October 29, 2013

a day in the life

as a blog reader, i love day-in-the-life posts. it's partly voyeuristic, like peeking into someone's purse or medicine cabinet. growing up as the daughter of a sociologist, i'm well-versed in the art of people-watching. and knowing how someone else spends their day makes me feel good; it pulls back the curtain on "how does she do it all?" my friend robin wrote a cracker jack post on how she's balancing her schedule as a working mom, and then invited others to write their own day-in-the-life posts. i got to spend all day truly thinking about how i was spending my time... and it felt great!

of course writing down what i'm doing with my day doesn't quite capture everything. you can't schedule cheering for a friend who had a great ultrasound, sneaking cruz's halloween candy while he naps, or covering london's face in kisses while we wait for cruz to finish his snack. but this is my life and my day and it made me feel satisfied to take a good look at how it all balances out.

so here's what i did.

5:45am. tovi's alarm goes off for his first client at 6am. i get up right after he does, brush my teeth, and head downstairs. i pour myself a glass of water and drink it while i read my devotional (currently i'm reading this one) and pray. i spend the next 45 minutes working on stuff for mops. mops is one of my favorite things to invest my time and energy in, and i give it the best part of my day.

8:35am. by the time i get home from cruz's daycare drop-off, london is up and hanging out with tovi. i nurse her, and then spend some time on work that won't require me to be on the phone. we lay on the floor together and i chat to her while i enter data. i'm glad we get to spend this time together, although sometimes i wish our one-on-one time would be more about playing with her than just keeping her occupied.

9:45am. london's back down for a nap, and i launch myself into work calls. my time is limited, so i try to be as careful about it as possible. i tell myself that i'll take a shower at 11:15 and i barrel through the next hour and a half.

12:20pm. cruz is home from daycare and i unleash him on the backyard. we play basketball for awhile, and then i put london down for her second nap. cruz vacillates between making layups and chalk drawings, wanting to play together or wanting to play by himself. this is his time to get really worn out, so i follow his lead.

1:30pm. my boss (who's also my neighbor and a friend) asks if she can drop by later in the afternoon. i get cruz down for a "quiet time" after we read a few books and do a quick clean of our downstairs. rugs get vacuumed, all the sports equipment is returned to their home outside. i get more work done and eat a quesedilla with goat cheese (thanks to bread and wine, i've learned that goat cheese is always the right answer). it's delicious and i savor my time alone... until lolo wakes up at 2:15. i get a little annoyed that her afternoon nap wasn't too long, but as i'm getting ready to feed her, i figure out the answer-- two front teeth are popping through! i cut her some slack; she's been surprisingly unfussy.

3pm. cruz gets released from his naptime jail. he has taken all the books off his shelves and lined them up along the floor. "it's slippery!" he tells me, delighted. for his birthday, our friends adam and leah bought him berenstein bears: the trouble with chores and now he's obsessed with doing chores, so he cleans up the room as soon as i ask him to (thanks, questads!). since we potty trained him, cruz has been resistant to wearing pants, so after naps are usually a good time check him out in his undies. we have a snack. we read some books. london is a little fussy, so i put her in the carrier for awhile. "put london in the ergo, not the moby," cruz instructs. ah, bossy and a modern toddler!

4pm. rachael stops by for a chat and brings cake. that's my favorite kind of pop-in.

5pm. it's been a goal of mine to get to know our neighbors better. one way i'm trying to do that is by encouraging us to play in our cul de sac more often. we head out front with our chalk and our neighbors are also out riding bikes. there are few things that make me feel more like a real mom than helping to supervise pre-dinner cul de sac playtime.

6pm. tovi steps in quickly, transitioning between soccer practice and one last client. i feed cruz his dinner and then send him into the studio for a few minutes. my sweet, tired london is ready for bed. i feed her and she falls asleep quickly.

7pm. tovi and i chat when he comes in from the studio, but we end up talking too long and it's past cruz's bedtime. he starts to melt down, and i carry him upstairs with less grace than i'd like. his screaming actually wakes london up, which is a bummer. i settle her back down and then trick cruz into brushing his teeth and putting on his jammies. i don't remember what happened after that... did we read a book? did we say prayers? did tovi take over bedtime and i fed london again? i think that's what happened. anyhow... he's asleep!

