I’m a Singleton Newbie – Repost from 2009

Sweet Kelly has a blog hop up today that I decided I just had to post something in honor of: Moms of Multiples. Hey, I’m one of those!

And, actually, I really don’t think of myself as a MOM much anymore. I just have five very different and very closely spaced kids. Ha. Just as a shout out and a much needed pat on the back to all of my fellow MOMs, though…

Yes, the singleton was a breeze by comparison!


I wrote this right before the little one was born:


I’ve been knocking on wood for the past several months after saying things like, “This is gonna be a breeze!” I’m sure “breeze” is a bit of an exaggeration no matter how sweet, and alone, this baby boy is. But today he’s found a fun little bundle of nerves to kick, and I’ve literally dropped to the floor twice. Hmmm, that never happened to me with twins. Oh yeah, they were in there kicking each other!

I kinda miss saying things like, “Don’t make me come in there!” and “Stop crowding your sister!”

At any rate, my blissful dreams of nursing, while baby-wearing, while cooking dinner aren’t exaggerated, right?! I mean, I am a pretty accomplished “nurser,” and I have been known to move around the house with at least one attached infant. I’ve nursed babies in a moving car without taking them out of their carseats. And I’ve never missed a sermon because of babies’ schedules because, well, I just nursed them right there in my seat.

I have four children under four sharing one room, and they all sleep like little pros. Still, I’m afraid that I am somehow going to pay for my overconfidence.

After all, I’ve never had A baby before!


And this one is from a few months after that little bundle was born…


The first time I caressed my sadly unappreciated flat stomach with the knowledge that I was petting my child, I felt like a real mom. We lost that baby a few weeks into the pregnancy, but my maternal soul had already been unleashed.

When they cut me open and roughly lovingly removed my two firstborns, and I strained to watch in the reflection of the overhead light (because they do not consider that some people are freaks and really don’t appreciate the surgery curtain), I felt like an honest-to-goodness mom.

On the second day of my firstborns’ lives, when I was sick of the nurses’ advice, and I was pretty sure than none of them had ever had children, I felt like a confident and capable mom.

In the second month of my colicky firstborns’ lives, when I hid in the bathroom and screamed at my husband, hoping desperately that someone would take us back to the hospital, I felt like an in-over-my-head mom.

Watching my husband leave, because I told him to, as I held up my heavy with babies belly and watched my barely toddling toddlers play on the floor, I felt like a strong mom.

When my second set was born, and what felt like dozens of nurses applauded as they wheeled the three of us out of the delivery room after only twenty minutes of pushing, I felt like a victorious mom.

The first time we went to church as a family of six, and I realized that a person could actually develop a rash, all over their body, simply because they were trying not to appear stressed, I felt like a scrutinized mom.

Sitting in the WIC office, being yelled at for an underweight baby and treated like a first-time mom, but knowing it was my job to be there because God had told us both that Papa Bear should take an brief break from work, I felt like a desperate mom.

When I earned my first dollar as a stay-at-home-mom, I felt like a helpful mom.

As I baked on the back porch while attempting to potty train my not-nearly-ready firstborns, I felt like a manic mom.

The first time I walked into a public place, without fear of tantrums or regard for rude stares, I felt like an I-have-arrived mom.

When I left the dishes in the sink and the laundry in the washer, and I laid out in the grass to name clouds with my kids, I felt like a born-to-be-a-mom mom.

Surprised by the pain of natural childbirth, and fearing it would actually split me in two, yet grateful to feel every emotion known to man as my perfect singleton arrived, I felt like a conquering mom.

While photographing my dear friend’s birth, with my singleton in tow, I felt like super mom a very fortunate mom.

When I walked down the street with my kids and looked on with pride as they declared, “You’re beautiful,” to passing strangers, I felt like a successful mom.

And today, when Cuddle Bug prayed a discerning and unsolicited prayer over a guest, I just felt like a mom, in the very best sense of the word.


Oh, and stop back by after the weekend! I have a very twin and extremely special story to share with you – yes, I do still blog. But writing a book is just a little more time consuming that I would have though. Ahem.

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Just Another Mother/Daughter Conversation

Last night, Papa Bear and I had a date night. Have you ever had a date [with your husband] that turned out to be a disaster? For your sake, I hope you don’t know what I’m talking about. The only “fun” part about the evening was the sweet potato fries. And it’s not that Papa Bear and I were unhappy with each other, but life is stressful right now, and said stress seems to be oozing out of everyone’s pores.

