Dear Man at the Deli,

Your question the other day wondering if taking care of baby is all I do - has really messed with me again. Yes, right now that is all I do – but, but…. but!!!

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I used to think when I was expecting that I wasn’t going to let this new child take over my world and ‘be’ my life.  I was determined not to change but still be me and have time for what I did

IMG_1808 - Version 2before baby.  I didn’t want to be one if those moms that always and only talks about her kids.  Simply, I wanted to keep my identity as Jolynn and not surrender to mom, mommy or momma.  No matter how I fought it or pretended that he didn’t change me, he has; my identity has changed.  And, I struggled with this new way of living those first months.

Sometimes I wish I was still ‘out there’ in the business world.  I miss it and it pulls.  Because, I do have time for more.  I have countless times struggled with doing more.  Producing more.  Creating more.  All to no avail.  I do more laundry.  I produce more clean corners.  I create more foods.  Give me something else!  A challenge!  A paycheck at least!

I battle if I am I doing enough?  Should I be juggling more?  Part time job?  Work from home?  Start my own business?  I don’t know.  Honestly, some days stretch mundane, weeks span out wide and open before me and I dream of what else I could pursue.

If my reality was commuting to work throughout my week, it would be the arms of another who reached for my babe when he woke or cried or put stones in his mouth. Someone else.  Not me.  Someone for me to most likely compete with and share my motherhood with.

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Diaper duty, teething tantrums, and plastered potatoes do get wearisome. Those moments with another ‘mother’ to stand in the trenches would be relaxing some days, I will not lie, while I engaged in adult-y things and work.  Someone to entertain him when he climbs my legs, rescue him when he splashes in the toilette or undertake the long process of spooning cereal in his mouth.

This baby stage has clung to my shoulders and filled my arms.  My eyes have taken in growing changes.  When I settled with saying home, I recognized that I got to see Gavin when he first made eye contact with me, then smiled, eventually rolled over, first sat up, crawled and someday walk and talk.  So, there’s no guilt to hold for not being absent.

I can say - I was there when…
My child can say - mommy was at home with me when I was little.

Please, sir, don’t think am writing this to make those feel bad who work away with small ones in care of another, I have friends that do that and you quite possibly have friends and family that do as well.  I’m ok with those that do work away.  What I am trying to say is I’m ok with me, too.  With me as I stay at home.  Because I used to not be ok with me.

~

Today my dear little one wanted to be outside so I took my folding towels business outside to watch my fast, stone sucking, crawler.  Soon, job neglected, I grabbed my camera and was busy trying to freeze this moment in my toddlers life.  These days will soon be no more and he will be running.

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Sir, when you gave that snarky laugh, I submerged to that low place where I was not ok with me.  I don’t need you to be ok with me (though that would be nice) but I need to be ok me.  This may sound like I am trying to convince myself that I’m ok.  I probably am.  Your question raised all doubt again of what I ‘do’ and I spent the rest of the afternoon struggling that what I do is enough.  Then I realized that for me and what I really want with my life as a parent  is this:

I really want:
- to be present as my children as they are growing up
- to be their schedule, routine and security
- to enjoy and revel in them
- to study them, know them and ‘grow’ them in character and God chasers

Just being at home, I hope to get what I really want.  (Though, working away might sound easier to me….)

Therefore, I may talk about my child, his sleeping habits, eating habits and playing habits.  I might bore you with details at times.  I have become a mother.  It happened.  Yup.  It is my ‘work’.  Job title.  My 9-5  + overtime, grave shift and weekends.

Yes, I stay at home.  Yes, I take care of Gavin.  I take care of him, enjoy him, feed, bathe, snuggle, watch and rock him.  As much as it was difficult to get used to this job title, I am his momma.

So, in answer to your question, yes, all I do is take care of my son.

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Sincerely & warmly,

Momma Jolynn

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there was a Wedding!

and we celebrated and cherished family!

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~

Last week was travel time.

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Driving from home to Dallas, shuttling from remote parking lot to airport, flying from DFW to Chicago, shuttling from Chicago O’hare to Budget car rental agency, driving from Budget agency to Rockford and our hotel and final destination.  All in a day.  At least we didn’t drive from Pa to Illonios like the rest of my family did, which took 13ish hrs.

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Could not be more grateful for my excellent little traveler.  He did so well & I am a very blessed momma.  To bad he won’t remember all his trips he’s been on in his first year of life!  This youngin’ has been around!

 

Last we saw my family was the beginning of the year.  Now, 2 months later we are soaking up all the family time we can, however we can, where ever we can because we know it will be a long time til the next time together.  Hotel lobby/eating area hosted our loud, happy selves numerous mornings.  And, conveniently our rooms were suits with two rooms which made nap time and socializing so much nicer with little ones.  We definitely scored with our Quality Suits on Waldon Street!

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~

Intentional family time was so evident from Josh with his wedding week in Illinois.  3 of my 6 brothers plus my Jason were in the bridal party.  So right there when the groomsmen hung out, got fitted for their tux’s or had their bachelor party, it was family being together.  Often in those days and hours before their 3 o’clock wedding, if felt like Josh was just chill in’ with the fam – at the hotel in mom & dad’s room, down by the indoor pool, visiting with me and Jason in our room – he did so well at connecting even with a wedding was on his mind.

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 I love how Josh loves his family.  For Josh, living in Colorado for over a year (which is where they will be living post marriage) and being away from family has put a stronger value on family.  Living in Texas, 1500 miles away, I get this.

