Posts filed under Family

A Texan Update

Alright y'all, The Sassy Salmon has been a little serious as of late, so without further adieu I bring you real life stories from moving across the country with 3 kids ages 4 and under, 1 labradoodle, and 3 ridiculous adult humans (myself included but my husband missing from that crazy equation). 

Moving halfway across the country is hard. I would like to give a shout out to my inlaws who drove the trek with me since Ben had to be in Atlanta for the first few (ahem 6) weeks. And snaps for my dad and Mitch (my brother's father in law) for driving down from Kentucky to conquer my Honey-Do List. Also, I'd like to revisit the part where my mother-in-law and I were locked in a van with twin 4 year olds and a baby that eats every 3-4 hours for two days in a row. To those who say mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws CANNOT get along, I give you this. In addition, I don't want to brag about my awesome MIL... but she has quite literally attached me to a pump and milked me like a cow when I was determined to get some milk for my NICU babies while bedridden, unable to do so myself. ISH gets real in the Salmon family once you take them vows. So I guess a road trip across the country isn't that outlandish given our history. 

I digress. 

Before embarking on our long journey, I may or may not have given the road trip rules that nobody eats or drinks until we get to TEXAS. There would be no stopping, dawdling, tourist attractions, and all meals would be eaten while on the road. Mama had some serious mileage goals and gosh darn it we were going to make good time. For the most part, I'd say we all did well. There were a few hiccups like Jude refused to follow my road trip rules (#hungrybaby) and a man backed into one of the cars while we were at a gas station - but thanks to me screaming like a banshee he slowed down just enough to try to figure out why a random blonde woman was yelling & running at him that the impact was minimal and there wasn't any damage (other than the damage it did to my heart by triggering palpitations). So I guess no harm no foul.

All that to say, we did eventually make it to Texas and everyone still loves each other. 

Now that we're here, I'd like to give you an update on all we've seen because West Texas is definitely different from Raleigh, North Carolina... or all of North Carolina really.

The twins can't identify the American flag or the North Carolinian flag to save their lives, but gosh darn it they already know the Texan flag. IT IS EVERYWHERE. A few days in we visited a store that had half a dozen Texan flags flying outside and the girls asked about it & "Why are there so many?!" Ever since then they get CRAZY PUMPED about seeing the Texan flag. I'll be driving down the road and they'll start losing their minds, "MOMMY MOMMY!!! LOOK!! IT'S A TEXAN FLAG!" I don't get it - but somehow the indoctrination has already set in. 

We have also seen lots of cactus, windmill farms, the most GORGEOUS sunsets, plateaus that people refer to as mountains (um... no), and a person riding a horse down the middle of the street. Which that isn't so odd except the street is in MY NEIGHBORHOOD. Like a normal residential area. With houses. And fences. And small backyards. So I'm not quite sure where the horse was going, but I definitely had to stop and InstaStory that junk. I've also seen two kids dressed in rodeo attire practicing their lasso skills in the mall parking lot. Because you know, what better place to lasso each other than right outside of Dillards. #westtexas 

 "MOM!!!! Don't talk about my thighs on the interwebs! How embarrassing?!"

"MOM!!!! Don't talk about my thighs on the interwebs! How embarrassing?!"

Friday Night Lights is a real thing around here and Jude gets asked at least once a day if he's going to be a football player when he grows up. He usually gives the friendly strangers a blank stare until they start grabbing his "football" thighs. At that point he smiles because... well... he's been conditioned by my constant gnawing of his thighs. THEY ARE JUST THAT DELICIOUSLY CHUBBY. 

In other news, the twins started pre-school midyear so they're having a blast catching up with the kids in their class. They learned about the letters M & N their first few weeks and every day when I pick them up I ask them if they learned any new words that start with those letters. Noel without missing a beat always replies with a few correct words and then ends with "M is for ICE CREAM. Noooooo, that's silly. But speaking of ice cream, can we go get some?" And usually we head to our Chick-fil-A for a sweet treat and kisses from Daddy. 

 But doesn't he look so handsome? 

But doesn't he look so handsome? 

Speaking of sweet treats, I may or may not have walked in on a random man getting dressed when I went to drop off #TheFabulousMrHanks for his grooming appointment. Nothing says, "Hi I'm new here" like walking into a stranger's home thinking it's your groomer's. And because I was shocked, I immediately yelled SORRY and just slammed the door... ACCIDENTALLY LOCKING MR. HANKS IN THE HALF DRESSED STRANGER'S HOUSE. As I ran to my car still unaware that I didn't have my dog, the kind and understanding gentleman let Hanks out while simultaneously throwing a shirt on. Not making eye contact and stammering back to my minivan, I tried to apologize and explain that I was looking for my groomer who gave me his address. "Oh, no worries!" he said nonchalantly like I had not just seen him in his knickers, "The grooming business is out back. Folks mistake my house for it all the time." Oh OKAY GREAT, yes now I feel 1000 times better about this whole situation. 

