Family Life: Then and Now.

Sometimes people are surprised that we are so young and have three boys so close together (and so crazy when they are "working" together). :) Is it an easy job? Nope. And it has left me reflecting on my life before children.

Before I had children...
I had cushions on my couches.
I had money to spend on jewelry and eating out.
I had a whole night's worth of sleep every night.
I had couches without stains from dripping sippy cups.
I had mirrors and windows that were free of streaks from sticky little fingers.
I had counters that were free of goldfish crumbs from snack time.
I had time to myself.
I had endless one-on-one time with my husband.
I had relaxing evenings with friends...no chasing or disciplining to interrupt conversation.
I had the ability to take a nap whenever I wanted to.

Now I have...
Cushions stacked for the next big jump

little money to spend on things for myself. I regularly purchase diapers and spider man shirts...and wait to "splurge" on things that I used to consider necessities for myself...like a new calendar. I'm living on the wild side.

Nights filled with one or more of the following: my fifth trip to the bathroom because baby Silas keeps thinking that my bladder is a trampoline, rocking a boy who has had a bad dream, or an early morning wake up because those boys are too excited about life to sleep. Soon to add to the list: nursing a newborn every two hours.

Lots of sippy cup stains. Everywhere. Bonus if you find a week-old sippy full of milk under a piece of furniture.

Little hand prints on every piece of glass in sight.

Goldfish crumbs, raisings, and cheerios on the counters and floors. Constantly.

Occasionally I get a naptime to myself (like right now....ahh, savor the silence!). And sometimes after they are in bed.

Again, after bed time I get some one-on-one time with Joe. Date nights out are a big treat!

Evenings with friends are filled with toddlers and newborns...oohing and ahhing over the newest baby and the oldest child's newest accomplishment. There is talk of height and weight percentile, how we got the one year old to put himself to sleep, the diaper disaster of the week, and the latest trick for getting the kids to sit through church quietly.

My nap time only comes when they are both napping...which has become a rare occurence.

And now that they're both sleeping, I'm (ironically not sleeping) blogging about this crazy beautiful life that is so different from the one I used to live. I am writing about this life that is challenging, that is constantly requiring me to give of myself, that brings me to tears, that brings me to my knees, that leaves me begging God to use this family for his glory. The life that leaves me absolutely exhausted at the end of each day and absolutely overflowing with more joy than I'd ever dreamed of. The life I wouldn't trade for any of those things I used to have or care about.


1000 Gifts (16)

301. Judah's mop of red hair that lays sleeping in my arms
302. The break from the cold...warmest February weather I've known and the walks and the splashing in puddles with laughing little boys.
303. That Joe can never wait to give a gift.
304. The prayers that go up for my unborn child.
305. The anticipation of seeing the new baby boy, created just for our family.
306. Feeling so in love with him already and, yet, knowing that my heart will spill more new love...more than I ever thought possible the first time I lay eyes on him.
307. Toothy Roman grins
308. Rest. In every sense of the word.
309. All things organized (thanks to the nesting I've been doing!)
310. Videos of my sweet little nephews.
311. Family time...this means help with new baby AND good conversation, bonding, making memories.
312. Skype.
313. New doors opening.
314. Love for friends...so much that it hurts sometimes.
315. Seeing new moms savor the little things.
316. Almost four years of being a mom. Best.Job.Ever.
317. Roman concentrating so hard on writing a friend's name. The S on it's side and the proud look in his eye when he realizes he did it.
318. Seeing Judah admire babies.
319. Hide and Seek. Even when I feel like this pregnant belly can't fit into any hiding spots and I think I'm too tired for another round...the squealing delight of the finding makes it worthwhile.
320. Neatly stacked baby blankets...waiting to wrap him up.


A Few Letters...

Dear Roman,
You could not have been cuter at your big brother class last night. And I had so much fun on our McDonald's date. I love the way that you got out your "big brother" bag of goodies and showed them to me all over again today...three times. You are so adorable.

Dear Judah,
I love the way you say "my-tar" instead of "guitar". I love that you are a cuddler. I love the way you shout "yah!" when you get excited about something. I love the way you are constantly asking me for food. Tonight after you finished all of your dinner you kept saying "saushage?" Maybe Daddy will make you some for breakfast tomorrow. He has a hard time saying no to you.

Dear Joe,
I'm so thankful that you are patient with me...especially when I'm grumpy and complaining. I love that you totally understand (or at least pretend to!) when I disappear in the evening for a hot shower...and I love that I can hear you laughing with the boys when I come out. I'm so proud of how hard you work and how well you are doing at your job.

Dear DOLE,
Thank you for making the Asian Salad Kit. Its scrumtrulescent blend of flavors is delightful to my tastebuds. I'm pretty sure I could eat a whole bag in one sitting. At the current moment I would totally blame that on my unborn child...because I'm a good mom like that.

Dear Roman,
Please stop waking your brother up during "nap time". Do you know why it's called nap time? You are supposed to sleep. Or at least rest. Thirty minutes is not enough sleep for Judah to have before you wake him up to jump on the beds and wrestle in the blankets.

Dear Judah,
Please stop waking your brother up in the mornings. 4:45 is not an acceptable wake-up time. And pulling Roman's hair is certainly not an acceptable manner in which to wake him. For.the.love.

Dear Mom and Bob (and Maggie),
Thank you so much for watching the boys all the time. It's awesome to have you so close. I love that Roman and Judah get to have a great relationship with you like Jim and I had with our grandparents.

