20 Things I’ve Learned While on Crutches

It’s been 1 week and 1 day since the great fall .. and I’ve learned a few things from having one less foot.

  1. When your sister is waiting for you in the ER, the two of you can giggle like you were 8 years old again
  2. Your siblings have no shame in making silly videos of you just coming out of anesthesia or on pain meds
  3. When laughing too loud on the general surgery floor of a hospital, your nurse will come in and shut your door
  4. Vicodin can be better than a green beer on St Patty’s day (never thought this Irish girl would say that!)
  5. I am not tall enough for how much I weigh … although the nurse assures me that my splint could weigh +10 lbs
  6. Taking a selfie with my surgical cap is a must for all visitors
  7. A ride down to the OR feels like you are in a parade and should be throwing candy (the nurse might have thought I was a nut job at this point)
  8. You know it’s been a horrible, yet still fun day when your OR nurse greats you by saying, “I heard you are a fun one”
  9. A blanket on the other side of the room feels like it’s on the other side of the Grand Canyon
  10. Real friends take you out for retail therapy and push you up and down the yarn aisle in a wheelchair, complete with basket
  11. I’m sure blessed with some freaking awesome friends who bring me amazing meals!
  12. It’s a hidden bonus being on crutches right before tank top season … my upper arms are getting an awesome workout!
  13. When your 4 year old punches your foot under the blanket, asking you if you still have a boo boo, it doesn’t hurt as much as you would think it would
  14. During your first shower after surgery, do not freak out when you see yellow in the bottom of the shower … you aren’t peeing, it’s the iodine from your upper leg …
  15. Even if you aren’t able to play frisbee with your boys on the first beautiful day of Spring, it’s just as enjoyable to watch them from the window
  16. Breaking up fights between two 4 year olds and an 8 year old from the couch is virtually impossible
  17. Real friends smuggle Diet Mt Dew into the house when your mother insists on drinking more milk …
  18. Almond milk, not only tastes way better than milk, but it also has way more calcium – makes Mom and my taste buds happy
  19. When the phone rings and it’s across the room, I suddenly really don’t care who is calling (sorry if that was you …)
  20. Peanut butter M&M’s are acceptable for lunch when home alone, not only do they taste like heaven, but they are easy to carry in your teeth to the couch

My journey has only began … in all seriousness, I’m very thankful for my friends and family who continue to surround me and my boys in love and support!

Love, Mel

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So this happened …

So this happened on Thursday morning …

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At 5:24 a.m mom duty called. Jaden woke me up saying that he was gonna to throw up. I scrambled to the bathroom to grab the garbage can and just missed the first gag. Poor kid-o. After he was settled, I stripped the bedding. I’m usually the parent that throws it in the corner and deals with it after sunrise, but I decided to be an over achiever and take it right down to the laundry.

That’s when disaster struck. I can’t even tell you what happened. I didn’t trip, I didn’t really fall … the lights were all on. One moment I was walking to the stairs, the next I heard a huge crack and I went down. Once at the bottom of the stairs, I knew something was terribly wrong. I was too scared to look, but I broke my ankle – I was sure of it.

I called for Jaden to bring me my phone. We were the only ones in the house. He came running, crying “It’s all my fault mom. I’m so sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to throw up in bed.” As if I wasn’t already in horrible pain, my heart broke for my Jaden too. Crazy how even when in the worst of pain it’s all sunshine and rainbows when your 8 year old is looking at you terrified. “Jaden, I am going to be fine. I hurt my foot, which has nothing to do with you. I’m just a klutz. We are going to call YaYa and Pa and they are going to come and help us, ok?”

I called my parents, who live just down the road. They were on their way. Shock started to set in. I asked Jaden to bring me a sweatshirt. Now sit right here next to me, we’ll listen to some music. Thank goodness for iTunes radio. I held his hand and said a little prayer with him too. Then, I realized I still had my mouth guard in from sleeping. “Jaden, this one might be a little gross, will you put my mouth guard on the counter in my bathroom.” Jaden’s reply, “uggh … I’m gonna need a tissue for that one!” I could hear his little feet run down the hallway and all the way back and he took his spot sitting right behind me on the stairs.