I can handle a rough evening at home without completely falling apart, but an evening out comes jam packed with all of my needs and expectations. Plus, I’d taken a shower and curled my hair, y’all. You know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I came home in a bad mood. A, I-think-I’ll-just-sit-in-the-car-and-cry, mood. But I didn’t, cause I didn’t want to worry my mom. To top things off, I came home to a daughter who was in a bad mood, and she was quickly infecting the whole bunch.

Ironically, her bad mood turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to mine.

“Why did you hit her with your stuffed animal?” I have a hard time getting worked up over things like that, but there was crying coming from the kids’ room.

“Cause she was rude to me,” she answered.

“Oh, I see. The Bible definitely says, ‘If they’re rude to you, be sure to get them back.'”

She bristled.


“No, that’s not what it says,” she mumbled, like reality was severely disappointing.

“What does it say? Let’s see, ‘Do not say…'”

“‘Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong.”’ The words came begrudgingly and were almost inaudible to human ears.

“‘Wait for the Lord…'” I prompted.

“‘Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.’ But God never delivers me!!” I think she wanted God to smack her sister so she wouldn’t have to.

“I’m too tired for this,” I sighed in prayer. I was gonna need more than a little help with this one.

After about five minutes of trying to convince the young Christian that being saved from Hell should be more than enough, and then reminding her of her current blessings, she came back with everything that is currently wrong with her life. And then she complained of bad dreams. It seems life was just bad all around.

“Oh, sometimes being a Mom is just too hard, God!” I whispered.

Yeah, like the father of billions is really going to feel sorry for me and my five. 

I looked up to see our giant t.v. staring back at me. It was off at the moment, but it’s on quite a bit.

“We have a drawer full of movies and lots of shows to pick from on the Roku, right?”

She nodded.

“Well, if I choose to watch something that isn’t lovely, and then I start thinking negative thoughts and having bad dreams, whose fault is that?”

“Yours,” she answered quickly. She has no problem blaming things on me.

“You’re choosing to watch the ugly show, baby. All day long. There are so many different and wonderful blessings in your life, but you can’t see them unless you change the channel.”

I reached up and switched the channel on her forehead, “Click.” She giggled, and then Papa Bear grabbed her and tickled her until she threatened to pee.

It was probably the tickling that did it. But she went to bed with a smile.

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A Story About Submission

*Alternately titled: This Title Might Make You Cringe, but Read On*

There’s a line in The Polar Express that always makes me cry. When Billy says, “Christmas just doesn’t work out for me,” my mommy heart breaks and melts both at the same time. And that’s unusual for me, I’m pretty much a Grinch about the presents part of Christmas.

When people (i.e. Christians who you might think are more righteous than you) go on an on about the promises of God, I know that some of you respond that same way…at least in your minds.

“God’s promises just don’t work out for me.”

Well, if you could have heard me throw a fit over the mud on my bathroom floor today, you would have absolutely no doubt that I am not more righteous than you. Nevertheless, I have a story to tell you. Because I’ve just tasted the promises of God.

A few weeks ago, I told you the story about how we ended up in the cheapest, smallest place we’ve ever lived. I told you about how we almost moved into a beautiful home that had a few strikes against it, and I told you how relieved I was when God closed the door on what had looked like our only option. I knew (knew, knew, knew) that God chose this little place for us for a reason.

That is, I knew it once He picked it. Prior to the picking, I kicked and screamed a little bit.

Papa Bear, since coming home, has been working for a dear friend of ours. We even moved in with said dear friend and are still friends in the wake. Sometimes, oftentimes, God brings miracles by way of people. Bossman was that for us, and Papa Bear and I both agree that our family’s healing was rapidly accelerated because our Mr. Bossman listened to the Lord.


When it was time for Bossman and the Valente family to part ways because Bossman had taken a new job out of state, I was worried. I was as sure as Miss Cleo that Bossman’s leaving would be the death of the company. And that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have faith in Papa Bear to run things! Let me just say that I watched the two of those men pretty closely, and I didn’t see much in the way of preparing or conversing happening.

And after Bossman was gone, I finally said it, “I think you need to look for another job. I don’t think this company is going to be around for long.”

Papa Bear listened to my concerns and then respectfully responded, “If I leave the company, it will be worthless after a week. He will never be able to sell it. I’m not going to do that to him.”

Since you can’t argue with righteous talking, I shut up. But inside, I was freaking out.

Over the next month and a half, I watched my husband work himself ragged while I worried and prayed in silence. Papa Bear wasn’t getting paid because of confusion with the billing, and clients were being lost over confusion with everything else.

