Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the place
The baby was crying, he was red in the face
The toddler was screaming and throwing his toys
Momma was exhausted from chasing two boys

The stockings that had hung by the chimney with care
Were pulled down by the toddler who wanted them “there”
Papa had tied the tree, with a rope, to the wall
So that the poor tannenbaum could withstand a sure fall

The presents were wrapped with much hustle and haste
Being wrapped during nap times, not a moment to waste  
The baby was teething and the cell phone kept ringing
Asking when they’d be where and what they’d be bringing

Visits and parties and church services planned
Momma was wondering how much she could stand
Bed times getting later and pushed to her breaking
Momma had said “forget it” to baking

Knowing these years don’t last very long
They charged up the cameras and sang one more song
They danced and they hugged and they talked about Jesus
The reason for the “Merry” – He came here to free us

With her thoughts filled with those who feel pain this December
Momma said a quick prayer and will always remember
The free gift of the Christ child is why we choose Joy
All our Hope and Redemption came in one little boy

So with babies now sleeping and the carols all sung
They head up the stair - the stockings re-hung
As they climb into bed - all is calm, all is bright  
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Day

High: that moment today when the applesauce was in the crock pot, the washing machine was going, dinner was on the grill, a fall-scented candle was lit, JJ and Noah were playing outside, and Asher was peacefully sleeping

Low: the epic and I mean EPIC and very public melt down Noah had at the Wildlife Festival in front of so so so many people - a pretty humbling experience

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 7: One I never heard. :)

Day 7:
You look tiny!” 
I think I’ve covered the big remarks in abundance…they are all I hear from the hardware store clerk to the stranger on the beach. I need to mention for my Mommy-to-be friends that pointing out you think someone looks small or not big enough is also very damaging. Pregnant women have an overload of information about what they should and should not do during pregnancy especially when it comes to eating, exercise, and gaining weight. The last thing they need is your opinion on how they are doing. Also, pregnant women worry a lot thanks to our fear driven society. And the only thing worse than worrying about being too big has got to be worrying that your baby is too small. Please just stop.

Alternative: See Day #3

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 6: OF COURSE I'm tired!

Day 6:
“You look tired.” 
"Thank you?" How am I supposed to respond to that? Do you see the toddler running around my feet? Do you see that I am obviously quite pregnant therefore you can deduce I may not be sleeping well? Why in God’s name are you saying this? Believe it or not I try to put in a bit of effort before I step out my front door…you’ve just made it clear it was all in vain. Thank you oh-so-much.

Alternative: “You look tired….how can I help? Or can I make dinner for your family? Or is there laundry that needs folding? Or can I come weed your flower garden? Or can I watch the 1 ½ year old for an hour so you can put your feet up?” If you are going to point out that she looks tired be there with a solution or an offer to help. It changes the remark from insult to blessing. Just.like.that. If you don’t want to help her become less tired than keep your opinions about how exhausted she is to yourself. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 5: In which, I go off about a personal pet peeve.

Day 5:
“Trying for a (fill in the blank with the gender baby the couple hasn’t had yet)?” I have talked to other Moms about this…it really is not an ok thing to say. 

Number one it implies that our only purpose for having children is to make sure we each have a mini-me. This may be true for some couples but not for most and it is insulting to those of us who are having children to have children and not fulfill some gender quota society thinks is important. It seriously implies that if we had one of each already we wouldn’t be pregnant a third (or more) time. Just not cool.

Number two it is insulting to the children already in existence. I heard one mom talk about how right in front of her two existing daughters (who were certainly old enough to understand) people would ask “hoping for that boy?” or “finally getting that boy?” To which she would respond…”We love girls! We’ll be happy no matter what.” Now, I know some of you are reading this and thinking “harmless” but I submit that it is not harmless. What are you (most of the time stranger) saying to those little girls (or little boys)? That Mommy and Daddy aren’t content with your gender…they really want something different…you all being girls or boys is a disappointment to Mommy and Daddy? Oh heck no, we both come from a family of “onlys” and I just KNOW if I have the happy blessing of getting pregnant a third time ALL I am going to hear about is the possibility of it being a girl or that we are “trying for a girl”. 

