Saturday, May 29, 2010

High dive!

That's my 4 year old in that splash under the diving board!
The requirements are:
you must be able to swim to the ladder after the jump;
no floaties, life vests, or goggles.

And he did it! Not a hint of hesitation.
His friends were requesting that he did it again. And he did; over & over & over!
Even the life guard stopped us and asked how old he was because
he'd "never seen someone that young do that. Pretty awesome!"
Carter didn't seem impressed with himself as much as he seemed glad he could make good use of the pool that was untouchable for him last summer.
Lilah pretty much has this expression the entire time we're in the pool.
She loves it. Don't be deceived. Pin It

Thursday, May 27, 2010

simply steps

A few years ago Dan & I decided to splurge on one of those coffee makers sold at Starbucks to encourage us to make it at home & save some $ in the long run. Unexpected bonus: the Barista & complete stranger that helped us choose the best one also extended her employee discount just because. Ugh...thank you; really? thank you!

One of my favorite things about my (sometimes painfully) predictable life with my predictable husband is that he makes coffee every morning.
And he really does make it better than I do.
That is not a ploy to get him to make it.
It just tastes better even if he is standing over me telling me exactly how much to use.
He's better at anything that tastes better if you measure it.
I'm an eyeball-er.

The first time I saw this ad, I thought of us. I pictured our faces over theirs. I'm laughing at how he laughs at his own joke before he's even finished the punchline! He loves it. (and looks much better in a white tshirt)
This weekend he was looking at a magazine with this same ad in it & said "I love that. I see that and I want to buy Coffee-mate. That's where I want to be. Just like that."
I smiled; I love that we love the same things.
And we do buy Coffee-mate. In the coffee-lovers size at Wal-Mart.

Why Simply Steps? Pin It

Monday, May 17, 2010

She's copying me!

She's copying me!
I've known for a while now, but it's really having an impact now.
Getting my heels on and looking down to see her trying to balance her chubby little foot in the other one is adorable. I love that she ran into my closet before we got into the car and came walking out with a scarf on her head because I had just put a scarf on my neck. It was fun to paint her toenails after I painted mine because she sat down next to me in the same pose and said "too".
Almost as soon as the dishwasher opens she is there getting her hands into the silverware saying "helping" as she hands me one by one. Sweet.
I don't get most of these moments on camera, of course.
I had just finished my hair & was putting on makeup when I looked down to see her doing this:
All cute moments.
What's not so cute is that she doesn't only copy the things I'm proud to pass on.

Just the other day I thought, when is she going to start sitting down and watching a whole tv show or movie like her brother could all day if I let him? Before I could even finish the question I realized she may never, I don't. Remember this?

Not so bad, but this was:
I was unconsciously doing my after shower thing in the mirror, when she showed up behind me pushing her belly in too! (gulp)

She's even been putting her fingers in her mouth and biting on them whenever she catches me biting my nails (ick! i hate this habit). Honestly, I don't even realize I'm doing it until I look over & see her.

And having to take a big gulp of reality, admitting she got this or that bad thing from me is hard.

Now come on, I don't want to mess this girl up.

I'm not going to let the fact that no matter how hard I try Lilah may write her very own blog post one day about how my inadequacies messed her up keep me from trying to be the best version of myself in front of her.

Don't laugh, but I caught a few minutes of 18 Kids & Counting for the 1st time the other day and I've been thinking about something Jim Bob said in an interview, something like:
"My kids will learn how to react to the world far more from how I react than from how I tell them to react"
No really, think about it....ouch.

Reacting to the elbow knocking over the cup of milk when you've told her to sit down in her chair,
reacting to the lady that took the spot you were obviously sitting there with your turn signal waiting to take,
reacting to him spraying you with the hose when you told him to keep it over there,
reacting to daddy swearing you never told him about that event on the calendar when you know you reminded him,
reacting to the lady who turns blatantly around from her table to glare at you because your child is throwing a tantrum at a restaurant...

These may or may not have happened to me within a few days.
The point is...what's really getting me are the things that I believed warranted a certain reaction no longer seem worth it if she's going to be copying me.

Here's what I try to keep in mind: my reaction does not always have to match the intensity of the situation. If she is screaming or if he is whining & spinning out of control, I don't have to get loud or dominate his tantrum.
Let's face it, sometimes it's much more intimidating to be extraordinarily calm, hello Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada!
Sometimes cool commands control in chaos.
Think Jesus on the boat in storm with the freaking out voyagers.

One last thing,
If I take credit for her friendliness or intelligence, do I also have to take credit for her ability to go from thisto thisin a matter of seconds because something didn't go her way?

