Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh how they grow

Juliette has been getting ready to crawl for a while now. She'd go forward a little, stop, and look around for the applause. Then today, out of no where, she crawled across the room. She took off after a toy and there is no stopping her and no turning back. My baby is MOBILE. (dum dum dum... scary music!!!)

It brings me back to when Madeleine was this age, maybe a few weeks older. We were visiting Auntie Theresa in California and Madeleine decided that in the hotels of Los Angeles is where she would learn to crawl... and stand. I think she must have sensed that she was needing to become a big girl because that is where I learned I was pregnant with Juliette. Now my sweet two year old chases her little sister around the house. They play together like the best of friends. To be honest, I'm not sure if they really look much alike but I do think that anyone can tell they are sisters. Why? Because they absolutely glow when they are together.

I can't wait to see how their relationship grows. They play together, share their toys and laugh. I know that wherever their little feet take them, their sister will be right there with them.

We aren't ready for another baby right yet but I can't wait until I get to give them the gift of another lifelong friend and partner in crime. Juliette brought me back in time today. When I took that pregnancy test I knew how much I wanted and loved her already. I just couldn't imagine how mine and Kyle's yes to life and another pregnancy so soon after Madeleine would be so important to Madeleine. Her little sister brings her so much joy. It's really no wonder that with all the love she showers upon her that when Juliette decides to crawl, it's usually to her.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Recent photos of the girls

Madeleine's favorite way to wake up every day is by her sister being put in the crib with her. If the first thing she sees when she opens her eyes is her baby than she is one happy girl.

When Kyle and I were first dating we went to the drive ins to see the movie "Cars". The other week we took the minivan and both of our babies to see "Cars 2". It's amazing how much has changed.

For our anniversary we went to lunch in the North End of Boston at this amazing little Italian place.

We then traveled over to one of the famous Boston bakeries for a black and white cookie.

The day ended at Starbucks. Momma needs her coffee.

I'll put up photos from the wedding when they are published. Madeleine was the cutest flower girl ever so get pumped!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The problem with how we view children

I can't even begin to explain how many times I've had the same conversation with women. I tell them I am a stay at home mom. They tell me that they could "never do that" because they would "get bored" and they "need something to fulfill them intellectually/socially, etc". I usually leave these conversations feeling amazed, confused, and disheartened.

Let me start off by saying that I understand not everyone is called to be a stay at home mother. Some women need to work. There are bills to pay, student loans, and about a million other reasons why mothers cannot leave their jobs.

Take me for example. For the first six months of Madeleine's life I was a working mom. I was a youth minister and (Praise God!) that allowed my the flexibility to be working and still be with my baby all the time. She came with me to Life Teen and to meetings, I often had baby sitters at the church with me, but she was always around. Instead of feeling fulfilled as a mother and as a working woman with the job I had always dreamed of I was depressed and stressed, stretched too thin in every sense of the word. Things began to fall apart. I wasn't the wife I wanted to be, I wasn't the mother I wanted to be, and I wasn't the youth minister I wanted to be. To me, everyone deserved way more than I could give.

There are some women that can do it all and to be honest, I really and truly envy those women. I wish I was the type of woman who could cook dinner, clean the house, intellectually stimulate my brood of babies, earn a living, and still have energy for sex. I don't this post to seem like I am looking down on the women who do it all because, in fact, I greatly admire them and hope to be like them someday. My mom is the greatest example I know of a mother who could do it all and no one ever felt like she gave them less than her everything all the time. She's amazing. The women who confuse me are the ones who are bored by their children.

I always swore up and down and sideways that I wouldn't be that mom that talked non stop about how awesome my kids are. (Sidebar- according to my wonderful grandparents-in-law, my husband is perfect. I'm pretty sure he believes it too. I'm still not totally convinced he could have been a baseball great if he had JUST gotten glasses earlier but clearly I never saw him play. I do think he is pretty amazing. Love you Maw-Maw and Grandpa Verne!) I am definitely that mom. Madeleine is incredible and Juliette is wonderful and there have NEVER been cuter or sweeter babies except for Jesus. I stay home with them all day every day and while sometimes I get bored (really because I am not creative enough to figure out something new and exciting to do and I feel like I should) I am NEVER EVER bored by them.

Each minute I spend with them is a miracle. How much they know and love me is a miracle. I can't get enough of feeding them, changing their diapers, giving them their toys, moderating their "fights", and watching them learn and explore and change and grow. I am intellectually stimulated by coming up with new ways to be a better wife and mom. I am socially stimulated by my fellow moms. I am spiritually stimulated by the intense knowledge of how much more God loves me than even I love them. There is nothing boring about being a mom.

When I lost my job it was devastating in a sense because our household salary was cut in half. Suddenly, however, I felt whole. I could give my whole heart to my family. Someday I'll get the swing of things, I'll find a balance, and I'll go back into ministry. I'd love to get my master's degree in theology and teach at a college level. For now, I'm happy teaching Madeleine what sound a cow makes and what the color red looks like. I'm fulfilled watching Juliette try to call. I wasn't born to make a pay check. I was born to bring eternal souls into this world. I want to bask in how blessed I am to be a mom and how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my kids. On the days when I just want to get out by myself just for an hour I have to remind myself that the sacrifice of my independence is nothing compared to the rewards I reap. We all have our struggles as moms. Whether we stay home or work none of us have an easy path. What we share is the unbelievable blessing that motherhood is and hopefully we can all appreciate it.