I started to realize that my parents were probably not going to be able to get me into a car. I was trying to avoid a 911 call because i didn’t want to freak Jaden out anymore than he already was. He had such a traumatic experience when we called 911 for Owen. My parents walked in the door (after what seemed like hours of sitting at the bottom of my stairs) and they said we should call. My mom climbed over me to sit with Jaden upstairs and my dad stood by me and made the call.

Soon, the flashing lights were outside and two EMTs came to my rescue. They called in a ladder truck for a special chair to get me out of the house. At first it made me feel like a fatty – needing a special chair to lift me out of my house, but then it made me feel like an Egyptian princess being carried out haha. I put a big smile on my face and waved and blew kisses to Jaden has they loaded me into the back of the rig. Nothing mattered in that moment but to reassure him that his mama was going to be ok.

Finally getting some pain meds, I was feeling a bit more relaxed … we got to the hospital and was in the same garage they unloaded Owen in. They wheeled me down the same hallway and passed the same soda machine I stopped at for a diet coke to rinse the taste of CPR out of my mouth. Hard memories but it was ok.

The kind, smiling face of my male nurse greeted me in room 16. “You look familiar,” he said. Hmmmm … we couldn’t quite place it. Until he was walking to the other side of my bed and asked, “Are you Owen’s mom?” Yes! Oh how I just love being called “Owen’s mom.” Were you there that night? He said he was, but he didn’t actually work on Owen. Comfort. He explained that he and his wife are good friends of my fiends Jessica and Matt. DUH! of course I knew who he was! We took a quick selfie to send to Jess :)

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The ER doctor explained that my ankle was dislocated and would need to be set quickly. Wait, you mean there is a chance that it’s not broken? While there was a chance, it was not likely. Bummer. He gave me the option of being awake or getting knocked out. My reply? I have felt enough pain in this life, knock me out! When they started to attach heart monitors and oxygen, I started to wonder what I had signed up for. They took some X-rays and then knocked me out. When I came to, my foot was splinted and felt a whole lot better! My sister was able to finally come in. How lucky am I to have a family who comes to my rescue to quickly? And over and over again … She brilliantly balanced the “how does this kind of stuff keep happening to you?” jokes and the loving, supporting holding of my hand as the reality of being a single mom with a broken ankle set in. No driving, no weight baring, crutches, casts, physical therapy … holy crap.

The ortho doc came in and said my ankle was in fact broken in three spots and I would need surgery … today. Inhale. Exhale. Of course I needed surgery! That was already on my list of things to do today.

I was transferred to a room upstairs while we waited for an OR to open. At 11 a.m. my nurse came in to say that my surgery had been moved up to Noon. They would be over at about 11:30 to take me. My mom hadn’t made it up to the hospital yet. She was still home with my puking kid. As I like to say it, I sent my best nurse to be with my most important patient! My surgical chariot arrived sooner than I had thought …

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I called Jaden to tell him I loved him and then I called my mom to tell her they were going to take me before she could get to my room. She told me she loved me … she was just parking the car. SO CLOSE! The nurse who was taking me to surgery was named Star … my lucky Star. When she found out how close my mom was, she waited at the bottom of the elevator. Soon my mom came jogging (we won’t say running) down a hallway so she could give me a hug and kiss. Boy did that make both my mom and I feel a bit better!

Waiting in the recovery room was a little freaky … not going to lie. It was a big horseshoe shape so I could see into most of the other curtain “rooms.” There were patients still sleeping, just waking up … and then there was Michael, who kept forgetting to breathe. “Michael, BREATHE!” ::slap slap slap:: “Michael don’t forget to breathe!” Just a little unnerving. Note to self – don’t forget to breathe when you wake up from surgery. The doc came to see if I had any questions. He asked if I had family in the waiting room he should look for. I told him my mom and sisters should be, unless they run out for lattes and pedi’s while I’m under. haha

In no time I was waking up and being taken upstairs to my room where my mom, sister and “non-blood” sister were waiting for me. A breath of relief. I finally felt like it was all over. I just had to wait the healing part of the process out. All of this happened between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m.! Talk about a productive day!

I was so blessed with many visitors who had heard about my fall. Even a delivery of girl scout cookies :) For as crumby of a day as it had started out, I was reminded over and over by all the faces who smiled at me that day, that God is still good, life is still sweet and a mom can be as tough as nails when they have to be!

