On Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

We’re breaking from the usual Fatherhood Fridays to give a very busy (and slightly sick) Joey some rest. ¬†In the meantime, I recently wrote this note for a friend who was asking advice about staying home with her (future) family.

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I’m so glad that you asked! First of all, congratulations; this is an exciting time!

My personal story is that I never felt the urge to be a stay at home mom until my last semester of college (about six months before I found out that I was pregnant). To make a long story short, God put just about every barrier up to dissuade me from teaching special education in a public setting even though it had been a long-time passion of mine. As this was happening, I had the most intense desire to start a family and to be the primary caregiver. Interestingly, though we had never really talked about it, this was Joey’s desire as well. After putting aside the plans that I had made for myself, the decision was easy.

I do tend to go a little stir-crazy, so I did find a job while I was pregnant (teaching at a church day school), and I’ve had to/am still working on finding the balance for myself in staying home. It’s really important to schedule some things for yourself once you are comfortable with others babysitting for a little while (but El did attend quite a few staff meetings and Bible studies with me until very recently). I am on the staff at our church with most of the work being from home – writing children’s sermons keeps me accountable for my own spiritual walk while challenging me intellectually. I also attend a mom’s group and a couple Bible studies. Oh, and I have a blog. ūüôā

Yes, there are some monetary sacrifices, but there are ways to make care-taking very cheap (cloth diapers and making your own baby food, for example). But more than the income, it will be an intense sacrifice of yourself. You will be stretched further than you ever thought possible and love more than you ever thought you could. Being a mom is the most difficult but most satisfying job there is. It sounds like God has already put that desire in your heart. I would encourage you to pray with your husband and follow what God is leading you to do.

-Mikah

I encouraged my friend to write or call if she needed to talk any more, and I would love to extend the same invitation to you.  If there is anything you think I could help you with, or if you want to know a little more about my story, just ask.  Joy to you, friend!

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Comfort and Release

Lessons learned from my daughter in the early hours of the morning

It is late, pitch black, but the sounds of the party downstairs still break through the thin barriers of our dark room. We are so happy to be with old friends during the day, but nighttime, as the only parents in the group, is a struggle. Our little social butterfly has finally surrendered to sleep when, bang! ‚ÄúHappy New Year‚ÄĚ rings throughout the house. Body tenses, eyes snap open, a whimper turns into a pitiful wail that speaks volumes of her exhaustion. I lift my warm, heavy bundle who, somehow, still fits perfectly against my chest. As I settle into bed, she struggles against the restraints of comfort, wanting to fast forward to morning, to action.

Read the rest at The Life of Faith

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Grace Notes

Grace notes is the portion of this blog where I get to share a little about my week. ¬†Just as much as I need to be¬†reminded of¬†joy¬†in my daily duties, I also need to be constantly reminded of the grace that is extended to me every day. ¬†It is so easy to get caught up in the small¬†occurrences¬†or dwell on misspoken words of the day or week. ¬†My God loves me and forgives me ‚Äď I need to constantly remember this and extend myself that same grace when I mess up.

Last {week}

If there were two words for this week they would be¬†anticipation and¬†routine. ¬†Do you ever feel like big life things are just over the horizon? ¬†That’s how I feel right now – I am waiting on a lot of things. ¬†But I also feel like this week just zipped by. ¬†I have been so caught up in getting everywhere that I have almost lost the joy in being where I am. ¬†I just feel so busy. ¬†Do any of you other moms just love it when you can block off a whole day to stay at home? ¬†No grocery shopping, no¬†get togethers¬† no groups. ¬†It’s so refreshing to have just one day a week at home.

The blog has suffered a little this week because I have needed to put some household things first – but that’s a good problem. ¬†But, in the¬†interim¬†the Mom¬†Initiative¬†featured that latest children’s sermon on their Twitter page (by the way, are you following us on Twitter?), and Margaret Feinberg started following us on Twitter!!! ¬†I love, love Mrs. Feinberg’s books.

Otherwise, I’m functioning off a little less sleep this week, was super challenged by the Romans study this week, loved the guest speaker at mom’s group this week who talked about prayer, and have picked up a new side job with Upward Soccer. ¬†Here’s an interesting challenge from the mom’s group: ¬†Write a list of the different stages from dating through marriage (attraction, investigating, hanging out, etc.) and see how it compares to our walk through¬†Christianity¬†(particularly with prayer).

Adventures of El

Nap time has been SO much better this week! ¬†I even took a nap with a snuggly baby this week. Nighttime, however, that’s a different story. ¬†I’m not quite sure why El is waking up two or three times at night. ¬†It’s almost like she’s having nightmares. ¬†But she’s also teething, so that doesn’t help. ¬†The other night I was up with her at 2:45 and it took me until about 4 to get her back down. ¬†I was wide awake, so I just got up and started my day.