It was a giant mess, proving that sometimes wives do know things.

But God knows more.

A few times over the month, I mumbled something heavenward like, “If nobody else wants this business, why can’t we have it?” It wasn’t what I’d call a prayer, though. Businesses cost money that we didn’t have. I think my mom might have been praying more boldly.

The details aren’t exactly fit for this blog, but I can tell you that Papa Bear was called into a little meeting with Bossman’s step dad last week. And afterward, when he walked in the door carrying a black bag, our conversation when something like this…

“What is that?”

“It’s a laptop.”

“Did he give you a laptop?” I quizzed, dripping soapy water all over the floor.

“Um, no. He gave me the business.”

And, yeah, that’s exactly what He did.

Papa Bear didn’t know that by staying in what looked like a very detrimental situation God would bless us far beyond our current dreams. He just knew what he was supposed to do.

After blogging through a separation, it’s hard to know when one is allowed to shout, “I’m so, so proud of my husband!!!”

But, anyway…

I am.

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A Very Lazy Saturday

I’m sitting here, writing. Really. It’s Saturday afternoon, and all I’ve done today is sleep and write. My mom has the kids, and if this is my early birthday present, I’ll take it! Though, I have checked Facebook more times than I’d care to admit. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, just distraction from my own non-thoughts, I guess.

I’m working on my first little book, a devotional. For those of you who already knew that and have asked about it, I’m still looking at the end of April as a publication date. It’s not my get rich quick project. Ha. I’m just going to self publish it and then trust that if anyone needs it, God will get it to them.

I always knew that I was more of a journalist than a novelist (my dreams of being the next L.M. Montgomery died a long time ago), but I’m currently feeling a little insecure about my ability to write anything even resembling a book. I near the end of a chapter, feel confident that I have written what I intended to write and then think, “Oh, I don’t think three sentences is enough!”

I might be exaggerating, but I’m a master abbreviator, y’all.

Still, I’m excited. Just when my words are gone, that’s when the good stuff happens. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with this project, and I’m oh so honored to be a part.

As far as the rest of life goes, it’s another exciting mess. Big things are happening for Papa Bear and his job; but because his hours are long, our house is still a jumbled pile of possibilities and good ideas. If life ever does calm down, that’d be nice. But for now, we’re just enjoying it any way it comes.

By the way, here’s a picture I snapped on our first morning here. I couldn’t find any cereal bowls…no one was sick…


Things have definitely calmed down since then, thank goodness!

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Obedience is Better

She swoons and stomps like the successfully bred drama queen that she is. She always has, I guess. And yesterday, when I caught her slopping dirty dishes into a sudsy sink when I’d asked her to clean her room, I wasn’t as appreciative as she’d hoped.

“Honey, is that what I asked you to do?”

She bowed her head, but her shoulders said she was angry.

“Now go and finish your room, please,” I said.

Tornadoes come in all shapes and sizes. This one was tall and thin and almost seven years old. “You never let me do ANYTHING I WANT. Nobody likes me in this house!!”

And then she didn’t clean her room, she climbed up into her bed and sank down as low as she could.

That was yesterday.

Today, she disobeyed me and then lied about it. Well, she tried to lie. Her eyes can’t bear it. We sat together, and I stroked her hair. I reminded her of the commandments that had just been broken, and then I pointed her to the cross for forgiveness. The Gospel. The Gospel always works.

But sometimes it takes a minute.

She wanted her own way. She’s a regular human being, my first born baby girl. And I wasn’t quite catching her vision…the one where the world revolves around her. The more I explained that she had disobeyed, the angrier she became.

“But I just don’t understand what’s wrong with that?” she questioned.

‘Nothing, except that it was disobedience.”

And she grew angrier still.

“You need to talk to God about this,” I offered. And then she insisted that it’s much easier to hear the devil, but it’s pretty hard to hear God. And I sighed. I understand.

“Honey, what if all Daddy needed me to do was wash his clothes.” I was attempting to break it down. “Before he left for the day, he said, ‘Would you mind please washing my clothes, even if that means you don’t have time for anything else? It’s really important to me.’ And I answered that I would.”

She nodded, and even smiled a little, like she already knew where I was going.

“But as soon as Daddy left, I decided that he’d probably rather have an amazing meal. And, in fact, I cooked such a feast that I didn’t have time to do anything else. Oh, I slaved and I slaved!”

“Like Cain!”

She gets it.

