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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thank You, God, For Your Plans

So, I only have about 5 minutes to write this because my precious twins are calling my name.  When you have an epiphany, you gotta let the world know though, right?!
Brutally honest:  I didn't know if I could stay at my current school for this year.  For reasons I can't go into, I had been incredibly stressed and the pressure was a bit too much to handle.  How do I know it was too much?  Well, the first sign was when my mom called my family doctor to tell him about the mental breakdown I was about to have! After that awkward visit, I decided I needed a change. ha!  I looked and looked and when an opportunity presented itself, I went for it.  In the interview, I was asked about the most difficult thing I'd ever done.  Do you know what I said?  Taking a chance to leave a place that I had called home, colleagues that knew so much about me they were like family, the siblings of past students I couldn't wait to teach, the list goes on.  I wasn't lying.  I really was, in my mind, embarking on the bravest and riskiest thing I had ever done.
Well, I had it in the bag.  Great recs from all the right people.  Super test scores.  A confident and not too nervous interview.  Parents who were even going to bat for me.
No job.
Not on this day.

I was devastated to be perfectly honest.  I didn't see how I could maintain my sanity in a situation that wasn't going to change. I was mad.

I was upset that God had made me feel like I should do something only to slam the door right in my face.  

Have you ever experienced that?  You're like, "Hello, God?!  I thought you wanted me to do that!"

Well, apparently He didn't.


Today was the last day of school and I can't even begin to tell you how difficult this year was.  Being pregnant with twins and trying to be the teacher you've always been isn't so easy.  There were days I would teach a lesson and take breaks to put my head in the garbage can because I didn't think I'd make it to the bathroom.  I could go on and on about the challenges, but if you've been reading my blog you already know.

BUT, as I look back on it, I know without a shadow of a doubt I couldn't have made it through this year anywhere else.  
Not with another class.  
Not with another team teacher.  
Not with another group of colleagues. 

How awesome was God's plan?!  He knew I would need to be where I could have 2 student teachers to help me.  He knew I would need to be where I had the support of my team teacher of 6 years (love you, Megan).  He knew I would need to be where there were people supporting me and praying for me.  He knew I would need to be where I would have a secret pal who sent me the most inspirational messages at just the right time.

Do you get it?!

He knew.

He knows.

I am in awe of how His plan, how every tedious detail of His plan, fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.  
If one thing had been different, one thing...

As I drove home from school today, I was so incredibly thankful that I was driving home on such a familiar route, leaving familiar faces, and feeling support and encouragement.  It felt good.

Thank you, God, for Your plans that are too intricately woven for me to ever figure out!  

I am so thankful for my unanswered prayers and I hope you can see God's hand in yours.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Stretchmarks Make Me Smile! Ha!

Standing in front of the mirror.  Not exactly happy with what I see.  Maybe you can relate.  If you can't, I am truly happy for you.  It's not a great feeling.

Anywho, back to the mirror.  I tell myself all the right things...
"You just had a baby." 
"It took 9 months to gain this weight.  You can't get rid of it overnight."
"Motherhood is beautiful."

FYI-None of it worked so I tried a more aggressive approach:

"You are gonna stand here, missy, until you like what you see."

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
20 minutes later I decide to leave the bathroom.

Why are women so critical of themselves...of each other?  Why do we feel the need to pick, pick, pick?  I hate that I do it to myself.  I hate that I'm guilty of doing it to others.  And I hate that others do it to me.

It's all a matter of conditioning, though.  We've been conditioned to think a certain way, to feel a certain way.  Take GG, for example.

 Gabriella has had a large patch of red baby bumps for the past few months.  Her pediatrician has told us it will go away.  At first, when Gabriella became aware of her baby bumps, she was very self-conscious.  She picked up on the cues that Rick and I thought there was something wrong with the bumps.  We quickly realized our mistake and started confirming the beauty of the bumps.  It wasn't long until Gabriella started to see the bumps as beautiful.  You know what?  She never even mentions them anymore.  She doesn't even see them.

Back to the bathroom I go.

Do you know what I see?

a bajillion stretchmarks that make a circle shape around my tummy
a super black bellybutton
a tummy that actually (I kid you not) jiggles when I laugh

But this time when I go the bathroom and look in the mirror, I don't give myself a pep talk.  Instead, I try and think about what these images that make me wince represent.


Two to be exact.

God gave me two very special gifts and blessed me with the physical capacity to carry them for 37 weeks and 5 days.  It's taken me some time, but when I look at those stretchmarks, I smile.  I smile because they're a reminder of a miracle...


