Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Porcelain Life

Today was one of those days, as a parent, I kept wishing I could freeze time. As we celebrated Cola's second birthday at Disney, I was hopeful for a spectacular "magical day" where her priceless expressions wouldn't fade and her heartwarming laughter would echo forever. The day was hers but the more we gave her the day love seeped through the minutes and made it ours. I watched Dalen struggle to let her have her complimentary "Happy Birthday" button from guest services and stand patiently while she got a birthday phone call from Goofy and I felt at that moment if I loved him anymore my heart would burst.
It's these moments.

So moving, few and far between - the older they get.

It's these moments that we draw strength from in the struggle of life. We drink from their rays that still warm us years later when we find ourselves in a sunless state. It's these moments that make grace that much more tangible because to be this blessed is just not deserving.
These moments, that are so generous for years to come seem to ground us, propel us and it isn't until tragedy strikes we realize these moments aren't as endless and strong as we hoped. They are like fine china, beautiful yet fragile. They must be cradled like a baby, cherished, nurtured because before to long forever cheats us and they begin to transform into a "has been". Just like a newborn, the person is the same yet the face changes greatly over time and we forget those early smiles, first laughs and hopes for forever.
The only way to savor the taste of today is by letting the emotion of the memory marinate in your heart forever, refusing to allow bitterness or resentment or sadness or time handle these gracious happenings roughly.

As your children grow older and like you less and tell you more than you can handle, cleanse the hurt with these moments of porcelain, refresh your mind with the sweet and faint echo of their laughter, and purify your love for them with the unconditional grace you had for them when they were too young to know better.


Handle it all with care.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mommy Moments.

Only a mother would understand that title. Mommy Moments. You know...

Those moments where your toddler's meltdown pails in comparison to the meltdown you are having. Those moments where you are ready to clock out for the night and realize oh, wait you can't do that in the profession of motherhood. Or what about those moments where your child has a "moment" and you wonder, is this God trying to give me a revelation that what method of correction I just chose is like an allergic reaction to shellfish and I should promptly chuck it and never try that again??

This week so full of those moments. Am I the only one or does every mother constantly second guess
if they are doing the right thing?
Choosing the right methods of correction?
Not scarring their kids for life?
If it's possible to stop saying no so they don't ruin their chance at positivity?


Yeah! It's been one of those weeks!

Gosh I feel like the more I read and the harder I try the farther I am to figuring out this whole parenting thing. IT'S SO HARD! I thought no sleep was hard, I thought dirty diapers were the only thing my kid could do to make my stomach turn! That's a piece of cake compared to dealing with allergies that WON'T go away, keeping appointments straight for both kids, trying to figure out if my toddler can REALLY be that mean or does he have food allergies that alter his behavior, choosing effective correction...

I mean really what is effective correction anyway? Like how do you know?? After trying a certain method of correction for two months how do you finally draw a conclusion uh this isn't working without feeling like a total failure. I'm just asking the real questions. The ones NO ONE answers BEFORE you have kids.


I just want to know what I am doing is right and good. But I feel like you never know until your kid is 20 and angry at the world because the parent was wack. Oh Lord, please don't let that be me!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This week had me speechless, at least I thought. Obviously, if I am blogging I have SOMETHING to say. This week has been one of those week of overloads. Something everyday and every night. New opportunities, exciting possibilities, inspiring life stories, parent co-op day at D's get the point TOTAL overload. I am processing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tomorrow my friend Abby leaves for Cambodia for at least two years. She won't have her phone number anymore and communication won't be as easy as shooting a text and to be honest I am thankful for that. I think during this season of her life she will realize how many people are so devoted to her life by showing they are willing to go the extra to communicate with her during this transition.

We had our good bye conversation tonight which we both agreed we had no idea what to say. And that's where my blog comes in. I was wondering whether to just spill the beans or to be speechless. Like, do I take the risk of sharing how much she will be missed and upsetting her or not say it and run the risk of her thinking I totally don't care she's halfway around the world? Do I ask how reliable the internet is over there and share I am totally freaked it will suck and we will never get to skype and have to start writing old fashioned letters and then forget the way her voice sounds? Ugh. I just didn't know what to say or do and I still don't.

I feel as though I am being challenged to be more than words of support. Better yet, how can I support her? Support her with works and prayers and a little bit of money....sorry, it's all we can spare! HA!

