Friday, September 5, 2014


Our daughter, Gianna, is quite the character.  She is my independent one.  Any of you that know her, she is quite content to be off doing her own thing.

She loves playing in her closet where she holds many imaginary tea parties. She will lay in her bed and read her "Bible" (which could be any ol' book) or happily play with her doll house or kitchen for hours at a time.  This child sounds like a dream come true, right? 

Well, many of you may have heard the saying, "Silence is golden... unless you have a toddler.  In that case, silence is very, very suspicious!"

Our sweet Gigi has earned the nickname 'Molly,' which is short for Molly-Makes-A-Mess.  I have to give her credit, many of her messes are.... how you say... creative?  I wish I had documented them from the beginning, but I did manage to snap a few pictures along the way.  And let me add the disclaimer that at the time these photos were taken, I had three kids under the age of four - although any parent knows that this can happen with an only child [sneaky little buggers!].

Perhaps a few of these will look familiar to you 
as you've raised a Molly of your own...

Oh-so-neatly laid out baby wipes - caught her before she could get through the whole box!

Sneaky... on the inside of a drawer.  Stamped AND scribbled. Very nice. 

Baking soda. Lovely.

Yep... that's petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline)

Permanent marker on the linoleum of your rental? Sure, why not!
(Magic Eraser took that right out, thank goodness!)

Nap time?! I thought it was "Grab Things Off the Changing Table 
And Take Every Wipe Out of its Container Time!"

Lining up the cans and placing flatware on top.  Impressive!

Here, Dad! Have some tutus. 

 What's that, Mom? 
You didn't want all your recipes taken out of your recipe box? Oops...

Here Mom! I helped empty the cooler..... onto the floor.

My attitude wasn't the only salty thing in the kitchen that day... 

A unique display of flatware. 
(in the baby-food ice cube tray)

Here you go, Papa and Mimi! Pink post-it decor for your table!

Breast milk storage containers or coin sorters?

And the ultimate mess....

Look closely... see that brown stuff? Yep, that's poop.  
Gigi was changing her own diaper.  Awesome.

Well friends, I hope you had a few good chuckles from this post.
Have yourself a marvelous, mess-free day! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life is Not Fair: Grief [Missing Mom]

As soon as I read the e-mail from our lead pastor telling us what our next series was going to be I felt a small panic.  It's called "Life is Not Fair." And the first week was going to be about grief. I took a deep breath.  Anyone who has suffered a great loss knows that it isn't something you forget.  Anyone who has suffered a great loss knows that there is something each day that reminds you of it.  Anyone who has suffered a great loss knows that it doesn't take much to trigger that feeling of your heart sinking into your stomach when you think about it.

So why was I apprehensive to head to church on Sunday?  Well, I thought it would be a given that I would cry at some point... just wasn't sure if it would be the tears-welling-up-but-won't-fall-that-makes-your-throat-hurt kind of cry, or the I-need-to-excuse-myself-because-the-baby-wipe-in-my-bag-isn't-enough-to-contain-my-tears-and-snot cry.   

Many of my friends - my husband included - know that I am what you call a "closet griever."  Rarely will I cry in front of anyone because of my own pain.  If you have seen me cry, it is most likely because my heart is breaking for someone else - but not myself - or it's the complete opposite end of the emotional spectrum and I'm laughing so hard I cry.  I don't know why this is.  I'm sure people that don't know me all too well think the loss of my mom was 'no big deal' since I can casually say that she died just after Gianna was born.  I don't mind people asking me about it - and I can usually talk about her and the event of her death without missing a beat.  I didn't even cry at her memorial.   

Rest assured, I have - and continue to - grieve over the loss of my mom.  It's when I'm by myself that the water works flow freely.  I'd say 60% is when lying in bed, 30% is when I'm in the car, and the remaining 10% is random times throughout the day when I want nothing more than to call and hear her voice on the other end of the phone.

I felt at peace during her memorial service - even the week leading up to it - but a few days later I started crying and I honestly felt like I was never going to stop.  Before long I felt like my whole world was caving in.  I must have been in what they call 'survival mode.'  Well, when that wore off it wasn't pretty.  In fact, I had experienced some of life's top stressors in a period of six months: I resigned from my job, we moved to another state, we had a baby, and - of course - the death of my mom.  Let's not fail to mention Thad traveled a LOT - which left me at home with two kids under the age of 2 in an unfamiliar place. Uh, hello!  Is this really someone's life?? Oh wait.... it was mine! 

It is so hard going from seeing your mom at least 2-3x a week and talking to her on the phone AT LEAST once a day (often more) to only being able to see and hear her in a memory.  It's so hard when your own kids have you feeling so defeated, and you can't reach that one person who can truly talk you off that cliff.   It's so hard looking at your babies knowing she never will.  It's so hard celebrating life when that one piece is missing... her.

So back to the sermon... I didn't cry. I didn't get the lump in my throat. I just caught myself shaking my head in agreement with many things my pastor said.  I even muttered a "mmmhmmm" every once and again.  There were a few things that he said that really stuck with me.

3.  You don't have to know the right things to say.  Sometimes your mere presence is all someone needs in a time of grief.

2. God designed us to grieve through our loss, not camp out in it! Fight the urge to shut out the world and seek help - whether that is by talking to a friend, counselor, family member... whatever helps!

1.  And the best take away from the sermon for me was: Do you want answers, or do you want peace?  

I don't think I ever questioned why God took my mom from us when He did.  Thankfully, I'm in a place in my faith where I understand there is an "upper story" and that we simply won't have ALL the answers.  I rest in knowing that He does.  But this doesn't change the fact that it hurts.

One piece of advice I would pass along to you if you know someone who has suffered a great loss:

Don't forget.

When it hasn't impacted your life as much, it's easy to forget it as the days, weeks, and months pass.   I would say - for me - the six month mark was almost harder than when it actually happened.  That's when the reality of it all started to sink in.  I'll always remember the card I received from my aunt last year around the second anniversary of my mom's death.  All it said was she was missed, and they were thinking of us.  Such a simple gesture that had a profound impact.

So even if you have to set a reminder on the calendar or in your cell phone to check in with the person months later, please do.  Send a text, card, stop by and see how they are doing. They will so appreciate it!

In the meantime, continue to count your blessings dear friends! :)
Hope you are having a great week!

If you'd like to watch or listen to the above referenced sermon, you can find it here: Life is Not Fair: Grief