A stay-at-home mom's survival guide to surviving 3 under 3.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not just playing Mommy!

As my older boys approach the big age of three, my house is constantly full of noise and clatter!  I have noticed the twins have started their own language. Squealing a high pitch sound and echoing it back and forth. Sometimes they integrate the hand clap, sometimes they leave it out. They have also started the push & shove game; which can be fun at times but hurtful at others. A run to mom for a quick kiss always fixes the boo boo and then it is back for more pushing and squealing. (The house is officially, LOUD!)

The baby just turned four months and is still, according to his stats, short and chubby weighing in at 16 lbs 5 oz (90%) and 25 in (50%). He still demands to be fed every 2 to 3 hours, AROUND THE CLOCK which means no sleep for dear old mom, me. The pediatrician told me last week that next month we are to begin tough love overnight. I am not looking forward to hearing a baby cry all night! :(

Playing mom is hard most of the time. Balancing three boys in diapers seems to be a never ending feat. I joke with my husband about how 'play' time goes during my day. The minute I sit down in the play room to do an activity with the boys I usually smell something...time for a diaper change! Then, the baby starts to cry because he wants to be fed, then another diaper change, then someone wants juice and the other wants goldfish and then I smell something again! The to-do cycle just repeats itself. (So much for pretend play or story time; it is work time!)

Laundry is high up on my demand list too! It seems the minute I finish all the laundry and get around to putting it up I have another mound to wash. I've got a system down though. Darks, lights then towels (which can be partially dried in 15 minutes out in our crazy 100 degree heat). When finished, every room has a basket + a towel basket. (That equals 4 baskets for clean laundry plus a 5th for the new dirty). Good thing I have a large laundry room which also serves as my home office. Most days it is cluttered with stacks of mail/bills, shoes, diaper bags and lots and lots of laundry, oh, and a pretty little bucket for all the misfit socks!

Anyways, the point of this blog is....

Do you remember growing up and playing mom? I do. All I have ever wanted to be was a mom. I would love on my babies, put them in my bicycle basket and take them to the "store" (my garage), give them their bottle and so on. However, in reality, motherhood is not just about play; it is really hard work. Probably the hardest kind of work. In fact, it might be up there with the sewer guys!

I remember about 10 years ago I was debating a career change out of finance and into teaching. My friend who was a teacher said, "Jennifer, playing teacher and being teacher are two different things. It is really hard work. Long hours, little pay and loads of stress." I suppose I would tell someone the same thing about motherhood.

I guess I thought home life was simpler. Hang out. Eat snacks. Watch cartoons. Play outside.
Don't you wish it was more like the pretend parenting of our youth? Maybe it seemed easier as I child because you never really thought about all that your mom was balancing to make growing up easy on you. Hopefully, home life for my kids is similar in that it is easy on them regardless of how hard it is for me.

Recently, we discovered that our twins are delayed in their speech. I have known they were a little different from the other kids their age. For instance, at the zoo when their friends would see a bear, they would point to the bear, look at their mommies and say, "Mommy, look a bear!" However, my boys would point to the bear and state, "Bear, B-E-A-R, Bear!!" Their brains are working at hyper speed and have not managed to sort through about all the things in between. They can sing all the words to almost every nursery rhyme (even ones like Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear and Polly put the Kettle on), they can name all of their letters in order, numbers, shapes (including pentagon, hexagon, etc), animals (distinguish between a macaw and flamingo), their planets (all 9, in order), etc and spell almost all of those too! Crazy, I know!! Yet, they can not say a complete sentence like, "Mommy, I would like some juice please." Anyways, at almost three, we are finally starting the speech therapy and so far they both are responding well. This morning Jack said, "I want planet puzzle please!" Of course we squealed as parents and said, "You got it buddy!"

Again, it is times like these when I stop and think, phew this is hard work! This is not "playing" mommy, this is the real deal working mommy!

Until next time...

