Posts filed under Letters to my girls

An Anthem on Women's Day

It's Women's Day, and since we're in a season when what it means to be female is a hot topic, I wanted to spend a little time writing out a prayer here for you and the women in your life. I'll be honest, this originally started out as a prayer for my daughters, but as I began to think about it I realized I was praying for all of our daughters, our sisters, our mothers. All of us. So without further adieu, an anthem for my girls on Women's Day.

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Happy Women's Day 2017,

May we be women who relish in who God made us to be, women who don't adhere to stereotypes, women who live lives full of joy, generously giving away the gifts that are entrusted to us.  

May we be strong women.

May we find that strength, real strength, isn't in getting our way or being right; it's found in being rooted in something greater than ourselves. May we learn that strength is both the grace to admit when we're wrong and the formidability to stand firmly for what is right. May we spend our strength and power for the good of others, rather than hoarding it for our personal gain.

May we always know that we are at our strongest when we are locked arm in arm with one another rather than pulling each other down to get to the top. 

May our steps be guided by a faith that knows that all things were created to worship. Our creativity, our gifts, our very breath was made to bring glory to God and point to His goodness. May we lead, write, sing, engineer, teach, dance, study, lift weights, run, paint, create, analyze, heal, assess, counsel, fix things, and fight for justice with our utmost. May we give our best not because we want to be better than whoever is standing to our left or right, but because we know that when we bring our best we lift each other up. We work hard to the glory of God, not man or woman's praise.  

May we LOVE our bodies and personalities and know that all of our quirks and differences make us beautiful. They point to a brilliant creator instead of a flawed design. 

May we cheer each other on, recognizing each other's gifts without a sense of jealousy. And when envy arrises, because it inevitably will, may we fight against it, ultimately choosing the betterment of others over ourselves. 

May we be women who love and know God's word and as a result are able to know and love each other fiercely. I pray that we are people who learn how to forgive and give grace like it's going out of style. What a world we could create if we loved and forgave like Jesus did!? 

May we be faithful with the lives and gifts we've each been given. I pray we look back at the end of our days and see a life well spent. May we be generous with our time, money, emotions, energy, and resources and spend them on things that matter. May our investment in each other and this world grow in generations to come. 

May we love God above all other things, looking to Him in every situation. Knowing that the highest highs and the lowest of lows were all ordained by Him. Because of that, we rest. We rest in a good Father and know that we are loved by Him. When suffering comes, we are grieved but not destroyed. We stand firmly rooted in truth amidst the torrential storms that life throws at us. 

May we do all this and more because we are women, made in God's image. We have gifts to offer our churches, our communities, our families, our schools, our politics, our world, because we were designed and gifted by the most loving and creative God on High.

Let that fuel us! 

In a generation that strives for recognition and the stage, let HIS LOVE motivate us to be faithful in both the little and big things, wherever He has placed us. 

We are women. Hear this roar. Our battlecry is not our own; it is soft and loud and humble and strong, and it proclaims that our God is GOOD. He restores all things. There is nothing too broken He can't fix. And one day He will right all wrongs. THIS IS OUR ANTHEM. It is our life's work. It is every thing we are working towards. 

We are women, smart, strong, beautiful, creative women. May we continue to be strong women with eyes focused on Jesus, looking to Him in all things. 

This, this is my prayer for you, for us. Happy Women's Day, my sisters!

Much Love,

Three's

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Today I tried to clean out my minivan while letting the twins play with chalk on the driveway. Yes I really thought that while I threw books, toys, 19238417234 cheerios and stale donut holes out of our car, they'd sit there and have a grand time.

(CUE all the experienced moms laughing knowing exactly what’s about to happen)

Rookie mistake.

As soon as Mr. Hanks jumped in the car and started helping me clean (ie. eating the 19238417234 cheerios) the girls followed suit and started jumping in and licking up the cheerios like a dog as well. After all, they really do think that they’re dogs sometimes. Which is ok, because Mr. Hanks thinks he’s human. It’s a trade off. Anyways, after an hour of wrangling the three of them… with the last straw being the HUGE bag full of trash (and I confess some fresh dog poo that I had just picked up out of our yard) being dumped BACK INTO MY VAN while I was cleaning the twins seats (which is a whole nother ball game)… I finally got smart and buckled them in, brought out snacks, and turned a movie on.