El is such a talker; it is so cute. ¬†She talked to her Aunt Amy this week on the phone. ¬†She now says “good girl” (her favorite), “bye-bye”, “puppy”, “papa”, “daddy”, “mama”, “ah-ben!” (amen), “mi-mi” and “beda-beda-beda” when she’s mad. ¬†ūüôā

We may have a cruiser very soon. ¬†She has been trying to walk between the couch and the coffee table with a little success. ¬†And she has been crawling on all fours lately (feet and hands), so she might be free-standing soon. ¬†Oh dear, I’m not sure that I am ready for a toddler yet. ¬†But, on that train of thought, El is going to be 1-year old soon! ¬†Ah, that’s crazy. ¬†I have a little over a month to think about her birthday party (check out the pinterest board I have started).

Facebook Fragments

My life as told by Facebook statuses.  

“When, might you ask, is perfect hurdler form necessary in real life? Answer, when the creaky baby gate separating you from the rest of the house is the only obstacle in the continued nap of a teething baby.”

Yep, I did this in high school…all 5’3″ of me ūüôā

“A conversation with Eleanor on the changing table this morning:
Me: Tell me what you dreamed about, little girl.
El: *raspy breathing*
Me: You dreamed about Darth Vader! That must have been scary!
El: No!
Me: Well, was Luke Skywalker there?
El: Dada
Me: Oh, Daddy took care of Darth Vader for you?
El: Pew, pew!
Me: I didn’t know he had a light saber!
Perfect Star Wars conversation at 10 months old. :)”

“Getting a work out on a mountain of pillows!”

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“I just crawled out of my daughter’s room so that she wouldn’t see me leave. Adventures in Mommyhood”

“I’m pretty sure that if I could consistently function off of 4 hours of sleep, I could conquer the world. Okay, maybe just my house…definitely the house.”

What’s for Dinner?

Manicotti with a Caesar salad!

I mix a (large) carton of ricotta with chopped spinach (eyeball the amount – you don’t want so much that nothing sticks together), about a cup and a half of shredded¬†mozzarella, two eggs, and a sprinkling of Italian seasoning together. ¬†Spoon the mixture into cooked Manicotti noodles and place them into a glass cooking dish. ¬†Cover the noodles with a sauce (I doctor up some canned spaghetti sauce with sauteed mushrooms and garlic and sometimes add ground beef). ¬†Bake about 350¬įF for about an hour. ¬†After 45 minutes, sprinkle some shredded mozzarella ontop of the noodles and cook for another 5-10 minutes. ¬†Serve with a Caesar salad and garlic bread!

In the Works

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Here are the materials for my current crafting project.  What will it be?  You will have to tune in for Pinterest Tuesdays next week to find out!

Online Community

*2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team*

Click on the link above to join the LivingProof Live Ladies (and myself) on a journey to commit 24 verses of scripture to memory for the year.  Here I will record what I am currently working on and either why I am memorizing that particular verse or what I have learned about that verse.  If you are participating, I would love to know what you are memorizing!

  • I’ll have to get back to you on this one…

Thanks —> linking up with the Gratitude Community

A few blogs I read have a gratitude community where they keep count of their blessings; I loved the idea.  Does anyone want to keep count with me?

81.  the knowledge that God bestows on his children and the urge for those people to share

82.  the vast and unique gifts found in the body of Christ

83.  whisperings of the Spirit to stop and enjoy a moment

84.  willingness to put down the schedule to enjoy the fleeting

85.  difficult conversations with my husband that strengthen our marriage

86.  increased signs of love from my child

87. ¬†my daughter’s independence and fearlessness

88. ¬†God’s lessons and reflections on my own walk through my daughter

89. ¬†hidden mysteries in God’s Word revealed through patient study in community

90.  music

Prayers

  • sleep for our household
  • for the relationship of a married couple who are currently¬†separated¬†due to the husband’s service to our country
  • for a friend who struggles with the love of her father, I pray that she is not hindered in experiencing the perfect love of the perfect Father
  • for patience

Photo Dump – slideshow!

(hover over the photos to see descriptions)

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Grace Notes

Grace notes is the portion of this blog where I get to share a little about my week. ¬†Just as much as I need to be reminded of¬†joy¬†in my daily duties, I also need to be constantly reminded of the grace that is extended to me every day. ¬†It is so easy to get caught up in the small¬†occurrences¬†or dwell on misspoken words of the day or week. ¬†My God loves me and forgives me ‚Äď I need to constantly remember this and extend myself that same grace when I mess up.

Last {Month!}

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!  I feel like we have been gone for so long!  I could have started back up last week, but I feel like it took us (and by us, I mean me) a good five days to recoup from the holidays.

