Sunday, May 27, 2012

A piece of heaven

Today before mass I found myself on hands and knees under the car next to me fetching Madeleine's Hello Kitty Hairbrush I had picked up in the dollar section at Target earlier that day. That was the shopping trip where I spent the money I had been saving for shoes for myself on shoes for the girls and a bed rail for Madeleine's big girl bed. No new shoes for mommy.

At home the fridge and cabinets are stocked full of Madeleine and Juliette's favorite healthy foods. Anything to get these kids to eat something good for them, even though most of it is a little bland for my taste.

I rarely ever eat at the same time as them. I get their food ready and by the time I am sitting down with my serving, they are done with theirs and they are crawling onto my lap trying to get mine.

I'm never in the bathroom alone, most days I shower while the girls play hide and seek in the curtain. I clean the playroom every night, same toys in the same drawers, same books back on the shelf.

From the time I found out I was pregnant with Madeleine my needs took a back seat as I strive to give my growing child the best. I gave up alcohol, ordered my steak well done, stopped adding feta to my salads, and upped the amounts of fruits and veggies in my diet. I find joy in sacrificing for them.

That's not to say in all of this that my needs do not get met because they do. I eat, I shower, I buy new clothes. I have a loving husband who gives me a break when I need it and tries to herd the kids out of the bathroom when I just need to shower in peace. It's just that my needs come second to theirs.

We are both hungry, I feed them first.
We both need new shoes, they get them first.
I want to relax in front of face book and they want to read, it's story time.

It's simple to me. This is one of the best ways I can imitate Christ in my vocation. I have a plaque by my kitchen sink with a quote from Blessed Mother Theresa that says, "Do small things with great love." I can take a cue from her and do the small tasks of my life with great love. I can do the dishes with great love. I can was the laundry with great love. I can change a diaper with great love. They aren't the most exciting tasks in the world but when made into a prayer they will be what makes me into a saint.

Being down on your hands and knees in your Sunday best looking for your daughter's new toy is not exactly the glamorous life but seeing her face light up when I found it made it all worth it. And then leaving mass today, Juliette turned in my arms and started waving and blowing kisses to the statue of Our Lady saying, "Bye Mary! Bye Mary!" It's the small things that will get me to heaven and the small things that let me know that I have a piece of heaven right here.

Dear Other Drivers

Dear Other Drivers,

I thought I had warned you. I bought a minivan, put pro-life plates on it, and slapped a "Baby on Board" sticker to the trunk. To me, that says, "Hey! I'm not going to drive like a crazy person." Instead you read, "Maybe if I just follow her a little closer she will speed up."

Okay, let me spell it out for you.

I like my kids. I spend hundreds of dollars on the safest car seats but I am not planning on testing them out. My minivan is completely paid off and I don't feel like replacing it. So BACK THE FRICK OFF! There is a reason I have titled this blog "Momma Behr". Sure it's a cutesy play on words involving my name but it is also a warning. Threaten my family and I will claw your face off.

Here is the secret about women... you may think we are just crazy when we are PMSing or when we are pregnant but one thing I have learned about the female system from studying Natural Family Planning is that we are always hormonal. PMS = Hormonal. On our period = hormonal. Getting read to ovulate = hormonal. Ovulation = hormonal. After ovulation = hormonal. Pregnant = HORMONAL. Post Partum = hormonal. Breastfeeding = hormonal. Menopause = hormonal.

On other words until we are into, on average, our mid to late forties we are a bubbling fountain of crazy just waiting to spill out all over you. Oh we hide it well, but take even the sanest and most low key among us... and it's there. It's science. Or something.

You may experience it when your wife or girlfriend wakes up in the morning mad at you for something you did in her dream. Or maybe you notice it when she cries over characters in books/movies/TV shows like they are real people. Or maybe you realize you wife has been out at the grocery store for a exceptionally long time and you look out the window into the driveway to see her immersed in a pint of Ice Cream. (and yeah I capitalized Ice Cream as I would the name of any of my best friends. It's just that important.) Who knows? One thing is for sure, we women are fiercely protective of those we love. You've seen those chick flicks where the women band together and go to crazy lengths to protect their friend from some total jerk? Imagine that times a million and you will begin to understand how we feel about our children.