Number three (oh you got me going now) YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS COUPLE HAS BEEN THROUGH. You may not know about miscarriages or other heartbreaking complications from earlier pregnancies. I read a post once by the mother of 4 boys and she had a daughter that lived only a few hours. People in restaurants and at theme parks would say things like “you only make boys, I guess” or “no girls?” How painful. How hurtful.

Alternative: “Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or a girl?” Let them tell you if they already know the gender, let them guide the conversation about what they are hoping for if they don’t already know…especially if their lovely existing children are in earshot. Just be sensitive…these are children and families we are talking about not collect-them-all drive through toys. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 4: I'm pretty sure I know how many babies I'm having.

Day 4:
“Are you sure there is just one in there?” Seriously…seriously….seriously!?!?!? YES….we’re sure. And by the way, this is just your “funny” or what you think is socially acceptable way of saying you think I look HUGE. I know it. You know it. Really NEVER say this to a pregnant woman. 

Alternative: I just want to ban this comment with no alternative. If you really need an alternative re-read Day #3.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 3: I'm not a balloon, a flower, or a rabbit...

Day 3:
Anything with the word “pop” or other such descriptors: This includes but is not limited to, “you look ready to pop…” “you look large and in charge…” or anything else that describes my baby belly in a way that makes me uncomfortable. If you don’t know me well enough to know what makes me uncomfortable…then err on the side of keeping these kind of comments to yourself. 
Also, anything that mentions “rabbits”. I’m….I’m not a rabbit. I also (personally) don’t like it when people refer to me “blooming”. I’m not a flower…and now I am just trying to get anyway from you as fast as possible.

Alternative: If you must comment on my appearance please keep it to positive statements like “you look great” or “you are carrying well.” Or you could ask how I am feeling…you’ll find most mommy-to-bes fall into one of two camps. The short and sweet answers of “I’m well” or “tired” or one I use on occasion “pregnant”. Or you can sit for 20 minutes and listen to every little bit of how she feels from her swelling feet to her persistent headaches. At least the ball is in her court. J

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 2: Due Date Detectives

Day 2:
Forcing me to tell you my exact due date:  It is called an estimated due date for a reason my friends. It is an estimate. In most practices anytime two weeks before or after “the date” is considered healthy and normal. One of our midwives told me when I was pregnant with Noah she wished we called it a due week instead of a due date. I agree. 
So, when you ask me when I am due and I respond “July”, or “early December”, or “sometime this Fall”…I am actually not inviting the follow up question, “No, what is the actual date?” I have my reasons for being vague…respect them. If your birthday or someone in your family's birthday is that month or around that time go ahead and share that...but many women like to relieve the pressure of the big DD...so don't add to it by harping on a specific date. 

Alternative: “When are you due”? And be content with whatever answer she gives you. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Things You Should Never Say To A Pregnant Woman (and suggestions for alternatives): A 10 Day Series

It seems we as a culture stink at speaking to pregnant women. Being my second time around the block I am just so tired of comments (especially in public and especially from strangers) that really try my patience and my soul’s contentment. I want to make clear that it is worth enduring these conversations for 6 months…but we could make life a little easier on all pregnant ladies by not having to make them hear these things….and worse, force them to smile and respond to them. :)

I appreciate that you notice I am pregnant and want to make small chat with me but maybe we can switch some of our most common remarks to some I will suggest in this series. 

Let me start off (and please really hear me) by saying that being pregnant is a blessing. I try not to forget this throughout the time I am expecting. When people ask me how I am (especially in public and especially strangers) I try to always respond, “I am well.” Because I am well…no matter what aches or pains I may be having. I am in God’s hands, my baby is in God’s hands, I am well. The Bible clearly teaches that children are a blessing from God. So, I really truly do my best not to complain about pregnancy. Plus, the added awareness that many people struggle to get and remain pregnant breaks my heart and reminds me to stay thankful. 

