On Training My Brain

I bought myself a tablet. And I love it. But the tablet love is for a different post {maybe}. The point is that I loaded this “Rosetta Stone Fit Brain Trainer” game-ish thing on my tablet. Because I thought to myself, “Self, you could use some brain training. That sounds fun-ish, and it could help keep you sharp(-ish). Now that you have kids your brain feels a little more mush(-ish) than it used to feel(-ish).”


Here’s how my first “Brain Training” session went…

Fit Brain Trainer {from here on referred to as Drill Sergeant or DS for short}: Match the tiles

Me: Oh, like Memory. No problem.

Background: Hhhhhheeeeeeeey! Don’t put away car town! Mommy said we didn’t have to put away car town! Stoooooooooooop!!!!

DS: You matched two tiles correctly. You have scored 8% better than most people.

Me: Huh…okay…


DS: View the numbers and letters. Then pick the one that is missing.

Me: Okay….That shouldn’t be too hard.

Background: Mommmmmmmy! My room is clean. Can you open the gate? {Miss M is unable to open the security check point the baby gate that keeps Little Miss from crawling down the hallway to her utter doom her siblings big kid rooms} Pleeeeeease! I can’t do it!

Me: What was that letter again??

DS: Congratulations. You have scored 5% higher than other people.

Me: Bummer


DS: Tap anywhere on the screen when you see a green light.


Background: Happy baby. NOT HAPPY BABY…. SCREAMMMMMMING baby!

Me: Oh…come here sweet girl. {Tap} It’s okay, honey. Just come here {tap} and I’ll pick you up. {Man I missed one. Tap, tap}

Background: Whhhhhaaaaaaaa…baby crawling towards my one outstretched arm.

Me: {Tap} Sit on Mommy’s lap. Bounces on knee {tap} while making ridiculous noises. {tap} You’re okay, Little Girl. {tap}

Background: Baby crawls off happy.

DS: Your reaction time is a little slow. You should work on this area. You have scored .05% higher than most people.

Me: Well, at least I’m not the dumbest person around.


Me: Viewing results

DS: You have scored in the 18th percentile of those in the FBI. You are smarter than 18% of those in the FBI.

Me: Wow?! Really? Not sure how I managed that this go around. But the FBI? Wow! Maybe I should sign up!

Me: Oh.

Me: FBI? = Fit Brain Index #Ineedmorebraintraining

Me: I will have to exercise my brain when the kids are napping. I know I’m smarter than this!

Me: I think there should be extra points for multitasking mothers.

Me: Who needs brain training anyway?

***Experiences and scores may be slightly exaggerated. No children, babies, or brains were harmed in the making of this Fit Brain {or blog post}. Fit Brain failed to mention that the free app was a free trial and it actually costs money to have a fit brain. I guess I’ll remain less(-ish) sharp(-ish).

Afraid of the Dark

We had been having bedtime struggles with Miss M.

Lots of tears. Lots of getting up. Lots of “I want Daddy.” Long past bedtime. Like…this would go on for HOURS past bedtime. I wish I was kidding.


For me…Lots of frustration. Lots of questioning. Lots of not knowing how to deal with it.

We tried so many things. Ignoring her. Not ignoring her. Disciplining her. Not disciplining her. Sitting with her. Praying with her. Scolding her. Rubbing her back. The whole gamut.

The hard part is, I KNEW that it was manipulation on her part. I knew that she was safe, comfortable, and loved. And yet it was not good enough.

A few nights into our bedtime craziness, I was sharing this struggle with my parents and sister, and my sister shared that as a child she had a big fear at night {that was the first time my mom even knew about it!}. And then I recalled my own occasional childhood fears at bedtime. I was convinced that on the nights when I was restless and couldn’t sleep that God was keeping me awake because surely we were going to have a fire or someone was going to break in and He needed me to be awake so that I could wake the rest of the family and keep them safe. An unrealized fear, as there was never a fire or a break in. So silly in retrospect; so real to me then.