8pm. we eat bagel sandwiches and a salad-- we keep it classy around here. look, this is how i get it "all" done. there's just no such thing as "all" anymore. something always has to give and i'm trying to give myself the freedom to let a couple of things slide from day to day. today i cleaned. maybe tomorrow we'll eat a real dinner. when you're balancing work and taking care of littles, something will always have to give. we watch two episodes of friday night lights because it's awesome and so that tovi can have that extra coach-taylor power boost as the team heads into their last games of the regular season.

10:30pm. i type up this post in bed, feed london one more time, read a couple pages in my new book, and finally turn off the lights.

i'd love to see what your day looks like! i'm linking up with robin here... and you can too!

October 17, 2013

what we wore on wednesday

some days you write relevatory blog posts... and some days you just want everyone in cute outfits. ladies, ammiright?

^^ cruz decided that it was a "green day." green dino jams, green undies, green crocs it is! i mean, you know i love a good theme.
^^ we call this one our little bunny, so these striped bunny jams are pretty perfect for her. we get all kinds of squealy when she has them on. there is something so sweet and soft and lovable about her... just a sweet little bunny.
^^ i've been dying for her to wear this romper from tea collection. i bought it in august, thinking she would wear it in the spring. because it's for one year olds. but how super darling is it????

^^ i was pretty proud of this outfit. actually, so proud that this is the second day in a row that i wore it! the first time was out on a date with tovi, and i liked it so much that i put it back on the next morning. and that's how we roll.
^^ we continued with our green day!
^^ me: cruz, what's on your shorts?!!??
    cruz: some crusher. let's take these off.
    {we take them off. let him run around in undies for a minute. he runs back over to me}
    cruz: cruz needs new shorts. but not crusher-y shorts this time.

   bahahaha. love that kid.
^^ unfortunately, london didn't stay in her cute romper for long. just as we were about to leave the house to have dinner with friends.... outfit change time!

and that was wednesday!

October 15, 2013

meant to be a mom

practically a minute ago when i was pregnant with cruz, i heard two comments that really shaped my pregnancy and parenting. neither of these comments were directed at me and probably were never thought of again, but, as tovi will tell you, i take small things to heart too easily. is that enough of a qualifier? just simple, off the cuff remarks that were never ever meant for me. ok. when i was pregnant with cruz someone commented that their friend (pregnant for the fourth time), was just "meant to be a mom" because she was never sick while pregnant. oh, how that stabbed me straight in the heart. there i was on the brink of motherhood, having dreamt of motherhood since i was a little girl carrying about my baby dolls, throwing up every time i turned around. clearly not meant to be a mom. someone else remarked on a new mom we both knew: "she makes it look so easy. she's just meant to be a mom." so i stepped into motherhood determined to prove that despite morning sickness and my lack of mothering experience, i was meant to be a mom.

i never complained during labor. i never asked anyone to stay up with me during midnight feedings. i buried my anxiety down deep so that on the surface i could make mothering look easy. i wanted badly for motherhood to roll over me so effortlessly that i worried about every detail of cruz's babyhood. i worried about him having a paci. i worried about him falling asleep in my arms rather than on his own in the crib. i worried that we didn't co-sleep. i worried that he slept in our room too long. when we started solids, i "knew" that "good moms" made their own food. when he wouldn't eat it, i paid an arm and a leg for jarred food at whole foods, and then i apologized for it!

eventually, i grew out of all this worry and anxiety, and i knew that i wanted something different for london. throughout my pregnancy i prayed for freedom from anxiety and pressure and what i imagined to be other's expectations. instead of the stress i felt when cruz was born, i felt nothing but joy when london was laid in my arms. i swear, there was that silly high pitched "aaaaaaah!" of angels singing as the nurse handed her to me, all sticky and wet. i felt free from worry.

and while the anxiety that always hovered near me when cruz was small never resurfaced with london, i found myself wanting to reign in control and pressure to still make it look easy. more and more often i was keeping us at home because of all those sneaky what ifs. what if he needs to go to the bathroom? what if he has a meltdown in public? what if she needs to nurse and he's running around? can i carry all their things? and of course the big one... what if this feels hard and that means i'm not meant to be a mom of two?

from a couple of things that we've been talking about at church, through jessi's writing, and through the sweet leading of the Lord, it has dawned on me that i haven't been parenting with freedom. i have been so held down by the expectations that i imagine other's hold me to, that i haven't let go enough to let God and only God lead me in parenting my children. far too often, i parent from a place of "should do" or "have to" and i want to embrace "want to" and "get to." i want to mother my children in the knowledge that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

i now know this: cruz is three and london is almost five months old and there is no one on this earth that is meant to be their mom except for me. no one else can tell when london needs to go down for a nap. no one else that lets her wind her fingers through their hair the way i will. there is no one on earth that understands how fast cruz's mind works or his little toddler concerns. no one can comfort or nurture or mother them the way i can. and sweet friend, there is no one else on earth that could mother your child the way you do. 

