I thought I knew how this would all play out, I was so wrong!

I never knew that the loss of my baby daughter would give me the strength to endure the loss of my relationship with my brother. I realized the other day that God sent me through that unbelievably hard situation to gain tools for this current painful loss. I have come to believe that each painful experience breeds strength stored in the cells of my very existence to be able to walk through the next thing.

I had no idea that I would ever imagine that the kid I grew up with would be someone I would not be able to drop inside jokes to any more or run random movie quotes by and have an entire conversation based on that movie. However that’s what future predictions and expectations will do for me though. I get completely blindsided by a sudden change in my well laid plans. I realized that today as I was praying in my car.

A frequent occurrence for me is I get met with reality vs fantasy, I get confronted with this idea that I made-up in my head as a kid about what things are going to look like. Usually based on tv shows or movies where everything comes together in the end and everyone loves each other again. Happened for me about having babies, husbands and all kinds of other things. This time it happened with my sibling relationships.

My life was supposed to look like the Norman Rockwell pictures. big family meals. Everyone is there. All smiling.

Never in my mind did I ever think that I would not be in relationship with my siblings. People change over time. Even siblings. They change and move away from what they grew up knowing and so did I. I know today that there is a reason for everything and even though something happens near me it dosen’t mean it has to be my lesson to learn directly.

Do I trust God? This is the question that made me think of something different then my anger. Yes I do. Do I want him to makes sense of my current situation? Hell ya I do! Will he? Maybe not. Sometimes situations happen that cause my boat to rock but its not my storm causing the unsettling waters. There are days when I think about the things I would say to my brother if I saw him. They usually are not nice. That’s OK. The first thought is free everything after that is my responsibility to keep in check. That is grief though. It is messy and unpredictable. I have enough wherewithal to know I would have to make amends for my behavior and if nothing else that has saved me a lot of heart ache.

Life is what ever its going to look like. If I would stay off the results committee I think my brain would be much more relaxed. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing what new concept I need to adjust my thinking on until I’m in the middle of trying to understand why I’m unable to let go of something. That is why they say “everything I have ever let go of has claw marks all over it.”

I’m a work in progress and so are my relationships. God knows what He is doing. If there is nothing else I can take from this experience is that God is the one on the throne, in good times and bad, not me.




Today is the day we lost our little girl

in honor of infant loss awareness month

life between the turns

Today I woke up with an ache in my gut. I wasn’t sure why.  Until I looked at the date. Then I knew.

Today was the day Danica Grace Bell “went to be with God” as the Doctor said. I remember laying in bed. It was hot and Abe was in the woods with his brother Jonah. I woke up in the night, which isn’t abnormal because when Abe is away I don’t sleep well. But on this night I woke up an felt different and I remember thinking I wonder if she was gone. Can’t explain it. I just felt, different.

At the time and having been walking through this experience in what felt like a worst nightmare in slow motion for the last 34 weeks I think of few times in my life that felt so heavy and intentional.

When I pull the pregnancy test from the bathroom…

View original post 686 more words

Dreams do come true.

Some days I can not believe my life is mine. My family and I just got back from a trip to Southern California that was paired with my oldest sons 5 year birthday. There was a lot about that trip that was pretty surreal.

The last time my husband and I were down there we were celebrating our honeymoon. Fast forward 10 years and here we are sitting in the stands waiting for Shamu show to start and I look at my kids and my husband and I start crying because I can not believe I’m sitting here after everything he and I have been through.

The last 10 years has been full of shoot to the stars joy and also the darkest part of my soul sadness.

There has been life and death.

Financial hardship and broken hearts.

Dreams have come true and goals achieved.

When I got sober and I sat in my first meeting I had no idea what my future held. All I knew is I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted the ache in my soul to ease up a bit and if I would have settled for that I would have sold my self short. So much more was awaiting me. I had to do the work to get there though. I had to love hard, push through, trust the process and stay still long enough to have a feeling or two.