Bearing those things in mind I thought it was worth chatting with Miss M to try to discover if she was afraid of something.

As I was tucking her into bed, I asked her about going to bed and the dark.

“I’m scared,” she said with a completely non-frightened face.

“What are you scared of?”

“The dark.”

“But what about the dark?”

“I’m scared.”

“But are you scared of something in the dark?”

“I want the door cracked.” {Which we already do.} “I like to see. I don’t like it when God makes it dark.”

Aha! So many places to take that statement!

“Well, Miss M, God did make the dark. He made it so you can sleep.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Does God ever make mistakes?”


“So did He make a mistake when He made the dark?”


Oh, y’all. Is that not how we often feel when things look dark for us? We know that in an overarching way that God never makes mistakes. But sometimes in the nitty gritty of real life we feel like He has made a mistake in this *one* thing?

“Yes, God, You are perfect and everything You do is perfect. But in this one thing, God? You sure did make a mistake with it.”

It’s hard {dare I say impossible?} to trust when we are overwhelmed with fears.

Miss M’s fear of the dark was keeping her from trusting that God knew what He was doing when He made it.

I’m not afraid of the dark. But there’s always opportunity for fear to dwell in my life if I let it. Financial fears. Parental fears. Homeschooling fears. Social fears. Marital fears. The Crazy World fears. Ebola fears. What if someone doesn’t like me fears. I don’t like change fears. And on and on. I’m certain you could come up with your own list of fears.

But God is more powerful than our fears! Learning to trust. Learning to rest. Learning to let go of my fears and cast them on an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God and letting Him carry my cares. Trusting that He knows, and He will do what is BEST for His children. His best for me. His best for you.

There can be PEACE in our fears.

Every time I think I’ve learned this lesson, I am challenged anew. In this case, challenged by my dark-fearing daughter to make sure I have turned over any of my fears to Him – the Great Fear Destroyer. The Rock on which I can rest.

“Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.”

Going for a Bike Ride with 4 Small Children :: Or Not

Have you ever tried? To go for a bike ride with four small-ish children? I’m sure some people are very successful!


Here’s how it’s going down in my house.


{Please read as a monologue of me talking to myself.}

{Me, driving to a furniture consignment store across town} Ooooohhh, it’s such a beautiful day! We should take the family for a bike ride!

But…We don’t have a seat for the baby. And Miss M doesn’t really know how to pedal her bike. So…I should probably look into getting one of those trailer things. I’ll just check on Craigslist. Maybe I’ll find a cheap one.

{After returning home and spending some time on Craigslist. Read: some time = hours}

Hmmm…there’s lots of options here. I wonder what the best one would be?

Let’s Google “best bike trailer.” Oh, Amazon has reviews too! I’ll look at Amazon too.

This is so enlightening! I’ve eliminated the few cheap ones on Craigslist, but there are still a few options that might work.

Oh…what did that review site just say? Bike trailers are only for kids over a year?!

Hmm….that won’t work.


I wonder if I could get one of those baby seat things that mount to your bike.

Score! Yes! Some of these are rated for babies 9+ months. Little Miss is just a few days shy of 9 months, so we’d be good.

Okay, here’s a baby seat that gets good reviews on the review site – oh! wow! It is even “highly recommended” by that TwoWheelingTots site. Sweet! Just 40 bucks for a $180 seat. {Sidebar: $180 for a baby bike seat?!?! I hope it feeds baby a bottle and changes diapers while it’s at it. I digress…} So, Awesome! But…it’s like over an hour away. Hmmm… Okay.

Look, there’s one that’s just a 30 minute drive away and is $30. That’s great. It gets pretty good ratings, but not “highly recommended.” In fact, it’s “recommended with caution.” Hmm… Danger, Will Robinson!

Okay, so I think the hour drive would be worth it, right? I mean, I want only the BEST for my baby, right? Right?!