Dear Mom (mom#2 - Suellen :)).
I'm so excited and SO SO thankful that you're coming to visit when Silas is born! You are always so willing to serve. We appreciate your willingness to go out of your way to nurture our family. The boys will be so excited to play with you again!

Dear Roman,
I love how you are totally awed by everything right now. It's such a fun stage. I feel so blessed that I get to watch you experience life everyday. The joy you have in the simplest things is incredible. I want to be more like you in that way.

Dear Judah,
I really can't tell you how much your smile melts my heart. I love seeing how proud you are of yourself when you complete a puzzle. It makes me laugh to see you dancing to music. Seeing you sad literally makes me cry. Like today when you got a HUGE goose egg from running head first into the piano. Let's stick to laughing and smiling tomorrow.

Dear Joe,
Thanks for letting me sleep in on Saturdays. You are so so good to me.


Big Brother

Last night was a big night for us. Roman and I got to go to Big Brother/Big Sister class at the hospital. My excitement at least equalled his, if not exceeded it, and the night lived up to our expectations.

We had been trying to prepare Roman for the class...we told him that he would have a teacher and he would get to be the student. We reminded him that it's a student's job to obey what the teacher tells him to do. I told him he would be learning all about baby Silas and he would meet other kids who were going to have new babies at their houses.

We arrived at the hospital and talked about how Roman and Judah were both born there. We walked in and found the very sweet teacher, who gave Roman his big brother button and told him how important the big brother in the family is. Roman listened very intently to everything she said. Then he was sure to tell her "I'm going to be the student". He took the whole thing very seriously. :)

Then, we met the other kids in the class and found our classroom.

The kids started by coloring on some transfer paper that was then ironed onto a bib for their baby. Then we read a book about having a new baby at home. We practiced holding baby dolls and giving gentle touches. We practiced changing the baby doll's diaper.

Then we went to tour the Birthways floor. Roman really liked riding in the elevator. We saw a brand new baby sleeping in the nursery and we toured one of the rooms. As we walked past the nurse's desk Roman was sure to say "Thank you, Nurse!" They all liked that a lot.

We finished with a snack and got some stickers and coloring books to take home with us. I was very impressed with the class and with the teacher. I have been so happy with all of our experiences at Mary Greeley. It definitely made me excited to meet our sweet baby!

Roman and I finished our little date night at McDonald's. I asked him about his favorite parts of the night. His response: "holding the baby doll".

He is going to be such a good big brother (again!)

Hopefully we can share some of his knowledge and (probably more importantly) gentleness with Judah. :)



So, we have been reading Roman stories about some of the saints. He gets really into memorizing their names and pictures. :) One thing that we tried to reiterate about each of them was that they live in Heaven with Jesus.

It's such a blessing to get the opportunity to share the Gospel with your children. Roman can tell you that Jesus died on the cross so that we can go to Heaven. He knows that if we love Jesus then we will get to go to Heaven when we die.

We have also had conversations about how Grandpa David and other friends and family members that we love are already in Heaven.

The other day, in the middle of one of these conversations, Roman asked "Mommy, where is Heaven?"


This kind of reminded me of our "Did the Holy Spirit die on the cross?" conversation. Usually I feel like I am pretty prepared to answer his questions, but this was another time when I suddenly felt really, really not prepared.

I thought for a minute and tried again with "Heaven is where Jesus lives".

His response: "Tell me where that is, Mom."

"Well, honey, it's really hard to explain exactly where Heaven is. But it's where we go to be with Jesus when we die and it's a really wonderful place. Let Mommy think about another way to explain it."

Well, I've been thinking for a couple of days now and I am still not quite sure how to generate a 3 year old answer. If he were an adult, I feel like I might have an adequate theological response...but to Roman? How do I explain that to Roman? And how do I explain it in a way that's simple and yet truthful? It's really important to me that my answer be accurate...that's it's not some vague "up in the sky" answer that's not deeply rooted in truth.

So, my sister-in-law Angela suggested using the song Big House by Audio Adrenaline. If you rocked any youth conferences or camps in the late 90's, you know the one! :)

So, I'm thinking, this is perfect. It's a song based on what scripture says about Heaven...I can talk about more about Heaven for now...

So, I say "Roman, remember the other day when you asked me where Heaven is?"


"Well, I want to tell you more about Heaven. Jesus tells us in the Bible that Heaven is our Father's house...and that there are lots of rooms and that everyone will sit down at a big banquet table together. The streets are made of gold and the sea is made of crystal! It's a beautiful place! And it's a very happy place! No one is ever sad and no one ever has to die again. Heaven is where Jesus lives. And all the angels and saints live there too. Roman, I want to show you a music video. This song tell us what Heaven will be like." (see Revelation 19 and see Revelation 21)

I pull up the video and he watches very intently through the first chorus:

come, and go with me to my Father's house
come, and go with me to my Father's house
it's a big big house with lots and lots of rooms,
a big big table with lots and lots of food,
a big big yard where we can play football,
a big big house...it's my Father's house.
and then a new question formed in young Roman's ever-inquisitive mind:
"Mom, does Jesus play football??"
It was one of the many moments that I just wanted to bottle up and hold onto forever.
For the record, at the end of the video, he still asked where Heaven is.
Like I said, I don't want to give him an answer that isn't truth. So, if anyone else has a good 3 year old answer to that question, I'd love any suggestions!