Dear Lord,
Give me strength to be there for my children in sickness and in health. When I say to myself, "I can't do this" remind me that I can. Help me to remember that parenting is a partnership with You. Do not let me feel worry or be anxious when thinking about my children's future. Remind me that because I am in partnership with You, all will be well and that You will work out the problems! Let me hear Your voice every day so that it may guide me to be a stronger mom and wife. Let me speak the words that you would want my children and husband to hear.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boost all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I am trying to let go of one word. Perfection. At least in this life. I am starting to realize that as a mama of three, things just do not get done. Things around here are not going to be perfect. The house will not always be clean, my clothes will not always be cute, my paperwork will not always be filed, dinner will not always be hot or tasty, the boys will not always behave, I will not always be happy and so on.  I am trying to let go of "the best".  As I was reading my daily devotion last week, I came across something that spoke to me. I am always inspired by my daily devotions but some days they speak to me at a higher level and my life changes. Last week was one of those life changing reads. It read, "Do not long for the absence of problems in your life. That is an unrealistic goal, sincein this world you will have trouble. You have an eternity of problem-free living reserved for you in heaven. Rejoice in that inheritance, which no one can take away from you, but do not seek your heaven on earth." - Jesus Calling

To me that says, life will never be perfect here on earth. Stop seeking perfection here but do not fear because it [perfection] will be given to you in heaven.  Those words instantly took an ENORMOUS load of my back. 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

So as I ponder on how I will survive these early years with three boys under three, I can rest easy knowing that the word perfection is being saved for me in heaven and I can happily delete it from my vocabulary while here!

Until next Monday!

Dear Lord,
Thank You for teaching me today that even though life here on earth is filled with troubles life with You in heaven will be struggle free. When times get tough and I feel that I can't keep up or things are not going as perfect as I want them to, remind me that they do not need to be perfect because perfection is only with You.
- Amen

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three Questions about Love..

Today I was asked three questions:

  1. Do you love your husband?
  2. Do you love your children?
  3. Are you there for your children?

I answered "yes" to all of them. If I asked these same questions to you, would you also answer yes?  If you would, please know that we are already one step ahead of the game. Yay! Pat yourself on the back! We are already giving our children a great solid foundation. If you answered no to one or more, it is time to start working on solutions to get you to "yes"!

So many days I envision the worst case scenario: Jack, at the age of 16, slamming the back door and yelling, "I hate you" and speeding off in his car. (Side note: Why do I always have fake fights in my head? I don't know?)

Yet, there are other days that I envision the best case scenario: Johnny, me and the three boys tailgating at OU football games. Johnny flipping burgers, the boys smiling and laughing while throwing the football around, brotherhood and beautiful weather.

This is the life I want to have for us. Happy and out and about as a family.

However, most days when I end up jerking the boys to the time out chair or yelling at them, "What are you doing..NO! NO! NO!" I am left to think that we might just end up in my make believe worst case scenario.

Am I raising these boys the right way and how do I get to the best case scenario? This is the advice I am seeking.

As mothers, I know we all have similar visions of best and worst case scenarios for our family's future. We pray everyday that we somehow, someway will do the right thing and end up where we want to be.

Today I learned that I am actually doing something right.  On a grand scale, I am providing a stable, loving environment for my boys.  I'll need to work on my day to day smaller issues (like coping with toddlers, time outs and tantrums) but for now I can rest easy knowing that I have some of the big stuff covered! Today, I feel a 'wee' bit better. I HOPE you do too.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, 
for love covers a multitude of sins. 
1 Peter 4:8

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
Proverbs 10:12

Until next Monday,
Dear Lord,
Let us as mommies remember that it is not always about the tiny day to day details but about the bigger picture of love. Help us to remember that if we continue to show love to our husbands and children, as You do to us, the details might just work themselves out.  - Amen

Monday, April 25, 2011

Keeping The Faith!

Happy Easter Monday Mommies! I thought this was the perfect day to share a short story with you about the journey Johnny and I have made and the lesson we have learned from that about following God's plan and not our own. It was exactly four years ago when we were faced with a BIG decision. We were living the seemingly "good" life in Dallas. We both had high paying jobs, we had little responsibilities other than our jobs, we could and did take several vacations a year, we hung out with our friends every single weekend, I was very involved in philanthropies, Johnny in the 'business' scene, etc. We were, quote, "DINKS" (Double Income No Kids). We could do anything anytime (when we weren't working)!