Mom wins. Twins win. Mr. Hanks wins (bc air conditioning… duh).  And alas our DISGUSTING van was clean (really... it was SO gross) so a HUGE win for my uber clean and organized husband.  

But I feel like this summarizes all of my parenting experiences. Try to do something new or enter a new parenting stage and the beginning is a HUGE COLASSAL STRUGGLE... BUT eventually we figure out a way to confine the twins, er, I mean we find a way that works for our family.  The three's definitely started out this way. The last 2 months we were all struggle bussing it with empty promises of never going out in public again and boarding school, and then somewhere, somehow, we found our footing. Nothing magical happened… rather it just eventually clicked or we moved onto the next stage. And this happens with every new stage... EVERY TIME. I'm all... WOE IS ME WE'LL NEVER SURVIVE and then BAM I'm all like THIS IS THE BEST STAGE EVER. (I just don't know where the girls get their dramatics from).

ALAS... in celebration of it finally clicking (kind of)… I wanted to document a few of our fav things about the twins during this stage because had you asked me a few weeks ago what my favorite things were I would've looked at you with crazy eyes and yelled, "THERE ARE NO GOOD THINGS," while sipping a venti red eye and reminiscing about the good ole days when I slept and peed by myself. 

So while I'm in a good mood... here we go...

  • Noel refers to herself as “Foel” despite being able to say the word “No!” quite fluently and frequently. And Felicity refers to Noel as "O-el." SWOON.
  • Felicity loves apple juice and Foel loves orange juice. And they love to argue about which one they’re getting, despite the fact that I give them their favorite almost every time.
  • Our nap time routine includes at least 25 minutes (minimum) of me telling them to “not get out of your bed,” “no you cannot ‘sleep’ with sissy,” and “DO NOT GET TRAPPED UNDER THE FITTED SHEET AGAIN.”
  • They love bossing Mr. Hanks around as if he’s their brother. “No Hanks, Stop that. Come COME Hanks.” Also, dressing him up is a recent fav pastime.
  • They’re bossy in the car and know the routes to the YMCA and Target. Not sure what it says about me when my kids get mad at me while on our way to church and start yelling, “No mama, THAT WAY. Go that way to target!!!” #targetaddictprobs
  • They love to listen to music, or mooozick, as they pronounce it.
  • They talk a lot, but still use their baby jabber and twin talk. Just today Noel kept repeating some phrase that I had NO CLUE WHAT IT WAS and Felicity repeated it at me all like come on woman don’t you understand her?!  Felicity got so frustrated with my lack of understanding Noel that she huffed off saying the phrase on repeat and brought a toy over to Noel and said it again while looking at me like… idiot.
  • Speaking of attitude… Noel has mastered the pout and Felicity has mastered the temper tantrum. Like they’re pro’s at it. I think the 2’s were a practice round for 3’s. During their 2’s, they learned HOW to do it (increase in quantity), there 3’s are for learning WHEN to do it at the best time to get maximum results (increase in quality). Bless it, I think they’re learning strategy.
  • Noel has learned that she’s funny.
  • Felicity has found her voice.
  • Their love for each other and care for our family is astounding. One second I think they’re about to strangle the other, but as soon as one of them falls or gets hurt… the other one is right there asking, “Oel, you ok?” or “Licity, you ok?” Or if the other one sneezes they’re quick to sweetly say, “Bless you sissy!”
  • On that same note, they’ve learned what makes the other one happy and will bring it to them whenever they’re sad/in trouble/mad/etc.
  • Teaching them things is FUN during this stage because they love learning new things. Whereas teaching them things during the 2’s gave me heart palpitations and hives (only a slight exaggeration).
  • They love seeing the moon at night... and they get confused when it's cloudy at night and they can't find it. We hear "Where'd the moon go Mama?" 2379 times on a 5 minute car ride on these nights. 
  • They refer to Cinderella as “Tanglerella” & they refer to Tangled as “Tangled” soooooo…. I’m not really sure what happened there but we just go with it.
  • They still say “Hold you?” instead of “Hold me?”
  • Did I mention that they’re bossy? Felicity tells us all the time when brushing her hair, “EASY DADDY!” or when putting an item on her plate she wants us to put it in a specific spot and says, “PUT IT RIGHT THERE.” I keep telling them that we don’t negotiate with terrorists… but they don’t seem to care.
  • They are DADDY’S girls for sure, but when something scares or hurts them, they want their mama. So we both win.
  • Speaking of Daddy… They love to stand on the porch and cheer him on as he leaves for work in the morning.
  • They love planes & helicopters. Oh, and BTW... helicopter is pronounced “Helicocker.” And yes, we laugh. EVERY TIME.