We have since convinced Jaden that he is my hero and he saved me that morning rather than it being his fault. I mean, can you imagine if I had fallen when I was home alone? How long would I have sat like that before someone found me? My mom has banned me from diet coke, insisting that I need more calcium so I stop breaking bones. My parents have once again came to my rescue … Jaden and I will be staying with them until I’m able to get around better on my own. My mom is also helping so that I can still see Logan and Weston. As much as I complained that bedtime was the worst and best time of the night … I have really missed reading them their bedtime stories.

I get my real cast in about a week and a half … what color do you think I should get?

Love, Mel

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Fox 6 News Story – Healing Our Heavy Hearts

The cover story aired on Wednesday night. My parents, sister and I gathered on the couch together to watch it. I really hope that this story helps others … lets them know that there is a place to go when your little one is grieving.

Check out the clip here: http://fox6now.com/2015/03/04/its-okay-to-cry-healing-hearts-of-waukesha-county-works-to-help-children-deal-with-loss/

Here’s the behind the scenes recap of how this all went down …

The same night the reporter and camera man were going to film, I had to be at school for to get Jaden’s school iPad rollout. I had to be at school at 5 so I thought filming at 7 would give me plenty of time. I got home from work, threw a bunch of stuff in a closet and ran to school. OF COURSE Jaden’s iPad would be the one that need to be rebooted, taken to the communication station and have all sorts of hiccups along the way.

At 6:50 I looked at his teacher and said, “I couldn’t make this up if I tried … I have Fox 6 News coming to my house in 10 minutes and I really have to get home.” We both had a giggle. A teacher said she would help finish up for me.

I flew in the door with just enough time to throw some Chapstick on need brush Jaden’s hair.  Enter Fox 6 News.

Jaden went first. He did so awesome! I sat on the couch to his right. He didn’t really need me. He knew what was on his heart.

Then it was my turn.  While answering my questions, Jaden stood by the camera guy. He thought it was pretty cool. All of a sudden he was walking around wearing a Fox 6 News hat. We laughed and I cried a bit. It was emotional retelling Owen’s story.

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Why God Created Spell Check

Most of the time I’m flying from one thing to the next. I’m balancing work, kids and my own emotional health (i.e. me time). I’m hoping that the decisions I’m making aren’t causing issues down the road. Am I giving my kids enough attention? Should I be taking more time off of work to go on that field trip? By not going on the field trip am I going to cause him “mommy issues” down the road? Do my kids really know just how much I love them? One juggling act after the other …

But then, it’s like God knows just what I need at just the right moment … there are these moments when everything is crystal clear. It doesn’t last very long, maybe a minute or two. But I have this clear vision that life is exactly what it’s supposed to be right now. I’m good enough right here.

This morning it was a moment when all the boys had been served their breakfast and they were watching a movie on the iPad. I heard a whisper: Look Mel! Just look at these three amazing boys! All sitting together and loving each other. They are as thick as thieves. You did this. I trust you with them. You are doing a great job!

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Me? I’m doing a good job? I don’t really feel like I am. Jaden and I forgot to study his spelling words last week. Logan was crying because his favorite pair of pants were dirty and I hadn’t done the laundry yet. I’m behind at work and forgot again to download the power points onto the computer in the sanctuary. There just isn’t enough time in the day to be “good enough.”

While it’s totally true that there are not enough hours in the day … it by no means reflects my value as a mother, friend or office manager. I am not defined by the unfinished jobs on my to-do list. But rather, I am measured by what I did accomplish. I didn’t study spelling words but I did cuddle Jaden each night before bed and I told him I loved him at least three times every day last week. I didn’t do the laundry, but I snuggled with Logan before school for a few minutes instead of curling my hair.

I have also come to realize that these “ah-ha” moments come when my kids are loving each other. We got some snow in Wisconsin this week and I had to go out and snow blow on Tuesday evening. I bundled all the boys up in their snow gear and set to work. While they did not help their mother shovel the driveway, they did go sledding on the side of the house – together. Their brotherly giggles and laughter was enough. It made the night feel almost magical really. This is my life … these are my boys … for real? How did I get so lucky to be the mom of these boys?

God whispered again: You are enough.