When I was out there drinking and partying I was always chasing this feeling, that “someday” feeling. Well it happened for me. That “someday” feeling was sitting in the moment, watching the excitement wash over my boys faces. I had no idea that this, this pause in the human go where the divine slips in, that feeling that cant be given in words but only experienced to know fully what I mean. I had no idea that that buzz is what I chased in booze, guys, other peoples approval, romantic novels anything that I could throw in to that deep hole inside. I had no idea that it was being in that next indicated step.

There is a part in a book that talks about surrender. It talks about that only until we fully surrender that we would be able to build a foundation that a happy and purposeful life can be built on.

I know i have a happy life today despite that real that happens. I’m not trying to give an image here that this trip was all happy and fun because lets face it I was in 100 degree weather, at a theme park with 2 kids and a husband who hates crowds. We fought, we cried, we connected, we yelled, had tantrums and we lost a kid twice. The spiritual part of it all is no matter how hard it got I didn’t want anybody’s life but my own. I mean sure i compared my self to others but at the end of the day I didn’t want to sleep next to any one else.

I didn’t want to have breakfast or switch with anyone else.

It was hard and I didn’t want anybody else hard.

I wanted mine.


Today is the day we lost our little girl

Today I woke up with an ache in my gut. I wasn’t sure why.  Until I looked at the date. Then I knew.

Today was the day Danica Grace Bell “went to be with God” as the Doctor said. I remember laying in bed. It was hot and Abe was in the woods with his brother Jonah. I woke up in the night, which isn’t abnormal because when Abe is away I don’t sleep well. But on this night I woke up an felt different and I remember thinking I wonder if she was gone. Can’t explain it. I just felt, different.

At the time and having been walking through this experience in what felt like a worst nightmare in slow motion for the last 34 weeks I think of few times in my life that felt so heavy and intentional.

When I pull the pregnancy test from the bathroom I think the first words out of my mouth were “holy shit!” and then Abe and I hugged and he went to work. Being pregnancy was always very hard on my body. I was not really a happy pregnant person. I was in pain a lot. I was sick a lot. I was hormonal.

The day we were to find out the sex of the baby was the day everything changed. I was in the ultrasound chair and I remember the tech being very cautious about what was happening. She got up eventually after 45 mins of measuring and noting different things. And the Dr coming in doing some of the same things. Finally the Doctor said “im sorry im sure you are wondering what it happening and we needed to be sure. There are some problems with the baby.”

SLAM! the wind gone from my lungs. The walls closed in on my brain. I wasn’t all that sure what was happening. There was something wrong with the baby and there was nothing I could do. Through a series of tests we found out that she had a very rare chromosome disorder call Tryplodi. It is where the baby has 3 full sets of chromosomes.

There was so much that happened emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally for me in the loosing and lose of a baby. It deepen me in a way I wasnt all that sure I needed deepening.  I was sitting in a meeting the next day and shared about what was happening. A lady spoke after me and said “Ashley everyone of Gods kids needs a parent. and this one choose you” And in that moment sitting in the small room surrounded by people that loved me I knew. Right then, I knew this is one of those “… great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the great fact for us” Alcoholics Anonymous Pg 164. I had always thought of the word great as happy. I had no idea that it was also meant in other ways.

For me today I realize I lived. I lived through that kind of full body ache that comes from deep with in the soul where me and God meet. Everything I had walked through up to that moment equip me with the ability to walk through that. It took everything I had to not run screaming from the room. My husband Abram was the same. I think we both had things that left by our selves would not have walked through as well or connected. We both had things the other needed. My son Nathan I think was one thing that kept us both grounded. He was 2 at the time and needed lots of love and he got it.

I’m grateful I get to be a sober parent that has a God and depth about my soul today that I can not imagine living without. Im blessed beyond belief to have two beautiful boys and a daughter in heaven. Her life task was to fight for us down here and she needed us to get her there. And we did. I don’t feel cheated. I trust that no matter what happened then that Gods on the job. I think I’m quicker to thinking my kids are going to die unusually early because of that situation. Dear GOD i hope not. But that is every parents nightmare. So i know I’m not alone.