Don't let the resemblance between us or that she's wearing my t-shirt from 1980 sway you.

I'd love to hear your thoughts; what works for you, whether or not you have a living mirror in your house too!

In the meantime,
I'm happy to pass on the pride that the greatest man alive happens to live in our house!
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Thanks a bunch!

How was your Mother's Day weekend?

They really made me feel special this weekend

(and by they, of course I mean "he")First of all, he's always turned holidays into "weekends" and not just "days".
I believe I can thank my mother-in-law for that. And while I'm at it I'll thank her for loving him the way she did because I am the lucky recipient of that same selfless, sacrificial, extravagant love.

The weekend was full of my favorite things. I'm not talking diamonds or vacations, but my favorite ordinary ways to spend time with the family and on my own. The latter was a particular treat.

Shopping & trying things on, even grabbing another batch & trying it on too! It took some talking myself-into at first. I found myself rushing; quickly brushing through the racks & only glancing down the aisles as I passed. Didn't take long to adjust to the no-pressure, list-free shopping.

I hope you don't mind, but a public thank you is certainly in order. For doing my jobs & yours for the weekend, and for making me feel so appreciated in the ways you do so well, I'm grateful.
Carter decorated a cake for me, picked out a brightly-colored daisy bouquet, and convinced his dad that what I really wanted for Mother's Day was a game for his Nintendo DSi.
You've really figured out your dad's a softy, kiddo!
I don't blame ya.
Thanks for the Tetris game!

And thanks to my brothers & my dad for thinking of me too. Sweet. Pin It

Sunday, May 9, 2010

everybody dance now! Mother's Day 2010

You can be sure of one thing about motherhood, it is full of surprises!

The phrases you hear yourself say.
"How many times BMs did she have today?"

They listen, they really listen! you asked him to put his plate in the sink after he dumps the remains in the garbage, and you walked away from the table. by golly, his plate is in the sink & the scraps aren't on the floor, but in the trash!

They learn, they really learn! they say thank you & excuse me without any prompting.

The shower feels like a trip to Bermuda. Ahhh...especially if you close your eyes & can't see the little faces standing on the other side of the glass door.

The perpetual search for a sippy cup, the other sneaker, the REMOTE!

Yes, there are many surprises in motherhood.
Good & gross
. And I've only been at it for 4 years.
But the one of my favorite surprises of motherhood is the dancing!
What a big part of my life it is.
Dancing, with a few exceptions was frowned upon by the church I grew up in. So unless I was doing it on stage for a musical or choreographing with my friends to DC Talk, I wasn't dancing.
I think I owe it to my husband, he's not afraid to bust a move. (& maybe my sister-in-law who just made is look so darn fun & free, I had to give in years ago)
When the kids are melting down & tantrums are minutes apart, I crank up that blessed Bose dock w/my iTunes blasting & we get down!
I love that if I look in the rear view mirror, I see heads bobbing & maybe even arms waving.
If there's music playing, we are moving. I love it!
There's spinning and jumping & lots of booty-shaking.
I thoroughly enjoyed my little ring bearer in the center of the dance floor surrounded by our very amused family & friends at my brother's wedding last fall.
I wish we had a family wedding every year!

Thank you, dear husband for your unabashed dance moves and to my kids, for bopping to the beat since you were born.

In case you're wondering...
Here are some Poulsen family favorites (for the beat, not the lyrics. just saying.)

GLEE cast music is perfect for family dance parties:
Bust your windows (Glee cast version)
Don't stop believing (Glee cast version)
Gold Digger (Glee cast version)
Rehab (Glee cast version)

Non-Glee music:
Say Hey (I love you) Michael Franti & Spearhead
Cupid Shuffle (Radio Version)

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

birth, it really isn't under our control now, is it?

Well, this is a personal one, folks.
Just something I've got on my mind as we approach mother's day. I promise to have something cute & light for tomorrow to off-set.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Pill.
Perhaps you read last week's Time's cover story on The Pill. So small. So powerful. And so misunderstood.

Still, all the birth control out there on the market gives us a false sense that we indeed have birth control.

When we want to get pregnant, we'll go off the Pill.
When we've had enough, we'll use protection.
Simple, right?

When it comes to birth, we aren't in control.
I know that because while I was on the Pill, just two months after my wedding I found out I was pregnant. Like many ladies looking at the telling 2 pink lines, I felt the gamut of emotions. Running around in my head was something like this:
"and all along I thought we would choose when we'd start trying to get pregnant. and here it is. can't be undone. it just happened without us saying so."
We waited to share the news until I'd almost reached end of my 1st trimester. That's what the books say to do. (I think it may have had more to do with my shock that something so significant was happening to me without my saying so.)
By the time we told the family at Thanksgiving dinner, I had moved past acceptance (we weren't even sure we ever wanted kids) and was marveling at the miracle inside of me. It no longer mattered that I wasn't the girl that always wanted to be a mom, I was in this with all of my heart.