Even though it might have seemed like the good life at the time, that life was all tied up in monetary things. The roots of a good life were just not there. Johnny wanted to be closer to his grandmother who raised him and has little family other than him.  We both wanted a family of our own desperately and having kids just did not seem to fit our lifestyle in Dallas. We were both tied to our careers, our friendships, our philanthropies and more. We were constantly on the move and honestly, stressed.

In 2006, Johnny was traveling a lot for his career. On one of those many trips, he sat next to the CFO of Oklahoma's public utility and they made a connection. In April 2007, after a year and a half of keeping in touch,  Johnny was offered a job that would move us from Dallas to Oklahoma City. Johnny had just made V.P. at his Private Equity firm in Dallas and I had just been offered a new position as a lead investor relations analyst for a well known corporate real estate firm. If he took this job in OK and moved, we would go from two high paying salaries down to one lower salary.  Should we really leave our high paying careers that we worked so hard to obtain? Dallas seemed to equal money and OKC seemed to equal family. We both felt a strong pull to go as if someone was saying, "I have better things in store for you in OKC." It was as if God was handing us the life we really wanted on a silver platter but we had to chose it. We had a BIG decision to make.  Maybe we could make the family thing work in Dallas? 

We made a poster board size pro's and con's list. We had many conversations on what life would be like in both places and we finally made a decision. We would stay in Dallas and keep our careers.  

I immediately accepted my new position and let my current employer know that I was taking a new job. However, on the next day when Johnny was scheduled to decline his position in OKC, he called me. "Are you sure we made the right decision?" Why do we feel so yuck about this. I didn't know we would feel this way." We.felt.awful.  The bible says, 

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, 
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. 
- Proverbs 11:28

I knew that we had abandoned God's call for us to move. I knew that he had better things for us.  Over the phone, we decided to change our minds and listen to what God had been wanting us to do all along. Let the monetary things go and follow him.

In July 2007, we said goodbye to the life we knew in Dallas. We said goodbye to our friends and family there, our co-workers, our church and our first home.

We moved one state up and nestled in a home on 2.5 acres and hung this sign on our back porch that overlooks our massive green backyard: 

This sign reminds us to slow down and remember God's promise to us and why we moved.

We went from 2 incomes to 1 income overnight yet somehow we have never gone without. In fact, I think we have received more. Every time money seems to get tight, we are blessed with more than we need. Over the past three years, we have been blessed with wonderful friendships, loving and caring neighbors and three happy and healthy boys.  Even though it is loud and crazy at times, there is always a calmness. I went from stressed over work to stressed over work that is my own. My family.  I get to see the day unfold. If it rains, I know. If it is sunny, I know. I love that. I will take 365 days of seeing the day and being with my family over 7 days of beach vacation any day!

We had to let a lot of things "go" but we have received leaps and bounds more in return!

God has continually given to us. He has not let us down.

I am posting this today because I know there are so many out there who are worried about their next step. Where am I headed? Do we have enough to survive? I afraid of the future. 

This is where "KEEPING THE FAITH" steps in. Remember to stop and listen. Put your faith in the Lord. Let him guide you. 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
- Hebrews 1 2:2

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Psalm 37 3-4

Until next Monday.

Lord, I know there are times when I am worried about what is next. Where is tomorrow going to lead me? Will I fail? Please help me remember to turn to You when these thoughts enter my head. If I put my trust in You, walk with You and listen to You; I know I will always be headed in the right direction. Remind me that it is not about monetary riches but the simplicity of love and family. Remind us all that great things are the works of Your hands not ours and all of the promises You have made to us!
- Amen

Monday, April 11, 2011

Acts of Love!

So... it's Monday morning, the boys are at MDO, Jameson is snoozing (for now) and I am drinking Starbucks. Life is good. It is calm and quiet.

Every Monday morning during my four mile jaunt to drop the boys off, I ponder on the topic that I should write about. (Recent Mondays I have scratched the whole idea..too much to do, too little time) but lately I have been pleasantly surprised that the perfect subject is brought to me!!

