Saturday, February 24, 2007

Five Years

Yesterday Doug and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary! Yeah us! We're celebrating this week by moving into our new digs.... that's why I've been absent lately. And while I'll probably be absent for a while.

But I want to take a sec and thank my precious husband for...

taking the risk to ask me out 6+ years ago

admitting he was wrong about something during our first little fight- spoke volumes to me about his character

not letting September 11th scare or distract him from proposing

jumping ship and joining "my" organization

being such an amazing question asker and listener

being so hot but still not really knowing it

frequently buying me very expensive dark chocolate

being such a fun and loving Daddy to our boys

always expressing how much we have to look forward to in the years ahead in our marriage.

I love you sweetie!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Incarnational Parenting

One thing I love about Jesus is how he did ministry "incarnationally." How he didn't just "talk" ministry, but how He lived it. He didn't just teach about loving the poor for example, he restored the poor and disenfranchised through healing them, spending time with them, etc.

Have you seen that commercial where a father is doing some house project (repairing a pipe under the sink I think) and his son asks to help? Initially, the father turns him away- probably wanting to get the project completed quickly. But, after consideration, he invites his son to come help by holding the flashlight. I definitely can't retell it as beautifully as the commercial shows it, but be assured that it brings me to tears. There's something so precious about that kind of quality time between a parent and their child. That son wanted nothing more than to be important and help his Daddy- it was beautiful to be reminded how much our kids look up to us.

Tonight, Justin was struggling with his cold, with being tired, with being stuck in the house, with not liking our choice for his dinner, etc. Spring won't come quickly enough to chez Flaherty! Doug went to work adding felt pads underneath our chairs... mumbling about how he was meeting the "felt needs" of the chairs-- hardy har har. Anyway, he invited Justin to help him and you would've thought he had asked Justin to drive his car. He was so excited. He took his jobs very seriously that Daddy gave him and maintained a level of focus only found in an older child.

Throughout the day, Justin begs me to play with him if I'm not already. He's forever saying "Mommy!" and pointing to the floor. He forbids me from sitting on the couch- such a large distance from his play. He wants me down on the floor experiencing his world at his eye level... with him.

I learned that while Justin loves playing with his toys, more than anything he likes to spend time with his Daddy and Mommy, doing whatever we are doing. I would hypothesize that when we make good choices to "incarnationally parent," we'll love, nurture, and teach our boys more than we could ever pass on through our words. It's like the home-based company "Discovery Toys" persists, that "playing with your children is the best investment you'll ever make." It's like that, but you don't even have to buy their expensive toys!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Mommy! Mommy!"

There is nothing like hearing your child call your name. When I heard children call for their parents before mine were born, I simply thought of this as communication, noise, demands, etc.

I remember waiting for Justin to first call me Mommy. I was so excited to hear him form those letters into sound, the sound into meaning... so excited to hear his want for me turn to sound from his initiative.

Of course it's not so cute at 2:00 in the morning when you're really wanting him to be sleeping... but anyway...

Tonight as I was nursing Nathan before putting him to bed, I could hear an overtired and virus-ridden Justin calling for "Mommy!" as Daddy was putting him to bed. Usually Doug is the one putting him to bed and Justin loves this time with his Daddy. But tonight he wanted Mommy. And tonight he happened to be going to bed the exact same time I was taken with Nathan.

I found myself wanting to hurry Nathan along so I could go meet Justin's request. But of course this just doesn't work so well. Nathan had to finish when he was ready to finish. And I definitely wanted him to eat until he was satisfied and not once again be placed second to Justin's louder demands. Nathan's needs are so innocent and simple at this point. When Justin was his age, nothing kept me from meeting every one of them. I so wish I could give Nathan that undivided attention. But then again, I so wish I could hurry little Nathan along to run to Justin.

As time ensues, the "Mommy! Mommy!" will only get louder, as Nathan learns to chime in with Justin someday. And then, Lord willing, perhaps another birdy will join the nest and chirp their "Mommy! Mommy!" as well.

And I'll feel torn, and I'll hurt that I can't be with each of them. And I'll love their little crystal clear voices, love feeling their neediness pointed to me in this way, love their childish love of me, love knowing them so well, love being able to meet some of their needs simply with my presence.