So…great…Now I maybe have a seat for the baby if Nolan will drive down and get it. But that still leaves Miss M without a ride.

I need to decide if one of these trailers on Craigslist would work. But it looks like they are an hour away in the OPPOSITE direction from the baby seat.

Oh…man…I just remembered that I’d need to get Little Miss a helmet too. Darn all these safety regulations! Bless all these safety regulations! Don’t want my sweet baby to be hurt in a bike wreck!


Okay. So baby seat. Bike trailer. Bike helmet.

You know, I’ve always been curious about those “kid bike things that attach to mom or dad’s bike.” There’s a couple of those on Craigslist too. I wonder if that would be the best option?

Nah…I think Miss M would be happier riding in the trailer.

Okay, so now I need to talk Nolan into picking these things up.

Oh wait! I forgot that T outgrew his bike for the most part. But maybe he could still ride it? Oh, and, yeah, I also forgot that it has a flat tire and needs a new tube. ::sigh::

I wonder if he’d just want to run alongside? I mean, the kid’s GOT enough energy!

And, you know, it’s really past time for Mr. B to learn how to ride without training wheels. Okay, don’t get ahead of yourself, Jenna. You can do that another day.


So…hmm…baby seat, bike trailer, baby bike helmet, Big Kid bike.

I think I’m broke.

Also, it’s now 6 o’clock at night. Too late to ride.

Besides. I’m EXHAUSTED! And I haven’t even put a foot to the pedal…

My Most Favoritist Picture :: G and Me

I’ve been wanting to share more of the pictures from our Christmas photo shoot, but I’m so behind on EVERYTHING! I’ll share the rest with you later, but for today – I leave you with my most favorite of favorites.

1Having a forth child has not been easy. But having this girl? She’s been pure delight. Love her!

Little Miss :: 7 Months

So I’m way late posting Little Miss’s monthly photo. So late in fact that it will soon be time for her 8 month pics!

Such is life.


This little one continues to grow and blossom. Though Mom says that she is stoic, I think she is hilarious. I guess it all just depends on her mood.




She sits up without falling over. Has cut two bottom teeth. And loves her baby food. Actually, she loves ALL food and probably “real” food even better than baby food. I love not having to coerce her into eating her veggies! {Big sister could take a cue from her.} She babbles a lot {always has} and can say “mamamama” and “dadadada” and even “papapapa.” Even though I’m well aware that she has no idea what she is saying, it makes me smile.


Her biggest accomplishment is that she is mobile! Not true crawling, but she definitely has the army crawl down pat. She goes anywhere she would like, and that has made homeschooling and life a little more interesting. ;)


We visited my grandfather recently at his assisted living home, and it never ceases to amaze me at how much a joy a baby brings. So many people – young and old – wanted to see the baby. Just something special.


4 Years with Miss M

This girl turned 4 this week.


I simply can’t believe that!




It’s been four wonderful years of having a girl in the house! And now with Little Miss, the boy-girl count is even. ;) But Miss M gave me my first taste of little girl heaven and I love it. :) Can’t wait to see what the next 4 and 44 years hold for her special life.



To Whom It May Concern :: An Orlando Getaway

Dear Orlando Hotel That Shall Remain Nameless Because I Don’t Think I Really Want You To Read This,

I know that you didn’t know.

You didn’t know that it was a last minute girls’ trip. And that we left right after Leah got off work and had a 4 hour drive. And that we were SO hoping to make it to The Grand Floridian Resort in time to stand by the lake and watch the Disney fireworks.


You didn’t know that we hit some crazy traffic on the way.

You also didn’t know that as we were maneuvering our way into the Disney area that we had to drive under some CRAZY fireworks that were being blasted off right next to the road and exploding over the top of our car, therefore, shaking the car and frightening the girls.

