I work out for me. 

This past week, I noticed that I was angry a lot. I was frustrated about every single thing, big or small, that might normally just annoy me. It’s really hot outside. It’s really hot inside. We’ve been busy, but not really in a fun way. The kids are messy, loud, and getting on each other’s nerves. I’m not getting enough sleep. The 2yo is acting particularly threenagery (let’s just say that’s a word) recently. All of these things are things I can usually take in stride. But the past week or two, they’ve been building up, clogging my good feelings and just plain stressing me out. 

Finally, I realized that I hadn’t been keeping up with my workout routine very well. Now, I’m not an every day-er, or even a certain days of the week-er. Maybe those are the reasons I hadn’t gotten any exercise in. But either way, two weeks of no exercise is not good for me, and I finally realized it. It was time to stop making excuses about my busy schedule and the heat. 

You see, I don’t necessarily put on weight or get flabby from not working out. I mean, if I didn’t for a long time, I’m sure I would. But I don’t immediately see the effects of laziness on my body. (Not that a SAHM mom of three under five should in any sense be seen as “lazy”.) But I temporarily forgot that my body, my mind, my soul, all need some exercise. 

Working out isn’t something I personally do to see a magic number on a scale, fit into a certain size, or or achieve a certain “goal” (screw the thigh gap). I do it for the way it makes me feel. It helps me work through frustration. It helps burn calories and energy, and exhaust me into sleeping better. It sets a healthy example for my family about the importance of exercise. It is “me time”. It sets the tone for my productivity. It even makes me feel great about that glass of wine that’s coming in the evening. In short, makes me feel good. I don’t need a better reason than that! I do it for me. 

Things Toddlers Say

Hello and happy Tuesday! After a fun (and admittedly emotional) weekend of the tiniest member of our family turning ONE, I’m ready for some humor! Hope you enjoy these funnies!

EK on public toilets: These aren’t so loud as blenders.

Me: Let’s get you some shorts, buddy.
J: I don’t want some shorts. I’ve got some legs.

EK approaches J to apologize for biting him (I know- it was a whole thing).
J: I’m sorry you bited me on the arm. Can you give me a hug and a kiss now?
EK, turning to Hubby: Did you hear that?
Hubby: I did. Why don’t you do that?
EK: I’m sorry, J. (Gives him a hug.)

EK has a gown with a bunch of female superheroes on it. She came upstairs after getting ready for bed while we had friends over…
EK to the room at large: There’s no boys in my nightgown. (Not a typo.)
Sam: Keep it that way.

J, all day long: Can you say, “Yes I can have some candy?”
Me: *giant eye roll*

J, picking up a phone: Hello, Lucy. It’s Gru.

EK singing “Jesus Loves Me”
J: Stop singing, EK!
Me: It’s okay if EK is singing.
J: (Sigh!) It’s okay if you sing the Bible, EK.

This very concerned helper…J: Mom! I’m fixing Diesel! (Because that plastic wrench is actually going to help whatever the problem is.)

EK: I don’t like ranch (dressing).
J: I do!

My friend sent me this gem. They were on a chair lift at a theme park…
S: Look how high we are! It looks like we’re a hundred years old!

While EK was with her grandmother…
EK sees the picture of herself as a baby, in a bikini at the beach.
EK exclaims: Oh how cute!
Annie: Do you know who it is?
EK: No.
Annie: It’s you!
EK puts her hand to her chest and says: Oh… that makes me so happy – I am going to cry!

J has had several booboos recently, and calls Band-Aids “ban-dangs”. I die every time.

So what are your kiddos talking about? Any hilarious mispronunciations?

5 Random Jobs I’d Like to Have

This post first appeared on My Big Jesus

As a SAHM, I don’t get too much time to dream of jobs I’d like to have. However, these are five jobs I think I’d like to have, if only when I retire. 

