Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hydeens to Belize: Sara Crane Cakes raffle

I totally wish I wasn't me, so that I could enter to win this cake:

click the link below to find out how YOU can win it and share it with me. :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dear Mom who's ever read a post that starts with "Dear Mom"

I think that every woman with a blog is writing a similar type of post about this, but here's my version:

A few weeks ago Steve came home from work and I was like "it's so HARD to be a stay at home mom!"  and the funny thing is that I wasn't even talking about maintaining the house and keeping the kids entertained and making meals and changing diapers all day, which are all very hard things to do day in and day out.

I was talking about living up to everyone's expectations.  or not even expectations really, just advice.  or maybe not even advice really.  just preferences.  because I think that's really what's at the root of all these "mothering" posts.  we all have different preferences about how to parent.  and I'm the one who turns them into expectations and advice.

Here's (kind of) what happened.

Some nice mama-encouraging lady wrote a blog-letter called Dear Mom on the iphone, or something similar, about being at the park and missing out on your little girl twirling around in her dress and your super hero son asking you over and over to watch him jump while you sit with your nose in your phone.  and moms all around the world read it and probably felt one of three things.  either a) that's a really good point and next time I'll leave my phone at home, or b) I'm the WORST MOM EVER because I take my phone to the park, and I LIKE it!!! or c) who the *bleep* does she think she is saying that?  I deserve a break every once in a while!

and so then iphone mama writes a letter in defense of all the "c) mamas" (or maybe even all the mamas) saying it's OKAY for you to take your phone to the park and allow the kids to play together and get some fresh air and not be the center of the universe when you don't watch them twirl, because we all know you've already seen about 700 twirls today that you WERE paying attention to.

(and my mama-heart said "preach it sister!!!")

and then another somebody wrote a post requesting that the moms who are making a big deal about holidays such as Valentine's Day and St. Patricks Day tone it down a bit so that they don't feel like they have to keep up with the Jones' house AND holiday parties.  and another somebody wrote a post about not saying "in a minute" to your kids all day because they deserve your time.   and then somebody else worte a post about something else, and somebody else wrote a post about something else, and my poor mama-brain was like "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF PEOPLE TELLING ME HOW TO PARENT!!!!"

and suddenly (or possibly gradually) I realized that the no-iphone mama and the iphone mama and the holiday mama and the in a minute mama and all the other mamas have NO IDEA WHO I AM.  and...they weren't writing that letter to Andrea Hydeen.  But here I was acting like it was a freaking email in my inbox or a letter that arrived in MY mailbox, giving me unsolicited advice.  And I had all my defense statements lined up for them.

*I happen to think that a few minutes at the part without my undivided attention is good for the kids!  I already played ponies and Barbies and dress up and made a special lunch and read 6 books, WITH voices for each character and WITHOUT skipping any lines or pages!  so I can check my facebook at the park for just a couple minutes!
*I happen to like doing crafty things and making special lunches on holidays.  and I don't spend any extra money to do it so it's not going overboard.  Don't hate on the crafters!
*and another thing, if you are sick of trying to keep up with the Joneses, then just try saying NO to your kid for once!
*If I spent all day every day saying "yes" to the kids instead of "in a minute" then NOTHING in this house would ever get done!

and it went on and on in my head.  all these defenses to people who were not even talking to me.

What really happened was that some sinful moms, who know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the wrong things decided to try to encourage other sinful moms to be better.  and we should, shouldn't we?  We have so many complaints these days about how our society is turning to crap, but once somebody tries to encourage us to prevent that, we get all freaked out and defensive about it!  We NEED people who are willing to say these things!

and we also need to learn how to control our reactions.  see, that's the thing for me.  I know my flaws.  I know them really well, actually.  and so it's MY JOB to sensor myself when I need to.  (and yes, I think it's your job to sensor YOURSELF too.)

for example, I don't do so well with body image stuff.  so for me it's really really hard to go on pinterest and see all the different posts with these perfectly formed female bodies and all the workouts listed to see just how to get my rolly dimply body to turn into that perfect figure.  But I know that about myself, and I know that about pinterest.  and so each time I head there, I prepare myself for what's going to be on there.  and promise myself not to dwell on it.  so I go through and unfollow everyone's workout boards, and  I made MY workout board private, just because I don't want the rest of the world knowing what my workouts are.  Now, here's the thing.  you might be the type of person that gets MOTIVATED by perfectly formed female bodies instead of DISCOURAGED.  and by golly, you should still be allowed to post whatever the heck you want on your workout board because it's for YOU!  and I'm the one who has to react appropriately.

so for me, if everyone takes the holiday mama's advice and doesn't post all their cute ideas for the holidays because they're worried that everyone will think they're going overboard, I will be one sad sad sad lady.  I LOVE seeing what everybody does, which is also probably why I post things I that do that I think are cute!  and if it bugs you, then please delete me. :)  I'll delete your workout boards, and you can unfriend me so you don't have to see my holiday outfits.  deal?

for some reason craftiness is a real trigger for people.  I'm the crafter-type, so I don't really get it.  but a lot of people get really worked up about other people's crafts.  but ladies, we're all blessed with different gifts.  I can maybe make a cute craft or sew some clothes, but my kids will never know the joys of a mother who can cook.  so when people get all huffy about people making crafts for holidays, I'm like DUDE, I don't get all huffy every time someone posts a recipe!  lighten up!!!   (yes, I do realize I have my own areas that I need to lighten up in, thanks.) :)

so, my post isnt' going to be one of the ones that the whole world reads, because I'm not really saying anything important or controversial.  but it's important for me to make something out of all the brain space that was taken up this last month about mothering 'the right way.'