My name is Ashley, I have lost a baby and I stayed sober and present through the whole entire thing. I regret nothing from that time in my life. I’m blessed to have gotten to be an excellent momma to three babies. And I give my self permission that not everyone deserves to have such tender information. “do not cast your pearls before swine” the bible says some where and I don’t unless the moment has felt right.


This was the last trip we took with us as a whole family. Redwoods National Park. God Bless her and I look to see her in heaven some day.

Entitlement is sneaky

Recently I have made a decision to take a break from Facebook on my phone. The last time I did this was because I couldn’t stand all the political adds coming through. Today I just took a look at my kids and decided they are more important then all the endless amounts of news feed stories.

Being a stay at home mom and having an addictive personality sometimes doesn’t serve me very well. When ever I sit down out comes my phone and swipe away. My strong willed 17month old has taken to walking up and grabbing my hand, smacking my phone out of the way and pulling me to what ever he would like me to go or see.

Which got me thinking about what kinds of things have changed sense I put down the news feed?
First off my house is not any more clean, damn it! We do not have fancy meals. My dogs are not walked any more then they were before. What has changed? Its subtle.
My youngest son David is very strong willed. He will no doubt be a strong powerful force in the world. Today he is a force to be reckoned with. Sense putting down my phone his tantrums are less? I’m less reactive to them. Strange, maybe? Maybe not.
My oldest son is more engaged with me and his brother. Sure he stills gets angry when his 4 foot high tower is knocked over in 2.9 seconds. But we talk it out. And now I hear him repeating to him self, “its ok it can always be rebuilt”
There are many many other things I’m sure that have changed. This post is not meant to add guilt, shame or ever try an get you to put your phone down. We as human beings do not need anymore of that shit in our lives. This post is to call out my own entitlement. Its the same pattern I used when I was drinking. I am so ………. fill in the blank, I DESERVE this. That kind of language gets me in trouble every time. But that was my thinking, kids go away I need a break. I need rest. I need this that or the other thing. That principle is so so so true. I DO need those things.
When I was in therapy a few years ago my therapist would talk to me all the time about being. She said you can be busy and be at the same time, I’m thinking that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard. She continued, She said its whats driving the boat. I agree with that today. I read this morning
Meditations for women who do to much By Anne Wilson Schaef
Aug, 19 Its not what I do, its the way I do it, that will get me in the end.
There is was again, whats driving the boat? I have been so entitled about my “I deserve this” crap that I really wasn’t resting to begin with I was nursing resentments, perfecting my judgments and manifesting more areas of guilt. So, if you want something different you have to DO something different. ACTION changes me not thinking or saying again and again.
Facebook crack is a front to whats underneath. What was/is driving the boat? lack of being, one of my core things I run up against all the time. I’m more prone to injury this way, more prone to not being able to remember things and much more prone to heaping shame and guilt on to my self about everything. I don’t let things go easily because I’m not fully connected to the process anyway. How do I change that? Its easy. STOP, CONNECT, BREATH. I used to do this meditation that only took a couple minuets where I would put my feet flat to the floor, my eyes closed and my hand on my abdomen. And with every breath I would envision roots growing from my feet into the floor. And the more I breathed the deeper and deeper they went. I would do that until I couldn’t stand it any more or I felt better.

Being a stay at home mom I can not unplug completely. I was not meant to live my life independently from my people. I was meant to live it interdependently, meaning keeping a healthy balance of YOU and ME in my life. Saving Facebook time for the morning and evening when my babies are sleeping. I’m still texting and calling people because I need that connection. Being alone with me all day and two kids, not a good situation. It was never meant to be that way any way.

Emotional sobriety: flaunt it if you got it

On Friday nights my husband and I go to our home group meeting. Usually my brain is so over loaded that it’s just nice to not have someone pulling on my pants or crying at my feet. I’m listening to the sharing and my husband takes a turn and out of his mouth falls “I’m not going to apologize for having a good life.” It was one of those moments that I didn’t realize I needed to hear those words until that very moment. The gap in the human go where the divine slips in I think I have heard before.