Bartender. Not a late-night, dance club bartender, but I’d love the afternoon slump through happy hour shift. I’d love to be the one to know your usual, hear your crazy, frustrating or silly stories, and cheers you to new life phases. Hubby and I have a local pub we love, where we did their 90-day club (going to their bar every day for 90 days). We grew to love that afternoon/happy hour, because that’s when we made friends with the bartenders (who we still hang out with).

Clerk at a bookstore. I wouldn’t really like to work at Barnes and Noble, but a local books-and-coffee or even used bookstore would really appeal to me. I like being surrounded by books, and I like helping someone find their next read. Maybe I’d even get a discount!

Doula. I’m not a very scientific or medically-minded person, but there’s something truly beautiful about the birth of a child. Being able to assist families in the birth process seems like such a meaningful thing. And after having three of my own, I think that I could be around pregnant mothers and newborn babies every day of my life and love it. 

Sous chef. I might not be the most creative chef or the best cook on the planet, but I can follow directions and I love being in the kitchen. I like chopping, stirring, sniffing and sampling. Isn’t that what sous chefs do?

Photographer in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I’d love to take pictures of families as they come into the MK for the first time. You know, the one where they’re wearing mouse ears the first day, and Cinderella’s castle is in the background. The happiest place in the world, filled with smiling, happy families (at least until they get hot and tired), posing for their first photo. 

What are your dream jobs?

You Are One. 

How is it possible, my baby, that you have already been with us one year?

That early morning last summer, after a long night of labor, was a beautiful relief. Every day with you has been a joy, a loud, fun-filled, silly journey.

You are the apple of your family’s eye, the snuggliest puppy-boy, the growling companion to your brother and the anywhere-follower of your sister. You’ve got seven sharp teeth that love all things crunchy, and you’re following in your brother’s big, heavy footsteps. You might not walk just yet, but you are quite fast in spite of that fact. 

You have great things ahead, dear Davis. Many wonderful years await you, but for a minute, I wish you’d slow down, stay little for a little longer. I know you won’t, so I look forward to the next, and the next, as well. Happy first birthday, my baby darling. 

Things Toddlers Say

You guys. I need to set up a recorder  n my kitchen. Or maybe the car. I can’t even write down all the hilarious things they come up with. And also, Hubby now calls these verbal typos. I’m dying.

J, all day long: Mommy, um, I luf you. Daddy, um, I luf you.
J: Can I have some pret-thels?
Me: Sure. EK did you finish yours?
EK: No.
Me: Can you share some with J?
EK: Sure. J, be sure to eat it like this. (Shows him the right way to eat a pretzel.)

We have a little friend named Nicholas. J calls him Necklaces.

EK: Mom! Look at me! (Looking through the holes in her pretzel.)
J: Mom! Look a’ me! (Balancing a pretzel on his nose.)

J: Ry-C’s just like rice! Et al. Ice cream’s just like ice!

Watching Zootopia, when they talk about blueberries from Judy’s farm…
J: Mom, can I have some blueberries?
Me: It’s bedtime, sweetie. You can have them in the morning.
J: What about raspberries?

We’ve been having a lot of conversations about our favorites colors. EK seems to think that it’s important for everyone to have an actual favorite. She’s been oscillating between pink and white the past few days. She recently told me, “I’ve decided to like white. And I think it’s okay.” Very important decision, folks.

J: Mama, can we have strawberry and blueberry panpakes for breakfast?
Me: Gonna make it happen…

Me, tossing French fries into the back seat: Catch, J!
J: I got it, Mom! You winned!

EK, when I hand her some milk: Mom, is this almond milk?
Me: ….no?

J: Where’s EK?
Me: She’s spending the night with Necie.
J: We gotta get in he car and go look for Necie’s house.

J’s cliff notes on the story of Jonah: God told the people, “Don’t do bad things! Don’t do bad things!” And there was a bad storm, like I saw a storm! And Jonah got in that krill’s belly.
(He mixes up whale and krill ever since Finding Dory.)