Kids are never boring.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Four years and counting

I remember being little and wondering about what and who my future would hold for me. I think most little girls do it. We wonder what his name will be, what he will look like, how we will meet, when we will get married, and we dream that he will be the prince we've always wanted. A fairy tale is something meant to stir our inner most desires so no matter they are all about love. As women we are programmed to want to be loved and cherished and fought for. Then, somewhere along the line, many women settle. They figure if Prince William is taken than anyone will do. Or they kiss a lot of frogs and start to doubt that anything else exists. Many women don't understand that the fairy tale isn't about the castle and the ball gown, it's about finding the man who treats us like a queen.

The other problem to those stories is once women find their prince they expect happily ever after. No problems, just bliss. Fairy tales never continue past the big, joyous wedding and so the image we are left with is the joyous celebration and not the day to day monotony of life in the world. If the stories had been extended Prince Charming would leave his clothes on the bathroom floor instead of the hamper, Prince Eric would spend too much time at work, and I can guarantee that Jasmine and Aladdin would have had it out over who's turn it was to clean the tiger's litter box. It's just life.

In order to really understand what a husband should be like we have to look to Christ. At it's most basic level, we know that the husband should be willing to die for his wife. He should love her more than he love's himself. Now, Christ is perfect and no other man is, but there is no compromise on this central necessity of a husband. He must be willing to lay down his life for his wife. Most men won't have to do this in a literal sense, thank God, but there are little ways they do this in every day life, things a woman should look for in a potential spouse. Does he concede when he is wrong? Does he get you food when you aren't well? Does he work to provide for you? Is he open to life? Does he plan dates for you even if the ballet isn't exactly "his thing"? Will he watch the occasional chick flick just because you enjoy them? If he can be trusted with small matters, he can be trusted with larger ones as well. A man who is selfless is husband material and he is a prince.

We, as women, will not always be the perfect brides. The best women are strong women. We are taught that this means to be independent and strong willed. Real strength is in obedience. Just like the Blessed Mother was obedient to God's will because she knew the He loved her and even if His will wasn't completely clear to her, she knew that she could trust him. If you find a prince that is willing to die for you, you can trust him to lead you. Obedience isn't about blindly doing something stupid because you aren't smart enough to think for yourself, it's about learning self control, humility, and above all, it's about trusting in the love your spouse has for you. A holy husband looks to God for the way he should lead his family. If you marry a holy man of God, you know that his decisions are done in prayer and that you can trust him to be the head of your family. In my household we discuss almost everything together because my husband loves me and wants my input. In the end, however, he is the head of our family and I trust him. He has never led us wrong in four years and he will be the first to credit that to God, of course, but also to my help as well. I am his helper, not his manipulator. And that is so much better.

I don't have a perfect marriage, no one does, but I have one prince of a husband. He makes me feel like the beautiful princess I always dreamed of being as a little girl. In fact, when I was little, I used to write stories about my future prince. In all of those stories I named the prince Kyle. God had already written his name on my heart. In these four years of marriage I have grown in holiness because of this amazing vocation we were called to and because of the amazing man I was called to it with. And it just gets better with each child we have. I look forward to many more joyful years of marriage. From the outside, it's an ordinary life, from where I am standing... it's a fairy tale.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bring back the 'roids!

Well, after a bit of a break I am coming back to the world of blogging. Since the end of May my life has been one non stop event. From our vacation to Houston and New Orleans, to my sister's wedding, to Hannah's graduation, Madeleine's second birthday, and my gallbladder surgery I EARNED that giant bottle of vodka I purchased earlier today. Next up in the house of Behr, the four year anniversary of the momma and the poppa. We've got some hot plans involving Harry Potter and buttered popcorn.

Today the Behrs invaded Boston. We started in the North End and ate our way to Quincy (pronounced Quin-zee) Market. You'd thought I'd have earned my lesson after the great fondue debaucle of last night but APPARENTLY my tummy does not expand infinitely. For shame though because the gelato we passed on our way back to the car looked ah-mazing.

We are spending the night at home watching the All Star game. Kyle is rooting for the National League and I am, of course, rooting for the American League. It's not looking good for me. I love the American League. I love the designated hitter and home runs. It may be controversial but what the heck. I say BRING BACK THE 'ROIDS! Baseball is just way more fun on steroids.

For the players.

Not me.

The girls are fantastic. Madeleine loves playing outside, washing her hands, cleaning, reading books, dancing, and playing with her baby doll. Her favorite person in the whole world is Juliette with Kyle and I coming in close behind. Madeleine wakes up every morning asking for her baby. The way she loves her makes my heart melt.

Juliette is sitting up, almost crawling, and an all around busy girl. If something small is on the floor she will find it and she will eat it. My life is an endless cycle of sweeping, picking up small objects, and fishing pieces of paper our of her toothless mouth. She is just an absolute joy and I love seeing her little personality develop.

As for Kyle and myself, Kyle's career is going great. They are really grooming him for management right now. He is also just so amazing with our girls. We are blessed to have him.

I've been super busy but great as well. My surgery went well and I am excited to be able to eat all of the things I had to give up. I'm also looking forward to the wedding of my best friend, Theresa, in August. I'm the matron of honor.

Pictures to come. Stay tuned!