So here's what it is for me:
I'm going to keep reading the blog posts and articles about mothering because who doesn't want to be a better mother?  But I'm going to read them with different eyes.  I want to see the heart behind the author, not the accusations I create in my own head.  when I can take a post that might make me defensive and find a little nugget to make me better, then I can be better!  and I WANT to be better!  When I can decide to say "I'll do window drawing with you after I load the dishwasher" instead of "in a minute" I'm becoming a better mom, instead of being stuck on the "well then nothing will ever get done!"defensive mode.

so here's my challenge, for moms everywhere (or the 100 or so that read this post) :) to get to know THEMSELVES.  what are your triggers?  and what are you good at?  Let's do our best to avoid our triggers (workout pins), or accept them if we can't avoid them (I suck at cooking), and allow ourselves to learn from each other how to be better moms.  nobody is trying to attack you except for YOURSELF.  so read with caution, and REACT with grace, for yourself and others. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

belize trip!

I've been asked a couple times about how our fundraising is going for our trip to Belize.  The truth is we haven't mailed our letters out yet. :)  but they will be mailed out soon, and many of you will probably be getting one.  But since you all care enough to read what's going on in our life over here, I thought I'd post the letter here too.  :)

Dearest friends and family,

About six years ago God put a little stirring in my heart to go on a mission trip with our church.  Every other year, our little tiny church sends a little tiny team to another little tiny church in San Narciso, Belize, to accomplish great big things for the Kindgom.  And I've always wanted to be a part of it.

The only problem six years ago was that I was nursing a baby, and couldn’t yet bear the thought of leaving him and my 2 year old Lillian for a week.  And two years after that I was about to burst with baby #3 so I was unable to go again.  And 2 years after that, I don’t know, I just felt like my kids were so little, and how would Steve pull it off without me :) and a bazillion other reasons why I shouldn’t go.  

So here we are six years later with no babies, and no excuses.  I even dared to dream that Steve would somehow be able to go with me on this trip. In a way that only God can do, things all fell into place and last month we committed to spending a week in San Narciso with ten-ish other people, sleeping in a church, working on a construction project, VBS outreach, not drinking the water, and a whole host of other experiences I haven’t had in at least a decade.  Of all the places I’ve been and work projects I’ve been a part of, I’ve never once done it with Steve.  I’m so thrilled that God thought “my” idea was good enough to work it out for us to go together. 

For this trip Steve and I are on a small committee to head up the VBS portion of the trip.  This committee consists of Steve, with his "being on stage" abilities, and me with my elementary education degree, and a really really great lady from church who just has a way with kids (especially getting them to sing) and another young gal (that makes me sound old, doesn't it) :) who has been on a bunch of service projects before.  The four of us have our work cut out for us, planning and preparing for a week's worth of lessons and crafts and songs and ideas.  So we really covet your prayers for that planning process and the actual experience of the VBS.  

Once we get down there, we'll spend our days divided with a work/construction project during the mornings and the VBS in the afternoons.  We've also been told not to rely too much on the schedule though, since plans may totally change once we get down there.  It may end up being a go-with-the-flow type of experience for us.  Our trip is organized through Mission to the World, and since we don't actually have one of the pastors going with us on the trip, our group will really have to rally together and lead each other both before and during the trip.  It's so exciting to be a part of this type of thing again!!!

The biggest concern we have at this point (besides leaving our kids for a week, and DON’T ask Lillian about it if you’re not ready to see tears!) is the financial commitment we made to raise support for a third of the cost of our trip. We work as a team to fundraise a third, the church covers a third, and then we raise support for a third.  This was honestly the one thing that almost kept us from saying yes, but we decided it might be best to NOT ignore God’s calling on this one. :)  It’s been our honor to support just a couple people financially on their journeys of doing God’s work when we were unable to go, so I know that it can certainly be a blessing for all involved. 

So here we are, with about $1200 to raise (no official word yet) between the two of us, not including extra personal expenses like passports, shots, malaria meds, etc.  If you feel like God is calling you to partner with us in this way, we’d love to have your support.  If you want your check to be tax deductible, it needs to be made out to Grace Reformed Church, with our names on the memo line.  Other checks can be made to Steve or me, and will go toward our support raising or other trip related costs.  If the Lord blesses us beyond what we need to raise for this trip, the extra money will go toward our other team members’ costs or put in the missions fund for our church.  

And of course, if you’re unable to support us financially right now (believe me, we get it!) we would really love to have your prayers.  I know everyone who goes on a mission trip says that, but I’m so serious.  We would love your prayers for the two of us as we go through this experience together, that it would strengthen our love for each other and our ‘cord of three strands’ with our God.  We’d love prayers for our kids, who are already thinking a bit too much about the fact that Mommy and Daddy are going to fly over the ocean and be away from them for a week.  We’d love prayers for our team, from two different church sites, and the relationships created on this trip. And of course protection, and for God’s love to shine through us as we prepare for and experience this journey He’s bringing us on.  

If you feel led to help us with our support raising, please send your checks to:

(actually, I removed our address from the post, just to be on the safe side.  so feel free to contact me if you want our address!

Thanks so much for joining with us on this journey in whatever way God leads you to!  We're so excited!!!