Today I was chatting with a friend while picking up my morning survival drink, Strarbucks, and was enlightened by our conversation. She has a new way of thinking for us stay at home mommies.

As a stay at home mom, there is plenty of time to think. Our thoughts are constantly running through our heads but seldomly spoken. Most of these thoughts are: laundry again, dishes again, picking up toys again, changing a diaper again, loading everyone up again, bill paying again, when is my husband coming home I need help pronto AGAIN...and so on and so on. Sometimes the simple daily acts start to drive us crazy. Is this all our lives have amounted to? Is this even worth anything? Should I give this all up and get a quote "real job". What value does any of this even bring to anyone. Am I doing everyone a disservice by just going through these motions and complaining about them in my head??

This is where the new line of thinking comes in. Instead of thinking of our motherly duties as just that, a duty, think of it as an Act of Love. This is how I am showing my family, the ones I love and adore, the ones I dreamed of since a little girl, that I do indeed LOVE them! We are rewarded in hugs and kisses and getting to see everything your children do. No misses. This is not tied to anything monetary. Nor should it. Love has no monetary value. When you pick up your child's dirty clothes for the ump-teenth time, think of it as keeping your family together, nurturing your children, giving them a safe home and NOT as a chore..and definately not as a job. There are no bosses, no supervisors, this is strictly out of love.

YOUR SURVIVAL TO-DO: Grab a journal or staple some paper together and stick it in your night stand or drawer in your kitchen. Every night before you go to bed, write down the biggest blessing that happened to you that day. You can even write down the worst thing that happened that day. Over time, look back and see that the worst things really weren't so bad and the best things were the most meaningful things in life! Your life...

**I am getting my paper ready and will start this PRONTO! I think it is a great idea AND A KEY TO SURVIVING 3 UNDER 3.**

This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24

I also am starting to realize that this must be how Jesus feels about us. He doesn't think of what He does for us as a job but rather Acts of Love. If we recognize that we have a lot in common with him maybe this will help to! Remember the old slogan, WWJD? HE loves and nurtures us and provides EXACTLY what we need without ANY complaints. Maybe we should follow in his footsteps to! :)

Until next Monday.. (hopefully!)

Dear Lord,

Help me to remember that my daily chores as a stay-at-home mom are not about monetary value but rather acts of love. Everything I do around my house is all for the love of my family. Help me to rejoice and be glad in my daily routine. Help me to see that being home and doing these things is the biggest blessing I could ever have. Bring calmness to my spirit and open my eyes to SEE these things right before me. Help me to remember that I am doing the same acts for my family here on earth that YOU do for me. To love and nurture and always be there. Giving without the need for receiving. There is always abundance in TODAY with YOU in it! - Amen

But you oh Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. 
- Psalm 86:15

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm BACK!!

Phew... now that has been a whirlwind of a month!!

Just a quick update on the whereabouts of this new mama of 3!

So, where I left off: I was praying and praying that this beautiful baby boy would make a healthy arrival into this world. I am pleased to announce that HE DID! On February 16th, we welcomed our third son, Jameson Daniel, to this world!!

GOD IS GOOD..no, actually he is GREAT!

Here is our first family photo:
(a BIG thanks to my friend Ashley for taking this memorable picture!)

Wandering what I have been up to since then?? ha...

Well, I had a wonderful bonding experience with my new little man in the hospital! I finally got to experience the calmness that comes with one newborn versus two!  I realized that this unexpected blessing was a much needed blessing for several reasons and I tried hard to except the quiet time and just be still instead of worrying about home and what I wanted to get up and go do!

On my first night, I could not physically get out of bed due to my c-section and the fact that I was hooked up to so many "things". One of the nurses who came in to take care of me shared her daily devotional book that she reads called, Jesus Calling. I immediately downloaded the application on my iPhone.

This was the daily devotional for February 16th: 

"Thank ME for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances"

Wow. What a lesson. It was as if it was written TO me FOR me on the perfect day. Here I was, not even 24 hours from delivering this amazing miracle and enduring a major surgery that I wanted to get up, unhook myself from all those machines and go home and take care of ALL of my boys. This was my wake up call.