And I'll be reminded as I am today that as a human I can only meet their needs to a small degree. And thankful that I don't have to carry the weight of trying to meet needs I can't meet. And grateful that I can lean on One who has my boys in the palm of His hand-- in ways that far exceed what my lap and shoulder can do for them. Grateful I'm in the palm of That Hand as well.

Oh it's such a short season where my boys' want for me is so raw. Someday way too soon, they'll be bored of the simple love I can give, and they'll be chasing after other "lovers"-- buddies, sports, cars, etc. Once again, Lord, help me soak this love up! This is fruit that no one deserves, a gracious and lavish gift... that keeps on giving. Especially if one keeps having children!

Maybe later.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Half empty cups and diapers

This morning Nathan pooped for the first time in 5-6 days. I won't go into detail... well of course i will-- it was unbelievably huge and pungent. Definitely one that requires a new outfit and an unplanned trip to the washing machine.

In the moments left to my own thoughts- ruled by my flesh, I keep worrying if something is wrong with him, if that's the reason why he's fussy, if he's "gonna blow" while we're out somewhere with poop flying everywhere, etc. I can't simply enjoy the break from messy diaper changes.

On the other hand, in the moments when I'm graced by the Lord's perspective, I relax and enjoy not having to change many poopy diapers (when Justin was Nathan's age he had poopies almost every time I fed him!). I enjoy the fact that he's an efficient eater... taking in a substance that doesn't need to create much waste.

I sure am realizing there are many things like this in the mommy world. I am capable of finding something worthy of worrying about in just about every situation. When my boys suddenly have a night when they sleep much longer than normal, I sit during the additional time and worry if they are sick, smothered, kidnapped, etc.

Thankfully, quite often the Lord breaks through my flesh and by His grace reminds me to enjoy His gift in the situation. Lord, help me to hear You remind me of the gift in all these situations as I mommy my boys! Continue to show me and give me eyes to see that the cup (or diaper) is half full, not half empty. Help me enjoy the seasons of poop and the seasons in between!

Today I also want to bring attention to a fabulous post on my friend Missy's blog... link is to the right. To all those mommies of only sons out there, it's written to us! She beautifully captures the joy of loving our boys.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Going to the Hair Dresser

Going to get my hair cut used to be just another errand to squeeze into my weekly schedule. It's all very different now. It's like a morning at the spa. An event causing much advanced planning that results in complete relaxation once I'm there.

First I call to find out when my awesome hair dresser is available.
Then I talk to Doug about when he would be available to stay with the boys. (To take one of them with me would defeat the purpose of course.)
Then I call back and make the appointment.
The night before, I try to do a few things to help me get out of the house quicker... go ahead and think of the next night's dinner, pull out new toys for Justin to hopefully give Doug and him a good morning, etc.
The morning of the appointment, I try to time feeding Nathan (never quite works according to plan of course) so that he'll be fine during my extended excursion.
I take a shower- this is my big outing for the week!
I hunt down the check book.
I pack my purse (pulling out the diapers that i won't need this time out).
I top Nathan off.
I try to leave while Justin's still eating breakfast--- usually makes for a smoother dismount.
I kiss my sweet husband and remind him for the upteenth time how he can reach me at Nanette's... as if he doesn't know how to look the # up in my palm.

Then i get in the car, sigh, and take in the world alone from my own view point for the next little while. It's blissful.

I used to never appreciate such moments but of course i wouldn't have. It used to be all about me. Of course, in some ways it really still is--- like this blog for example.

Anyway, there are many ways I see the world differently now that i have little ones. And i wouldn't change a thing. While the moments of physical rest and quiet are few and far between, I'm learning to "rest" even in the midst of the wild chaos around me. And I'm learning to appreciate and be extra thankful for the moments I do have to myself. I think I'm a more thankful person thanks to my children.

A few words about my trip to the hair dresser...
I wanted a new do... i really wanted the hair of a friend of mine. (Isn't that how it is?) We'll call her "Peggy." Peggy has awesome hair. I asked Peggy to email pics of her hair so that i could show my hair dresser. She replied that she couldn't... that she was too embarrassed to do such a thing and couldn't do it w/out "upping her dose." I've definitely stolen that line many times since... and i'm sure it would give her joy if you did too.

I tried to describe the do to my hair dresser, and after she finished w/me, she said: "you tell your friend this is the best we could do w/out her drugs."