The Christmas Eve services went really well this year. ¬†Instead of having a family service¬†and¬†a midnight service, we had two family services, so that meant two sermons from me. ¬†I have not done a children’s sermon for Christmas before and have definitely¬†not delivered one of these sermons in front of the whole church. ¬†But, I did it! ¬†And it went pretty well.

We had so much fun with El’s first Christmas. ¬†Of course, she was way more excited about the paper and bows than the actual gifts, but we got it all on video, all three Christmases. ¬†I was so glad that 1) Christmas was split up for her (morning at our house, evening at Joey’s Mom’s house, and the next day with my parents) and 2) people were pretty reserved with gift giving. ¬†El doesn’t need a lot, and I’m really happy that no one set a hard precedent for themselves on future¬†Christmases. Her two favorite gifts were a pink ride on motorcycle from my grandparents and a Spanish-speaking “laptop” from Joey’s biological Mom. ¬†She’s getting pretty good around on the motorcycle now.

Every year for New Year’s, Joey’s college friends get together for a few days. ¬†This year, we met up in Atlanta and had a lot to celebrate. ¬†It was the first time most of them had met El, one couple got engaged a few days before we arrived, and another couple is expecting their first baby in April. ¬†It was interesting being the only parents there, but El loved being the center of attention. ¬†Check out some of the beautiful pictures one of our friends, Taylor, took for us while we were there (and go visit her website!).

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The only real downs were from the past two days – I probably broke my pinky toe on Monday, and I had a migraine yesterday while having El to myself all day.

Adventures of El

El is busy, busy, busy. ¬†She is thoroughly enjoying her new toys, clothes, and books (but especially the books). ¬†The funny thing about Christmas with babies is that they open a few presents and then pass out for a little while, open some more, sleep some more, and so on until all the gifts are opened. ¬†I think what El enjoyed the most about Christmas morning was her first taste of a sweet – monkey bread! ¬†I swear her eyes changed when the sugar hit her. ¬†ūüôā

Speaking of food, she has tasted her first bits of dairy. ¬†She is not too fond of cheese (she’ll learn), but she loved,¬†loved her first cup of milk. ¬†And, somehow, she has already discovered how to make bubbles with it, silly girl. ¬†I also think that milk makes her a little hyper – I have never seen her crawl so quickly as she did that first day!

Otherwise, we’ve started a little homeschooling – more like structuring her day a little more. ¬†We started with a documentary on the 1930’s and then watched a video on Rome (just kidding, but she may have absorbed a little of the documentaries while I was folding laundry). ¬†I loved some of the ideas from Intentional Homeschool about intentional toddler time (even though mine is not quite a toddler yet).

What’s for Dinner?

I’ve heard that some readers still want to know what I am up to in the kitchen, but I have had so many crafts to post lately that I have neglected the¬†What’s for Dinner?¬†portion of the blog. ¬†I also have not been terribly creative lately, and, truthfully, there are whole blogs dedicated to amazing cuisine, so I am not going to try to compete. ¬†However, I will share what recipes I have found and cooked this week. ¬†Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash

 

Skinny Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

 

Creamy Cauliflower Puree

 

In the Works

Blog –¬†¬†What do you think of the new web design? ¬†We are so excited about the new website. ¬†The blog is also now open to advertising and an etsy shop might be opening soon for Ella Baby Headbands! ¬†Have you checked out the review on Love’s Memory yet? ¬†A super fun launch party for the book is happening on January 15th where you could win my first three headbands along with other fun prizes. ¬†

Reading –¬†1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (a very awesome Christmas gift) and I am about to start Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe¬†(which I received for free through BookSneeze.com). ¬†Joey is reading King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus and Bringing Up Girls (which I wrote a review for).

Writing a lot and working on some guest posts.  I have one in my head about the migraines I get.

Online Community

*2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team*

Click on the link above to join the LivingProof Live Ladies (and myself) on a journey to commit 24 verses of scripture to memory for the year.  Here I will record what I am currently working on and either why I am memorizing that particular verse or what I have learned about that verse.  If you are participating, I would love to know what you are memorizing!

  • Hebrews 4:12 – (a catch up) I memorized this one to start off the year and to hold fast in my heart the importance of keeping scripture in my heart.
  • John 15:5 – I am particularly struck by the last part: “…for apart from me, you can do nothing.”

Thanks —> linking up with the Gratitude Community

A few blogs I read have a gratitude community where they keep count of their blessings; I loved the idea.  Does anyone want to keep count with me?

