Reflecting on Year Three of Homemaking

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been three years already! Today marks my third anniversary of becoming a full-time homemaker. Around my 2-year anniversary last June, I posted four goals for the upcoming year:

  1. Homeschooling
  2. Potty Training
  3. Balance
  4. Vegetables

Whelp! Let’s start off with total transparency: I completely forgot that there were four goals until just right now, when I looked up my old post. I thought there were three. Oops! And to make it worse, even though I thought there were three, I couldn’t remember what #3 was! You might think this means I didn’t take my goals very seriously, but that’s actually not the case.

Homeschooling and potty training were the two I remembered, and they were definitely my two “biggies” this year. While I didn’t remember that balance and vegetables were also on the “official” list, I was still actively working on them! God is so gracious. So, here’s how it went:

Homeschooling…
is difficult. BUT! Worth it! I predicted last summer that this would be my biggest undertaking of the year, and I was right. It was a major change, but it taught me so much about my boy. We had a lot of struggles, because our curriculum ended up not being the best fit, which made me THROW a fit, because I did not want to do heavy lesson planning! Once I got over that, though, and just buckled down and did what I already know how to do — since I was a school teacher in a past life — it got crazy awesome. Turns out, Bennett L-O-V-E-S school! He doesn’t care if we’re learning about the letter y or about ankylosauruses, about AABB patterns or Scripture, he just LOVES it. Every day, he asks if we’re going to “learn about school” today. It’s just about the only thing he will drop everything for, besides ice cream or Daddy coming home. Once I pressed in and found some supplementary things that worked for us, it just got beautiful. My kid memorizes entire passages of Scripture, and loves it! What an eternal work we’re doing here, sowing seeds for the future, planting truth deep in his heart. This is the best, and I might just homeschool forever. Except I totally don’t want to, except that I totally do. I’ll keep you posted on what God wants, since that’s a bit more important.

Potty Training…
was just about the worst time in my life. It’s worse than having a newborn. BUT! We’re through it. He’s potty trained. Still in pull-ups at night, but that’s an awfully long time for a little bladder. He makes it through naps, but not through the night yet. That will come. I’m choosing not to stress about it. I’m choosing to call this a victory!!! Potty training is a battlefield, and I may have scars, but I am victorious. Poop and pee are defeated and banished to the potty!

Balance…
is elusive. I’m learning. My word this calendar year is Simplicity. I have to let some things go, and choose to focus on the right things — The Things God points out.

THIS is important.
THIS is eternal.
THIS will be remembered.
THIS is the Lord’s work.

THAT is nice, but it is lesser.
THAT is temporal.
THAT, despite all your hard work, will be forgotten in a week.
THAT is just busy work.

♥ I’m working on it. ♥

Vegetables…
are becoming my friends! I didn’t actually keep a log of vegetable-serving frequency, but it *feels* like more. So, I can’t really quantify that and call it a victory. I can, however, say that my attitude has changed. Instead of, “Oh, I guess there should be a vegetable,” I’m all, “We need to have a salad night,” and, “I feel gross if I haven’t had any vegetables in a day or two.” MAJOR victory for me! Major. Still working on this one, too, but I can only go up from here. Even more telling is that my child loves carrots, green beans, broccoli, and peas! Like, he will eat them before anything else on his plate. I’ve made it a normal part of eating since he started solids, and so it’s normal to him. Let’s pray his taste buds don’t rebel in the next few years!

In conclusion: It’s been a year of much learning, growing, and victory! Stay tuned for my new goals for year four, which I’ll hopefully post soonish. Since I have no idea what these goals will be, I don’t know how long it will be before I post about them. But I *would* like to hear about *your* last year or so. How are things going for you? Have you had any victories and/or learning experiences in homemaking/parenting/life? I’d love to know, and be encouraged with you.

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For All Mothers

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.” “We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mum!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Please share this with a Mum that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Mums. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.