I am really scared. Not at all for her. I have a total peace she is doing the right thing and will succeed but at the same time I am scared for me. Will her life be totally, radically changed and mine stay the same? Will she come home to visit and I be the annoying friend who just totally doesn't get the real world she's lived? (read Kisses From Katie) I feel like cockroaches will become more like a random ant that's easy to overlook and dirty children, her own and the poor, her friends and the sick, the un-ignorable. I guess it challenges me to allow my life to be more sensitive here, where I am. And, no, I don't think I will ever see a roach and let it scurry off without sleeping with a broom in hand but reaching out to the poor and praying for the sick and loving orphans...yeah, I think I can do that better.

So here is to admitting I have no clue what to say tonight although I feel I have said much. I think I am feeling everything she is just from the opposite end. I am exciting, overwhelmed, challenged, sad, nervous and ready to get the ball the two years will end! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sheltered Protection

Before I really get where I am going, let me make a few things clear: I have no interest in sheltering my children. I believe communication is the key in jumping the hurdles of negative exposure the world is constantly advertising. It's not my desire for my kids to hear about or learn about sex, profanity, war, homosexuality, abuse, drunkenness or like behaviors at an early age but I do desire that they learn about all of these things from me. Why? Because with me they will always get the truth whereas with an uneducated classmate they could possibly get manipulated in believing untrue and unbiblical principles pertaining to these topics.

In saying all of this, I have to confess the world makes me nervous. I have nothing against teachers, my gosh they try the best they can, but the things I see on the news pertaining to the public school system scare me! It is NOT the same world I knew at 6 and 10 and even 14 or 15.

However, I don't believe that it's wise to shelter our children. When we shelter our children our efforts are fear based as opposed to faith based. We are hiding the truth as opposed to sharing and learning the truth TOGETHER. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that my four year old is ready to hear about the consequences of a one night stand or what it means for a child to be raped but I do believe every God fearing parent can be spirit led into giving age appropriate explanations that will cease curious searching for answers to very important questions. When our curiosity goes searching any answer will do.

I believe my responsibility as a mother is to provide protection against the untruths that exist. When we provide protection we are operating in faith that the word of God and spirit we are led by will not lead us or our children astray.

After hearing a recent news report about "scream rooms" in public schools I found myself fearful. What my kids will see, hear, and witness remains a mystery now but one day it will be reality. I also just read reports of billboards young children are being exposed to that give confusing messages pertaining to God and how he operates. The truth is you can't hide the big bad world that's out there. It's lurking, waiting and one day it will be exposed for her raw and perverse and untrue self.

I guess this post is more about empowerment to any reading mother. There isn't an untruth or immoral existing thing occurring in this world God doesn't know about. And there isn't a person who knows the love we have for our children better than He. Don't be fearful of exposure and certainly don't hide the truth to these issues. Use them as a way to expose your children to the truth and a closer relationship with you.

Let your faith be strengthened and your fear be eliminated! Choose protection!

So, the unthinkable happened. Dalen asked for a haircut...JUST like his dads. I'm not one to deprive my child of the freedom to choose their own outfits (even if they don't quite match), choose what they want for lunch and so on but I just wasn't ready to cut it THAT short. But I will say this, his hair is shorter than it's ever been since we have let it grow out. He really looks like a different kid. Too grown up, too polished and put together if you ask me but he loves it. Every morning he washes his own hair, brushes it and claims to "style it". What a divo!

Today Cola begins speech therapy in our home. We are thinking she possibly has a slight speech delay and just want to stay on top of things so prevent her from getting behind. What is this woman going to do??!! I am really curious to find out!

Nothing heavy, deep or inspirational today just wanted to give a brief update.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It is often hard to get back to the daily grind. After nearly two weeks of company, three weeks of Dalen being off from pre-school, Mario having a week off of work and various activities related to Christmas/New Year's our schedule has resumed as "normal".

Which leads me to the question what is normal? I'm not exactly sure how any married mother follows a rigid plan. If it works for you or them, that's great but I've found there is no normal around here. Every week is an exception to normal. There is always an event at Dalen's school, youth outing, date night or something of the sense that is preventing us from maintaining a week to week norm. And I must admit I am learning to love and embrace it.

As a stay at home mom I look forward to mixing things up and also teaching my children to be flexible to different schedules and events. I am certain if we followed a rigid routine I would be saying "no" to a lot of the things I love. I have also learned while loving weeks that are full of random activities we choose to attend that I have to stay focused on priorities and finances.

It's easy to lose sight of these things in the midst of a chaotic world that seems to be spinning from one service to another's birthday party to my doctor's check-up. So this year my word is FOCUS. Focus on everything. Keep in sight what really matters and everything else will become part of a hazy background you forget is even there.