Be still.

Let ME work for you.

Take this time and get to know your new little blessing that I have given you!

Be with him, be with me, be still...this is your reward!

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
- Psalm 127:3

God is just SO SO GOOD! Please know that!

So this is my blog for this Monday. When you want to get up and go but you can not because you are sick, in that dreaded long line at the grocery store, waiting for your kids in the long car pool line or at the doctor's office or the DMV, wherever,  Just be still, be with HIM. Don't worry about getting through your predicament in a rush. Take that time to just BE.

Be with him.

Be still.

Reflect on your blessings.

Ask your prayers.

Think of all the ones he has answered for you.

I am the first one to admit, this is the BIGGEST issue I have. I can't just "BE". I always have something running through my mind. There is always some issue. Something I want more of. Now, I am going to try my hardest to just be still. Be with him in those times. I hope you will too!

And, NOW,  just a little snapshot of what my month consisted of:

 A picture Ashley took of me getting to know my new little man!

 A picture I took on my last full day at the hospital. Jameson was so heavenly and I 
was remembering my devotional and thanking and praising the man upstairs for answering my prayers!
I was: 
Still. Calm. And Rejoicing!

At 1 week, I somehow managed to get everyone out of the house and to a photo shoot. We were only 30 minutes late (okay maybe 45 if I am really being honest).  

I wish I could share ALL of his photos with you! They are TRULY 
amazing!!  My friend Kristi at Twice Blessed Photography captured these
wonderful shots and my friend Bethany at Gray Stitch Studio knitted his

 On March 16th, we celebrated 1 month with Baby Jameson!

And on March 18th, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day
with Jack & Jake's Play Group!

Until next Monday!

"Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling"
- Zechariah 2:13

Dear Lord,
When I come into a situation where I get impatient, please help me remember to be still and to simply use that time to reflect on all the good things that you have bestowed upon me. At that time, help me remember that it is not about the next to-do on my list or even about tomorrow; it is about today and how I can thank and praise you and reflect on all that you have given me.
- Amen

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The What ifs

Well, in my house, Tuesday becomes Thursday and Thursday becomes Saturday. So for that Tuesday blog I mentioned, well, yeah, um, hmmm, it's Thursday! So it may be Saturday before I get it out! But it is a good one! Promise! A great one actually! I can not wait to post it!

With that.

Today is a day of prayer. My due date with #3 is now less than a week away! EEK! As my due date (actual due date because I am having a c-section) approaches, the nerves are starting to set in. The 'what-ifs' are starting to consume my mind. What if I ate too much candy, drank too much caffeine, exerted myself too much and have done something to harm this sweet innocent baby. What if his umbilical cord all of a sudden gets shut down or cord gets tied around his neck, or... or....

What if he just doesn't make it? 

This morning I questioned Johnny as he got ready for work. "So, you think he'll be okay, right?" Looking to him to be my rock. The one to say, "Yes honey, it will be okay. He'll make it"

But today, I remember our creator. God. His son Jesus. And that faithful thing we can turn to, prayer.

  • Ask
  • Release
  • Believe
  • Receive 

So today, I pray. I give up all those "what ifs" and I ask..

Dear Lord,

You are amazing. You are pure joy! I come to you today to ask for your unending protection over sweet baby Jameson. May he be safe in my womb. Help me protect him this last week. Help me deliver him, healthy and breathing the air that I breathe. Let him have LIFE here on earth with Johnny, Jake and Jack. We will have an AMAZING life together and love one another and You! Lord, I ask in Jesus name, to keep baby Jameson safe and with us! We ask for a healthy deliver and recovery. Be with Jamesom all the days of his life. Let us enjoy his presence at birth, as a newborn, as a baby, toddler, child, teenager, young adult and into his golden years. Let him have a special bond with his brothers, with us and with You! Let him be happy and healthy, hard working, caring, loyal and a care taker. May he be all that encompasses SUCCESS in your eyes.
- Amen

Simple as that. No more worries! Until next Wednesday when we see him, we will trust in YOU!

For all those who have worries on your mind, I hope this blogs reminds you that prayer is a great place to start! It sure helped me today!