At 14 weeks along, I went in for a routine visit. The OB was having a hard time hearing the heartbeat but over-assured us that was common at this stage. She told me to bring a recordable video to a sonogram she scheduled for the next day because we'd get our first glimpse at the baby & could it share with family.
Even when the technician told me she couldn't find a heartbeat, I laid there thinking "ok. I'll be still while you try so to find it."
It wasn't until I felt my husband squeeze my foot from where he was standing at the end of the bed and I saw the look their eyes that it hit me. The baby is no longer alive. The baby is no longer alive? But this isn't even something I was hoping for. This isn't even something I wanted. And now I want it. And now I'm attached to it. I love this baby. I love the baby they are saying I'll never mother.
I didn't know how full he made me until I was empty.

Maybe I could protect against pregnancy with the 92% effective Pill, but birth, that's another story.
Birth control belongs to the Giver of life.
And He gives and takes away.

These are the moments that test our faith.
If God is good, then why doesn't He seem fair?
The positive pregnancy test makes one girl fear her life is over and another overjoyed her life is just begun; so why not give the baby to the welcoming arms?Why are orphanage beds filled, but the woman with the pastel painted nursery & diaper-filled drawers delivers a still-born baby?
Why are healthy babies born to women that neglect them while the girl that has tried everything to have a baby remains infertile?

In my case, I quickly settled on earthly reasons why God would allow that loss. I respected life more than I did before it was taken from inside me.
Coping with the loss matured my marriage by years. The 2 pregnancies that followed & ended with my 2 children were valued far more than the accidental one.
But sometimes, it doesn't make earthly sense.
Sometimes you can't settle on a reason for the timing or the couple.
Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a lesson.
Sometimes we can't find the reason.
Sometimes it's just plain hard.
The age-old question "why do bad things happen to good people?"
It's ironic really because it's the Giver of life that is also the Prince of Peace that surpasses understanding.
After friends stop bringing dinner and family isn't calling daily,
God is near to the brokenhearted.
There's this song that puts this experience into words and this song to remind us "
Our Hope Endures...
"it's more than optimism/Emmanuel, God is with us. El Shaddai, all-sufficient.
We never walk alone. This is our hope"

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just read...A lineage of grace

This week became book week on detailgalblog with no pre-meditation.
I've had several friends recommend reading the 5 novellas Unshaken, Unashamed, Unveiled, Unspoken, Unafraid, so I snatched up this compilation book when I saw it last week.
I can hardly believe I've waited this long. It's no wonder they are so widely praised!
You will love it! I'm not even done with it, but I recommend it.
It would make the perfect Mother's Day gift for the avid or the casual reader.
Think...your sister, a friend, a mother-figure in your life.
Easy & engaging. These women's stories are compelling!
Celebrating 5 powerful, if overlooked women of the Bible.

Here's what says about it:

The stories of the five unlikely women who changed eternity.
Tamar, betrayed by the men who controlled her future, she fought for her right to believe in a loving God.
Rahab, a woman with a past to whom God gave a future.
Ruth, who gave up everything, expecting nothing, and God honored her. Bathsheba, whose beauty stirred the passion of a king, and whose pain moved the heart of God.
Mary, who responded in simple obedience to God’s call. Each was faced with extraordinary —even scandalous— challenges, each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling, and each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
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Monday, May 3, 2010

your pretty stupid idea that you have no business trying...

A few years ago, I discovered Kelly Corrigan the way most writers draw me in, through an excerpt in a magazine. I've read a bit of Middle Place & the effect of motherhood she describes in Lift is engaging. (click on titles to read excerpts)

She's a breast cancer survivor and a mother, & for both of those reasons I am shocked that she doesn't share my faith in God. From this article, I gather she is seeking.

Regardless of her intent to be Divinely appointed, this video is one of many confirmations God has stamped on my heart lately.
God is amazing that way!
When He wants to speak, and you are listening, He'll use anything to get to you!
It's extraordinary what faith, hope, and trust placed appropriately can bring!

There's a theme in our house this year:
"I do not want to be sitting somewhere when I'm old,
thinking 'I wish I had just done
It's an exciting and scary place to be.
We've arrived at the point where not trying seems much worse than failing.

I really think you'll be inspired by this short video & you'll probably think of a few friends that should to see it too.

What's your pretty stupid idea that you have no business trying??
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