I think about it in concept of I’m not going to apologize for living an out loud life either. I live out loud. I talk about sex, fights I have with my husband, insanity with my kids and simply my crazy ass self. It has taken a ton of work to get me to this place but as my sponsor told me this morning I choose wisdom. I choose to seek the deeper reason why I want to slam my head in a car door rather than to answer another why question. Or why I laugh as my kid is throwing him self to the ground yet another time. Or why I say out loud for people to hear do not punch your 16 month old in the face for punching me in the nose. Any one that knows me knows I would never hit my kid. Good on ya if you have never thought that. I have. And I’m not going to apologize for being real. Thoughts don’t hurt people, actions do. If I don’t talk about my thoughts they turn into actions.


I believe that I get the chance to re-parent my inner kid as my children age. When my kids don’t listen, punch me, break stuff, take stuff and for the 112th time they dump tippsy-cup of chocolate milk in to the dog water I get the chance to re-do some of the damaged parts of me. Be the parent I wanted when I was little. I don’t do it well all the time and that doesn’t make me a bad mom.


I ask my self and have friends (who’s children survived there parenting) ask me “what’s hooking you?” I get the chance to go deeper and choose wisdom. Why do I do the things I do? Well I have gotten clear about several things about me but they usually come down to a few core reasons.


One: I think I know what is best. The old adage mom knows best. I disagree with that. Who am I to attempt to deny my son the opportunity to learn about gravity if I’m always catching him? My husband and I play through some times when we are at the park, how many feet do you think that drop is? We usually conclude it’s going to hurt when they fall but not death. 70% of the time they never fall. I embrace the belief that my kids have a life to live and experience that they need to grow through that are vital to them becoming men. I do my very best to stay out of the way because they have a God and I’m not it is what it really comes down to.

Two: I’m not enough, there is not enough time and I don’t have a right to be. The biggest thing for me that I struggle with and thanks to conscious parenting I have rewired a lot of screwed up shit in my brain is I don’t have a right to be, where I am and doing what I’m doing because you disagree with me. There was a time in my life I would have sold my soul if it meant you would agree with me. In the re-parenting my inner kid world there are plenty of chances to re-wire my thoughts.

Three: I always want to do it right. Errks me to even say based on the last paragraph but it is true. I want to get it right every time. I want the home run every time I’m up to bat and that’s just not possible. I was meeting with an old sponsor a while back and I said to her “why do I always have to screw things up?” her response was priceless “because Ashley if we got it right all the time and didn’t go from extreme to extreme and swing that pendulum we never get to experience the lessons that lay in the middle”


I don’t apologize for having a good life. I don’t apologize for living it out loud either. I crave connection, I crave relationships, I crave other seekers. Being a seeker has served me well and its also kept me up at night. There are assets in my defects and defects in my assets. Living a life of clean and sober living I work very hard on the emotional sobriety. I seek, I ask and I dig. No freak out moment with my kids is by accident. I don’t spend all my waking hours oozing over all my mistakes but it is something I think on and a topic I cover when talking with other seekers because after all raising kids isn’t all fun and games and happenstance it’s a way to grow deeper, softer and have a chance to learn my life is good no matter how bad the day went if I lay my head down sober my kids have the chance to have a sober mom the next morning and I have a chance to apply what I learned yesterday to today. Thank God for sober living and living out loud.

Loss of a child, a faith renewed

In 2011 my husband and I lost a baby at 32 weeks and 3 days gestation. Her name was Danica. She had a chromosome disorder called Triploidy. My heart breaks when I think of her but not like it used to. Time heals many wounds. She was born at the end of August and I wrote this a couple weeks later.

Some days when things are hard I forget that this kind of strength still runs with in me, I believe that God reminds me along the way that peace can exist amongst chaos. I’m grateful that with a lot of grief work this pain is not as big. My heart still skips a beat when I am asked how many kids I have or someone mentions about if we are going to try for a girl. I love my two boys to pieces and I miss my daughter, through the gift of a ton of personal work both a true and I do not feel guilty about it.