EK: When I was at Necie’s, I ate two apples and a whole thing of Minions!
Me: What are Minions that you eat?
EK: Bananas!

Me: Singing in a silly voice
EK: Mom, your voice sounds a little cranky. I think you have a frog in our throat. You should take a nap for a second.

So what are your kids saying? Are they are rudely candid as mine?

Currently: A Summer Slacker

Y’all, I’ve been a slacker. I haven’t been writing unless I really need to (aka for My Big Jesus or for Toddler Tuesday). I’ve been soaking in the sun. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my car. I’ve been barely glancing at my email, and hardly thinking of the blog. And it’s been nice.

But this week, I have catching up to do! I have friends I haven’t seen in a long time, and things I want to write about but just haven’t had time. So those are my priorities! And to catch you up, here’s a little currently so you know what’s been going on all this time!

Traveling || to Georgia, to hang with my folks! We spent the majority of the time in the pool, and I had some special time with some old friends I hadn’t seen. Between a pool date with my gal pal Katelyn (who I’ve been friends with since we were 13) and a date in ATL (oh yeah, I went down there ALONE) with my oldest bestie Lauren (friends since age 11 and the dawning of a love for BSB), AND a stellar brunch with my sweet cousin and my adopted little brother (here’s SnapChatting you, Harrison!) on our way through Atlanta to get back home, we were really blessed to see even more loved ones than usual.

Relaxing || at Lake Norman. Hubby’s parents graciously let us bring the family down for three whole days to soak up the sun, swim, boat ride and snuggle with the grandparents. We had good conversation, lots of fun, and special Sun Drop slushies – which my kids had never had before! (For those of you that don’t know, Sun Drop is a North Carolina-made soda, and the slushies were totally delicious.)

Anticipating || the Olympics! I foresee myself bumming everyone’s cable and spending lots of time at our favorite restaurant/bar to enjoy the games. We don’t have cable, and every two years I really regret it, because I’ve always loved being swept up in the Olympic Games. My favorite summer sports to watch are volleyball and gymnastics, and I also love swimming and diving. What are the sports you won’t miss?

Planning || D’s first birthday party! I can’t believe it’s here. I’m not really getting him gifts (he’s got all the toys and clothes a kid could want) but I want to celebrate him. And who doesn’t like a good cake smash photo? 

Organizing || the kids’ toys. While they were in camp last week, I’ve made it a separate mission to get things organized, and also get rid of or pack away for a while things that are not getting played with. It’s hard to get rid of toys when I have another kid that will likely play with those things when he gets a little older, but if I leave the toys unattended for too long, they’re everywhere, too cluttered up to actually play with, and getting stepped on and broken by two angry parents. So, here I am, getting things back under control. Phew!

Well, what are you doing currently? Are you looking forward to the Olympics? Have you vacationed yet this summer?

5 Ways My Third Kid Gets the Short End of the Sibling Stick

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

It’s no secret that having multiple kids can really split your time, efforts, and finances. It can also weaken even the strongest parents’ preconceived notions of how they’ll raise their children. Here are a few ways my third babe has already been

1. He can’t talk yet. His siblings do all the talking (over him and for him) and sometimes they don’t interpret correctly. He doesn’t get to request what he gets for snack, or what to watch on TV. He can’t communicate about whether he’s cold without pants on, or that he hates wearing shoes (well, that I actually did figure out). He can’t tell me when he needs help reaching something. He can’t even tell me when his brother hit him, when brother said he didn’t. He’s just gotta roll with whatever punches are thrown (no pun intended).

2. His birthday isn’t getting a big to-do. Sorry, third baby. Your first birthday matters, I promise. But it really snuck up on me, and I don’t have a big party planned. I don’t expect I’ll buy you 400 gifts or plan activities for you and your baby friends. In fact, I bet your siblings will be the life of your party, if only because they can actually demand attention. But I promise you’ll at least get some cake. (And in case you’re wondering, his first birthday is this Saturday. Yesterday I asked his grandparents if they were free that day.)