I really felt my word for 2012 was confirmed when my husband chose the same word a few weeks ago but I took some extra time to think it through. FOCUS it is!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I'm not big into New Year's Resolutions. I'm not against them and have faith people can keep them if they choose them wisely. I, personally, have just tried to develop a lifestyle of reflection and bettering myself constantly.

I am, however, trying something new. I am searching for a word. A perfect word, that will define, guide and focus my year. A word that will emphasize what exactly it is the Lord wants me to accomplish, attempt and specifically devote myself to.

I asked my FB friends what their word would be for 2012 and got a really overwhelming response. I heard everything from recovery to victory to survival (my favorite, from my friend who is moving to Cambodia in a just a few days) to my crazy uncle who responded laziness. HA! I am going back and forth between just a few words that keep ringing inside of me.

When we are focused on a purpose, we tend to plan a strategy and planning is the personal assistant of success. I have been so inspired by people's personal stories around me. I am closely following an adoption story, missionary story, and of course the stories of those who have gone before me, in the Bible. Every successful story may not have started with a plan but somewhere along the way it recognized the importance of strategy.

I'll let you know what word I choose.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!

It's been almost two weeks since I blogged last. Here are the highlights and thoughts regarding Christmas this year.

1) Not emphasizing gifts this year was the absolute BEST thing we have ever done as parents. It is def not a one year thing.

2) A memory I will take from this year forever will be the night The Polar Express came on ABC Family channel. I made a pallet for me and D and we laid and watched the entire thing while drinking hot cocoa from glass mugs. So much fun and def his fav. book and movie we watched this holiday season.

3) We read about 25 Christmas books as a family.

4) Without my emphasis on gifts my daughter still ended up with 7 baby dolls from friends and family. If that doesn't tell you something...

5) Christmas Eve was amazing. It was jammed of loud fun with all of the Vining family cousins. We scored a George Foreman grill in the gift exchange. SUPER HAPPY!

6)Christmas Day was great. Breakfast with family, church, lunch with the family, read Christmas story, THEN gifts.

7) My sister and friend came to visit for 7 days! It's the longest any visitors have stayed since we moved. Although I endured something that felt like strep and Cola got a double ear infection we managed to make a glorious breakfast daily and enjoy 80 degree weather! Yes, you read that correctly...eighty.

8)I had to hide many friends this on FB this season. Got sick of hearing of late packages and their Christmas being "ruined" because their child would be one gift short. I'm sure they're still breathing...

9) I'm really hoping 2010 took a few words and phrases with #justsayin', epic and that's all. Anyone else feel like these follow every tweet or FB status. Drives me nuts.

Enjoy a few pics of our holiday

Dalen and Cola in their pajamas. Christmas Eve
Cola in my cousins new winter wear!
Me and my boy!
One of the many trucks he got from family and friends.
Six kids! It was LOUD! And Oh, so fun!
Christmas day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Umm, defriend!

I totally realize that if I were to tell you how annoyed I am at all of the complaints I read on FB and see on Twitter I would be just another guilty complainer. So, I will try to prove a point without complaining.

Obviously, I am guilty of complaining, I wrote about it a few posts back. It got pretty bad and just listening to myself was annoying. But honestly, I have NEVER in my life seen or heard more continuous complaining in my life! I am talking about day after day, post after post, every pain, disappointment, relationship problem posted for the entire world to read. No, I do not mind the occaisonal, "I need prayer, my back is killing me" post or even "the kids are driving me madd"-it keeps you real- but honestly I am about to contact the DSM to see if there is a disorder called Compulsive Complaining.

Because I noticed this problem in my own life, I have BEEN amazed at how many things you can find that just tickle you happy if you are attentive to your life. Seriously, there are SOOOO many things, small, unimportant things that I LOVE about this place called earth and yes, of course there are things that I despise but I just don't wish to meditate upon them day in and out for weeks at a time.

For those of you who are guilty of complaining and say, "So glad for you, Megan! Glad your life is THAT perfect that you can refrain from complaining" it has nothing to do with a perfect life and everything to do with the practice of self-control. Of course, I would love to vent about the terrible nights sleep I got two weeks back, or that every morning I wake up to neck and/or back pain or my old car or you name it...but COME ON PEOPLE! If you are breathing give some praise every now and again.

Just in case you wonder what ridiculous things I find myself so thankful for here are a few....

I am so thankful for to-go cup lids. I love them because they say Coke and Diet and I always punch Coke for Cola and Diet for Dalen so I can keep them seperate.

I love turning down our curvy street, slowly, because there is a walking trail and I get to see little babies pushed in their strollers and cute dogs being walked with wagging tails.