Familiar seas on uncharted waters

September 13, 2011 at 3:41pm

I sat down at my journal the other day and usually God speaks to me through impressions I get or thoughts that come and what occurred to me is that I have never been here before. I am in uncharted waters. I have no insights, no impressions no word pictures. There is just this deep ache in side my heart and soul that I cannot describe in words.

Today I hurt, the last line I wrote in my journal. I hurt. I hurt for my daughter that won’t get to play with her brother in the back yard. I hurt for Abe who wont get to teach Danica how a lady is to be treated. I hurt for me who wont get to have special tea times with my little girl. I hurt. I believe Danica is in heaven somewhere basking in the sun light of God. That she is safe from harm and is standing guard for us in a way that only an angel can.

I have had countless conversations with people who have given me as a parent the thing that I wish most for my kids. I wish for my kids to make a mark on this world, to pack as much in to the stream of life as they can. Teach others, learn them selves and find joy in there days on this earth. Danica was here in the womb for 32 weeks and 3 days. What she has caused to flow from humanity is beyond my ability to comprehend. I don’t know the far reaching’s of what she has done and what she has done through us but Gods on the job because amazing things have come to pass for Abe and I and countless others.

It is humbling for me to hear people say things to me like “you are so strong, I’m not sure I could have done what you have done it must have taken such courage to do what you did.” The part that is hard for me to take in is that this is just the way we do things in our house. Together. I wouldn’t have done in any other way. In AA the first tradition is about unity. With out that there is nothing. Unity in the good times and in the hard times. It is a blessing from God that that has been in our home. That’s what we strive for, not perfect at but that is what we strive for and in this journey so far we have nailed it. 🙂 Thanks to the prayers of the people that have walked with us on this journey and our desire to be together.

Today it is God who gives me strength. I’m not strong enough to make it through this. I reached a breaking point in the hospital and realized that true strength is moving when you can and saying enough when you cant. Strength isn’t “manning up” its not holding it together or doing it all, strength is what’s driving the boat to make those things happen. Strength in the doing and the giving up. As the paradox states, you have to surrender to win. So today I say I’m good because I hurt. I’m happy because I’m crying when I need to. I’m peaceful because I’m a mess and can’t think straight some times.


This is taken the day my husband and I went to spread her ashes. Its taken from Spray park, Mt Rainer National park. An eagle was flying over and a bear was just up the meadow.

Thank God that I may not know where I’m going but at least I know for sure where I have been and in that I can trust that path that I can not see for someday I will look back and see not just my foot prints but another as well.

Sunset at the pass where her ashes were to be laid. My husband was backpack with his brother one ridge over. This photo was taken on the day they think her heart stopped in the womb.

Sunset at the pass where her ashes were to be laid. My husband was backpacking with his brother one ridge over. This photo was taken on the day the Doctors estimate her heart stopped in the womb.


Out of the ashes a Phoenix is born

A few months ago I was in the middle of a storm that wasn’t mine. I did not know at the time that it wasn’t mine because my husband and I were the subjects of the storm. What I know today, after relentless prayer for the people involved and countless hours of processing with safe people is that other peoples reactions are about them, no matter what the content of the situation is. The situation that was intended to draw strong lines in the sand and paint me in a bad light has made me stronger and more committed to my cause of right and powerful living. As the saying goes, “when your going through hell keep on going.” (Winston Churchill) As much as I wanted to make the situation I was in about me the truth is it wasn’t. Some significant relationships were lost and I grieve the loss of them today but out of the ashes of a burned down relationship a Phoenix is born.

A much respected definition of courage I cling to is being afraid and doing it any way. Living a life out loud is bound to catch a few people the wrong way and threaten them in ways that was not intended. However, what the fear misses when containing someone that lives out loud, is the freedom it gives those who are held in bondage by the shame of something others do and don’t talk about.

Why we don’t talk about anger is beyond me. Maybe it brings up old feelings from the past. Which makes sense to me being that I didn’t see much healthy anger when i was growing up. It was either sad or rage. I preferred to take the rage because sad looked weak to me. What I know is a happy balance between all four primary emotions, sad, mad, glad, scared is the place that I find the most stability in my heart. Going through the fire storm I did a few months ago has forced me to live and love harder. I press in to life and live scandalously. At least I’m trying to. I’m terrified to push in to this dream of mine to publish my thoughts publicly. But as a fire needs wind to grow I can not expect anything to happen with out taking risks.

