Motherhood 

What I love most about motherhood is all the surprises that I never planned nor expected!  Take the ‘twins’ for example, or the fact that my name is ‘queen mommy’, my husband is ‘king daddy’, my daughter is ‘Princess Kirsten Anna’ and her brothers are ‘just princes’ (all said her in uniquely special lispy voice with a rhythm just as cute and unique as she is!).  I have hopes, dreams and desires for my three sweet children, but just when I am tempted to take too much credit for them, or plan too much, I’m reminded that they truly are not my own.  They are on loan, here for me to nurture and teach, until their purpose here has been fulfilled.  We all have a purpose, a higher calling, the most high calling….to honor and glorify our maker and creator, God.  

Today, we celebrated the life of our buddy, Matthew.  Everyone at our favorite bakery knew it was Matthew’s birthday by the time we left and that he is in Heaven.  My daughter was even questioned that she knew what Heaven was and she replied (quickly) ‘ya, with Jesus and God and Jesus was on the cross for our sins, bad things’.  Yes, Matthew had a very high calling and his legacy will continue to reach people as long as my children walk this earth…and many others, I am sure.  Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Father’s Day to our very strong and special friends on the day you became parents!  God knew, only the two of you were uniquely qualified to care for, love and nurture Matthew.   


(And if you’re wondering, yes this is the best pic I could snap of my child as she sampled every.single.donut)

 

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Be Kind & Have Courage

Have you given away your power before?  Do you even realize what you’ve given up before it’s too late and it’s gone?  The first time (that I can remember) giving up my power and self-strength was my first day of school in a new town-school district-state.  Up until this point in my life, I had moved every couple of years.  I was accustomed to moving and looked at it as a new adventure, a way to meet more people and make new friends.  I was leaving behind some good ones, but I was optimistic at the prospect of new.  My family moved into our new space just days prior to the commencement of the new school year.  Some of my ‘old’ friends and I had spent hours together perfecting our back to school outfits.  Both my friends and with the help of Nordstrom and Gap (uh, and my parents), I was going back to school in a pair of Doc Marten Mary Janes, cream knee socks, a denim skirt (appropriate length, no doubt),a cream polo and an argyle navy sweater vest.  I, no doubt, was wearing one of my signature hairstyles, as I so often have done in my short history.  I was confident in my appearance and was excited for my adventure to begin.  That is where this stopped.

This was the first time that I can clearly remember giving away my power.  As I opened my locker on my first attempt (YES!), I turned around to an approaching group of girls.  I was quickly informed that as the new girl, my outfit was all wrong and I’d make no or very few friends.  I was crushed.  I didn’t even know where the bathroom was at this point to make a quick exit to hide my shame.  I felt ugly, unwanted, my confidence collapsed, my stomach ached and my head spun.  This is the same sentence that replays on repeat mode in my brain whenever I feel uncomfortable in social situations.  That was 16 years ago.

As you can clearly see, I have given away my power more times than I care to admit to even my closest confidants-my husband, sisters & mother.  And, just when I chose to believe these lies & bury them in my chest of power shifts and emotional cut downs, I need to grasp onto truth-I am not alone, I never was and I never will be.  God knows.  My husband, sisters & mother may not, but God knows.

If you’re like me and you’ve allowed some (or many) untruths to be stored in your heart or mind, the next time you’re intentionally ignored, forgotten, name called, complained about, when someone deliberately forgets your name, addresses you harshly, or treats you less than you deserve.  STOP, take a deep breathe or a moment if you can.  Tell yourself that you matter.  Remind yourself that God is there for you- he was & is & always will be.

I have a picture in my mind of what I desire my legacy to be.  It’s not crystal clear; in fact, if it were a painting you’d most certainly need to stand back many feet to even have any idea of what this legacy would look like.  Mostly, I want my children to be able to say that I was loving & kind.  Undoubtedly, I want them to know that I loved the Lord and taught them how.  Additionally, I want them to see how I love their Daddy and know how to express that kind of love for their own spouses one day.  If those three things can be said of me, then truly, nothing else matters.  It does not matter how often I have allowed myself to be less than I ought.  For as often as ‘people’ complain that Disney gets it ‘wrong’, I feel like they surely get it ‘right’ frequently.  The latest example would be the quote from Cinderella, “Be kind & have courage”, that is a beautiful secret to life’s happiness.

Now, I’m seeing all over the gimme five challenge.  But I really do not believe that five sit-ups are better than zero sit-ups…because if you’re like me and you just did five sit-ups instead of zero sit-ups, you’re now entitled to five Girl Scout cookies.  Instead, I challenge you to lift up FIVE girlfriends-write five girlfriends’ handwritten notes, with five things you like about them.  Lift them up and empower them and challenge them to do the same.  Be kind and have courage. 

