically at himself? Was it the day that he learned to say no? Was it when he learned to run at break neck speed round and round the sofa? Was it when he had his first public meltdown on a train?

He still wraps himself around my body and snuggles his face into my neck when he’s sleepy. When the world seems too much for him he reverts to calling me mama instead of mummy. In those moments he still seems like a baby to me.

And he is still my baby. Perhaps he always will be.

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I’m a British mom living in Japan with my husband and our son. I blog at http://lifeinthekeyofe.com. I am passionate about staying true to who I am and encouraging others to do the same. Follow me on twitter @kamsin_kaneko or Instragram @kamsinkaneko

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Who I Am

You know that moment when your friend calls you because they got tickets to go see your favorite band? Or maybe that moment when you feel like you are beside yourself with happiness at the thoughtful gift your friend spent a lot of time making for you. Whatever it is–it’s that feeling of pure excitement and gratitude you have for that friend in that moment. I am not stretching the truth one bit when I tell you that’s how I feel about my guest post today. Marisa is a writer that I just absolutely love. She is raw, honest, and encouraging all at once. If there was ever someone who made you feel like you are not alone and welcome to a place of grace, Marisa would be waving you in at the front door. I am just beyond thrilled she is writing here today and hope you find encouragement from her words today.

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Simon Peter.

Foot-in-mouth, rough-around-the-edges, fly-off-the-handle, uneducated, doesn’t-get-it-the-first-go-round disciple.

I’d shake my head at his antics, but, a rueful chuckle would only follow.

Because He is all too me! Fumbles and stumbles galore.

Yet, it was he that knew without an ounce of hesitation how to answer in Matthew 16.

When Christ asked, “Who do you say I am?”, Peter back before he was officially Peter replies forthrightly, “You are the Messiah, son of the Living God.”

For such assured words to come from the one known for off-the-cuff oopses and brashness has always tickled me.

Another confound-the-wise-by-revealing-truth-to-little-children moment.

For, essentially, that’s what Simon Peter was- a big oaf of a child, gamboling after the Savior, little possessed of worldly knowledge or grander social graces, but ever guzzling down what Jesus was teaching.

He may not have always gotten it right. In fact, at times, he was downright clueless.

But, because he had a sense of Who he was running with, he kept after it.

And how did Jesus respond?

He pronounced him blessed, christened him Peter, the rock, one over whom the gates of hell would not prevail.


In Peter declaring who Christ was, Christ could declare who Peter was.


And, so it is for us.

Who we say He is reveals who we are and are to be-in Him.

By the same token, who we say we are directly reflects who we say He is.

If Peter had scoffed and said, “Who, me?”, returning to his nets with a disbelieving shrug, what he and the world would have missed!

And, what all do we miss when we say we are too much a nobody to be used by God?

Well, I’ll tell you, because I know far too well.

Joy. Peace. Life and life more abundantly.

Forfeited in a sea of self-doubt. Never salvation, mind you. Grace is certainly not so cheap. But that blossomy sensation we ought to relish in as His own?

Harder to hold in those billowing waves when we forget the simplicity of it all: greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

We’re a royal priesthood to be filled with His glory. Not to be puffed up and awesome in our own right. Oh, no. It’s all about Who is in us.

My grip’s been lost on this truth all too easily countless times.

To realize I am unwittingly calling my Messiah’s arm too short to lift my brokenness?

A mistake that makes a body cringe.

Just ask Peter after that fateful rooster crow. He’d forgotten who Christ was, who he was in Him.

And to find my self-deprecating tendencies in that realm of fallenness?

Wow. Total mindblower. Really. Like walking out the door and realizing you skipped the deodorant.

Something quite stinky catching you by surprise.

I mean, I know I knew this.

Yet…

Yet, people would quote me “God don’t make no junk.” all the live long day and I’d say, ” Yep. I know.” And still secretly roll my eyes and wince at the hokiness and poor grammar and go on my way unaffected.

But, till just recently, I don’t know that I really, really realized the level it matters on.

So…to own up to my poor self-esteem as poor God-esteem?

Takes a lot of swallows and throat-clearings to gather the courage to put voice to it all.

To see perhaps a bit of personal responsibility and yet not let it backfire into more berating of self?

Well,  it’s hard to grapple with this unfamiliar feeling of worth, honestly, but I know it is worth the work to try.

So, the burning question is…

Am I there?

All done taking internal potshots at my abilities?

Finished feeling my Eeyore roots, my Charlie Brown melancholy?

Well…I’d looove to say ‘yes’ but…

Aspiring is perhaps a better way to put it.

Improving.

Especially grateful in light of this new title of ‘published author’ to my name. But, no, not completely there!A lifetime of learned behavior does not go in one whack. And even articles and a soon-to-be book do not assurance make.

Only He can do that, really.


But, I am gaining, shaking out a new petal here, a new leaf there with a sense of celebration and wonder.


Seeking, as Peter sought. Stumbling sometimes, but running beside Him, like a leaping child ready to explore and confound a few wiseguys.

Knowing without a doubt who I say He is- and what that ought to say about who I am and what He wants me to be in Him.

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Marisa Ulrich is a mom of four, two autistic, all awesome. She is in a blessed second marriage to the handyman of her dreams. They make their home in rural Kansas in a great hundred year old fixer upper. You can find her ongoing thoughts on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/MarisaJUlrich/ , Twitter: @mjubutterfly, and WordPress: https://www.brokencookiessite.wordpress.com/ . Look for her book, Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet: The Amazing Grace of Motherhood, Marriage, and Miracles on the Spectrum, to debut July 19th via eLectio publishing.

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