I have decided that if the only thing that my kids ever learn from me is to love one another and others, then my life in complete. Isn’t that why God created spell check? A gift for those moms who just can’t do it all.

I’m not totally sure what God thinks of me when my boys are fighting and screaming and kicking the living snot out of one another. But I suppose that’s for another blog … until then, I am enough.

Love, Mel

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Pay Back

During the years (holy cow it’s actually been years) following Owen’s death, I have found great healing in being able to give back to those who carried me through, quite possibly, the hardest part of my life. Healing Hearts of Waukesha County is one of the most deserving organizations.

The autumn after Owen’s death, Jaden needed a place to talk about Owen. So, I signed him up for Healing Hearts, a grief support group for children and families. This organization brought out the best in my boy. The facilitators healed parts of Jaden that I didn’t know were hurting. His 4K teacher spoke to me about what a difference she saw in Jaden. He had self confidence. He spoke of his family and his brothers boldly. For these reasons and so many more I agreed to do to cover story interview with Fox 6 News.

Bret Lemoine and a handsome camera man came to my home and set up the lights, camera and microphones. Jaden and I set to work telling our story and sharing why Healing Hearts is so amazing. In my heart I felt the desire to tell our story so that others who are suffering from a loss can find hope just like Jaden and I did.

If you are in the Milwaukee area, tune in tomorrow (March 4) to Fox 6 News at 9 p.m. Or you can check out fox6now.com and the video should be posted there. I’ll also try to post the link here on my blog too.

Whether you watch the cover story live, online or not at all – please remember that children grive too. They feel the loss of loved ones when they leave.

Love, Mel

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Pour Water on the Fire

We have all experienced pain. All kinds of pain. Physical, emotional pain. Pain that we have felt like we deserved and pain that was completely unexpected. It’s hard to say which is harder to endure or which is easier to get through. They each have their unique hurt.

When I worked in the corporate world, it was all business. Emotions were checked at the door and you had to treat everyone professionally. What’s unique about my job in ministry is that people and relationships are first, the job at hand is second. It makes sense when living out your faith as your profession. It gets personal. You greet families as they are coming in to plan their mother’s funeral. Members tell you their personal struggles while on the phone. In many ways this line of work fits me much better than having to check my emotions at the door. Yet, in many ways, it beats me up.

Recently I was blindsided by hurt. In the midst of a conversation, I thought I would naturally be asked to help. I wasn’t. Someone else was. I was caught so off guard; I couldn’t speak. I’m not one who can hide her emotions, so naturally the tears began and the group knew I was hurting. I didn’t know what to say or why it hurt so much. I got flustered and I got silent.

Needless to say, it was obvious the next day that I was upset and crying. Someone reached out. “I can tell you are upset. Talk to me …” These nine words opened the door for me to speak. I had almost 24 hours to think about what had gotten me so upset and to put the emotions that surprised me into words.

Now let me sidetrack here by saying, I may be good at putting me thoughts into words on a computer screen or by using a pen and paper, but using my voice is not a strength of mine. Conversation around conflict gives me anxiety. I stubble on my words and often leave the conversation wishing I had said a whole lot differently. I read and re-read text messages when someone doesn’t reply wondering what I should have said differently and worrying about whether or not the other person is going to reply. Verbally I am a clutz and really struggle finding the strength to put a voice to my pain.

In my ministry, I have tried to default to my strong language – writing. It doesn’t work. Pen on paper, while therapeutic and dependable, does not build relationships. It leaves so much to interpretation. It lacks voice tone, eye contact and body language.

Back to my recent unexpected sucker punch. I’ve been crying for a day straight. Feeling ridiculous and just plain emotional. Feeling selfish for being so hurt, when clearly the other person is going through so much more. How dare I bring my insecurities to this other person who is fighting for their own life, literally. But they reached out to me. The weak reaches out to the strong. I know this person loves me. I know he cares about me and I love and reciprocate all those feelings. So when my kids were asleep, I picked up the phone. I put myself out there – not knowing what I would say when he answered the phone. “Hi.” “Mel, talk to me. What’s going on?”

The flood gates open. Tears rolled down my face while I spoke all the silent thoughts I had processed over the last 24 hours. He didn’t get mad with me. He listened. He loved me through all the stuff I unloaded. He shared his own thoughts and explained how surprised he was that I was upset. And you know what? I felt better. The sharing validated that he loves me. Speaking my hurt allowed me to feel heard.

