January 27, 2014

sometimes we try to leave the house

it's sunday morning. tovi is gone at another conference this weekend, so it is me, two kids, one dog. it's sunday morning, and in order to make it to church sort of on time, my alarm goes off at 6:20am. i allow myself one round with the snooze button before absolutely prying myself out of bed. i am hoping, praying, daring to get in and out of the shower and wash my hair before i hear either one of the kids.

i'm faster than fast and it's quiet enough when i get out that i have time to drink my glass of water and get dressed before i hear london. i grab her from her crib, tie my wet hair into a loose bun, and bring her back into my bed to nurse. by this time we hear cruz singing "jesus loves me" from his room, and we go jump in bed with him. kisses, tickles, good mornings. i give london some books while i get cruz half dressed and send him downstairs.

it is now 7:30. we have one hour left.

i'm changing london and from downstairs i hear, "mommy! mommy! i'm ready for something that starts with a b!" cruz wants a cereal bar and is really into giving me hints about what he wants rather than asking for it. london is growing so fast that i don't always know what will fit her from day to day, so i try a couple of outfits on her before settling on a cute dress, a headband, and running downstairs, with shoes and socks in my hand for cruz.

bar, fruit, juice and vitamins are doled out for cruz. i start the coffee, settle london into her jumpy and run back upstairs to start drying my hair. "hey cruz," i yell down, setting down the hairdryer for a moment. "can you let abby outside?" i pause while i hear him open the back door, call to the dog, and then shut it again. i figure that's good enough and also when did he get old enough to help like this?

my hair is dry. my makeup is on. it is 8:00.

i come back downstairs and announce to myself and everyone, "we're going to church this morning. we are leaving so soon." if i say it often enough will it come true? i start getting the diaper bag ready. it's packed with extra snacks for cruz in case we want to hang out with friends after church (we do). i pour a bowl of cereal for myself, start drinking my coffee, and realize that i've sat down without pouring milk into the bowl. i also realize that cruz has guzzled down an entire sippy of juice. "oh cruz!" i holler into the living, "i'm setting the timer for one minute. when you hear the beep, it's time to go potty." it's 8:15. i haul cruz into the bathroom. while he's sitting down, i see that neither of us has shoes on. "london's poopy," he tells me. ah, thank you for letting me know. i gulp down some coffee on my way through the kitchen to the living room, scooping her up and taking her upstairs. "let abby back inside," i yell down. "abby wants to stay outside all day," he answers back, clearly not wanting to stop playing again. not so helpful this time.

lo and i come back downstairs, let abby back into the house. i forgot our shoes upstairs so i race up and down, hoping that was my last trip to the bedrooms. london is looking like such a little lady in her headband and tights that i stop to snap a picture. as i'm doing it, she flips up her skirt and sticks her tongue out-- what a sass!

"cruz, which are we going to put on first: socks or shoes?" he giggles and runs over to me. "put some gel in my hair, mommy." this weekend we've been talking about what things go in our hair (gel: yes. pretzels: no) and his request is too cute to ignore. back upstairs to find hair gel. i work it in and he's off to look at himself in the mirror. "there's me and there's the gel in my hair!" i hear from the bathroom. it's 8:30 and it is absolutely time to get the kids into the car. can i say an amen for the minivan and my ability to open its doors from inside the house? i send cruz outside to start climbing into his seat while i turn off the lights, pick up london, lock the door.

by the time i'm at the car, cruz is sitting in the driver's seat asking about the "levers." i pick him up and buckle him in, forgetting that earlier i'd promised that he could do it himself. he cries. i walk back around, unbuckle him and he does it himself, slowly and carefully. as we back out, we do our roll call. "is cruz in the car?" "yes!" "is london in the car?" "yes!" "is mommy in the car?" "yes!" (and now this is the part where i am very thankful for his help) "can you see the diaper bag?" "it's right there!" "can you see the ergo?" "there it is!" "can you see your snack?" "right there!" whew. gang's all here.

we listen to praise music on the way to church. we talk about the friends that we'll see.