3. His schedule gets interrupted. We built our lives around the schedule of baby #1 for a while. With baby #2, we at least made sure his naps happened. With baby #3, he naps in the stroller, car, or carrier more often than the other two did, combined. Sometimes he’s gotta sacrifice his sleep to do fun things with his sibs. To the movies or nap? To the park or nap? It’s really not a question.

4. His diet is far from organic. Feeding three kids, even small ones, is no joke – in terms of effort or of money spent. So D learned a lot earlier to eat things like hot dogs and Chick-fil-A. And not that I’m saying there is anything wrong with those things; we all eat them a lot! A friend of mine said it perfectly: The first baby eats organic vegetables, and the last kid eats French fries from the floorboard of the car (which actually happened today).

5. He’s basically never worn new clothes. This might be an exception if it’s not the first baby, but still the first of that gender in the family. But my little guy is wearing hand-me-downs from his brother AND cousin, and still growing out of them like he’s a teenager. There are a few exceptions, since he has generous grandparents, and because my older son is really hard on his clothes. But the vast majority of what he wears has been a little stretched, has been washed 100+ times, includes some sort of stain, and/or harbors a tiny hole I refuse to recognize.

But I must say: even if he gets a little less work put into his diet and wardrobe, and has to learn to do things himself (like eat and walk and defend himself) a little quicker, he is not a bit less loved. Every single person in our tribe loves him as much as they’ve ever loved either of my other kids, including the siblings themselves. There’s a lot of love to go around, and my last baby isn’t shorted on affection!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! I’ve had a nice, relaxing week or two of not writing much, and not writing down every single funny thing that happens at our house, but here are a few good ones! Hope you have a lovely, funny Tuesday! 

J, as we first see the lake from the car: I’m sooooooo excited!
J: Can I have muches juice pweese?

After an afternoon of pulling D off the stairs…
J: No no, rascal. You gotta come down. You can’t go up the stairs.

EK, unprompted: Can we let J wear panties now?
Me: Not yet, babe. But we’re trying.

While this was happening:

J: I wuf you.
EK, turns around: He says he loves me!

I hand J a small apple…
J: Is this a peach, mom?
Me: No, it’s just a small apple.
J: Is it a peach apple?
Me: No, just an apple.
J: I like peach apples, mom!
Me: Okay, bud.

Me: I love you a lot.
EK: I love you way more than a balloon string.

Driving on a road near some train tracks, and I hear EK really crying from the backseat…
Me: What’s wrong?
EK: I wanted to look at the train tracks but J said I can’t! (More wailing.)
Me: He can’t make you not look out the window, babe.
EK: I see them! I see the train tracks!

J, very thoughtfully: Mama, sometimes is a long time.

EK: I just pooped, and I didn’t wipe so well. Some poopy got on my leg. 

J, in the same breath: You’re a sweet little mommy. You’re a sweet little rabbit.

Side section: Words that J now uses correctly, even if he can’t pronounce them:

Well, that’s what’s getting shouted and said around our house. What are the kids in your life talking about?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

  I’ve had an unforseen transformation over the past couple of years. As a girl who never had a green thumb or really cared about gardens of any sort, I’ve learned to really love growing things. I get excited in the early spring about planning out our vegetable and herb garden, readying the soil, building a new bed, perhaps, and buying the seeds and seedlings. It’s hard work, especially the preparation, but I’ve learned to really enjoy it. Last summer, I was one thousand months pregnant with my third baby, and I was shoveling fresh dirt into a new bed. I wanted to be a part of it that much.

I love seeing the first little glimpses of life coming up through the soil. I love smelling the fresh leaves on the herbs, especially after it rains. I love seeing the very first tiny, green tomatoes, and little yellow squashes. I even like trimming, pruning and deadheading to help send the nutrients to the good parts of the plant. I love the way my big kids want to get outside with me, dig in the dirt, and eat tomatoes right off the vine. My eldest can even name most of the herbs, and identify them by smell. Even as recently as five years ago, I’d never be able to tell you that I would love it this much, and incorporate it into my life so fully.