WHEW. If there are any of you who actually read that whole list and you aren’t a relative… wow. I applaud you. It might seem like a lot… but I know myself well enough to know that I will forget some of these things one day if I never write them down. So alas… the forever long blog post.

Alright. That’s all for now. Here’s to the girls being 3 and surviving and ENJOYING all that this year will entail!

Much love,

Things I want to remember... 2+ years

Because time flies and you blink and all that was big and important becomes small and distant. 

I was looking back through old photos... bless it... I should never do that unless I'm prepared to ugly cry uncontrollably. But alas, I did and I was remembering the things about the girls at that stage and laughed and cried and was like... oh my gosh, how could I forget these things already?! And WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT I DON'T REMEMBER? to which I had a mini panic attack at the thought of me not remembering EVERY LITTLE DETAIL... So here I am. Tired from potty training bootcamp... and I'm making a list of the things that I want to remember. 

It's not gonna be a fancy well written blog post bc I aint got time for that. But if I never jot these things down, I'll regret it later. So here we go...

Noel 2 years 10 months:

  • You are joyful and goofy. You just learned that you are funny and can make us laugh... and you totally use that to your benefit. Keep up the good work. You've gotten out of many spankings that way. 
  • You have a way with words and sentences. Both you and your sister were a little slow to the speaking game and y'all talked in your twin language as long as you possibly could... but you my little one started figuring out syntax and word structure quite quickly once you got started. We DIE laughing at the things you say. Our favorite of your phrases right now is your "I like..." series. We never taught you how to say "I like," but one day out of no where you said, "I yike chocyate," (which is very true) and then you started saying that for everything you see. So now, usually at least once a day you tell me that you "yike candy/cookies/cake/table/games/the y/Daddy/Chikayay (Chick Fil A)/baths/Kiki/Grammy/Papaw/GDaddy/Sissy" and whatever other random food or object that you can currently see. It's the best. The other day, a friend's mom brought in chocolate tomatoes (who know those were a thing? not me!), and she turned and asked you, "Do you like tomatoes?" And you promptly replied, "No, I yike chocolate." Touché my little one. Well played. 
  • You wink and raise your eyebrows to make us laugh... you especially like to do this to Uncle Dub. 
  • You like to kiss boo boo's. 
  • You still sleep with Po (hippo), but you're not quite as attached to him as you used to be. 
  • You are very independent and like to make your own decisions, but it takes you FOREVER to do so. Ie. You have strong opinions on WHAT color of popsicle you want, but you stand there FOREVER trying to decide and if I interrupt that process and just give you one, or coax you towards a color... glory heaven help me. Your independent and stubborn streak flares, because bless it, nobody puts this toddler in a corner. 
  • Speaking of colors, you know your colors, how to count to 10, and your ABC's. Of course, you frequently intermingle the ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when singing them... "ABCDEFG, How I wonder what you are..." It's another fav of mine. 
  • And on the lines of singing... you LOVE to sing, and we LOVE to hear you sing. And surprisingly you and your sister have really good pitch for 2 year olds.
  • You're still the laid back one. But don't get too proud, you still have a feisty streak and can throw a mean temper tantrum. Your fuse is just longer, UNLESS you don't get your sleep... and then bless it... bless us all. You need your sleep or we ALL pay. 
  • You've stopped saying "Papi" and now say "Paci." You also usually don't call me "Baba" anymore and either call me "mama" or "Maba." Which... is entirely your dad's fault because he's been working with you on saying things correctly when I'm not looking. 
  • You LOVE people and aren't afraid of strangers AT ALL. You'll wave and talk to just about anyone at the grocery store. You especially love your sister. That makes me OH SO HAPPY to hear you ask for "Wisity."
  • You're very expressive. 