So here is the deal Other Drivers. Red means stop. Green means go. Yield means yield. Slow down in parking lots where kids are walking into stores with their parents. Slow down in neighborhoods where children are at play. And putting my flashers on means BACK UP OFF OF MY GRILL. I'm not going to swear or give you the finger (although I may honk and give you the Italian Back Hand) but I swear, if you ever hit my car while you are driving like an idiot I will call the cops and take allllllll of your money.

I think you understand me now.

You've been warned,

Momma Behr

And now to lighten the mood here are some hilarious pictures of my kids sleeping in weird positions. Enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Madeleine

Dear Madeleine-

Today mommy cleaned out your crib to move you over to your big girl bed. I know a lot of kids move to big girl beds much earlier than a month prior to their third birthday but I had decided to keep you in there until you tried to climb out or until you were potty trained. It's been nice. I haven't worried about you climbing in to sleep with your sister during the night of finding you in my bed in the morning with no recollection of how you got there. It's been nice but it's time for an upgrade.

As I took each item out of your crib I remembered how you got them, why they are special to you and why they are special to me.

First out of the crib was your sock monkey. Your Aunt Barbra, Grandpa Rick's sister, gave that to you two Christmas's ago. She lost her battle to cancer only a few months later and she was buried with a little monkey just like yours. People say you look just like her and I see it. She was a kind and loving woman who was devoted to her family and was always there for your daddy. I am sure that you will grow up to be very much like her, even beyond your similar appearance.

Next to come out of the crib was your Minnie Mouse. You received that from my Grandmother this past Christmas. My Grandmother is an amazing woman who truly LIVES life. She is someone with many stories, many adventures, who tries new things and has explored the world. Those things have made her a wealth of wisdom and experience, which she shares with her family. I hope that you have her joie de vivre, her joy of life. There is so much goodness in the world, so many things to learn and experience. Sometimes the world can seem like a dark place, you don't know that yet but it can, but you make the world better just by living in it. But you have to LIVE in it. You can't hide out or be afraid to try something new. You can't light up the world if you are hidden away, get out there are discover who God made you to be.

After Minnie Mouse came your Reindeer. That was a gift from your Grandmom, my mother, this Christmas as well. Your grandmother is a youth minister at my home parish in Connecticut and one of the holiest women I have ever met. Someday you will learn that there is no such thing as Santa or Rudolf. I figured that our probably much later in life than I should have (thanks mom!) but you should know that there are things that people call "crazy" and "fantasy" that you should never lose faith in. Never lose faith in God. If there is anything I can teach you, if there is anything I know for certain, it is that God. Does. Exist. God is real and he loves you. Someday, even though I will try my hardest to prevent it because that's just what moms do, you will have times of "darkness" in your life, periods of suffering when you just won't understand where He is. You may call me, I hope you will, and I'll try to get it but I may not understand. God understands. He sent his Son to die for us and He knows what it is to suffer. It's in those dark times that many people lose faith, but don't lose faith. Your grandmom hasn't always been dealt an easy hand and yet she stands firmly planted in her faith. It is because of that faith she has that she is able to minister to those going through periods of darkness and love them and turn their hearts to God. Your grandmom will teach you what it means to always have faith in God no matter what.

Next I pulled out your Tiger and your Giraffe. Those were gifts from Grandmommy, your daddy's mom. Your grandmommy is one of the most generous women in the whole world, that's why there are two animals in there from her. Your grandmommy is the type of person who will give without thought of herself, just because it makes her happy to know that you are happy. She has given of her time, her energy, her money... everything really, to ensure that YOU are happy and well taken care of. She loves you. I hope that in life you resemble your grandmommy by taking more joy in giving than in receiving. God will always fill you back up but you first have to give.

Finally I took out your Blue Bird. You got that from your daddy on your special date to the aquarium in Baltimore. Your daddy lays down his life for you day in and day out. He is up for work every day at 2:30, sometimes working far longer hours than his standard shift. He then comes home and is ready to read to you, play with you, take you out, show you that you and your little sister are his little princesses and treats your mommy like a queen. Even on his days off, like the day he took you to Baltimore, his life is about making sure you are well taken care of and LOVED. We know that Jesus taught us that there was no greater love than to lay one's life down for their friends, well daddy must be your best friend. He sets himself aside on a daily basis for you. I pray that in life you always remember this and respect yourself enough to never settle for any man who would treat you any less than this. But if by some chance you do, daddy owns a gun. Just kidding... he left it in Texas.