Y'all, when I said the good folks of West Texas were the kindest I wasn't lying. 

All joking aside, we are loving Texas and getting to know the sweet people of Abilene. We've found a great little church and are slowly getting invested in the community. The people here are incredibly hospitable and we have been so blown away by the gracious welcome. Uprooting was and still is hard sometimes, but we are so thankful for this adventure and we're more than excited to be in Abilene. 

Here's to many more Texan adventures (but hopefully no more walking in on half-dressed strangers)!

Much love,

 

 

Twinsies Turn 4

I was out wrangling my crew at Mama Mecca the other day (aka Target) when a seasoned mama, with grey in her hair and wrinkles around her eyes, stopped me. She talked to the girls and fawned over Jude, and then she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, “You have a beautiful family. Don’t blink, it really goes too quickly.” 

I’ve heard this sentiment a thousand times, and every time it strikes a note in this weary mama’s heart. 

She gently squeezed my arm, and then left me in my un-showered, dry shampooed, no make-up, hot-mess-whirlwind feeling like I had won the lottery to get to just BE in that moment. And I was truly so thankful. 

Truth be told, 30 minutes prior I was yelling at my children to HURRY UP, GET IN THE CAR, WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES, DON’T PICK YOUR BROTHER’S NOSE, AND WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PEE NOW THAT YOU’RE BUCKLED IN???? We Salmons aren’t great at transitions I’m learning. Fuses are short, children are children, and this mama is always on the go… hurry hurry hurry. 

But that sweet seasoned mama, with grandbabies of her own, really blessed me by helping me remember to slow down & enjoy these chaotic days. The days truly pass by so slowly, and yet so quickly. 

The twins turned four a few weeks ago and my mama heart can't take it. I told someone the other day that I’m pretty sure I’m not going to survive motherhood. I’m already weepy about the small milestones like birthdays (it's 4, they're not turning 13 for heaven's sake! And I canNOT even start thinking about 16 #JesusTakeTheWheel #literally). They're running around still all cuddly and I'm all HOW AM I GOING TO SEND THEM TO COLLEGE????!!!!

YALL, I’m gonna have to get a grip or that Ben Salmon is going to have quite the time reminding me that they’re simply arrows in our quiver. They were made to fly and never mine to begin with. 

And boy do those girls know how to fly. 

(Someone hold me.)

Well my independent sassy girls wanted a Dory/Nemo themed bday party so a week prior Ben and I looked at each other and said, “OH SHOOT, it’s the twins' bday next week!!” So we texted our friends (no invites bc BLESS #hotmess) and off we went to the Dollar Store. 

I wanted to blog these photos because so many of them capture the epitome of who the girls are during this season. It was truly such a fun day celebrating their vibrant little lives. So without further adieu, the girls’ 4th bday… (And for those of you who still can't tell them apart, Felicity is in the Blue swim top, Noel is in the Pink). 

IMG_4921.JPG

And just like that... they're 4. And 20% of their time with us is gone... That sweet grandmama was right, it just goes by too quickly.

Much love,

Posted on August 20, 2016 and filed under Family, Twinsies.

4 Ways to Foster a Healthy Body Image in our Children

It happened the other day. 

The thing I promised myself I would NEVER let happen to my girls.

I was walking through our hallway and caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, and I did it. I lifted up my shirt, gave my belly a disappointed look and sucked it all in. My train of thought was interrupted by a tiny perceptive voice, “Mommy, watchya doing? You ok?” Shame burned my cheeks as I quickly kneeled down to my little girl and kissed her forehead. I grabbed her hand and took her into the bathroom with me and lifted my shirt again, attempting to undo whatever damage I just did. 

“Look how beautiful mommy’s belly is. Look how soft and strong it is. Isn’t it just amazing?! You and sissy grew in there TOGETHER, and so I will always love my belly whenever I look at it because it gave me you.” She rubbed my belly and laughed. Asking questions and poking my squishy belly button.  

“And look at mommy’s legs! They aren’t the fastest, but they are fast enough! Did you know mommy used her legs to run long races? And they’ve taken me on so many adventures! I can’t wait to hear about the adventures your legs take you on.” 

And then I looked in the mirror again, fighting to see the beauty instead of the flaws, and I said, “Look at mommy’s arms, how strong they are from carrying you, sissy, and baby brother! Isn’t it great how God gave mommy strong arms to carry you?”

She quickly flexed her arms and we ooooh’d and ahhhhh’d over how God beautifully made her. We continued to point out how her body was healthy, linking beauty to the functionality of her parts, rather than focusing on what culture deems aesthetically pleasing.  From her head to her toe, I spoke truth into her future body image.

That reality of that moment both haunts and ignites something in me.

That night I went to bed praying for God to free my girls from the captivity of our culture’s lies about beauty. I prayed they would know that their identity, their worth, was not found in a number on a scale or size of dress. And as I thought more about our encounter, I realized something...