Do these pants make me look…

By this time, you’ve likely read something on the pros or the cons of wearing leggings as (gasp) actual clothing. Whether you agree or disagree, these articles have you thinking (or perhaps laughing, I don’t really know). “Am I a good Christian?” “Am I causing others to stumble?” “Does wearing leggings really make me look immodest?” Well, at least the answer to the third question is purely one of opinion, to which my answer will be to say that the only opinion that should matter is that of your own (and, well, your husband’s if you have one).

I’ll be perfectly honest; I’m more than a little exasperated by the anti-leggings ramblings as of late. I am so glad that others have kissed leggings goodbye. I applaud those of you that have made such a decision and have stuck with it. Doing what you believe is right in your heart is all that anyone can really aspire, hope or dream to do anyway in this life. However, for those of us that need to Usain Bolt through our homes, neighborhood parks and streets multiple times a day, leggings serve a great & high purpose (and let me reassure you, even if you aren’t chasing three adorable little mouseketeers such as myself, leggings still have a great & high purpose).

As I just alluded to, I’m a mom of three gorgeous kiddos under three yrs old. I’m a stay at home mom, a gift that I thank the Lord for each and every day (even when I’ve been struggling through five.days.of.diarrhea here-not joking, but it may be six days now). I love my job. For me, leggings solve some really huge issues. They clothe me, keep me warm, and allow me to “super woman multi task” without worrying about my clothing or how I look when, or if, someone stops by the house. Quite frankly, I often want to hug that gal (because I assume this creator is a female) that designed these amazing pants. These pants not only make me look presentable & nice, but I can play with my kids (because yes, if my daughter wants to dance party, we dance and if my boys need a mommy jungle gym, I’m there), do housework, run errands and sneak in a workout or yoga class *if I’m truly lucky*. Let’s cheers to this accomplishment.

Beyond my solved needs, let’s talk about women. Women ARE beautiful. I have girlfriends and sisters in many shapes and sizes. I’ll be the first to say that they look awesome in leggings. It doesn’t matter if a former CEO says that not all woman were intended to wear his pants, because quite frankly, if a woman feels confident enough about herself to wear any particular item of clothing, she should be complimented for looking her best in that moment. It’s our job to encourage our gal pals that have worked incredibly hard on weight loss or weight gain or weight maintenance or positive self-outlook, and not tear them down or question what they wear by posting your reasons for no longer wearing an item and thus, silently judging their decision.

I realize by writing on this topic I am bringing more attention to the topic of leggings (so ignore this immediate hypocrisy and look beyond at the truth). Let’s stop drawing attention to the fact that some women like to wear leggings and will continue to wear them and others do not like them and will not wear them. As the male correspondent on GMA (where they covered this topic quickly on 1/21/15) pointed out, men have more control than women give them credit. I’ve always believed that when you give someone the chance to reach higher they will. Looking past just leggings, a quick search through most female closets will reveal that most of pants are nearly as fitted *if not more in some cases* than that of leggings (just in my twin skin mommy case they are accompanied by a cute muffin top). Perhaps this argument is, in general, with the fashion industry? A quick history lesson on fashion will assure the legging nay-sayers that just like Colorado weather, wait a minute, and it will change. (but for fun, go check out how revealing the dresses were during the Civil War—and um, corsets, if that doesn’t leave anything to the imagination…). Fashion ebbs and flows. Could some women dress more modestly, sure, but then again who monitors modesty. Kerry’s definition differs from Laura’s, which differs from Jenny’s, which differs yet from Ann’s.

In essence, whether someone wants to wear leggings or not is their choice. There absolutely are two sides to every coin. This does not need to be a political nor religious discussion. Modesty, in general, is subjective. Let’s not turn this into another republican vs democratic, breastmilk vs formula, cloth vs disposable, co sleep vs crib debate. Our larger problem as a female population (and will continue to be until we fix our mistake) is that we do not take the time to build one another up. Where is the edification? We leave comments all too quickly and perfectly placed, which are meant to jar our fellow woman. Why do we take joy in rattling people who could be our biggest supporters? Lift up your fellow girlfriend, pray for her, spread joy and cheer, write her kind words. But let’s drop the judgments on clothing. The gal wearing Tory Burch can have the same relationship with Christ as the “thrifter”. Wearing leggings does not make someone immodest (unless of course they are clearly see through-then help her out and offer her a sweater because she likely has NO CLUE—just like spinach in her teeth…but tell her in a loving and private way, not public and humiliating). Start assuming the best rather than the worst. Watch how you change once you start doing just that. You’ll be happier, less stressed & cynical and you may even find some more free time in your day. Again, on any given day, all we can do is the best we can with the tools we’ve been given. If a gal feels as though leggings are the best way to dress to accomplish the many jobs that she is juggling, then more power to her. In fact, consider coming alongside her and encouraging her—because she’s probably exhausted and ready for a friend.
(and just like that, I think I’ve found my inspiration to blog again)

