Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh...and about the kids...

Seem like I have been a little lost in myself lately? That's probably because I have been. Hard to admit, but yes, the sudden news of baby number three has caused me to stray off course.

Even we mommies with the best of intentions can get that way. Motherhood has a way of humbling us beyond humility.

But I wanted to take the time this week to let you know about the two little reasons that help me to regain my focus each day. After all, they are the inspiration behind this whole venture.

This is Noah in mid August at the end of my parent's driveway. Her face is smeared with a pink ice cream treat from Dairy Queen, and she's clutching a very special blue balloon. Back in July, she lost that balloon. She got the balloon from a parade, and a few days later, opened the front door of our house only to have the balloon swept out by the Kansas breeze. It was as high as the heavens in no time. She cried and moaned about that balloon for weeks. That's when a mommy genius moment struck.

What if we could "find" the balloon? And so I plotted, with Grandma's help, to recover the balloon swallowed up by the heavens. On the day we were to arrive at Grandma's house, the flower shop delivered a blue balloon with a pink string - just like the one we'd lost - to Grandma's house and tied it to her mailbox. Then, as we would pull in the driveway, Noah would boast with joy for her found balloon.

Well, twenty miles from Grandma's house that afternoon, we drove by a car dealership that had big balloons tied to every car on the lot.

"Look at those balloons, Momma!" she exclaimed. And then, so grown up like, she said,

"But I don't want anymore balloons...(pause to hold back the tears)...because they just blow away."

Mommy genius moment dissipated.

We pushed on and found her "lost" balloon. Her excitement, however, had been replaced with grave concern for the safety of her balloon. She was not settled until that balloon was tied safely to a chair in Grandma's house.

And so the summer has gone; Noah grasps the realities of the world around her more and more each day. The toddler in her is giving way to a more settled, more purposeful preschooler.

And then there's Tucker. That little baby boy who was content to sit on his mommy's lap is no more. He has been replaced with a ball throwing, bug eating, hair pulling toddler.

Oh sure, he looks innocent in this picture. He's just a happy kid helping his momma make a batch of cookies. But you should have seen the fit he threw when I took the cookie dough away.

And, he's beginning to figure out how to use his brute size to his advantage. Today, he tackled one of my daycare kids in pursuit of a ball. Sure, they were the same age. But still, he grabbed the back of the kid's shirt, yanked him to the ground and took the ball away from him. I took a moment to laugh before I resolved the incident.

He had a bit of a tough summer. He had tubes put in his ears at the end of June. And while that has solved his ear infections, he has been on a relentless teething streak, had to get rid of his favorite comfort, his bottle, and has entered full blown toddler terror. Now he is the one who gets escorted out of church each Sunday.

Boys should come with more explicit instructions. Seriously. The kid is only satisfied with things if you can throw them, eat them, or bang them.

And so I pause here. Because you know, mommies, we could go on and on about our kids. But seriously, if I don't get to bed soon, there's no way I'll make it through another day of this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Substance behind the inspiration

Let me follow up my story of inspiration with some substance.

I am supporting the McCain / Palin ticket, but not simply because an Alaskan hockey mom happens to be the VP candidate. I also happen to agree with their stance on the issues.

If you want to talk policy details and specifics, this isn't the place. I have a general knowledge of most issues, but I tend to get bored with the tidy details. Especially when it comes to policy. (Seriously, have you ever read a piece of legislation? Zzzzzzzzzz...)

I grew up in a family that spent our time at church, on the farm, and at sporting events. My political beliefs derive from those experiences.

I support plans to explore and drill for oil and natural gas. I believe the technology exists today to do this exercising great care for our natural world, a world I care deeply about.

I support agricultural policies that eliminate barriers to trade, reduce regulations, and allow food producers to grow products for a global consumer.

I support efforts to encourage young people to return to their rural roots. I believe providing incentives for our best and brightest to return home, and ensuring a strong education, health care system and culture of entrepreneurs in our rural communities will help our hometown's to be prosperous long into the future.