i pull into the parking lot of 8:58 for the 9am service. we're so close and yet, so far. london goes into the ergo. cruz gets out of the van and we walk slllllooooowwwlllyyy down the sidewalk. "do you want me to carry you?" i ask a thousand times as he shuffles along. he identifies the types of trees out in front. he comments on the sidewalk cracks. he's cheerful and charming and taking his time. i've been trying to be on time for church for the last two and a half hours, and it kills me that we're still late. but when we walk in the doors, i can feel the Spirit and let it wash over me. our church is singing "bless the Lord O my soul" at the top of its lungs and cruz says, "this is the song i know!" simon, our greeter buddy, yells out, "welcome, little man!" as cruz runs in for his weekly high-five. by the time i've got the kids checked into their classes and i find my way into the auditorium, i am so so late. i am so late but it is worth the effort to get us out of the house. it is worth the hassle and the stress and the work to be out and worshipping with our church family. i can give glory to God even with this widow's mite of being late to church. so sometimes we try to leave the house.

January 21, 2014


we're almost eight months into this and i still can't get over how great she is. london is the friendliest baby you could ever dream up. never wants to miss a moment of what we're doing. if we're out at a restaurant, she will stare a person down until they smile back. she'll throw her body around to make sure she can see you. if she lays her head down on the highchair juuuust right, she can peek under the kitchen table, through the living room and over to the office to watch tovi working at his desk. she yells, "mamamama!" when she's mad and says, "aaaaaa!" whenever she sees a dog. she's a light sleeper (so light we don't even talk about her at night-- i just said her name to tovi while i sit here typing this post and she started crying), but a regular napper. she loves her brother and her daddy and her mommy and her dog. her favorite toys are her baby dolls (or whatever cruz happens to be playing with). she is pure joy.

January 17, 2014

what's working {in january}

i am always trying to simplify our lives. less stuff, less stress, you know the drill. part of me realizes, however, that our lives are always changing, so our needs are always changing. what seems to work well in one season doesn't work well in the next. so here's what works for me... for now.

+ dream matte mousse. this is make-up that i bought at the grocery store on a total whim on thanksgiving morning. there could not be a sadder cosmetic purchase than that. so, i was clearly going into this with very low expectations... and have been extremely happy! this take 0.5 seconds to put on, is a light coverage, i feel like it lasts all day. and is $8. win win win.

+ the walgreens photo app. you guys. the walgreens photo app is genius and walgreens is about to make a million dollars from hipsters and instagram-obsessed moms. you open it up, the app pulls up your instagram feed, click click click the pictures you want and, not even kidding, they'll be ready in less than an hour. it's genius.

+ babymel diaper bag. i carried my trusty petunia picklebottom almost every day for three years... and it was just time. i was tired of it. it was worn and smelly. i got this babymel from nordstrom and couldn't be happier. because of the stripes, obviously. but some other things too-- with the boxy shape of the ppb, i spent too much time digging down deep into the bag before i found what i was looking for. this bag has more pockets and a wider shape. (this picture doesn't do the bag any justice)

+ ekhart yoga on youtube. we've been doing some yoga over here. i wish we were doing more, but whatevs. i like these videos because they are shorts and effective. my friend robin also has an online pilates program coming out in february, and i hope to get that into my routine as well! (maybe that will be in what's working: feb edition)

+ wit and wisdom jeggings. this is another recent nordstrom purchase and wow. softest jeans ever. they keep their shape and make YOUR shape look amazing. people have asked me if i've lost weight or have been working out (hahahaha. no.). i feel great in these.

+ three goal lists. i first read about this idea from hayley of the tiny twig, and because she's wise, i decided to give it a try. wow! hello, productivity. at the beginning of each day, i make six goals: three for home/life and three for work. after those tasks get done, i feel free to add more to my list, but narrowing it down to three goals really helps me to prioritize my time. i end up feeling really productive, and tend to get the tasks i dislike out of the way faster.