60.  For Tylenol

61.  Watching El dance

62.  Baby giggles Рbrighten any day

63.  The close bond of friends

64. ¬†A prayer gathering over New Year’s

65.  Generosity and love from our family

66.  The beautiful message and joy Christmas brings

67. Inspiring articles from Christian women around the internet

68. ¬†My husband’s heart and thoughtfulness

Prayers

  • Praise for my mother-in-law’s last radiation treatment today, the tumor has shrunk significantly
  • An internet friend, The Lovely Crow, who has had some terrible news lately
  • For everyone involved in children’s ministry

Photo Dump

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A Late Farewell to 2012

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Hello friends,

2012 has come and gone. ¬†I don’t know about you, but 2012 for my family was pretty awesome!

  • My Dad was installed as the new rector of a church two hours away from us.
  • Ella-saur graced us with her very surprising entrance in March.
  • Our nephew graduated from high school and, a few months later, graduated from Marine boot camp at Parris Island. ¬†We are so proud of him and really need to write about how God moved in this young man’s life (and ours!).
  • I started this website in July!
  • I took my first visit to the West coast in November, and it was our first trip with the baby – whew.
  • Soon after, I took my first visit to Colorado! ¬†I could totally live there – it was beautiful. ¬†But, it probably wouldn’t be as enjoyable if my brother- and sister-in-law didn’t live there.
  • Our beautiful little niece was born in December (number 3!)
  • El’s first Christmas was simultaneously a blast and exhausting!
  • And, to top off a great year, we traveled to Atlanta for the annual Wofford-clan New Year’s get together. ¬†This is the seventh year since my husband has graduated from college that his group of friends has gotten together for New Year’s, and I am so happy that I can call this group of amazing Christian people friends as well. ¬†This year was so much fun because it was the first time most of them had met El, another couple is expecting, and another couple just got engaged. ¬†I am also super excited to see our first family photos from a little photo shoot our newly engaged friends did for us. ¬†ūüôā

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And here, for a further wrap up of the year, are the top ten posts of 2012.

  1. Heart-Service
  2. Matthew 18:20 Mondays – Becoming a Woman Who Loves
  3. Parenting Mistake #198
  4. Common Blessings
  5. Dating My Husband
  6. Surrender
  7. Introducing:
  8. Grace Notes (October 23)
  9. My Beloved is Mine,
  10. Power in Prayer

2012

Technically, the About page made the top ten list, but it’s not really a post and it has changed – so go check it out! ¬†What were your favorite memories (or posts!) from 2012? ¬†Please share them in the comments section!

Christmas Musings of Christian Father

Men, let‚Äôs face it. Being the spiritual leader of our families is a daunting task‚Ķ and it should be. For most of us, there is no higher calling, so feeling a little overwhelmed is only natural. It is a good thing because it shows we understand the significance of the task. But we can also be intimidated for some other, not so good reasons. Not the least of these reasons is a feeling of personal, spiritual inadequacy. Don’t worry. ¬†You are in good company when it comes to feelings of inadequacy. ¬†Remember that your sufficiency comes from Christ. ¬†My hope is to encourage and equip as I share some of my experiences and provide some tools that I have found useful. ¬† ¬†

I’ve learned a lot about babies since becoming a father. ¬†Granted, I had a lot to learn. ¬†Looking back, I think that the number of diapers that I had changed amounted to a grand total of two before El was born, and I might have bottle fed a baby here and there. ¬†Of the prior 28 years and 2 months of my life, I maybe had spent 24 hours total in direct contact with an infant. ¬†Needless to say, everything about having a baby was new for me, and being a dad was a wonderful opportunity for growth. ¬†Here are some things that I have learned about babies:

1) Babies can smell fear.  They are born with an awareness of your innate fear of dropping and breaking them.  They will exploit this at every opportunity and will repeatedly attempt to wriggle free from your grasp and have been known to even roll/dive off the changing table when you let your guard down. Continue reading

Grace Notes

Grace notes is the portion of this blog where I get to share a little about my week. ¬†Just as much as I need to be reminded of¬†joy¬†in my daily duties, I also need to be constantly reminded of the grace that is extended to me every day. ¬†It is so easy to get caught up in the small¬†occurrences¬†or dwell on misspoken words of the day or week. ¬†My God loves me and forgives me ‚Äď I need to constantly remember this and extend myself that same grace when I mess up.

Last {Week}

Five days until Christmas! ¬†Are you ready? ¬†In staff meeting last week we were asked what our Christmas preparedness was on a scale of 1-10. ¬†A week ago I was around a 2 or 3. ¬†I hadn’t thought about the Christmas Eve children’s sermon, the tree was naked, my sister’s scarf was a total of five rows in length, etc. ¬†But now I’m around an 8 or 9, yay! ¬†The tree is finally decorated, I have¬†thought about the sermon, I got some gifts wrapped, and I did a few extra things. ¬†Did you check out the outfit I made for El? ¬†She’s supposed to be a lamb for the Christmas pageant, but she looks a little more like a bunny. Continue reading