So the bars of the crib are down, my baby. It's a brave new world. Live your life in the example of all of these amazing people and so many more, your aunties and grandfathers, who love you and want you to have the most amazing life possible. Live in the example of God who IS LOVE. As for my, big girl, know that I love you more every second of every day. You are beautiful and sweet, special and smart, and I could not have ever imagined a more wonderful little girl. I thank God for you every day.

All my love,


Sunday, May 20, 2012


I'm going to be really mean here for a moment and put up a picture that will haunt Madeleine into adulthood...

As I mentioned last week, Madeleine is officially day time potty trained! Woot woot! Anyway, we have been accident free for almost 48 hours (not counting nap time) so I decided that while we were at church I would bring her potty seat just in case she needed to go and keep her in her big girl underwear.

I spent probably half of mass in back with her. I think she was nervous she would have an accident at first and then she just got excited to be able to go potty on the go.

And it was a real treat for the whole parish when we got back to the pew and Madeleine loudly proclaimed, "I WENT PEE PEE ON THE POTTY!" to her father. She then realized she was being loud and went, "Oh! Oh! Sorry mommy! I'll be quiet!"

I had bribed her with a bubble bath to be a good girl at mass and it worked. She was an angel and it rubbed off on her little sister. When we got home from mass they splashed for a half hour in the bubbles until they were sufficiently prune-like. That was after we finally managed to awaken the baby from her slumber. Apparently it is EXHAUSTING to behave for an entire mass. It took Madeleine climbing almost on her lap and saying, "Wake up my baby!" for her to start to stir.

Juliette has been trying to copy cat her sister in potty training. She often sits down briefly on the potty, stands back up, points into the potty saying, "Yay POO POO!", and claps for herself. Madeleine finds this highly amusing and watches her going, "Oh silly baby!" Yes Madeleine, you are so old and wise.

And of course, since it is Sunday we were dressed to the nines. We had several dance parties so they could twirl in their dresses. I love having girls! Madeleine provided some of the "music"... and by music I mean smashing pans together much to the joy of her little sister, who thinks everything Madeleine does is sheer genius.

Not too much else to report on the home front. We are heading to Connecticut tomorrow for Kyle's weekend so hopefully that will mean baby sitting and a date night out to the movies. It really isn't hard to bribe the family into hanging out with the kids.

That's it for now! God bless!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seven Quick Takes- The week I discovered INSTAGRAM!

It's just another normal Friday at home with the girls. Despite a crazy week it has been an excellent morning. Here are some of the highlights. Don't forget to check out for more Seven Quick Takes. God Bless

1. Madeleine is basically completely potty trained except at nights. She only had one accident yesterday and is ROCKING the big girl underpants. This means we will be moving her over to her big girl bed next week. It is currently being stored at Grandmom and Granddad's house but since we are visiting them over Kyle's days off we will be able to bring it back up with us. Madeleine will also be celebrating with the Pillow Pet Grandmom promised her. She was told she could pick out any of the Pet's she wanted and she selected the yellow duck because yellow is her favorite color. Grandmom is ordering it now and will have it in for our trip. It's lovely to have only one in diapers.

The new bed! It just has to be transported to our house!

2. For Madeleine's first official trip out of the house in big girl underpants we went to Target (the one with the Starbucks inside) to return some items I just bought yesterday. (Darn my lack of impulse control!) We had no accidents and to celebrate... okay fine, because I am addicted, I decided to order a tall iced non fat no whip mocha. The breakfast of champions. The nice barista man handed me a Venti saying, "I hope you don't mind." Umm... not at all dude! I'm assuming that I either looked extra tired today or extra pretty in order to inspire such a generous gift. To boost my ego I am going to assume the latter, although I usually find it awkward to get hit on as a married woman, especially when I have my kids in tow. However, I am never one to turn down free coffee. My husband supports me in this.

3. As we drive along the girls like to comment on things we pass, where we are going, and now apparently, how I am driving! As we pulled away from the Target Madeleine started screaming, "WOW MOMMY IS DRIVING FAST!" Meanwhile Juliette was more interested in the lunch I had promised her upon our return home. She was chanting, "NOM NOM NOM NOM CHEESE! NOM NOM NOM NOM CHEESE!" That's my girl!