January 15, 2014

lean in, lean on

i'm writing this on my back porch, feet propped up on another chair, body leaning in a weird direction to catch the last few minutes of sun. i'm breathing clean air and the raspy catch in my voice fortunately doesn't come through the keyboard. sometimes i like to pretend that the sun kills germs. does it? mostly it's an excuse to still go to the park when cruz has a cold. i hope it's working, because we've all been sick.

last week tovi was in sacramento for a soccer coaching certification and i was on my own with the kids from saturday until the next sunday. so of course (of course!) we all got sick. i noticed it first when cruz kept climbing into my bed while i got london ready for hers. he was all glassy stares and long pauses between sentences. i put the baby down to sleep and then came back to find him in pretty much the same place. i took off his shirt to get him ready for a bath, and my hands told me everything i needed to know: he was burning up. a quick swipe of his forehead with the thermometer told me the rest-- a temperature of 102. by the next morning, london caught a cold and just to make things interesting, decided that she'd stay awake from 10pm on one night until 4:30am the next morning. accordingly, i caught her cold and lost my voice.

and so began our homebound week. playdates canceled. trips to the park halted. no errands. no random trips to the grocery store or the beach. just me, two kids, one dog, and a whole lot of time on our hands.

because you know by now that cruz and i like to make lists of Things To Do, here's our list of things to do when you're stuck at home with two sick kids:
+ teach the three year old to wash dishes
+ wash all the backyard toys
+ play doctor about 5000 times. give "pokies." give kisses. take temperatures. listen to each others' hearts.
+ learn how to spell
+ reorganize their rooms
+ fruit cutting

and while it certainly wasn't the easiest week ever, it also wasn't the hardest. it was, however, a good lesson in leaning in: mama edition. i've spent a lot of time with my girlfriends talking about work and women and leaning in, but the lightbulb hadn't gone off yet about how much i want to lean in at home too. at 2am, i had to settle one crying baby so that i could wake up my toddler for the next dose of tylenol. there was only me, so i had to keep my energy up all the way through bathtime and on to bedtime stories. i had to show up and show up with everything i had. lean in.

but the best news of all? i was not alone. me, two sick kids, one poor neglected dog, and the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit, all stuck in the house together. from a sleepless night, to a fever that wouldn't quit, i had no fear because the Spirit felt so near. i didn't just lean in into thin air, i had God propping me up, going before me, and providing me with everything i needed.

and that reassurance made the whole week sweet. will that be good news for you too? that no matter where you're at or what you're dealing with, you are not alone.

January 5, 2014


on new year's day, after watching the parade and a hasty lunch, tovi and i threw the kids and the dog into the car and we drove up to the bay area. we're here to visit family and tovi will be scouting a few soccer games before i head back home with the kids and he spends the week at a conference in sacramento. whew! just like 2013, the new year is already promising to be a busy one for our family.

we thought we had expertly timed our road trip for naptime, ensuring us a couple of hours of grown-up talk in the car. well, the best laid plans etc, and obviously the kids didn't sleep. but they were fairly quiet, and we got to talk and dream and plan a little bit of our year anyhow.

i've loved setting goals over the past year. it's kept me on track and growing, as a person and as a mom. especially in these years of raising young kids, i think it's easy for some things to stay the same; easy to get caught up in survival mode. there aren't very many natural rhythms for pause and reflection, and new year's has been a welcome time for that.

so a few goals and resolutions for the coming year:

+ get up before the kids get up. this had been my regular practice before london was born, but i've slipped away from it. london is charming and delightful... and not a very good night sleeper. lately, i've been caught rolling over, stuffing the pillow over my head, and pretending that i can't hear her over the monitor. this is not the mom i want to be, and it doesn't set me up for a good day. my best days start when i am the first person up. it's been a good reminder that more sleep does not always equal a better mommy.

+ drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. i mean, seriously. time to grow up and get hydrated. sometimes i make it to the end of the day and think, "oh my gosh! no water! i forgot to drink water!" my sister-in-law gave me a fruit-infusing water bottle of christmas, so that will help!

+ a place for everything and everything in it's place. our house has seen a lot of transition this year. it's my goal that by the end of january, london's room will be her own (it was previously our guest room/home office), and that we will continue to figure out what we really need to have and how to organize it best in a small space.

+ travel. tovi and i love to travel. weekend trips, day trips, international... we love it all. we began planning for a few family trips and also a grown-ups-only trip this summer. aaaaah....

+ discipleship and encouragement. there are a few women that were brought into my life this fall that i have a particular heart to disciple and encourage. i am so thankful for this opportunity to speak some love and encouragement to these wonderful friends.

i know that 2014 will hold surprises; 2013 certainly did, but God is good and faithful, and i can't wait to see how He molds us this year.

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