I love symbolism. The Phoenix is something that I can identify with, especially coming out of the situation I am walking through. Trial by fire. There are things that happen in my life that hurt like hell and they bring out a rage in me that is primal in nature. I have not let it owned me though. Its strong and powerful and its energy needed to be channeled in a healthy way and I’m doing that, some days better then others, none the less I am pushing through the fear and pain of failure and waiting on my God in the ashes sober and willing.



The best gift given to the Fathers I know


When I think about Fathers Day it makes me think of the God of my understanding and his unending love for me. Year’s ago I was at a conference and the topic was healing the relationship between God and me. It went through a series of concepts where I would put the image of my earthly father on my heavenly father and God would fall short every time of who he truly was and I would be left craving things from people that they were not capable of giving.


Not knowing what I was doing, I would end up resentful at my husband or my own dad because I was looking to them to be someone they were not intended to be. The god centered hole inside would grow ever bigger until the concept became relevant to me that I was looking in the wrong place for my needs to be met.


I believe that the best gift I can offer my Dad and husband is the freedom to be who they are supposed to be as individuals, Children of God them selves. The more free they are to be them selves in my mind the clearer I can connect with them with out all the unspoken expectations of things they can never truly meet.


I see my Dad as someone that truly did the best he could to provide for me the tools for living. He gave me many things that I still cling to today and serve me in my life very well. I see him as a man who has flaws and is not perfect. I see him clearly.


I see my husband as a man who loves and cares for me the best way he can. He has challenged me to be better, love deeper and bend when I was incapable of knowing I could. Hes not perfect either. He has his flaws. I see him clearly too.


Seeing that someone is flawed in this view isn’t coming from a place of picking him apart. It’s seeing the imperfection in their humanness and the perfection in God. I spent way to much time trying to get people to tell me what to do and believe. As it would turnd out I didn’t have a lot of faith in humanity because they would fail me, they are human after all and don’t always get it right.


When my relationship with my Dad and my husband are free to come and free to go the relationship it truly free and there for will fulfill what it was truly meant to do.


When I journal or when I pray alone I pray to Aba Father, Papa God. I see him as the father I desperately craved my whole life. The poem that follows is something I wote during that time and seems appropriate to attach here now.









To be Romanced By the God of all Creation:


When I need the connection of a Father

I need not look anywhere else but the world around me


When I see a meadow filled with blooms

I know that bouquet was meant for me


When I want to dance all I have to do

Is move with the wind and I know

That dance was meant for me


When I want a hug,

To be caught up in a warm embrace

I stand in the warm rays of the

Sunlight of the spirit

And I know that hug was meant for me


When I want to know I am loved

I look to the cross,

Its then I know that your arms

Stretched wide were meant for me.


When I want to be touched

I feel the shivers on my shoulders

I know that touch was meant for me.


When I want to be connected

To the Father of all children

I need not look further then

All Creation.

Written By Ashley Bell

Grace for the developmental years of childhood insanity and blessing.

 I was sharing with some friends the other day about how much I ask my kids to change in the first 5 years of there lives and it occurred to me to offer a little more grace to them and the ones like them when i realized how much I really do ask of them.

Newborn: they start out these helpless little blobs of joy and smelly things and have parents that are, according to the movies and TV shows, supposed to be happy about this ALL the time. I don’t know about you but when both my sons were all happy and giggles at 2 am I was not laughing, in fact I was crying most of the time because unlike them who get to sleep most of the day, I was awake freaking out because they would stop breathing every now and then and my solution was to check every few minuets because apparently my looking would some how enable them to continue sucking in the very air that keeps them breathing. 

Oh the pressure begins. The conversation would go something like this:

“Oh I know you were just born and all and I know some where in your divinely wired brain you are supposed to know how to eat and swallow so lets get to it because this Dr or mid wife is kind of starting to piss me off! Oh there you go eat eat eat away. Ya my little one did it.”