I know I'll lose this baby weight eventually, but that's not the point.  The point is once that issue is taken care of, I don't want another to slip in and take its place.  Sometimes, women have a way of doing that.  If it's not one thing, it's another.

So, I am vowing to look in the mirror and love what I see.  I'm vowing this because I want to be an example for Gabriella, Marielle, and Genevieve. 

I see God's wonderfully made craftsmanship when I look in the mirror.  I hope you do, too.


Some pictures of my little stretchmark producers!!
Well, all except for Rick!  hahaha!  :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'll Never Do That!

Middle of the night.  
I awake to hear Gabriella crying.  It's been storming and she's become afraid of the sound of rain or wind.  Thus, the crying.  
I text Rick that we have a situation on our hands.  Why do I text my husband in the middle of the night, you ask.  Well, Rick's been sleeping downstairs because the twins l.o.v.e their swings.  They've been sleeping between 6 and 8 hours a night, so if they want to swing, then swing they will! 
After a 1:30am briefing, Rick and I decide our best approach is to let GG come sleep in the bed with mommy.  Off he goes to get her.

Rewind to the pre-twins era:

Me:  We cannot let GG sleep in the bed with us.
Rick:  Why?  What's the big deal?
Me:  We don't want her getting used to 
sleeping in the bed with us.  If she does it once, she'll never go back to her crib.

Back to present:

GG nestles right in beside me.  We've got a king-size bed, but the only place for her is right next to me.  I tell her we need to go to sleep and there's silence until I hear the faintest, "Mommy?"  I wait to make sure my ears aren't deceiving me.  "Mommy?"  
"Yes," I say as I await to hear what that sweet little voice has to say...I just know she's going to delve into a deep monologue of her love and devotion for me.  A sweet moment I'll remember and cherish forever.
"Mommy, you're cuckoo!"
And so it begins...
For the next 45 minutes, Gabriella wallows around the bed singing I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee,  laughing, begging me to tell stories, kissing me on my head.  Finally, I give in to her requests to watch cartoons.  Did you know at 2:30 in the morning the only cartoon you can find features a dog smoking a cigarette??!!  What's even more shocking is that for one brief moment, I contemplated letting my innocent child watch it!  I actually analyzed the harm that could be done in 10 minutes of viewing time.  Luckily, time of night doesn't weaken a mommy's intuition, so I changed the channel, but it is amazing what desperate times may cause you to consider! hehehe
After all of this, I rolled over and enjoyed about 5 minutes of quiet until my daughter broke the silence once more...
"Mommy, GG toot-toot!  GG toot-toot!"
And so it went...
I wish I could upload the night vision picture I took with my phone and sent to Rick with the caption that read, "HELP!!"  It was hilarious!


So, Gabriella wanted a story last night. Well here's one:
Once upon a time there was a mommy who said, "I'll never do that." 
She ended up doing that.
And she was thankful that she did.
The end.

Thank you, Gabriella, for one of the most memorable nights of my life.  It was a chart-topper for sure!

Moral of the story:  Sometimes, you see God in the things you say you'd never ever do!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

They're Watching

As Rick was reading his new astronomy book today, he caught my attention and whispered for me to look at Gabriella.  There she was, in the exact same pose as her father.  
Leg crossed at the knee.  
Book at an upright position.  
Thoroughly engaged.  
Just like her Daddy.
 Through the course of a day, I am constantly noticing GG and how she mimics everything we do.  And I mean everything!  Lately, she's been getting my twins nursing pillow and trying to nurse Tinker Bell.  That's something I need to get a picture of and post!  It is absolutely hilarious!  
The point is: Everything we do is fair game for repeating.

Therefore, it's important that what we do is worth repeating.  Children don't just end up being kind, polite, loving, passionate, honest, or any of the other things we hope by chance.

Gabriella, Marielle, and Genevieve will be looking to Rick and me for an example of what to do, what not to do, and how to do it.  When I think about the adults I want my children to be, I have to look at myself first.  
I can't expect the girls to be patient if I am quick to anger.
I can't expect the girls to be loving and affectionate if I don't shower them with hugs and kisses.
I can't expect the girls to be compassionate if I don't show them that I care about others.
Each thing I want to see in them, I have to see in myself.
And I don't.
 That's a pretty hefty responsibility...embodying all of the characteristics you want to see in your children.

I think it's probably impossible, but I know there's no harm in trying.

In fact, I'll probably fall short most of the time, but if serving as an example to them is always in the back of my mind, I can't help but end up a better person.

For now, I'll just continue trying to be an example for my girls because I know they're watching.

Today, I saw God in a little girl who so desperately wants to be just like her Daddy!