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30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 25 & 26} Gratitude and Grace

27 Nov

Yesterday was a beautiful, holy day.  Despite waking up from too little sleep with a throat that was on fire and a head that felt like an elephant was sitting on it, the day was wonderful.

We celebrated this little guy’s baptism at our church.  Yes, I cried.

My littlest tiger after his baptism

Papa Tiger performing the baptism

Yes, yesterday was awesome, despite feeling physically lousy.  We celebrated with family and rejoice that our son, Kasen, is baptized and covered by God’s grace.  We would need that grace. Continue reading

10 Scriptures to Soothe Mommy’s Soul

24 Sep Harried Heather at the end of my rope

(Fair Warning: This is a lengthy post.  My lack of posts has built up and is now overflowing.  Read it through…it’s worth it.  I’m also biased!)

Yesterday (Sunday) is often considered to be a day of rest.  Sabbath.

Not so in my world.

We are a ministry family.  My husband is the senior pastor of our church and that means Sunday is a work day, and not just for him.  I’m currently the children’s ministry director and even when I am not teaching on a Sunday, I am checking in with leaders, counting little heads, hands, and hearts, and collecting the change in our Children’s Change Jar.  By the time the service is over and we have fellowshipped with as many congregants as possible, chased our almost 3-yr old son  all over the sanctuary (altar rails, chairs, stage…), and consoled our now cranky almost 4-month old, we are wiped out.

But the day isn’t even over!

If it’s a good day, I will have a delicious crockpot meal simmering in the slow-cooker.  The scent will tantalize our tastebuds as we drag in through the front door.  We can sit and eat in relative relaxation for a little bit, but let’s be honest; we haven’t had a relaxing meal on a regular basis in almost 3 years.  Hmmm, why is that?

If it’s a fantastic day we will splurge and endure the craziness of eating out with two children under the age of 3 and indulge in Mexican food.  Pass the salsa and chips please!

Yesterday was a good day.

I had dinner on low and slow in the crockpot so we had gourmet turkey sandwiches for lunch.  Micah (the 3 yr. old) wanted PB crackers and squeeze fruit.  He ate the fruit and pushed the crackers around his plate.  He was hungry later.  Not surprised.  All was normal and even calm in the Tiger house.

Then it was time for naps.

It needs to be said that Sunday afternoon naps are a sacred and time-honored tradition that Aaron and I treasure and have made a priority in our relationship for the past ten years.  Come hell, high water, or a second kid, we will have our Sunday nap.

Unless there is a football game on.  Or a ministry meeting.  Or a family function.  Or a preschooler with a stubborn streak a mile long.

You get the picture though.  We don’t just like our rest.  We NEED our Sunday refueling nap to sustain us through small groups, meetings, and any other church event that might be scheduled.

Aaron took Micah back to his room to settle down for naptime.  I was nursing Kasen, ready to swaddle that little bug and get him drifting off ASAP so Mommy could settle in for a long Sunday snooze.

Both boys had other intentions.

Micah dug in his tenacious little heels and refused to settle, sleep, or even stay still.  I was tagged in to take over for Aaron.  Kasen was handed off smoothly with no fumble.  Micah cared for the change in coaches about as much as the NFL is loving the fill-in refs.  He yelled, he screamed, he kicked, and he flopped.  If the Emmy’s handed out an award for Best Dramatic Tantrum, he would have it in the bag.

We ignored him.  We talked calmly and soothingly to him.  We carried him back to his room and shut the door (that does not have a lock?!) I held him tightly in a loving hold to stop the flailing. We gave him options.  We attempted to reason, reward, cajole, and bribe the child to stop throwing the fit.  We FAILED!!!

I even attempted singing a new temper song we had learned just that morning watching PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, even though I knew I was messing the words up.  “I’m so mad I could roar, but instead I’ll count to four.  One. Two. Three. Four.”  Something like that.  It even seemed like that was working.  Until it wasn’t.  The fit resumed in full force after a few calmer, shuddering breaths.  I should have sung the song to myself a few times.  After a slap in the face (my face), elbow to the stomach (yep, mine), and a scream in the ear (mine too), I lost all my patience and my mind for a moment.

Savage Mommy Tiger roared.  Right in the face of her little tiger cub.  Continue reading

Ready or Not…Here He Comes?

22 May

Today just might be the day.  Kasen’s birth day that is!