The fact that my back windows roll down and up is such a blessing. Its Cola's daily treat to stick her little fingers through the small cracks and feel the wind after dropping Dad and Dalen off at work and school.

I love that I've found so many FREE things to do with my kids like checking out library books, playing at Chik-fil-A playground or the indoor playground at the mall.

Super stoked I finally got a smart phone and it was FREE!

See, it's that easy.

And I must just end with not justify your complaining with praise after. People who complain EVERYDAY and then follow the complaint by "oh, but God is so good" or "I know God will heal me" seriously it doesn't make it any better.

I've found a solution to toxic complaining....DEFRIEND!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This month is one of those months every young couple (don't let me know if I'm wrong, I'd like to think I am not alone) experiences. Unexpected bills hit you from every angle and messes up the budget you have tried so hard to master. And what other month would be better than, December? I must say I am really glad I don't have the added stress of feeling obligated to give my kids the entire world on Christmas Day.

Tonight, Mario and I cooked together in the kitchen. Our meals haven't been experimental recipes found on Pinterest this week but rather bland and casual as we try to cut back on everything we can. But this morning I found a frozen pack of pork chops and we whipped up an awesome dinner! Cajun fried pork chops! YUM!

We cooked in silence except for the nice voice of John Meyer humming in the background from Mario's phone. Like usual we sat the table, all of our bright red plates full of a great meal we prepared. We joined hands to pray and with hearts of thanks there was a moment of an overwhelming sense of peace that everything will be ok. My husband led the prayer and thanked God that "our love for one another will never be in debt".

It was with that line I realized my heart was full. My hands may look empty but my heart is full. And with that thanks and a Christmas candle lit in the center of the table we ate and laughed as if all was well in our life and then I realized, it was. All was/is well.

The money we have lost or have yet to discover is nothing that hard work can't reproduce but the love we have for one another is absolutely priceless and without it we would feel the pain of debt in our heart not just in our pockets.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Laying Things To Rest

I have found it so easy to become depressed during the Christmas holidays; it's cold outside, dark early and the ending of another year is tying up lose ends.

The end of every year I find myself reflecting upon the memories - good and bad. And of course, we all begin to think and dream about the year to come. I don't think there's ever been a year where I've said, "I did it all!" or "I accomplished all I wanted or could have!". Every year I find myself somewhat disappointed that I didn't do more, try harder or dream bigger.

This year I can hardly handle the heartache of not being in a house. I feel like our entire life was wrapped around looking, planning, saving, researching and dreaming of what Cola's second birthday would be like in our very own home or what Christmas would be like in our new place. When I start thinking of the end I know the beginning is just around the corner. 2012 will be here before we know it. Part of me just wants to lay things to rest. Stop hoping and believing for these big things to happen for our family and just dream differently.

But I am realizing the dream didn't fail, the plan did. The dreamer in us will never die but sometimes we just have to try a different route and plan a different strategy. My nerves become immediately frazzled when I think of starting to save for a house from scratch again. Everything we held on to is now gone - gone to dental work, hospital bills or rent payments.

I'm not sure what our new plan will be or how we can do it better but I don't want the dream to die. The plan may need to be rebirthed but the dream has to live on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Have you ever just looked around and thought, "Wow, this world we live in is just craziness?" Things people do don't make sense, sometimes. *This post is written while laughing, not complaining. So just enjoy my sarcasm.

Like, Target. Can you please tell me why in the world you are already selling bathing suits? It JUST got cold! Not to mention, who wants to think of getting in a bathing suit right around the Holidays...aka excuse to gain a good extra 5 lbs.?

And then there is the let's throw a party extroverts who want to invite you over (totally fine) and then suggest let's do a gift exchange! The most annoying part...they follow it up with oh, but don't buy anything big, just a little $5 something or another. Really, people, what's even the point? So you venture out in traffic (aka the black plague) to hunt a $5 something or another and realize there is absolutely NOTHING decent for a mere $5 and even if there was you can't look THAT cheap so you end up spending $15.

Oh, and I must mention room mothers. I had no idea Dalen's school had room mothers, I'm sure they kept it a secret in fear I would volunteer to be one HAHAHA. Anyways, I get a e-mail from a woman I have never met and whose name I couldn't pronounce if you paid me to asking me (and apparently the rest of the mothers of the class) should we get the teachers a gift (well of course) and would you be willing to chip in and do I have suggestions. How nice! (really) But then I get 15 e-mails in response to her e-mail saying things like "yes" or "sounds great". Uhh, yes, we should get them a gift? Or sounds great for us to chip in....AHH I was so confused and no one ever left a suggestion. So, if you are a room mother, take charge. A little clarity goes a long way.