It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you open yourself up to someone who rejects you. What I am starting to learn is that talking about the hurt is like pouring water on a fire. Whether the other person responds positively or not, you stop playing and re-playing the conversation in your mind. It’s no longer burning out of control, taking over your thoughts. You lay the issue to rest. Maybe it’s resolved and you feel so much better. Maybe it’s not. But at least you go to sleep that night, knowing you gave it your all.

Talk! Be brave and talk. Don’t hide behind a text message, a pen, email or your tears. Ask the questions that keep you up at night. Keep showing up. I guarantee, if the other person cares for you, it will be worth it and so much more.

Love, Mel

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Tonsil Update

My family is officially four tonsils, four adenoids down and two ear tubes up. The last five days have gone by in a blink of an eye!

The morning of surgery, we were taken back to a pre-op room pretty much right away. The boys were so dang cute in their footy pajamas talking about how they were getting their tonsils out.

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Logan went back first. They gave him a happy cocktail that made him keep pulling up his hospital gown. The doc said it was quite normal for boys to have that reaction to the medicine. HA!

Weston got a little restless when his brother was gone. He saw the team take Logan to surgery all by himself – he was thinking that I’d be coming too … whoops! Moms might be super heroes, but they don’t get to go into the OR for tonsillectomies. He started to get a little nervous and squirrely. It wasn’t long before he got his silly juice and settled down. Phew that stuff works magic! Weston tried to pull himself up to sit. I think the whoosiness hit him … he giggled and flopped back down – like a drunk 4-year-old. He thought it was great and tried to pull himself up a few more times, each time his head would sway and he would flop back down. Funny stuff. As the doctors got him ready to go back for surgery, he asked about Logan. “Is my brother all done? He ok?” My sweet boy … asking about his brother. A triplet’s bond is tight.

There was only a few minutes before I was called back to see Logan in recovery. I walked into Logan’s room and his poor eyes were swollen from crying. His eyes said it all .. You tricked me! This surgery stuff is no fun.

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I dropped my bags and sat next to him to hold his hand. My heart just broke! It’s funny because I didn’t imagine them being scared or crying … I imagined them having sore throats, but not having the sups sups. Logan said he didn’t have any owies, which was good – the emotions were normal from what the nurses told me. It was only about 20 minutes and two popsicles before Logan was ready to move to his post-op room. I was going to go back with Logan while Doug met Weston in recovery. I walked two steps out of Logan’s room and I could hear Weston screaming “I want mama! I want mama! MAMA!!!!” We paused for Logan’s nurse to see if they wanted me to come in or not. They said yes. I walked into Weston’s room and he was hysterical. Trying to climb out of his bed – just screaming. Once he had his mama and some morphine he was much better. A post-op M&M :)

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I was happy that neither of the boys were in any pain – they were just sluggish and glazed over. Logan was quick to bounce back. He was back in his pj’s in no time. He got a wheelchair ride from his room to Weston’s. It was a little ridiculous because they were literally 10 feet away from each other. Logan crawled up on my lap as I sat in the rocking chair next to Weston’s bed.I snapped this priceless picture of them:

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Logan was getting fidgety and starting to climb all over. Logan and I occupied ourselves with selfies while Weston slept …

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Finally, Weston was alert enough that we could go home. We closed down day surgery – rebels!

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Once we were home the boys settled in well. They pretty much just fell asleep on the couch. I slept on the couch with them. A pretty uneventful evening really. I had expected so much worse!

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The next few days were filled with snuggles. As long as Weston could see or touch me he was fine. As long as Logan had his panda and baby doll he was fine. My favorite was sitting in the middle of the two of them. Being a single, full time working mom I don’t have much time to just sit and cuddle. Cuddling was my full time job for the last few days. No complaints here!

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Day three – Weston really perked up. Logan had not.

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Friday night Doug picked up the boys as it was his weekend with them. As a mama that was hard to hand over my babies when they weren’t feeling well, even if it was to their dad. No one can take care of her baby cubs like a mama bear.