I laughed, “Yes, and to think I was going to make it simple.” And then a tear tumbled down my cheek. I always cry when I think about Cain. “But what if Daddy came home and saw the amazing meal I made, and then realized he still didn’t have clean clothes? Do you think he’d be able to appreciate the meal like I wanted him to?”

“No, I guess not.”

“He’d still be sweet about it, but he’d probably be a little hurt that I ignored what he really needed,” Tears filled my eyes, causing her to move closer, because I was still thinking about Cain.

“Do you feel sorry for Cain? Cause I do.” She must have been reading my thoughts.

“Yes, I guess I do,” I sniffed. “Oh, baby girl,” by this point I was beginning to motion and sob, barely able to speak, “Cain worked so, so hard.” Farmers always work hard.

Now tears welled in her eyes, too.

“You should have seen the size of his tomatoes! And those carrots?!” I took a little liberty with the Scriptures.

“And the broccoli?” she wondered.

“Oh, good grief the broccoli was amazing!”

All of my children have an unusual love for broccoli.

“And he brought it before God,” I continued, “so proud of what he had done, just to have God practically knock it out of his hands.” I was on the floor with Cain, now. “But Cain was wrong, sweet girl. All he had to do was say, ‘I’m sorry, I know this isn’t what you asked of me. I will make it right.'”

She nodded.

“Cain was very proud. He worked for praise, not out of worship. God still loved him very much, and he kept on warning him of the Devil, but Cain wouldn’t listen.”

“And he killed his brother.”

“Yes, just for receiving the love and praise that he wanted. Obedience, baby, not sacrifice. Obedience is better.”

And then she pondered deeply, “Do you think God would have liked to see Cain’s vegetables after he brought an animal?”

After thinking a second and wiping my eyes, I said, “Oh, I think He would have loved them.”

And just like that, the attitude was gone. We sat and held each other, still sniffling as we prayed.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. And, I think, sometimes God’s ways are easier than we make them.

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God in Everyday Marriage Stuff

I’m a little bit proud of us.

Cause tonight, when Papa Bear’s work day began to drag into the evening (like it’s been doing, recently, since his work load has instantly doubled), I didn’t resent him for being gone while I was at home with a mess of kids. I didn’t wonder if he could be working a little faster and was possibly wasting time. I didn’t suspect him of anything I might have in the past.

I know, I’m presenting myself in such a flattering light, here.

Instead, I felt sorry for him. You know, like I should! I felt sorry that he was working in the freezing cold while I was in our warm little home with my babies. And I didn’t just keep those thoughts to myself, either.

Nope, I texted them.

“I’m so in love with my hard working husband!”

And then, knowing how much I meant every word, I just sat and smiled at the screen.

When Papa Bear left, I made no secret of the fact that the things Satan had wedged between us were not actual things (the past never counts), but were vain imaginations. And vain imaginations produce vain thoughts, and vain thoughts produce vain words and emotions and facial expressions…and eventually vain actions. We all need to be appreciated. And we all need to believe that we’re better than where we’ve been (especially since, more often than not, we simply become who we’re believed to be). Papa Bear’s leaving wasn’t my fault, I’ve never meant to insinuate that. But I could have made it harder for Satan to get a toe in.

And I plan to, til death do us part.

_________________________________ (pretend this line is a brilliant segue.)

A few days ago, we had a beautiful snowstorm. Yes, I just used the words “beautiful” and “snow” in the same sentence…and it’s waaay past October. I don’t know what’s gotten in to me. I stepped outside in my bare feet to untangle the dog’s leash (he’s supposed to carry it inside the house, but sometimes he has trouble), and I saw that about a foot of fluffy, gorgeous powder had fallen since I’d last thought to check. I whispered, “Oh, please let my husband go skiing tomorrow.” And then I wandered back inside, holding a shivering dog and still muttering a prayer.

“It’s March, and he hasn’t gone skiing yet this season. I’d really love it if you’d do this for him tomorrow.”

I almost got on Facebook to see if anyone had extra tickets for the next day. I almost did. But God said something equivelant to, “I’ve got this.” So, I stopped.

By the evening, I’d forgotten all about it. That is, until Papa Bear stood in the kitchen scooping green chile stew from the crock pot as I laid on my back on the living room floor (I’d eaten hours before). We were both exhausted. These past few weeks have been exhausting. Then, he said…a little worried…

“Ummm, Mr. So and So has an extra ticket for tomorrow. If I can manage a day off, what would you think of my spending it skiing?”

And a smile lit my face.

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