I know.  What happened to June?  Well, when we went in to my OB for my check-up and ultrasound Friday we were told by my wonderful doctor that my amniotic fluid levels were low.  Huh?  Apparently this can happen later in the third trimester and it can send the baby into distress if not monitored closely.  The fluid levels are supposed to be between 5-20, with 5 being the danger zone.  Mine were at a 7.7.  My doctor said we were in the cautious zone, to go home and hydrate and rest, then come back in Tuesday for another ultrasound.  He said if my levels dropped or even stayed the same, he would likely deliver Kasen right away.

I hydrated really well and rested some.  Resting wasn’t easy to do in the midst of our huge 10th anniversary celebration all weekend for the church, including the open house here at the parsonage.  Good news: My house is cleaner than it’s been in 2 years and I survived!  We had over 100 kids join the celebration at the church carnival, almost 200 for worship Sunday, and raised almost $49,000 for our Miracle Sunday offering, cutting our church payoff in half! Micah also suffered an injury at the carnival; a black eye courtesy of a stray foot on the inflatable slide.  He is quite proud of his “blue eye!”  My Mima also ended up in the hospital with some irregularities in her heart, so I was so torn not being able to be with her.  (She is doing a bit better and might be released tomorrow!)

Monday then rolled around and it was all about Micah day. Continue reading

Pretty in Pink Projects

5 Mar Pretty in Pink Projects

I was finally pinned on Pinterest!  Check that one of the ole bucket list! (Seriously, it was on a list; I set my sights high!) After being inspired by a project I saw on Pinterest, I decided to put my own spin on it.  You can see my original post and first take on the Expectant Mom’s Hospital Survival Kit here. Below you will find my latest take on the kit, plus some additional additional fun, simple, and pretty DIY projects.

You can follow me on Pinterest by clicking the button on the sidebar.  (I have some fun boards!)

Now for some pretty, pink fun…. Continue reading

The Cherished Time

13 Sep

This is a poem I wrote on All Poetry recently and I wanted to share it here.  I was inspired after having to go comfort Micah back to sleep when he woke up screaming at 11:45 from an apparent nightmare.  He climbed out of his crib and as I dragged myself sleepily to his room I was met with expecting and sweet arms, a whimper of relief, and a feebly muttered Mama from this precious boy who I couldn’t see in the darkened room, but found without hesitation.  It took less than 5 minutes to calm him with a few pats, kisses, and whispered assurances that he was safe, watched over, and loved.  He was out like a light before his head hit the pillow but he still managed to snuggle up with his Tigger.  As I left the room, I chided myself for having felt even a moment of frustration at Micah interrupting my time, sleep, or anything else.  I was reminded of how precious and fleeting moments like those are with my quickly growing and almost 2 yr old son, who will be 20 in a blink of an eye.  So yes I am sure I will find myself exasperated many more times when having to attend to my son is an interruption in my life, but I will try to quickly remind myself that they are actually perfectly planned pauses of love and a chance to savor every moment with my son.

I hope you savor the interruptions your little ones throw your way!

The Cherished Time

Softly, sweetly, slumbering babe

lying tender in my arms,

 

how

I

cling

 

to these moments,

memorizing your charms.

 

Precious, perfect, precocious boy

romping wildly round the room,

 

how

time

flies

 

with these moments,

vanishing ever too soon.

 

My love, my joy, my monkey Micah

blessing of my life,

 

how

I

know

 

that these moments,

cherished, borrowed time.

 

By Heather T., © 2011, All rights reserved.

Author notes

This is for my sweet son, Micah. Mommy loves you more than my words could ever convey, always and more than forever.

1 Year Changes Everything

5 Oct Micah Blue Eyed Baby

Micah Blue Eyed Baby

You will be one year old today.  You are my child.  Your name, Micah Reilly Noah Tiger, was thoughtfully chosen after many conversations, debates, bargaining, and compromising.  You however, are no compromise.  You have been so full of love, joy, surprise, wonder, hope, inspiration, and promise from the beginning.  You are beloved.

You have been strong from the start as well.  Your Grams will swear that you held your head up on your own, turned it, and then laid it back down, during your first couple days.  I hope you will always have the strength to hold your head high, even when it is easier to put it down.

You rolled over early and pulled and pushed yourself along with your strong little legs.  I pray you are always able to pull yourself up and push obstacles out of your way.

You crawled early, May 1st to be exact, and we were so excited to see you moving all on your own, though it meant you were one move closer to independence.  I hope you sometimes have to crawl your way out of a tough situation, and in so doing will find even more character as you move along your path in life.