Felicity Hope 2 years 10 months

  • You are curious and sweet spirited. You are our little engineer wanting to know how everything works and what goes where. You love to figure stuff out and are SO proud when you accomplish a task. I can see it now, you will be the one most likely to color coordinate your school notes and have a planner... It's pretty adorable. 
  • Like I mentioned above, you're sweet spirited and it melts our hearts. You love to snuggle at night and if I'm not giving you enough attention you come up and put both hands on my face and turn my face towards yours and gently say, "Baba look" and smile.
  • You still say "papi" and "Baba" and I love you for it. Hold on to that baby talk as long as you'd like... (unless we get to middle school and you still have a papi... then we'll have other issues to resolve... but you get the idea). 
  •  You still sleep with doggy, but mainly because I keep putting him back in your bed at night (I have issues... i know). You go through phases when you want him, but right now, you like him but aren't too attached. 
  • But you know what you are REALLY attached to? Papis. We tried to take them all away and after 2 days of constant screaming... we finally caved and gave you back one. I mean you screamed for HOURS and wouldn't sleep. It was really quite impressive. I've read a ton of things on toddlers sleeping and almost all of it says that eventually you'll cry yourself to sleep. Nope. You proved them all wrong. On night #2 after HOURS of screaming (I think we were pushing hour #4...) we shoved a papi in your mouth and your eyes closed instantly. I wanted to scream and kiss you all at the same time. 
  • Speaking of tenacity. You are a fiery little one. Both of you were born red headed, but y'all quickly turned blonde. Yet I'm pretty sure that fiery red head is still in you. You have spunk, and sass, and when you set your mind to something, you're going to see it through. And as a result, you can throw some pretty legit temper tantrums, but in time that passion and tenacity will serve you well if you learn how to control and outlet it correctly. 
  • You're strong baby girl. You will move mountains. 
  • You are tender hearted and also love to kiss boo boo's. 
  • You love to clean and organize things. 
  • You love Mr. Hanks, a lot. Like a whole bunch. You love to give him treats and climb on him and pull his tail and roll around on him and hug him and feed him and... you get the idea. You like him a lot... and he's really good to you too. 
  • You're hesitant to people in the store, but you warm up quickly. Usually with people at the grocery store, you watch and observe them for a few seconds before you start talking to them. You're outgoing, but you usually have to assess the situation first before you just jump in. It's actually really fascinating to watch because you'll watch Noel, and sometimes you'll go along with her, but then other times you assess the situation and are like... nope. Not for me. Not gonna do that. And other times you're all in. I wouldn't classify the hesitancy as fear, rather it's more of an assessment. It'll be interesting to see this part of your personality develop. 
  • You love your friends big. You ask for "Hawee" (Holly) and for the grandparents often. I love that about you and Noel both. You also love your sister so well. When you ask for a cookie or snack, you almost always ask for two so you can give one to sissy. I can't tell you much my heart explodes whenever you do that. 
  • You love car rides and Target, and almost EVERY MORNING you say, "Baba, caw wide? Tawget?" Yes baby yes. Almost always... yes. 
  • You just discovered Mickey Mouse and are borderline obsessed. I'm not mad about it. 

You both are such a joy. People ask me all the time if I have a favorite... which COME ON PEOPLE... dumbest question ever (and we get a lot of dumb q's about having twins). And I always answer the same... Of course I do. But it changes every day and USUALLY the deciding factor is who is screaming less and let me sleep the longest. And that changes daily. So just for the record I love you both a lot and equally and... I like you both a lot and equally too. I absolutely LOVE that I can see clearly how God has gifted both of you uniquely and how He formed you both as twins, but individuals. He's given you a gift in each other, but I love that He has given you each different giftings to bless each other and the people around you. 

You won't remember these days, but I want to. I want to remember everything (thus the post). But I pray that what you do remember is the feeling that you have always been loved, adored, and cared for. You have two parents who think the world about you, who pray for you, who kiss your boo boo's and light up at your smile. And you have one parent who has serious issues and boohoos at milestones, and a sane parent who has to find the crazy parent ugly crying while digging out the papis out of the trash can and putting them in a keepsake box. Lucky for you... you have at least one normal parent. I apologize in advance for how my BIG LOVE for you will embarrass the snot out of you when your teenagers. But for real... you're loved oh so much.

XoXo,