I can say that the past few days have gone a lot smoother than I could have ever imagined. I thought I would be up all night with crying kids but that wasn’t the case at all. They only cried when it was time to take medicine. I have to admit that Weston spit out his medicine all over me not once, but twice. Wardrobe change!

We still have Monday and Tuesday home from school. I’m actually looking forward to playing stay at home mom again. Keeping them low key is going to be a challenge …

Thank you prayer warriors for all of the prayers and thoughts! They all worked wonders! I don’t think we will be missing those tonsils at all …

Love, Mel

Little hands fit perfectly in a mommy’s hand.
I especially love this picture, because the blanket in the background is the blanket I slept with every night while in the hospital with Owen. A friend of mine, from elementary school, made the blanket for Owen, but since he was on the medical study and had to be kept cold, I slept with it. It’s turned into my adult security blanket. Thank you Kate – your beautiful gift still brings me comfort!

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Adios Tonsils!

Tomorrow is a big day … the triplets are getting their tonsils out. I’ve known this day was coming for quite a while … their tonsils are so huge that they are actually impeding their speech. I’m quite glad they are getting them out – I remember how wonderful it was when I got mine out at the age of 21. I wish I had gotten mine out a lot sooner!

I was rock solid about the whole thing until today at about 11:30 a.m. I started to piece together what tomorrow would be like. We would walk into the same hospital that we said goodbye to Owen in. We would kiss our babies goodbye as the doctors took Logan and Weston to the same OR where Owen’s heart, liver and kidneys were removed. I picture the recovery room – where Doug and I were escorted to a small room off to the side, where we would hold and kiss our baby boy for the last time. Then I remember how his cheeks were pale and cool to the touch – like we had been out for a walk on a crisp fall day. I can still feel his cool cheeks on my lips.

My mind just went crazy, remembering all kinds of things that 1. I haven’t thought of in sooooo long and 2. weren’t really helpful in preparing for tomorrow. I’m taken off guard on how quickly these memories come to the surface. I mean, things have been good for a really long time and then BAM the memories and pain in my chest all come back. I attempted to fend off the thoughts as I tried to focus in a meeting and while I tried to get bulletins done for worship while I’m out of work – brushing the slow tears that formed in the corner of my eyes away and taking in a deep breath as my heart skips a beat. Gosh – it’s crazy how the mind can just take over.

The boys are ready … we’ve been talking about it a lot. A typical conversation goes like this:

Me: Boys, are you ready for your surgery?

Weston: Yeah – these balls in the back of my mouth are going to get out when we go to see the doctor.

Logan: Daddy has the balls in his mouth out.

Me: Yes, that’s right! Mommy has her tonsils out too. When we get to the hospital they are going to give you a funny gown to wear.

Logan: Mama, I keep my underwear on?

Me: Yes, Logan, you can keep your underwear on. Then, you’ll go to sleep and when you wake up, you’ll have a sore throat.

Weston: ME NO WANT TO HAVE A SORE THROAT! I reaaaaally no wanna go Mama.

Me: It’ll be OK bud. How many popsicles do you get to have for breakfast?

Weston and Logan (looking confused): Popsicles no breakfast food mama. We eat pancakes for breakfast.

Me: But when you have your tonsils out you can have a popsicle for breakfast … or 5 or 6 or 12!

Weston: I like popsicles. I eat Popsicle for breakfast and no go to the doctor?

Smart kid … always thinkin’.

They’ll be fine … most likely clung to me over the next few days but just fine. I’ve cleared my schedule – gotten caught up on most of my chores so I can just focus on them. I’ve got my brother and sister lined up to spend extra time with Jaden. It’s gonna be good – hard – but good.

I’ve got their bags packed – favorite blanket, baby pandas (they have matching stuffed animals), favorite movie and their LeapPads. All I have to do is give them some jello for an early breakfast and get to Children’s Hospital on time :)

If you think of it, could you send a prayer our way tomorrow? One for Logan at around Noon and one for Weston around 1 p.m.? You have been such prayer warriors for my family in the past, I feel bad asking for more … but prayers are free right? And hey, I’ll make you a deal .. you pray for my kids and I’ll pray for your kids any time! Just drop me a note and I’d be honored to pray for your little life’s treasures!