You then decided that crawling was easy enough to master, and you quickly started to pull up on anything you could reach and push up on any item in your way.  I pray you reach out to pull others up when they need a little help and that you will not push others out of your way, but learn from and with them along the journey.

Before we could protect every surface, you were cruising as fast as your little legs would go.  Around and around the coffee table you went, laughing at your own feat and feet, until you made a path through the whole house.  I urge you to blaze your own way in life, but never lose touch or forget where you come from and who has loved you along the way.

Barely three months passed from your first belly-up crawl, then you had taken your first tentative steps, and by August 4th we captured you in all your walking glory!  You let loose of the security of a near-by suitcase and you babbled and walked your way across the room and you haven’t stopped since.  I pray you never do.  I hope, my son, that with each step you take in this life you will learn more of who you are and let God guide you.

It seems like it was yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting your much-anticipated arrival into our lives.  Then we blinked and you are 1, and I wish I could slow time so we can savor each moment with you as you grow, because before we know it, you will be fully leading a life of your own.  I hope we raise you well, with love, humility, humor, joy, a little pain, some challenges, dreams, hope, and so much more.  But most of all, I pray we raise you to desire a heart after God above all else.

In just a year, you have changed our lives completely, and we would have it no other way.  We get less sleep, go out less often, listen to silly songs and sing along, make funny noises to get a giggle, put away pretty baubles so they don’t get broken, spend a little less time dreaming for ourselves and more time dreaming for and hopefully with you.  But no matter the changes, there is not a moment we would not give up again.  It may have taken a year to realize just how quickly this precious time with you passes, but it only took a moment to love you forever.

I love you, always, my sweet baby boy, Micah.  Happy 1st Birthday, and many, many, many more!

A Grin to Die For: Mommy Moment Monday

21 Jun

It’s been awhile since I have posted so there are sooo many moments I need to share, but I don’t have the necessary time to share them all. That’s what happens when you have a very active and mobile 8 1/2 month old who can’t sit still and seems to enjoy playing with everything except his toys!

So today I will share a funny moment from our car ride to Broken Arrow yesterday and a picture to illustrate my point.

We have a mirror in the backseat above Micah’s carseat. All the better to see him with! Well, he has reached the age when he realizes the mirror works both ways. He finally realized he can see us if he looks into the mirror. This is a funny and not so good thing. Funny because he thinks it’s hilarious to make so much noise until we look back at him and he catches our eyes. He then gives us a HUGE grin that is about as ornery as it gets. SOOO cute. He then proceeds to make googly eyes hoping we will pull over and take him out. This is where the not so good part kicks in. Since 90% of the time we don’t stop within five minutes of this ploy, Micah then proceeds to throw quite the little fit, all the while trying to maintain eye contact, knowing we are a mere foot away. Why can’t we rescue him from his torture, known as a carseat?

Aaron actually had to make me stop looking back at Micah yesterday because it was doing more harm than good. But he’s just so darn adorable. Can you blame a mom?

We’ll see how long this car game lasts….

Here is evidence of aforementioned grin:

Micah and his ornery grin

Mommy Moment Monday: 7 month trial

17 May It's a Boy!

Part of the packing process included sorting Micah’s pictures that need to be mailed to people.  That is what I spent a good chunk of the evening doing last night, and I snuck a few older pictures in to some of the envelopes.

We were a bit overzealous when we ordered Micah’s birth announcements.  We thought everyone would want adorable pictures of our sweet little boy and we didn’t want to run out.  What would happen if the door-to-door meat salesman didn’t get his announcement?  Would they withhold steaks?  We weren’t taking any chances.

Unfortunately, stuffing and labeling envelopes wasn’t high on the priority list for the first few, or six, months.  We handed out quite a few in person and mailed out another 30 or so announcements, but we still had a fair number to send out.  How late is late?

We just wanted to make sure we spread the joy of Micah’s birth out as long as possible.  I can imagine the excitement that some family members will experience when they open the envelope in a few days and along with a family picture, staring up at them is sweet, baby Micah.  I know I would be thrilled!

So, do I come up with a litany of excuses?  Between the early months’ lack of sleep and the continual barrage of busy, hectic days keeping Micah entertained, I think a Mommy is justified in a certain late arrival.  We didn’t even get the announcements in until he was a month old!  But my favorite excuse is that we have him on a trial basis and we wanted to make sure things worked out for all parties involved before sending pictures out that people would display on their fridge.  Now that would be awkward to ask for those back if we had to return Micah!

