Thursday, May 23, 2013

The not-so-perfect Mom

My biggest boy and I went on a field trip today with some friends.

We toured the city landfill and recycling center. It was riveting. I love homeschooling.

We took these boys on a lunch date to one of our favorite spots, Terri Lynn's. And I even got to visit with my sweet friend while our boys ate.

We capped off the afternoon with some light reading of Harry Potter and Star Wars sticker books.

I took my kiddos plus a few stragglers to the park. I held Vivian's sticky little hand and enjoyed watching my girls run around. I felt like a great mom.

And then, something happened. My man and I had to get all four kids ready for Gramm's piano recital. Clothes were painstakingly ironed. Orders were barked. Perfectionist mommy did not have time to get herself ready.

We finally got in the car to go to the recital. The kids looked perfect on the outside but I know they did not feel great on the inside. I'd rushed and shushed and generally griped us out the door. Ugh. I hate messing up. I hate that I make the same mistakes so many times. I'm recentering, refocusing and trying to trust in Grace. I know He gives it so freely. If I will put down my baggage, let go of my mistakes and rest in Him, I will have peace. I can be free. I don't have to start the day off tomorrow feeling the weight of my mistakes. I will sit down with my kids and apologize to them. I will tell them I messed up and I blew it. And we will have a good day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day to my Mom and my Other Mothers

Happy Mothers Day to my precious Mom. I know so many things about you:

  • You will always love me no matter what. 
  • You will always, always open your arms to any child we welcome into our home, be it a foster child, a child we hope to adopt or baby I birthed the old fashioned way. 
  • You think I'm funny even when I make you on that youth trip when I kept singing and laughing with my friends till the wee hours of the morning and I told you to "stick tampons in your ears" to drown out the noise. I was such a sweet, compliant child. 
  • You enjoyed every stage my sisters and I went through the best you could and lived to tell about it. 
  • You made hard sacrifices for us so many times. 
  • You always smell good and you love perfume. 
  • Diet Coke is your love language.
  • My children adore you. 
  • You have never, ever said one negative thing about my husband in the almost 13 years that I've been his main squeeze. 
  • You are a really good listener. 
  • You HATE cats. 
  • You have more scripture in your head than most seminary graduates. 
  • You gave me the best back scratches during church. 
  • You are an amazing seamstress and sew the most beautiful dresses, curtains and fun little girly things like baby doll beds that make my girls feel so loved. 
  • You have spoiled me with your good cooking and no one else can compare, including my own cooking. 
  • You will still make me a special dessert on my birthday or other times when I lay it on thick. 
  • You are so loved by me, my sisters and all of our babies, and definitely by Gramps. 
I love you, Mom!! Thanks for being the best Mom to me, Rachel, Andrea and Sharla and thanks for never telling them our secret....I know I'm your favorite. xoxoxo

Not only do I have a wonderful mother, I also have an amazing mother-in-law. She has loved and accepted me from day one. She has helped me understand my husband better. She gives the absolute best parenting advice and is so good to love my children intentionally. I love you, Janet! You bless our lives very much! 
Kelly, thank you for loving my dad and embracing our crazy crew. You are such a sweet Mimi to my babies and we all love you dearly! I am so thankful for you! 
 And, happy Mother's day to my sweet, fun, always energetic and up for a good time Nana. I love coming to your house. I love that I can always relax there and that you and Grandpa always want to know what is going on with me and my crew. You are both the picture of unconditional love and selflessness. You and Grandpa are one of God's biggest, most abundant blessings in my life. I love you both dearly.

 This is my first Mother's Day without my Mimi, my dad's mom. She wrote me many sweet cards over the years and it was a joy to be loved by her. She loved my children and she was always happy to hear from me and very quick to tell me that she loved me.

No Mother's Day for me would be complete without a quick shout out to the many other-Mothers in my life. I have been blessed abundantly with a few very patient and selfless women over the years who have loved me so well. 