You didn’t know that due to that slow, crazy traffic that we arrived in the parking lot of The Grand Floridian just in the nick of time to catch the Grand Finale in the disappointing location of the parking lot with some glimpses of fireworks through the buildings.

Of course you couldn’t have known that!

So, of course, you didn’t know that when we checked in late around 11 at night that we were super-tired and ready to crash. With a tired, screaming baby.

So when we requested a crib in the room, I’m sure your intentions were good and that you intended to meet our every request and have that crib there so the sweet, tired baby could go right to sleep.

You certainly couldn’t have known {though I’m sure it’s happened before} that we would get lost looking for our room since you have two separate banks of elevators that do not go to the same places. And, of course, that was after walking six miles from the parking garage, through the lobby-ish area because, hello, you’re building is so amazingly huge!


However, I’m sure you can imagine our surprise when we finally arrived to our room a half hour later and there was no crib. But there was still that crying tired baby.

And I’m sure you can imagine our annoyance when we called and called and called and still no crib arrived.

And, Dear Hotel, with the AWESOME kiddie pool area with which you pretty much redeemed yourself, I’m SURE you can imagine our great frustration when FINALLY at one, I repeat, ONE IN THE MORNING, someone finally arrived with a crib!


Oh yes. Dear Hotel, that was ONE in the morning. Because, I’m sure you know that ALL babies do best when they DON’T GO TO SLEEP UNTIL ONE!

But can I give you a word of advice? Just a simple word. Just a simple thought. No biggie.

When you do send two lovely hotel employees to drop off the crib at ONE IN THE MORNING. Can I just request that they not greet me with, “Good morning!” in lovely, chipper, cheerful voices when I’m standing there in my pajamas in an overly exhausted state? And if they MUST greet me with lovely, chipper, cheerful voices, can I request that they NOT stand there for twenty minutes and highly, strongly, greatly encourage me to take half a ton of complimentary shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels? Because while that’s such a lovely thought, at ONE IN THE MORNING in my PAJAMAS I’m in no mood to to have sixty million mini-bottles foisted on me. {Though, I must admit, I’ve been slowly using them up and haven’t had to buy shampoo in months.} So. My advice? Save the bottles and the environment, and like do the green thing, and like, give me a free night’s stay or something.


And, Dear Hotel, if you MUST bring the crib at ONE IN THE MORNING and you MUST foist upon me 96,000 bottles. Please. Oh, please. Oh, PLEASE!!!!! Do not. I repeat DO NOT. Knock on our door at SEVEN IN THE MORNING and deliver ANOTHER CRIB!!!!

At least have the decency to realize that we are very tired from the aforementioned prior evening’s activities. And, you know, you already brought us a crib and 150,000 bottles of complimentary hygiene products at ONE in the morning. We don’t need them again at SEVEN. In fact, we’d like to just go ahead and sleep in if that’s okay with you.


And since I’m at it, Dear Hotel, next time you decide to have some kind of Taste of the Nations event the night following a crib fiasco. Can you please reserve your parking garage for your actual hotel guests? Instead of, you know, making them park five city blocks away? It just wasn’t very convenient. Though, the parking shuttle guy was super nice, and pretty cute and if we had lived in Orlando {and he was a Christian} I might have tried to hook my sister up. But that doesn’t mean that I’m still not just a little unhappy about having to park in Timbuktu. Because, you know, I have a baby and a stroller and another little one and that makes it just a little bit harder. And since aforementioned shuttle guy wasn’t available in the morning when we needed to get back to our car and all.


But I’ll forgive you, Dear Hotel. Because aside from all of that and your exorbitantly expensive $4 bottled tea and $15 sunscreen {that was my bad since I forgot mine at home} and crazy 20% gratuity room service which did not also include the additional service fee {I probably could have bought a ticket to Disney for the price of a room service meal}. Aside from all of that, you really were a great place to stay.


I hope we can be friends. Your kiddie pool rocked. Oh, and you had a Starbucks in the lobby.