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION

As you have definitely noted by now, I have taken a long hiatus from writing and sharing.  My life has certainly taken on countless plot  twists in the last three months.  The no longer shocking, surprising BUT still exciting news is that we are once again blessed to be pregnant!  Before most women are even aware that they are pregnant, I knew because I was exhausted (albeit, I was finishing my 1/2 marathon training…but that’s “nothing new”).  On September 17 of this year, my husband and I found that we are expecting fraternal twins.  Plot twist one!

Here is where I will definitely begin to share my heart & why I feel as though my heart has been completely in full renovation ‘under construction’ mode….

At this exact moment, we are several weeks shy of a ten year mark.  Nearly ten years ago, I got into a car with two brothers and traveled five hours northwest for a Christmas Conference.  I knew the brothers, but not incredibly well. Less than one year later, one of those brothers and I would seriously be courting one another and a few short weeks later we had had countless confirmations of our decision.  We were on our path…together!  I quickly began planning and dreaming of the future we would have.  Married after graduation (check!); house (check!); dog (CHECK!–he’s amazing!); fun newlywed years (check!); two children…..I know myself.  I know Kerry.  At least I though I knew Kerry better than any.other.person.any.where.  I WAS WRONG.

We are expecting the most precious little set of twins that I have ever seen.  Since September 17, my heart has been broken, shattered and honestly, bled.  AND, it is all for God’s glory.  He is teaching me through these twins, more than I have EVER been open to learning before.  I now know that what I thought I was too weak for, God knows I am capable of and will do for Him. 

Approaching plot twist number two and another life lesson….

On October 14, I had a routine “ten minute” pre-natal checkup…that did not go as planned.  We could only find one baby heart beat.  After several minutes of searching, I was sent into the waiting room to wait for my turn for an ultrasound position to become available.  During this wait, a young women came in a sat next to me.  She began discussing her life situation with me.  As she began, I was attempting to give her every body language signal that I simply needed some space (I needed prayer).  But that was not God’s plan.  She shared that her baby (present with us) was 6 months old and she was already 20 weeks with a new one.  She wasn’t sure if she was going to keep the new one or not. It was at this point, just as my heart was sinking deeper into despair, she was called into her own appointment & I was left to wait in some peace.  I prayed.  I prayed “harder” than I have ever prayed before.  I was fervently on my knees (okay, it was still a chair), but I was again broken, shattered and bleeding.  It was in that moment on October 14, that I knew I not only wanted my twins, I truly loved them as much as my living, breathing and walking little girl.  Shortly after my ultrasound began, I was relieved to discover my two babies were healthy and growing beautifully.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, but they are for His glory and our benefit. 

The plot thickens….

On November 12, we had our “mid pregnancy ultrasound”.  The exciting ultrasound…the one where if you want to know the gender…you can FIND OUT!  We definitely wanted to know our genders (two boys!).  And they were definitely not shy about that.  However, baby A did not give our ultrasound technician great accessibilities to his heart.  What was able to be seen, however, was enough to send us to a specialist to have Baby A’s heart checked out further.  Our own hearts were torn between confidence that no matter what, this child is perfect & faithfully loving him AND (or) further despair, anguish and worry.  It was there that our hearts were left to teeter-totter until a our specialist appointment.

We had our ultrasound with a specialist and we found a healthy Baby A & Baby B and they are actually larger at this point than our daughter was!  We are blown away by this amazing news.  We give all the praise and glory to our Lord!  We definitely walked a path (albeit only for two weeks) where we were getting comfortable with the idea that God had yet another plot twist for us, in terms of our children’s health.  We fully realize that an ultrasound does not mean that all is perfect.  We fully realize that an ultrasound may not have seen or caught something.  But we also know and trust the Lord.  He has been working on our hearts, daily…even moment by moment. 

My heart and soul have been under construction and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so incredibly thankful for the privilege of carrying twins, for the privilege of having my eyes opened & heart softened and for the high calling of being a follower of Christ, a wife and a mother.

Yoga Pose of the day: CHILD’S POSE

Child’s Pose (balasana), a pose we begin our yoga practice with for integration, a pose we return to frequently throughout our yoga practice and a pose that is both comforting and relaxing.  It’s okay to return to this pose as frequently as you desire throughout your yoga practice, because your yoga practice is simply that….yours.  Take care of yourself, be true to yourself, listen to your self.