we have freedom in christ; there are no credentials left to prove. we are mothers because we are mothers, and there is nothing about it that makes one mom more suited for this role than another. whether being a mama was a desire deep in our bones or a situation thrust upon us or a dream not yet fulfilled; whether our children are born from our bodies or carried by another, we are meant to be mothers because we are just meant to be. when God is for us, who can be against us? neither heights nor depths, angels nor demons, co-sleeping nor jarred baby food can separate us from the life God has called us to. let's live it-- in wild freedom. 

October 11, 2013

happy birthday, cruz man

dear cruz,

today you are three, and i don't even know, kid. there it is-- kid! you are all kinds of grown up and even though you're still my baby, you're not my baby. even in the last few weeks, your language as been exploding. your sentences are grown up ("my arms are too short to reach the ipad!" #omgfirstworldtoddlerprobz) and today you told me, "no, mommy, uh-uh" in a sassy voice that sounded eerily just like mine.

i think you're the greatest. even your quirks and toddler-ness is endearing because underneath it all you are mine, and geez, i just love every single thing about you. cruz, you are a man with a plan. i can practically see the gears turning in your head. you are constantly raiding our drawers and cabinets to create collections-- my hair sprays, our candles, the spice jars. your enthusiasm for your projects is catching.

you are clever. we were singing in the car the other day, "i know Who goes before me / i know Who stands behind / the God of angel armies / is always by my side." i asked you if you knew who we were singing about. "God," you answered, and then i could tell you were thinking a little bit more. "God is running around cruz!" you shouted. sweet, smart boy. you love to read. you count to twenty. you can spell about ten words. you love to write the letter h.

and for all the ways that you're growing up, you are still my little boy. when you're sleepy, you burrow down into my neck and i swear to you, it takes all of my self-control to set you down into your bed and not simply hold you for as long as you'll let me. after your nap your drag lion downstairs by one arm, wearing little boy undies and a t-shirt. you gives kisses on the shoulder. you are in awe of the men on tovi's soccer team. you wriggle under their arms and tap their heads, as if you can't believe how close you can get to your heroes.

and you are mine. from the first minute we see each other in the morning and you shout, "it's mommy!" as i open your door, to playing in the backyard, to setting you down in your room until you settle from a tantrum, to the way you end our prayers with "a is for amen!" you are wholly mine. every single minute that you have been alive, you have been loved and cherished. you will be loved and cherished every single minute of the rest of your life.

like i tell you every night, cruz, may the Lord bless you and keep you. may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. may He grant you peace, today, now, and forever. a is for amen!

October 7, 2013

glad submission

at our new church we are studying the book of ephesians verse by verse. there is so much life-giving goodness in ephesians; some of my favorite verses in the Bible come from this book, including cruz's lifeverse (ephesians 3:16-19). but can i confess something to you? it was with a little trepidation that i went to church this morning knowing that we would be tackling ephesians 5:22-30. oh you know, the wives submit to your husbands part of ephesians.

i was nervous that i wouldn't like what the pastor had to say. i was worried that i would be turned off from this church that i am really growing to love. i was worried that i would leave feeling less than as a woman. this piece of scripture has been used so often to put women in uncomfortable or even dangerous places, and i worried about how our church would interpret it.

but our pastor is great and our God greater, and i left church feeling so energized about our marriage and my role in it. once the sermon is ready for download, i'll post it here in case you want to listen, but in the meantime, here are a couple of my take-aways. maybe they'll be a blessing for you too!

+ God's commands in scripture bring glory to Him and joy to our lives. i do not need to fear God's Word. it is for my blessing. i may not agree with how other people interpret this passage. i may not always want to obey Scripture. i certainly will not always understand Scripture. but it is God's Word and it is life-giving. when i approach tricky passages with this attitude, i will certainly see how it can bless my life.

+ marriage is meant to be a reflection of the trinity. between husband and wife there is full equality, glad submission, joyful intimacy, and mutual deference. i think pastor lazo really hit the nail on the head here, and i love all these Trinitarian characteristics that he pulled out. "glad submission." "joyful intimacy." look, that is what we're striving for in marriage and if we can achieve a little of that, we'll be high-fiving each other all over the place. and don't you love the picture of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit giving way to each other in glad submission?