Ben and I teach our kids how to brush their teeth and how to have semi-good hygiene (just keepin’ it real here). We teach them to be polite and speak “encouraging words” to others.  We teach them to take their dishes to the sink, and that we have to pick up a toy or two before we leave the house. 

I guess what I’m getting at is this, we teach them 1000 different things that help them become contributing members in society. And yet, until a few days ago, I was planning on just hoping and praying that they would learn to have a healthy body image on their own. 

I can’t control how my kids turn out or what they face in life, but I can equip them with the tools on how to look at and discuss their bodies by modeling self-care to my own body and inviting my children to join in on the fun. 

So I’ve been stewing on that concept and this is what I've come up with. 

4 ways to foster a healthy body image in our children

4 Ways to Model and Foster a Healthy Body Image for our Children

It's not a comprehensive list. But just 4 areas that I can start changing and intentionally modeling right now (and if you have other ways you already do this, feel free to share below in the comments! I'd love to hear them!).

Without further adieu... Here we go. 

1. How you speak about your body (& others’): 

Talk positively about your body and it’s functions to your younger children. Praise your imperfections and share the stories that they tell. Then praise their bodies too! Link function to beauty, rather than cultural notions. While you're telling your body how amazing it is... Hand out praise to others like it’s going out of style. Have a friend who looks great today? Praise her. Have a friend who said something extremely moving today? Praise her. Learn to be a cheerleader of others (& yourself), OUT LOUD and in front of your kids.

On the flip side... Don’t talk negatively about your body OR other bodies ever… but especially in front of your kids. That woman who hasn’t lost all her baby weight, no need to comment on it. That friend who has put on or lost a few pounds, don’t highlight it. Just don’t do it. Like my mama said... if you don't have anything nice to say... keep your mouth shut... er don't say anything at all.  

2. How you look at your body: 

When looking at your body in the mirror, don’t sigh or look at yourself with disappointment. Your kids are watching you. They see how you look at your body, how often you do so, and what your response is. They see how you suck your belly in, and stick your shoulders back. They see you wiggle your arm fat in disgust. They are perceptive little beings and we underestimate how much they absorb!

Start practicing looking in the mirror and admiring how your body is a miracle. Take every thought captive and then contradict it by looking on your body with pride. Did you know that the average heart beats about 100,000 a day? That when you get a flesh wound, your skin goes through a regenerative process that HEALS itself? What about those of you who have carried humans IN your body - such a miracle!!! And if for no other reason, remember that YOU were created in the image of God. You are His creation and He delights in you, so why don’t you join him in delighting in the gift he’s given you in your physical body.

3. How you treat your body:

Value health over beauty. Take care of your body. Rest, exercise, and fuel your body well. I’m not saying you have to become a crazy runner who only eats kale smoothies (#justno).  Rather, treat your body well and train it for good. Go on missions trips, serve your community, walk around your neighborhood and meet your neighbors. But while you take care of your body, focus on strength, rest, and health instead of size. Because here’s the kicker, the point of the exercise is to maintain or increase health, NOT to lose weight. If losing weight is a byproduct of getting healthy - great! If gaining weight is a byproduct of getting healthy - great! But... let me repeat: the focus of exercise is health, not size. Treat your body accordingly and I promise your kids will notice and want to join in on the fun. 

4. How you fuel your body: 

Food. Oi! This one is hard for me. You see, I like a lot of things that are bad for my health. And I've discovered that when I try to change my diet in order to lose weight, I get obsessive and dissatisfied. Yet when I eat for health and ask the question, "Does this food nourish my body?" I feel proud and accomplished! The difference in what I actually eat is dismal, but the difference between the two perspectives is HUGE. And guess what, my kids notice the difference!

Modeling a healthy approach to food is so important for our kids. They don't need to see a mom who is skipping meals (unless it's for medicinal or spiritual purposes). They don't need to hear a mom say, "Oh I can't eat that or it'll go straight to my hips." They need parents who make good decisions in regards to food. Y'all I am NOT good at this, but I know that how I model this will directly impact how our kids connect food to body image for years to come. 

Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 

Y'all, do you see that? We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our souls are DESIGNED to know this truth WELL. 

It doesn't mean we won't wrestle with this... I definitely failed this past week... but I say let's fight. Let’s take this body image issue by the horns and stop playing victim to cultural lies and stand up and fight like women who are fearfully and wonderfully made. Because, ladies, we are strong. We are capable. We are beautiful. We were made in God’s image and these bodies are GIFTS. And that is everything I want my children growing up believing about their bodies. Don't you? 

I believe we can change the culture of the next generation of kids and body image, but only IF we are willing to change our own personal approach to body image. 

Let's do this thing. You in? 

Much love,

Ps. What are some ways you try to model a healthy body image? 

Posted on June 2, 2016 and filed under Family.