Chris (the total bombshell in the blue sweater), I can barely even type about you without tears in my eyes. Oh, the love you have poured on me in the past 20 years. I cannot imagine my life without you. Thank you for being my mom's life long best friend. Thank you for loving all of us Alford girls with all your heart. When I see that you have called, emailed or texted me, my love tank immediately starts to refill. You are such an amazing listener, you truly care about me and always have. I love you dearly and I promise I will take care of you and my Ma when you are both old and senile. :) Maybe by then, I can get diet coke for  you both via IV? 

Debi, for so many years you have welcomed me into your home and life. And, as you know, I don't knock. Thank you for making me laugh and for always encouraging me to be myself. I still have the mirror you gave me at my high school graduation. You wrote on the mirror, "What does God see today?" You have always had so much wisdom and you still do. Thank you for always talking to me like an adult and not treating me like an annoying kid. When I met some of your sweet grand-friends recently, they asked me, "how do you know Gordon and Debi?" and I said, "Oh, they're just my parents." I love you both so much. 

Wynter, Your sweet presence in my life has always been a blessing to me. I have great memories of nights spent at your house. I love that you were not afraid of being honest about life in general and I love that you freely welcomed and included Sharla and I in your life and your family. I love you!

Kimberly Ann Simmons, I love this pic of me and your sweet baby boy. You still, to this day, make me laugh harder than almost any other person. I love your personality! Not only are you lots of fun, but you are funny! I am so glad that I got to be a part of your life and watch you Rodney fall in love and finally get married! You two are definitely two of my favorite people. Thank you for loving me and always making me smile. And, thanks for making me the most delicious dessert when I was so sick and pregnant with the twins. It was one of the only things I enjoyed eating during those crazy months. You are truly a treasure.

 Beth, my precious friend. The Lord put you in my life at just the right time. I have learned so much from you as a parent. I am thankful that I got to watch you parent your kiddos during their teen years. You really enjoy your kids and I have taken so many things that I saw in you and have done them with my babies. You are an amazing listener and friend. Thank you for listening to me to talk for hours and for always letting me invade your house. And, thank you for always encouraging us to adopt. You were there when all this started! I love you!

Tam, This pic of two of your girls with my girls melts my heart. I do not know how I would have made it through the last three years without your wisdom and availability to take my call at a moment's notice. You are an amazing mother and I am so thankful for your heart to parent with Christ at the center. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making time for me in your already full schedule. You are a woman after His heart and you have spurred me on many times. As I've said before, I am totally the president of your fan club. I love you! xoxoxo

Gayelynne, These girls love you and so do I! Thank you for letting me weezle my way into your life and your family. Thank you for taking me on countless lunch dates and making me feel special and loved. You are an amazing mama and nona. I am blessed to be one among the many who love Mama Craig.

There are a couple other ladies I don't have pictures of who have been second mamas to me over the years: Vicki Marshall, Mrs.Magee and Mary Lee. If you are reading this, I love each of you and am thankful for your presence in my life. And, Vicki, thanks for not kicking me out of your house multiple times. I know you wanted to.

Happy Mothers Day, friends! I hope you all feel loved today. I hope each of you know that being the best Mama to our own babes is so important, but I want to impress upon each of you to nurture relationships you have time for with other little ladies who seek you out. You never know the impact you will have on them. Love to all.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Our Last Baby

Many thoughts have been swirling through my mind in the last few weeks. The thought that has been pressing itself out the most is, "He's your last one. Drink him up. Enjoy this baby." We finalize our baby boy's adoption in less than a month and then I will bombard this blog with pictures of his beautiful face. For now, I am loving watching his little body crawling all over our house. He pulls himself up on the coffee table and carefully reaches for the couch. He crawls to me and claps his hands, meets my eyes and smiles because he is so happy. I ask him for a kiss and he leans forward and gives me a sweet, slobbery kiss.

Having this baby around has shown me how big my older babies really are now. Sad, sad, sad!!! The pictures below are about two years old. Time continues to pass and my kids continue to grow. I know that the stages they are all in do not last forever and I am trying to stop doing the dad blamed laundry long enough to see each one of them and really enjoy them. If you got babies, go squeeze 'em. Good night.