+ so let's talk about the elephant in the room-- wives submitting to their husbands... wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. would we, as the church, ever say, "bummer about submitting to Christ"? never! we submit with joy. we trust Christ. we give Him authority. we should give our husbands that same kind of trust. [important side note: pastor lazo made it incredibly clear that these guidelines for marriage are to be life-giving. in no way does this apply to wives who are in marriages with any form of abuse] so how does this work out in my marriage? for me, tovi's vote breaks the tie. if we are deciding between two ways to spend our money, and we each have a different idea, in the end, i will defer to his decision. that's not ever to say that i won't argue for my opinion, but in the end, i trust him to make the best decision for our family. it doesn't mean that he's smarter than me. it doesn't mean he's better than me. but i believe that Christ is pleased when i submit to others and counts it as worship to Him. and here's the challenge: what would happen if i released the tight grip of control on my life to regard my husband as my leader?
do i feel a little like i'm abandoning the feminist sisterhood here? sure, but there is no way to read the Gospels and come out thinking that you're going to have power over someone else, husband or not. Christ was there at the creation of the Universe, He is God's Word made Flesh and still He gave up His life for me while i did not deserve it. so yeah... i can work on dying a little bit to myself for the sake of someone like my husband that i love so much. marriage is the best place to practice how to put another's need before my own. after all, if i can't set aside my pride or my needs for my husband, would i ever be able to do the same for a stranger or an enemy? [other important side note: pastor lazo talked A LOT about the husband's role in the marriage, and husbands submitting to wives, but those aren't my take-aways. everything he talked about in relation to husbands solidified for me that mine is awesome]

+ women are helpers, and that doesn't mean we're weak. let me tell you, it's lifegiving to hear your pastor say, "sister in Christ, whoever told you that being a helper means that you're weak was lying to you. remember, the Holy Spirit is also called the helper." being a helper is not a diminished position, but one of power under control. additionally, wives submitting to husbands is just for wives submitting to husbands, not women submitting to men.

+ and the final takeaway... we will all fail when it comes to marriage, but Christ does not fail us. marriage is beautiful because it points us to Christ. when we mutually submit to each other in marriage, we learn that we are more sinful than we imagine and far more loved than we deserve.

so how about you? what does mutual submission look like in your marriage?

October 4, 2013

lemon festival

our little town sometimes get a bad rap. we're right next door to a world-famous gorgeous town, and somehow, there's a line between us and them that sometimes feels a little embarrassing to admit. ok, maybe it has to do with the fact that we can walk to a chili's from our house, and no one in our fancy next-door-neighbor beach town would ever dream of eating at a chili's (ok, that might be a bit dramatic). listen, don't tell those fancy-pants townees, but our little not-as-cool-but-still-a-beach-town town is secretly getting cooler all the time. we have gorgeous beaches. we have organic farms and a brew co. i always run into someone i know at the grocery store, which is a lovely aspect of living somewhere small. did you know that we have a lake? we do! it's really cute! and recently, the california lemon festival came to the huge park just a few blocks from our house. tovi was off on a recruiting trip over the weekend, so my mother-in-law and i put the kids in strollers and we walked to the festival! good cover bands, some great people watching, a little lemon chicken, and a beautiful sunset. cruz was grumpy at first-- new situations + hunger can do that to the best of us, right? we listened to the band and i kept encouraging, "shake your bum! more!" as i tried to get him to dance. (#momoftheyear) (side note: cruz has amish blood and brazilian blood coursing through his veins. when it comes to the dancing gene, amish won) london gets the silly giggles in the evening, and the lemon festival was no exception. everything was funny to her. (also, i think i caught a ufo in one of the pictures! wink, wink. can you spot it?) it seems that with every passing year, we're putting our roots deeper and wider into our community, and its really becoming home.

October 1, 2013

at its root

and this is mothering at its root. it is softly whispering, "i will rock you all night long" at ten pm, and still meaning it at four. it is bulb syringes, soaked through burp cloths, exhausted prayers, and a vow to stop looking at the clock. it is watching the sunrise in the same clothes you wore the day before because you haven't put the baby down long enough to change. it is still finding that thrill in your soul when she stops crying and smiles as you sing to her at three in the morning. this is mothering-- hard and gross and you prop your eyelids open with your fingers to stay awake because she needs you to hold her upright. and it means that you would never ask another to trade places with you because this is your night and your baby and your vigil and it is everything.
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