4. Madeleine has recently begun picking out all of her own outfits and accessorizing them. My little fashionista. She was so proud of this one that she insisted on catwalking and having me take her picture.

5. As I was uploading Madeleine's picture I heard cries of, "HELP ME!" coming from the nursery. I ran in to find a very... peeved... Juliette stuck inside a box and once again because I am mother of the year, I took pictures before helping her out.

6. In a related story, I finally got Instagram on my phone.

7. Finally, my mom passed on this video to me this morning. Parental Rights are being stripped away from us and it is terrifying. The court case in Massachusetts talked about in this video happened right near me. It is one of the many things that has inspired me to home school.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can't hide the crazy

Today has been another Full Day Without Kyle as he is covering for another employee who is at the training in Atlanta Kyle went to on Tuesday. So I had one lovely day of recovery and now it's back to the grind.

Most of the day so far has involved cooking, cleaning, playing with the girls, reminding Madeleine to go on the potty, and attempting to install a Dora the Explorer computer game. All of those activities have been successful except for the latter, which has so far defeated me.

The big outing of the day was when we all piled into the minivan to head off to Target in search of big girl underwear (for Madeleine). Upon returning home I called my husband and told him that this simple grocery trip had, once again, reaffirmed that I am an awkward person.

First, they had no Dora underwear in a size 4T for Madeleine's big girl booty. I went off in search of the first Target employee I could find to see if he could check for any stored away in the secret place they hide all the sizes I need and can never find on the floor. The employee was a nice young man with a British accent. He complimented my children's behavior and went about using his scanner to try to locate my item.

Because I always feel awkward being silent when there are people around I decided to try to spark up a conversation by asking where in England he was from. He told me and then replied, "I'm amazed you knew this was a British accent. Most people think I am from Australia. Have you spent much time in the UK?"

"No," I replied... there was a few more moments of silence, "I just absolutely LOVE Kate Middleton!"

"Wow you are way more excited about my monarchy than I am."

"... I really love her clothes... you know... cause I am female and stuff."

And then he laughed at me and informed me that there were no more 4T Dora the Explorer underpants anywhere in the store.

So I went about getting my other items and heading out. I got to the car, loaded the kids and the bags, and as I buckled myself in and pulled down the mirror above my seat, I realized that my shirt had been inside out the whole time. And I only had put mascara on one eye. And I was wearing socks with my ballet flats.

In other words, I looked about as crazy as I must have sounded.

When I told all this to Kyle he suggested that next time someone compliments my impressive ability to distinguish accents I just let them know I watch a lot of British television since that reply would probably be a lot less creepy.

I'm really glad that my daughters are too young to find me anything other than THE COOLEST MOM EVER!

I don't even have lack of coffee to blame this time. This is just me. Awkward me.

I may have goals, like never wear mom jeans or don't cut my own hair and accidentally turn it into a mullet... or don't yell in a hysterical manner at their future sporting events. But even with those goals in mind I will probably end up embarrassing my children someday. I just hope that I am creative enough to have most of those times be on purpose.

And back to the grind again. Apparently it is time for all of us to wear hats.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I haven't been writing recently... I know, I know. The grandmoms and the aunties want MOAR BABY STORIES. Well here is the story about how I ended up in the fetal position eating a chocolate bar. We shall call this story, The Day Kyle went to Atlanta and Left me ALL ALONE.

It's Tuesday which normally means Kyle is home. Tuesdays are his Saturdays. We spend Tuesdays catching up on rest, playing outside, visiting museums, and doing all the activities mommy is too scared to do on her own with both kids.

The kids started off the day over tired. Last night we went to see our friends Ellen and Dave the newborn Sara Kate. On the drive over Kyle made me write "I will not kidnap the newborn baby no matter how good she smells" fifty times on a college rule notebook. Sara Kate was lovely and understandably very confused by the two toddlers who examined her abittooclose and squealed, "Yay we are getting a new baby!" Mmm I am not sure her parents are going to go for that but good try girls!

For babies over stimulation = NAP and about twenty minutes after her lovely mother finally got her to sleep, Miss SK was awoken by a screech coming out of Juliette that can be very accurately described "as a noise I thought only dementors could make". So after an early exit from the home of our gracious hosts (with a few cookies in hand) we drove back to put the girls to bed. And of course they slept in the car so OF COURSE they were up late... therefore, starting off the day over tired.