The room filled w/laughter. I got a practical need met and a good laugh w/random souls at the hair dresser.

I returned to 3 males on the couch... 2 were supposed to be there and one was being deviant. All were a bit tired, fussy, and glad to have me home. As was I.

And I had a blissful morning.

Monday, February 5, 2007

What Social Services Doesn't Know Can't Hurt Them

I'm going to write this in a small font... maybe then they won't find me. I'm sure google searches don't pick up "tiny" fonts.

In the last 6 days, the following incidents have occurred to our children while under our care:

Last Wednesday, Justin tried to go down the porch steps forward and landed on his head. (Doug's fault)

Friday, while in a toddler room in a children's museum, Justin found his way out of the enclosed area, through the lobby, and up 15 stairs before I realized he was missing and found him. (my fault)

Saturday was the day of the unfortunate bulbing incident on Nathan. (I still say that was Doug's fault.) (see post if you must)

Today I propped Nathan up in the corner of the couch. While still sitting next to him, I turned away to pick up a toy to show him... only to hear a double thud. The most horrible noise you could imagine. I turned back to find him laying stretched out on our hardwood floor. (This was definitely my fault.) When Daddy came home, i asked Justin to tell Daddy what happened to Nathan, and he ran over to the floor and exclaimed, "DA DA DA!!"

About 20 minutes later, Justin fell out of a chair onto his... you guessed it, his head. (This was Justin's fault.)

Thankfully, everyone is okay... we'll see what tomorrow holds.

The day after I wrote this, we were responsible for inflicting yet another injury on our children. Doug was cutting Nathan's little finger nails and cut a little skin on his right thumb--- the one he sucks no less. (Thankfully this one adds a tally to Doug's side... i couldn't take another one on mine.)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Bulb Syringe

Is a scary tool. Used with caution and in moderation, it can grab that snot blockage keeping your infant from breathing easily. But like most things in life, over-bulbing can cause more harm than good. Ever find blood-tynged mucus from your infant's nose due to over-bulbing?? Now you really know i'm no perfect mother. Come on, admit it... misery loves company! ;0

My first thought this morning was that it must have been Doug's late night bulbing that caused the damage, not mine. ("Lord, it wasn't me but the woman you gave me!") Oh how we run from admitting our mistakes.

Oh, and by the way, anyone ever imagine what it would be like to over-bulb all of your orfices??
I haven't.

Thought of the day: in all things, moderation, please. to you and your's: please refrain from overbulbing.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

What I love about putting Justin down for a nap

getting a good, long cuddle from him
having a quiet, happy moment together
feeling the side of his forehead against my cheek... i love his warm, smooth skin
rocking him in the rocking chair, the same chair my mom used to rock me
hearing "smack smack" while he sucks his thumb
feeling the contentedness he feels as he holds his blankies close
watching him rotate his blankies around his hands
hearing him giggle as i lightly tickle his hands and feet
combing his soft hair between my fingers
singing his pre-bed song: "Jesus Loves Me" to him, which I need to hear as much as he
feeling him secure in my arms
Lord, help me to soak up these moments.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Why you shouldn't read my blog

I'm the most unlikely blogger... so i think you should consider making better use of your time before stopping here.

I'm not well read. I was one of those English majors who read for an idea for the next paper due. I love to learn and think deeply, but I have a hard time making time to read.

I have 2 sons under 21 months old... I have serious baby brain. I often can't find the word i'm looking for.

I don't keep up with daily world events. I respect those who read the newspaper regularly, but i'm not one of them. I usually find out about the latest murder investigation, weather report, world event, or spinach recall from my mother.

Most of my reflections will occur from within the walls of our home. For some that will be thrilling as you, with me, or looking for meaning and wonder amidst the mundane of daily mothering... for others, you'll want more contemplation on what's happening in the world.

I'm not a very good listener. I mean well, but let's be honest, often when you are talking, i'm thinking of my next move. Sorry about that. Again, i'm working on that, but i'm definitely still a work in progress. I tend to think the most interesting people are great listeners... so you might want to be on your way.

Did i mention i have 2 sons under 21 months old? I already have so much on my plate! You may not hear from me for a while, or my posts might reflect some sleep deprivation or much needed editting that i don't have time (or don't wish to make time) to do!

So, read at your own risk... this may be more for me than for you.