I support a strong national defense, and I am looking for a leader whom I can trust with my children's safety and security. I believe there are too many evils and too much hatred directed at our country to simply stand aside.

I believe in the power of a free market economy. I understand there are problems with our healthcare system. Yet, with rewards for wellness and prevention, I think our current system can be improved. Furthermore, I don't think it's fair that those without health insurance can receive the same care that I receive.

I support an education system that sets standards for achievement and holds schools accountable. I hope to see the best teachers rewarded, and I hope to see more incentives for teachers to get the training they need. (Oh, and could we encourage some of those great teachers to work in our rural districts, too?) And, I don't plan to pay for your children to go to college. I am just hoping I can pay for mine to make it through a semester. Afterall, what's the value in an education when you didn't have to earn it?

I support a child's right to life.

I support my husband's right to bear arms. (I am NOT a hunter. I used to show livestock, and that's about as wild as I like to get.)

And I, though a conservative Christian, have always thought myself to be concerned for women's rights. I simply cannot understand why anyone would think Sarah Palin is a step backwards for women.

I see a woman who has made a million steps forward on behalf of all women; all the while cherishing the role of wife and mother, balancing family and career, and seeking ways to serve something bigger than herself.

So, that's the substance behind the inspiration. I am not looking for a heated, political debate. I just want you to know that I'm not all lipstick.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I have been a little less than inspired lately. A lot less than inspired, actually. That is, until six days ago.

Because eighty-two days ago, I found myself at Alco buying a pregnancy test. My husband and I had plans to attend a big Catholic wedding that afternoon, and I had plans to open a bottle of wine. My you-know-what, however, was going on two weeks late. At my husband's prompting, I drove to the store and purchased the test from a cute, thin, blond teenage girl.

About thirty minutes later, I was crying on my husband's shoulder. He was laughing at me.

Why the tears, you ask?

Because that cute, teenage girl at the store still had her waistline...

Because I had two awfully young babies already...

Because this was the third time I had been pregnant in the not-even-yet four years we had been married...

Because I only had a three bedroom house...

Because I had actually had success losing weight...

Because (counter-productively) I liked wine, and margaritas, and caffeine...

And so the pity party began. I was ridden with guilt for the time I was stealing away from my two babies. I was worried that my body wouldn't be able to handle three back-to-back pregnancies. I was jealous of every family who had family close by to lend a helping hand. I wallowed in self pity for eighty-two days. Refusing to be thankful. Ignoring the positives. Pushing away any inspiration.

Six days ago, that all changed. I was on the couch crying, again, but this time with tears of inspiration.

I watched Sarah Palin address the Republican National Convention, and I let my pity party pass with each tear streaming down my cheek.

I had not felt that inspired since I was fourteen years old attending National FFA Convention in Kansas City, watching nineteen and twenty year old students giving incredible speeches about living a life of leadership and service.

If a moose-hunting mother of five from Alaska can find within herself the strength and courage to run for the Vice President of the United States, then surely, oh surely, I could muster the enthusiasm to be a mommy of three and a mere daycare provider.

If a forty-four year old woman can bravely bring a baby into this world knowing the baby will suffer from Down's Syndrome, then surely, oh surely, I could have my third child before the age of thirty.

If a PTA mom can answer the call to serve her community and her state, all the while rearing a family, then surely, oh surely, I could seek ways to answer my own call to serve.



I may have been one of thirty-seven million viewers that night, but hearing her words was worth more to me than a million dollars of inspiration.

I have never really been one to get so down on life. Sure, there have been a few down times. But I have always found a way to come back quickly, tenacious and focused.

So when an outdoorsy, athletic, hockey mom from Alaska spoke to this uninspired outdoorsy, athletic mom in Kansas, maybe you can see why I was inspired to tears.

The pity party is over. It's official. Baby Goss #3 will be arriving in February. She (we're 99% positive it's a girl) will fill up this house...but with the precious love and laughter only God's gift of children can give. And maybe someday, she'll be Vice President.