Love,

Mel

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I was late to church today

We were late for church today. Logan decided he didn’t want to put on his shoes. I was nervous when we finally arrived. Would my children be able to hold it together for an hour, or would the ugly side of our family rear it’s ugly head, revealing what our family is really like to a bunch of church-going-strangers? I dropped Logan and Weston off in the nursery. Both boys hung their coats and kissed me sweetly goodbye. A flawless drop off. Fingers crossed they wouldn’t get into a wrestling match in the next 59 minutes.

Jaden and I walked to the sanctuary at the other side of the building. I was thinking of the best way to find a seat without being noticed … we were really late and I knew any sudden movements would draw attention. When Jaden saw the doors to the sanctuary his pace quickened. He started tearing off his coat and hat, tossing them behind him, hoping I would catch them. He ran down the center aisle toward the altar where the children were sitting and listening to the children’s message. Let me repeat that … he RAN down the center aisle INTHE MIDDLE OF THE CHURCH SERVICE! There was no sneaking in the side door and sliding into a back row, going unnoticed. I asked him if he needed help finding his Sunday School class; we had only been to this church a few times before. He shook his head as he continued running down the aisle. I slid into a pew.

I couldn’t help but think of this verse:

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. Luke 18:16 (NLT)

Whoa, did I just see this piece of scripture lived out in front of me? Those who are like children … When you finally get to church, run down the center aisle to hear His word – without worry or fear of what others are thinking of you. Just run towards the cross.

Why do I go to church? I come to church to receive God’s word and guidance. I shouldn’t be worried about impressing anyone or going unnoticed. Jaden had the right idea. RUN towards the cross. Run even if you are late. Run even if that means everyone is looking at you. The God I worship, is just glad we showed up. He loves us just as we are, totally messy, late and frazzle.

I am such a proud mama … I need to learn from Jaden. We need to learn from our children.

Love, Mel

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Tiny Little Mommy Gifts

Maybe I’m the only one … but there are so many times that all I can see are the wrong things I’m doing in motherhood. All of my mommy failures staring me right in the face. Then, like little tiny gifts, there are those moments when you think to yourself, “Holy crap, I think I’m doing something right with these little tiny humans!”

The boys have had a bad case of the gimmies. They always seem to be asking for something. I’m doing my best to stand my ground but dang it’s hard. I start convincing myself that I’m a horrible mother, raising just greedy little boys. If I were a better mom, my children would know the value of a dollar and not ask for such silly things.

Then one morning, out of the blue, I receive a tiny little mommy gift. Jaden asked me about recycling. “Mom, what does it mean when you recycle paper?” Well, it means you take the used paper and make new paper so you don’t have to cut down more trees. He pondered on that for a few minutes. Then, he said,”You know, we’ve got a lot of stuffed animals downstairs. What if we put them under the tree on Christmas Eve? Santa could bring them back to the North Pole and give them to his elves. It’d be like recycling.”

He’s getting it! Taking what he has and thinking of how he can bless others with it. I felt the stains of my mommy mishaps fade a little in this awesome moment. I felt like in the midst of all the craziness, I must be doing something right. A tiny little mommy gift.

This past weekend, I took Jaden and a friend to a Christmas breakfast and craft event at the school my mom works at. We collected our supplies, found a spot to sit and set to work making ornaments. Jaden finished his and got up, without saying anything, and handed his completed ornament to the volunteer. She looked confused. Jaden said, “Here, I’m done.”  It didn’t even cross his mind that he could keep it. He was thinking of the Little Warrior Ornament Drive where the kids make ornaments to be donated to a local non-profit. I was proud. So very proud. He worked hard on the ornament – doing his best work, with every intention of giving it away. Just like that – another little, tiny mommy gift. Granted it was followed by a begging session for a book at the book fair – but still, you’ve got to celebrate the little wins, right?

These little, tiny mommy gifts can be easy to miss. Sometimes they are the kinds of ah-ha moments that smack you in the face and you can’t miss them. But other times they are subtle and easily go by unnoticed.

Fellow mama warriors – be on the lookout for these little gifts. They are given to you as a reward for your hard work and sleepless nights worrying about your babies. Use these gifts as fuel and encouragement. You are doing great things.

What little, tiny mommy gifts have you unwrapped lately? I’m excited to hear from you!

Love Mel

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Filed under Mommyhood Meditations