But next time? And I do so hope there will be a next time because our weekend getaway was just what I needed. Next time? Please get the crib thing straight.

All the best,

Little Miss :: 6 Months

My Baby Girl is halfway to one.

Can we now take a moment of silence?


Thank you. Don’t mind me as I wipe away a tear or two.

With each of my kids I’ve felt that once you hit the 6 month mark that babyhood just FLIES. I can’t say I’m ready for that. I have cherished babyhood with Little Miss so very much.


Don’t get me wrong, frequent feedings, crying, teething are for real and they aren’t always so enjoyable. Oh yeah, and the croup she’s had this week. Ugh. But I’ve really, really loved having this little squishy baby girl to love.


Sometimes I wonder if the connection I feel to her runs deeper because of what I lost. Not that I don’t love and cherish my others! But I think my heart is reminded that each life is so very precious.


Or maybe in part because I’ve had TIME to enjoy her. There are 3 years between her and Miss M. With the others it was like back to back to back babies. Having a potty trained. mature toddler has definitely helped me be able to really tune into the babiness of the baby and enjoy it.


Or maybe in part it’s my own growth and maturity in not wishing away the days. Being happy where I am RIGHT NOW.

Most likely, it’s a combination of it all. And while life is Crazy with a capital C. I’m for positive, definite in love with having this baby girl to love on.


So! We’ve hit 6 months! And she’s starting on solids. And teething. And growing. And being the wonderful, sweet girl she is – with a side of spunk. I’m curious to see if she’ll be spunky when she is older. She’s pretty mellow much of the time, but she’s definitely got a little spark of something in her!



Just can’t get enough of her!

{I’d totally post even more pictures if I didn’t think this blog was already very overrun with baby pictures. ;)}

Learning: Contentment in My Role

Content in my role.

Am I? {Are you?}


I am participating in a Bible study with the women of my church based on the book Calm My Anxious Heartby Linda Dillow.

{Let me take a slight commercial break and say that this is an excellent, easy to read, packed full of Truth book. Really a must read.}

One of the questions posed in the study guide was whether I ever wanted to trade roles with someone else. And based on Psalm 139 how I felt God would respond to that wishful thinking.

Like I imagine most people do, there are times when I certainly wish I could switch places with someone else. But generally speaking, I’m happy to be a wife and mom. To be in this role He has given me.

What I’m not always so happy with is how HARD this role is. I wish that *this part* of marriage wasn’t so hard. Or *these* kids weren’t so difficult *right now.* Or *this* season wasn’t so overwhelming. I’d wish away some of the hard things, but keep the good. {Wouldn’t we all?} I love my family, my husband, my kids and wouldn’t trade them for anything. But the hard things? Those I’d just as soon do without.

And sometimes. Sometimes. It does seem pointless. The daily grind. The constant character training in the children. The dirty dishes, dirty floors, dirty laundry that never ends. Is *this* all there is?

Psalm 139:14 & 16b says

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

That Psalm is chock-full of goodness, but I like those two verses especially in light of the question.

Here is the response I wrote…
How do I think God would feel about me comparing myself and my life to those of other women…

He would say, “This is the life and role I have set apart for you.
I formed you for this and this for you.

Do you doubt My wisdom? Do you doubt My love? Do you doubt My strength for you?

Pull into Me and receive what you need from Me.

My joy.

My peace.

My strength.

My endurance.

My love.

You may not think your role is so special or glamorous, but it is specifically designed for My purpose in the world and to bring Me glory. [And for your good!]

Will you rest in My purpose, My goal, My calling for you?”

I am learning. Trying. Striving. {Failing and trying again.} To pull into Him when the days seem long and hard and I’d just as soon trade places with someone with an easier marriage or easier children or an easier life {which is really ridiculous, because everyone’s life has its hard things}.


I am learning to be content in this specific role, in this specific season, in this specific place in my life.

For *this* role was created for my good and His glory. And it is good.

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