But I started growing something else, about five years ago. It was a big task, something that took the most energy, time, effort, and prayer I’ve ever given anything. I grew a child in my womb. I was the vessel as God literally knit a life together and helped it grow. Now, I am a nurturer to three such blessings, helping them grow. Yes, it still takes the most energy, time, effort and prayer I can muster. Yes, it even takes a little pruning of misconceptions and education after mistakes to help the best parts of my children thrive. Train up a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6), yes?

It may be a cheesy metaphor, but the love of growing things became so real to me when I was growing something of my very own. The love the God helps us grow, the love of parents help their children grow, and the love of a gardener helps her garden grow. Tending anything that grows requires effort. It requires the giving of nutrients and water. It requires protection from storms, literal or figurative. It requires a certain love for the thing to help it grow. We are not abandoned to grow on our own in the wild; we have a loving God, tending to our needs, and helping us grow into who He’s called us to be.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! I hope y’all had lovely celebrations yesterday, and enjoyed some great fireworks like we did! Here are some funnies from our past week… Enjoy!

J: If I go fast on my bike, the police will come get me!
Me: No they won’t; I’ll protect you.
J: Okay! *speeds away*

Me: If you eat your dinner, we’ll have some ice cream!
J: Ice cream!!
EK: Yay! I want my favoritest ice cream I never had!

J: Can I have some juice?
Me: Have you already had some juice this morning?
J: Yeah.
Me: Then I’ll go fix you a little bit.
J: I don’t want a tiny, little juice! I want a bigger juice! Like Batman!

J: *pushes D* A ship!
Annie: Don’t push your brother!
J: Okay. A ship!
Annie: Say sorry to your brother.
J: Sorry. A ship!

EK: I want to be an adult. I was one, and two, and three, and four. And now I want to be an adult.

J: Look, Mommy! It’s my clouds!
Me: Yeah, those are beautiful clouds!
J: God made those clouds just for me!
Me: *crying* He sure did, babe.

J: Can I have some candy?
Me: How about a few jelly beans?
J: Okay!
Me: *put 5 jelly beans on the couch* Okay, they’re right here on the couch!
J: I don’t want them on the couch!
Me: Okay, then put them in your mouth.
J: But I don’t want those jelly beans!
Me: You don’t have to eat them. I’ll do it.
J: But I want the jelly beans!
Me: *face palm*

The family making lunch together…
EK: Are those for me?!
Hubby: Yep. But why don’t you go ahead to the table?
EK: But I want just one!
Hubby: First, have a seat…
EK: I gotta poop! *runs away*

J: My water’s gone!
Me: Did you drink it?
J: Yeah. No! Spilled!

EK: I’m texting my boyfriend.
Me: Oh yeah? Who’s that?
EK: Alan.
Me: Alan who?
EK: He’s from Raleigh. He says yesterday he went to the doctor’s office and got a shot and a band-aid.

Overheard during playtime…
EK: You’re a swimming people.
J: I’m NOT a swimming people!

J: Daddy, can I have some of those?
Hubby: Can you fix J some pickles?
Me: Sure! How many pickles do you want?
J: All da preckles!

I missed the front end of this convo, but…
EK: Yes you are!
J: Yes I am NOT!
EK: Yes you ARE!
J: Yes I AM NOT!!

Sitting at dinner…
EK: Holly, you’re looking right at me!
Holly: Do you know what that’s called, when you’re sitting there and I’m here? It’s a cross!
EK: I know a cross, that’s where Jesus died! My teacher taught me. At nap time, I went poop and prayed to Him.

Watching the Open…
Hubby: Do you wanna learn how to play tennis?
EK: I already know how. All you need is a tennis ball, a tennis thing (swinging her hand like a racket), and tennis clothes!

What have your kids been saying that’s hilarious?