What?  No return policy?  Good thing he’s a keeper!

It's a Boy!

Mommy Moment Mondays

10 May

I was greeted in bed on Mother’s Day with two things; a hungry baby boy and that same hungry boy holding a big, purple envelope.  Pretty nice way to start any day.  As I nursed Micah, I opened my card, greeted with a cute Disney trio, bright and colorful.  It brought a smile to my face, but not nearly as big as the smile Micah had.  His tiny hand reached up to grab the card as he laughed, apparently finding Mickey and Donald highly amusing.  Talk about a sweet gift!  He had even made a few squiggle marks on the card to ‘sign’ it.  Glad I have such a thoughtful husband!

After I woke up from a nice little late morning snooze, I wondered out to the living room and found my sweet husband unloading a scrumptious brunch from Cracker Barrel.  I asked Aaron to move a tv tray for me to eat on, but all I got in return was a smirk.  Really?  On Mother’s Day?  It’s not like I asked him to carry me to the tray.  So I asked again, a bit of exasperation in my tone.  When he continued to smirk at me even as he made his way over, I about threw a syrup bottle at him, until I realized what the cause of the smirk was.  Sitting right next to the tray was my present!

I blame bleariness from my late morning.  In my defense, the gift wasn’t wrapped, and it blended in with the couch perfectly.  Let’s just say I had humble pie with my french toast!  It’s nice to start the day with some laughter at my own expense.  I guess it’s a good lesson to teach Micah later.  I’ll mark it down in the Mommy mistake files.

The rest of the day was relaxing, as Aaron took the lead with Micah.  I got to love on my boys and take some time for myself; pretty great.  Flowers were delivered later from Micah (with my mom’s help), and I got a very sweet card, book, and gift card from my mother-in-law.  I’d say my first Mother’s Day was pretty memorable; though I think the smiles, smirks, hugs, and kisses may be the things I remember most.

Mommy Moment Monday

3 May I Want Mommy!

G is for Growth Guilt

I Want Mommy!

I have a growth.  It is approximately 26 in. in length, weighs around 14 lbs., and is attached to my body, though its exact placement shifts.  It can normally be found in my arms, on my chest or my lap, on my side, or occasionally on my legs.  Oh, and it has a name; Micah.  Currently this growth is thought to be in the Separation Anxietous stage, commonly referred to as Clingitis.  Even though I took all the necessary and recommended precautions to avoid such attachments, the growth, or Micah, seems determined to run the full course.  There are many home remedies that are commonly used in these, um, situations, though often it is simply a matter of time passing when the growth seems to mature enough to self-sustain and is apparently comfortable enough to dislodge itself.  When we have removed the growth against its will, no matter how gently, it has been painful and caused many crying outbursts.  For now, we have determined that patience, lots of TLC, gently caresses, cuddling, and lots of kisses and verbal reassurance are the best course of treatment.  We have been warned to appreciate this time of closeness.  Often, the growth will return unexpectedly, but it is often a desired return because one who has carried the growth for so long and then experiences its absence or freedom, longs for its closeness once again.

Well, to sum it up, Micah has officially hit separation anxiety full-force.  I’ll be honest, it is wearing on me physically and emotionally.  Even when Aaron is home and able to give me a break, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get Micah to leave my arms without a ton of fuss or an all out fit.  We socialize Micah with others and up till now has been Mr. Center of Attention and Charm.  Oh where did that boy go?  He still shows up, but it is less and less frequent.  I was feeling really guilty the other day when I expressed to Aaron that I just wanted, no needed, to get away from Micah, and I wasn’t talking about an excursion to the mall or nail salon.  I need a full-on, away for an entire day and night, if not weekend, break; and I am wracked with guilt.  Aaron has been so supportive and tells me that I have nothing to feel guilty about, while reminding me that apart from being away from Micah at night while sleeping, I have never been apart from him for more than 6 hours of Micah’s whole life (almost 7 months).

But I love my son, and he needs me, and I have to breastfeed him, and it’s my job, and on and on; these are my excuses as the guilt kicks into high gear.  This is my impasse.  I’m sure I will get my break sometime and I will miss Micah 5 hrs into it, and I know the clingyness will lessen and the anxiety will pass and I will long for those outstretched arms and pleading “I only have eyes for Mommy” looks.  So I will enjoy these moments as much as I can, for the blessings of today will be gone in a blink of an eye as time passes so swiftly.