(Author Unknown)

What, O My Son?

I have decided to start a series on Proverbs 31 because I am a woman, I am a wife, and I am a mother. The 31st chapter of Proverbs has a lot to say about women in general, and wives and mothers in particular! It’s been a while since I looked at this chapter closely, and it has been never since I really savored each verse, meditating and evaluating my heart in light of them. What better time than now?

Although most Proverbs 31 studies seem to begin at the tenth verse — “An excellent wife, who can find?” — I am starting at the very beginning, with King Lemuel’s wise mother. You see, she had an oracle — a burden, a longing, a yearning — for her son. So much so that she taught it to him. And that word translated as “taught” in verse one carries with it the connotation of reproof, discipline, and careful instruction. She was very serious about it, and very serious about making sure he remembered her words. If she lived to see his kingship, then I’m sure she was pleased to learn that he had remembered (of course whether or not he heeded her advice is unknown).

Her words begin:

What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

I love that.

He was her son. He came from her body. She cherishes that physical connection right from the start, reminding little Lemuel of her tenderness and love for him because he is forever a part of her. Even more, she shares with him her commitment to the Lord concerning him. Lemuel’s mother had apparently made some sort of spiritual vows regarding him, perhaps reminiscent of sweet, barren Hannah‘s, who had been rewarded with a son after years of yearning. Maybe Lemuel’s mom had a similar story, but we’re not told here; we can only speculate. One cool thing I found out is that the name Lemuel means “to God” or “belonging to God,” so it seems that in addition to the wisdom imparted in Proverbs 31:1-9, she wanted his identity to be as one who serves the Lord and who knows well who his Heavenly Father is.

Oh, me too, Mother of King Lemuel. Me too! I prayed for years and years before we were ready to start having kids. I prayed for my children by name, and I begged God for their salvation. I asked that He deny me motherhood, making me barren, if my children would only be destined for wrath by refusing to choose Life. Time will only tell what His complete answer to that prayer will be, but I’m still praying!

I now pray constantly for my little, almost seven-month-old boy, and for his younger brother or sister who is yet to be conceived. (Hopefully, there’s a little egg in there somewhere just waiting for its time!) Lifting up all the normal things a momma lifts up in prayer, I also really harp on that salvation and faithfulness part. It’s part of my vow to God for my children.

Now that I’m a mother, so much of my purpose is wrapped up in my son. May he know well that he is deeply cherished, that he’s forever a part of me, that he is fervently and constantly prayed for, and that he has a purpose!

More on this oracle soon!

 

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

The First Advent

hallelujahLast Christmas, I was just a little bit pregnant with my now big boy, Bennett. Last Christmas, he was just the size of a sesame seed, so said Babycenter.com. Last Christmas, the mystery of Christ’s coming as a human as tiny as my sesame seed really, really struck me. How profound, that the Creator of the universe so humbled himself as to enter the womb of a young Galilean girl some 2,000 years ago. I was brought to tears at the notion, as I rested my hand on my still-flat stomach and wondered what it was like to be Mary. Amazing. It completely blew my mind.

This Christmas, Bennett is four and a half months old, a whopping sixteen pounds, and already wearing 9-month clothes. He’s rolling over, albeit in secret so that Mommy and Daddy never actually see it happen, and he’s found his sense of humor. My husband and I are hilarious, in case you didn’t know. Bennett has changed our lives forever, and I’m in awe of the miracle of him every day. And this Christmas, I’m really, really struck by the mystery of Christ’s coming as an infant. God Almighty as a little infant. What a paradox: the One who knit Mary together in her mother’s womb looking delightedly up at her as she makes silly faces at Him. Giggling that adorable, spitty, gummy giggle that we all love. The Alpha and the Omega feeling hunger twist in His little belly, and rooting around anxiously to find Mary’s milk. The Savior of the world, the only Hope for mankind, developing little muscles under His baby fat and learning to roll over, much to the delight of His parents. Sprouting teeth and gnawing on Mary’s shoulder, soaking her clothes with saliva. Creator become created. A real human baby who needs baths and songs to fall asleep.  