With all that introductory and disclaimer information done...let's get down to business. Some of these are silly, some funny, some more serious...they are all actual things that have been said to me or people I know. I don't know why our culture insists on saying really stupid things to expectant mothers but I do know that most women want to hide the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy and mostly it's to avoid well-intentioned people. So, again, I'm not saying don't talk to pregnant women...I'm simply asking that you think before you speak. Ok, let's begin with an easy one...

Day One: 
“Don’t you know what causes that?” Yes. We do. Thank you so much for making it abundantly clear that you either think we are having a baby too quickly or are having too many for your liking. Or maybe you just don't know what else to say? Men are the worst offenders of this one. This is neither clever nor original. Let’s drop it from our lexicon. 
Alternative: “Congratulations”

An added disclaimer: I wrote this while pregnant but never published it. It seemed a bit self serving at the time. Now that I am no longer expecting I feel better about sharing for, I think, the general good of pregnant women everywhere. :) 

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's a(nother) boy!

...and we couldn't be more thrilled!

We are happy to announce (to facebook land) that we are expecting baby boy #2 in July!
As we are both the #2 in our families we are excited to meet our 2nd born and become a party of 4.
Also, loving our siblings as we do…we are overjoyed for both our boys that they now have each other.
I am just about 20 weeks along and all is well. 

We have had a busy first half of this pregnancy with moving and musicals and keeping up with a toddling toddler. We are overjoyed with this blessing and now that we are (somewhat) settled we can focus on preparing our hearts and home for "brother" as we are already calling him. 

As for the streak of boys...
Yes, our son is the 8th Meredith male baby since Christoper was born in 1981 but did you know he will also be the 8th male Barber great-grandchild in a row! SO fun! :) 

Please pray for all of us as we go through this journey. 
With thankful hearts, 
Kate and JJ

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Richard Scarry's Color Book

Noah's Book Club: February 2013

Title: Richard Scarry's Color Book
let's learn our colors

Author: Richard Scarry 

Why Noah picked it: My Mom brought this book home from Grandma's house...it was hers when she was little. I love it! In fact, just today Daddy has read it to me 5 times already. And guess what?? I am actually learning my colors! At the end of the book, there is a page with all the colors and I love to point to each one as Daddy quizzes me. I also love to see oranges (a favorite food of mine) and the frog on the green page. We have another book by the same author that I am enjoying lately called Best First Book Ever! it is big and full of hundreds of fun things to look at. Richard Scarry gets an A+ from me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Lion & the Mouse

Noah's Book Club: January 2013

Title: The Lion & the Mouse
an (almost) wordless masterpiece

Author: Jerry Pinkney 

Why Noah picked it: My Mom was unpacking books in our new house and I saw this lion book and because of my love of lions I got really excited. Much to Mommy's surprise I fell in love with this book and now demand it every day before nap or bedtime (or both). The book has almost no text but Mommy or Daddy narrate the illustrations for me. It has an owl, lions, and elephants so I am sold. Beautiful illustrations and a simple story have my parents retelling this fable again and again. I also highly recommend this author's Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star...another book I ask for by name on many nights. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I Learned While Moving

1. I have too much stuff. Way. too. much. Nothing puts your amount of belongings into perspective like having to put it all in boxes/bags/bins and asking your friends and family to carry it. I blame the amount of stuff I have accumulated on the fact that I have always been an "old soul". Which translates to having thoughts about what you should save for your future home/kids when you are about 12.

2. Before you buy a house you should open all the appliance doors all the way. That is all I am saying about that. :(

3. When you have a toddler whose favorite thing in the whole world in taking things out of boxes packing is hard.

4. We really have awesome friends and family. So many people helped us pull this move off in a variety of ways. It reminds me of why I live here...and sometimes that reminder is necessary.

5.  I hate moving. I've done it 10 times in the last 12 years. I never want to move again. (My husband says, I always say that.)

6. Stuff will get "lost in the move" - just accept it.