Then you come home to relentless questions from the well meaning people: Is the baby sleeping well? What kind of question is that! They just got the eating thing down I’ve been home for 10 minuets, the kid might as well feel like they got sent to a whole other world. They were in water that was warm and cozy. Now they are in air that’s freezing most of the time. Or another question I love, are you sleeping well? To which after I get done lying right through my teeth because the mail lady does not need to see my cry for 30 minuets at a time because I just cant seem to remember where my EVERYTHING went. “Yes im sleeping well thank you. Love my little one.”

First Year: the Dr’s appointments! For the first year, are they holding there head? Tummy time! Tummy time! Tummy time! Do they recognize you when you come in to the room? Are they eating by them selves yet? Making sounds? Picking things up? Are they crawling? Walking? Cruising the furniture? Its at this point my eyes glaze over because I starting thinking about my dog cruising the couch for snacks in the cushions and I remember her eating my bagel breakfast sandwich on the first day that everyone slept all at the same time. That my friends, is grounds for re-homing! but then I would cry again so never mind. The Dr. notices my glazed over look and asks the last question again, hows baby sleeping? To which I reply, “I think he decided sleep is for when hes old”

Year 2: They are walking, talking in a code only parents can decipher, opinionated and in to everything. They cant decide if they want to eat or just throw there food on the floor and then scream because there noodles were eaten by the dog and some how its our fault. Oh and they are besides them selves that I wont let them whack me with the tonka truck one more time.

Year 3: They are getting this whole eating with out throwing it at the parents thing down really well, sleeping has settled down a little bit, and now the real pressure comes. Do you feel pee pee? Poo poo? Do you need to go? Did you go? Where is it if you did? (guilty look on the dogs face, and I think, less to clean up) Then the moment in the far back corner of Costco, the first time I brave the no diaper, he just peed in the parking lot so we should be good. Second baby just ate so we are good. And its as if while im inspecting the giant batch of grapes that im about to buy and the boys come together, “are you ready to see how fast she can push this over loaded cart the quarter mile to the bathroom? Ready go! Mommy I have to pee!!!!!!!” Loudly so everyone around can hear. I check my list, I cant just abandon this cart I have the best batch of grapes. And we are off, we make it, and out comes a few drops. In my mind I’m like “REALLY? I almost ran some people over to get here”. But out of my mouth comes “YAAAA go pee pee on the potty!” IMG_3085

Year 4: More questions, is he writing, reading? Can he count? Alphabet? Potty trained? Jump up and down? I think from the counter or off the floor? Does bouncing count? Is he eating well? How is he with other kids? Can he write a code that programs a rocket to launch? They throw that one in just so they know I’m paying attention now, remember the dog?

After thinking about all this stuff I ask my kids to do I realize I really need to give them extra grace. When hes hanging upside down off the grocery cart or yelling so loud that I need ear plugs to hear because when parenting is a 24/7 deal I will have a chance to “try again” in 5 minuets. I expect my kids to behave in ways that really in the reality of things doesn’t make sense. In honesty when I take an honest look at my thinking, I want him to be a robot and then I realize: Hes 4 or hes 14 months depending on which one I’m watching lick the window. Being a kid is such a short lived thing, offer the guy some grace, truly how much have I been asked to grow in 4 years of life? Surely not as much as I’m asking of them. Please have grace for us if you see my son walk right in front of your grocery cart in the store or runs in circles for no apparent reason at all. Chances are its the lesser of two situations like walk freely in the store or go bowling in the juice aisle and see how many bottles he can drop to the floor before hes caught.

Some days I just look at the and say out loud, not what I’m thinking of course, but remind my self “your acting your age, your supposed to …” They arn’t robots. Thank God for the gift of growth not only in them but my self as well. Extra grace required for all parties involved. I try to tickle him instead of grab his hand for the 100th time because laughter releases so much more tension in him and me. Often that is all that is needed, a little bit of purposeful connection.