To find the position: kneel on the ground, position your feet together with your knees apart, feet flat to the floor.  Shift your hips back, resting your rear-end on your heels.  Lengthen your arms out overhead, palms downward.  Finally, forehead rests on the mat.  Begin your breathing, your deep ujjai breathing.  Relax your body, from your forehead to your pinky toes. *

Stay in this position anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes as you prepare to focus on your upcoming yoga practice, integrating your everyday life with your yoga practice.

This pose is beneficial because it helps to relieve stress by calming the brain, is a gentle stretch for the hips, thighs and ankles, and reduces fatigue.

*by all means if this exact position is uncomfortable, modify as your body needs.  I have seen arms at the side, legs together and more.  none are necessarily wrong, again it is your yoga practice.Image

What have I been up to?

I cringe to see the date on the calendar…August 15?!? Already? So soon? As I feel somewhat desperate that my summer is quickly vanishing, I am also able to reflect on the amazing weather and experiences that I have enjoyed this summer. I was able to check off some major items from my summer list! (**do you have seasonal checklists? i do!)

We made it up to one of my favorite areas that this region has to offer: Door County! My daughter was ever so delighted to have new people to watch all.day.long.

I finished my first triathlon as a mommy! I greatly love the sport of triathlon. There is an amazing and supportive community at these events. I had the privilege to be assigned a number next to a brand new triathlete. I helped her set up her station, gave her tips, encouraged her and got her excited! Isn’t that what it’s all about? Encouraging one another? Supporting one another in our goals, both enormous and tiny? I gave tips to some other newbies throughout the bike portion and run portion and made some new friendships after the race. I even found a long-lost “sister” from my swim team days on the bike portion! All-in-all, an amazing success and after my baby hiatus, I have the triathlon bug…once again.

I hit up a drive-in movie. We saw PLANES and LONE RANGER. I loved both. I thought Planes had a sweet message and was a great encouragement. Lone Ranger, in my opinion, was phenomenal. Granted, I am not a serious movie critic by any means. My main movie criteria is: non-violent/non-scary (i don’t do scary anything)/easy on the profanity…you get the idea. My only disappointment from Lone Ranger was that Johnny Depp played Tonto. I feel as though they could have saved Jack Sparrow and recruited a new actor.

We had a patio guests and dinners and grill outs and picnics and park dates and pool dates and bike rides and long runs and short runs and dog walks and gardening…oh yes, and more gardening and so much playing and learning! I definitely do not feel as though the summer weather was wasted on this home; however, we are savoring each and every second from this point forward. We will never concede that our summers are ‘long enough’. For the next few weeks, if you need us…you can look for us under the sun, soaking up our vitamin D and pure, fresh air.

**If you don’t already have seasonal checklists, I highly recommend it. They come in so handy for maximizing your quality time and in essence, memories! Start small and short, write down just five of your favorite things to do each season and make sure you do them!Image

20130815-193942.jpg (ME at my triathlon, thanks to my husband…I was confident that no matter how I performed I was definitely matching in my favorite color! …maybe it was the fun new tri apparel, but I definitely did much better than expected and placed in the top ten!!!)

Chocolate Soufflé

This is my favorite chocolate soufflé recipe. It hails from the Disney Cruise Line…the esteemed Palo restaurant….our absolute favorite date night spot.

Ingredients:
Chocolate Soufflé:
3 TBS butter
3 TBS cocoa
6 TBS sugar
2 OZ semi sweet chocolate, melted
1 CUP milk
4 eggs, separated
3 TBS flour

Vanilla Sauce:
11/4 CUP heavy whipping cream
1/4 vanilla bean split
3 TBS sugar
2 egg yolks

1) preheat oven to 350 degrees and
2) grease 6 soufflé cups and dust with sugar
3) boil milk in small saucepan
4) melt butter in medium saucepan
5) add flour and cocoa to butter, whisk to smooth and reduce heat
6) slowly add hot milk from small saucepan to medium saucepan, whisk to smooth
7) blend in melted chocolate
8) cool for 5 minutes
9) stir in egg yolks
10) beat egg whites to frothy, slowly add sugar by the tablespoon
11) stir into chocolate and fold until combined
12) pour into cups
13) place into large baking dish and add enough boiling water to reach 1/2 up the sides of cups
14) bake 20 minutes

Vanilla Sauce:
1)low boil cream and vanilla
2) combine sugar and egg yolks
3) add 2 spoons boiling cream to egg mixture, stir well
4) add to remaining cream mixture, cook on low 3-4 mins, stir CONSTANTLY

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