I cannot fathom. What a woman, that young Mary. I’m delighted with each exciting milestone Bennett reaches, but there’s an undertone of sadness as I’m daily reminded that my little boy will one day very soon be a man — that I have precious little time with him. How much more weight those thoughts must have carried for the mother of our Lord.

So it’s not about Santa and presents. In fact, I very sincerely wish we didn’t do any of that. Santa gives gifts that will be soon forgotten and end up rotting in a landfill once the children outgrow them.

Christ gave His life.

That is a gift that impacts your eternity. The Advent — the entrance — of Christ into the world is what we should celebrate. It’s what we should and must emphasize. He is our only hope, and He is everything.

May you be struck by the true majesty and wonder of Christmas on this holy day. Merry Christmas, indeed!

Infinite, and an infant—eternal, and yet born of a woman—Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast—supporting the universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms—king of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph—heir of all things and yet the carpenter’s despised son. Wonderful art thou O Jesus, and that shall be thy name for ever.
-Charles Spurgeon

TDOT: Days Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three

Yesterday, I was thankful for:

  • Turkey!!!!! Stuffing, mac ‘n’ cheese, rolls, smashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, pie, cake, ice cream, et cetera, et cetera… (For my baby’s nutrition, I am also thankful for roughly seventeen green beans and the one broccoli that I allowed on my plates at lunch and dinner. It was for him.)
  • Time spent with family. Since I have SO MUCH family, I didn’t get to see everyone, but I was thankful to see who I could this year!

Today, I’m thankful for:

  • NOT Black Friday shopping!
  • My husband being home! And organizing and cleaning my kitchen for me! What a great guy. I love his face! 
  • Dancing and singing Christmas music with Bubs in the living room, which is waaaaaay “funner” than shopping! He’s so excited for his first Christmas as a bigger-than-a-sesame-seed baby, and the music is so much easier to hear and enjoy on the outside of Mommy’s tummy! (And just wait until he takes a gander at our Christmas tree! Ooooh doggy, will he love that!)
  • Story time! We read three whole books on his floor before nap time. He loved it! Sweet Bubs. If he doesn’t end up liking to read, it won’t be for lack of my trying!

What are you thanking the Lord for today? 

TDOT: Day Sixteen

I am thankful:

  1. For the “Moby” wrap Rebecca and her mom made for Bubs and me! It’s always been too hot to wear it out when I’ve wanted to, until today! Bubs happily snoozed as I tootled around Target, Michael’s, and Office Max this afternoon! He loved it, and I sure loved NOT lugging the car seat around. It’s getting so heavy! (More rightly put, HE’s getting so heavy!)
  2. For such a great community of mommies that are just a step ahead of me in this game. It’s so great to get advice! Most recent was from Alison, who confirmed a suspicion I had, but brushed off that maybe my little one is teething already. He hasn’t been sleeping or napping much the last three days, he’s been extra slobbery, and he’s been chewing on his hands a LOT. I felt his gums, but can’t tell anything. She said it could still be the problem, and to try teething tablets. We’ll see if they help! Even if that’s not it, at least I have the medicine for later!
  3. That I got to take a shower. Now, this is not exactly a novelty on normal days when he naps, but it is a novelty if Bennett is as wide awake and cranky as he’s been the past few days. He sat in his bouncy seat this morning and let me shower AND shave without having to hurry! What a treat. 😀
  4. That my friend, Amanda, volunteered to get a box of Huggies diapers for me with two coupon deals on top of a store sale! That’s the best, because I don’t go to that grocery store ever, and I hate Pampers. We’re having at least one blow-out per day over here in the Pampers I very stupidly bought just because they were on sale. Gross!

What are you thanking the Lord for today?