Side bar- You know your daughter has been watching a little too much Dora the Explorer when you pull into your driveway after a long outing and she starts singing, "We did it! We did it! We did it! YEAH! We did it!" And then talks about a back pack and a map in her sleep. True Story.

Okay, so back to The Day Kyle went to Atlanta and Left me ALL ALONE. The girls were exhausted and so was I. I thought this would work to my advantage. That we'd have a nice peaceful day with TV and pictures and books and coffee. Rookie mistake. Apparently over tired actually means NO NAPS AND NO MERCY!

Well, I have scrubbed down the floor four times and the table five. Madeleine has had five accidents. Juliette has had seven tantrums and Madeleine, a respectable four. Juliette managed to spill yogurt over every pot and pan I own while I helped Madeleine after an accident. The sink got covered in pudding, the door to the bathroom and the fridge have something blue on them, and there is paper shredded across the floor. There is crayon on the train table, four drawers of toys were emptied onto the playroom floor, the books were knocked off of the book shelf in one swift ninja move by the baby... AND Juliette dumped a thing of shampoo on her head while I washed my hands after changing her diaper... AND WE HAVE NO COFFEE.

You might read that list and wonder, what was I doing all day that they were able to do so much damage. I was on. top. of. them. They were just far quicker and, because of the lack of coffee, much sharper than I was.

And now they are sitting on the couch, almost ready for bed, watching a Dora episode, holding hands, and beaming peacefully. So all those maternal hormones are making me feel all warm and mushy inside.

Of course, after they go to bed I will be forced to scrub the floor and get whatever that blue stuff is off the fridge and I will be praising God above that they are asleep... but still. They are so freaking cute.

Before I finish this post, the last act of insanity involved a yogurt covered Juliette chasing a screaming Madeleine around the house. The screaming was hurting my ears so I had to intervene.

"Madeleine, WHY are you screaming like that?"
"Mommy, Juliette is scaring me. She keeps chasing me."

At that moment Juliette came toddling towards me and I started to laugh because she was just such a mess. An adorable and apparently terrifying mess. And then instead of cleaning her right away I took some pictures. Because that is what a good mom does. And of course, I took some of Madeleine too because she was posing.

These faces are why I am so tired but I think you'll understand why I find it all to be completely worth it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nestling In & Adopting Love- GO THERE!!!!

I haven't posted in a while. Mostly because I think my brain has spring cleaned any ounce of creativity I have out of my head in the last couple of weeks. That or the lack of sleep I  have been getting from my teething toddler is finally starting to catch up with me.

Today we leaned a new game. Rather Madeleine found a frisbee and kept bringing it up to me saying, "Throw it please, puppy dog." It kept her entertained for a good half hour so I went along with it. It was almost as awesome I laid on my bed for an hour and convinced my kids I was playing hide and seek. They would go to the other room, count, find me under the covers, and then leave again. One. Whole. Hour. I felt like an evil genius for inventing that one. But really is there anything better than playing fetch with your almost three year old while the one year old tries to sweep the floor. If it was a year ago I would describe it all be simply saying "WINNING!"

And today I went to confession and it was amazing. Blessed, blessed, blessed by the MERCY of God! (Seriously, confession blows my mind every time.)

Mother's Day is coming up next week, and my husband and daughters ordered my gift from Nestling In & Adopting Love fundraising boutique. A friend of mine from college, Alison (who is basically an itty bitty ray of sunshine for all who know her) and her beautiful family are planning to adopt a little girl with Spina Bifida. I could write a little about her story here but nothing will do it more justice than just referring you to her blog. After reading her words you will have no doubt about how adandoned they are to God's will and just how much love they have to give.

Of course, adoptions are expensive and therefore they have set up this boutique in order to raise money to bring home their little girl. The necklaces are beautiful. Mine came in the mail today and while my husband had planned on waiting to give it to me until Mother's Day, Madeleine insisted on giving it to me RIGHT. NOW.

I know the picture doesn't do the necklace justice, and please excuse my daughter's strange faces and the fact that I haven't brushed my hair in about a week. It's beautiful and for a beautiful cause. Plus, Mother's Day. I mean, perfect timing, right?

So, little audience of 37 or so, I just wanted to let you know. If you can't afford to donate, please keep them in your prayers.

Pax Christi.