Rehearsal happened Thursday night.  Rachel and I, with our kiddos, spent most of our time getting the dinner room ready and child patrol. So I completely missed how the ceremony was going to go.  I did sit up and watch for a little bit, enough to get this pic and chat with Lisa’s relative, a fellow Texan. :)

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Caleb and Hayley helping decorate the board with hearts and other pretty things.

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 They weren’t planning on having open mic at their reception so they created a space for blessings and well wishes and funny stories at rehearsal dinner along with a get to know each other game, which consisted of questions about the couple.  Josh & Lisa asked me to be the MC, which I was honored but nervous.  There was so many amazing and Godly people there that I didn’t want to sound crazy or lame and embarrass myself!  Affirmation is always nice and afterwards I was obliged by a few good jobs‘.

Towards the end, the brides maids started sharing and that’s when things got emotional.  I told Lisa she has the sweetest friends!  The things they said about her were so precious and real and true and beautiful.  And, I am so glad I get her for a sister-in-law!!

In closing, Josh and Lisa thanked everybody and prayed.

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~

I was so excited for the actual wedding & reception.  Josh has been in the drama/theater field for many years and he told us his wedding was going to be a PRODUCTION!

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The ceremony was simple yet never lacked meaning.  Not a lot of showbiz on that side except for the bridesmaids with there whoop-hollering! at times like when the bride came down the aisle with her dad, and when the couple walked out.  I know a couple times the pastor said something funny and everybody laughed out loud.

When the Maid of Honor sang a solo, the couple braided a three strand ribbon and had communion.  Before that they did the most beautiful ‘hand ceremony’ EVER!!  More tears…

This song Alyseia sang was sssooooooo b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.   My heart melts.

It was special when the dad gave her away which didn’t happen all to soon.  He stood up there with Lisa for a while, even after Josh and Lisa exchanged a commitment, there was a prayer and a little opening and only then did her dad say, “Her mother and I.”  The hug, the long look in her daddy’s eyes and the tears.  It was precious.

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I felt like God was truly a part of their special day.  It was so apparent.  So many times there was prayer; an invitation admitting God’s presence and blessing and receiving his honor and acknowledgment.

All I have is a picture of immediate family.

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As the couple left the church they scurried through a tunnel cheering peoples!



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A selfie of us :)

 

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So proud of my men…

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and happy with them.


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A shot with my dad’s 3 sista’s.

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Pretty much from the wedding on -> Gavin was in zombi mode.  Yes, he was so. very. tired.  You can’t tell at all from the pictures, can you?

~

The reception!

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Our table :)

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This groomsmen’s taken!

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Happy lil love birds

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Lisa’s dad used to play in the Jazz Band, Moonlight Jazz Orchestra, and for the couple’s first dance he tenderly performed a saxophone solo, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’  It was so sentimental taking in the slow step and sweet song.


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~

Well, Josh is married now.  Excited to journey with him/them on this level.  I can’t describe how unbelievably happy I am for him.  Lisa is a sweet snag and addition to our family.  He may think it’s a win for him selfishly, but I know it’s a win for me as well!

Their future is living in the the big city of Denver, Colorado.  He, manager at Chic Fil A and she, various duties with Kingdom Building Ministries- where they met.  I hope, maybe someday we will make the trip up to their Land.  You know, it’s not quite as far as Pennsylvania! ;)

~

and I may have dose-se-doed a wee little bit…

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Care



In case you don’t follow me on Facebook or haven’t heard about my husband’s brother, Tim, who is currently battling Leukemia, I thought I’d put some words about it up on the blog today.

Tuesday night he went to MD Anderson hospital in Houston and is currently admitted there awaiting treatment. It’s a difficult, uneasy journey for his wife, Norma, and 4 sons Derwin, Derek, Shannon and Sheldon to face. You can follow his story more closely here on Facebook. We are not guaranteed his life but we wait, hope and pray for it every minute of our lives.


And, we care.

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Some thoughts I jotted down the other night.

~
Caring for baby but that’s my everyday
Care for husband- not like a baby,
Not like a man that is sick; sick and weak
Since an ER trip my caring hearts’ grown
Now, caring for husband as he finds voice to his feelings
Caring for sister-in-law in deep mournfulness blue
Caring with friends who shake my hand and hug my shoulders with a fresh tear
Caring as others come to offer their presence and peace
Caring by showing up
Being there
Sitting with
Caring is what we woman do.
It’s a part of our heart, flowing out of.
Constant flowing.
We care ’til our hearts hurt.
We care ’til our backs break.
‘Til our arms ache.
‘Til our brain goes numb.
And, ’til our eyes twitch from lost sleep.
As woman, wives & mommas we care.
~

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I don’t mean to exclude men. Please, my all means, don’t think me chauvinist! I KNOW they care, especially Jason, my husband, cares deeply for his brother battling leukemia right now. The pain in his eyes and eagerness to get to his bedside prove that ore and ore.
I am writing from my heart. My feelings deep within my feminine soul. Sometimes I feel there is nothing I can say or do at a time like this. Nothing to say to a sister-in-law as she does ALL she can to care for her lover.
I care. I pray. I hope.

Amendment: the pictures were taken while Tim was in care at Providence Hospital, Waco, Tx. Jason and I plan to go gown to Houston maybe sometime this wknd.

 

 

Words from a Foodie!


Do y’all remember this?

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My tare outs from Feb Martha Stewart Magazine?

It’s been done.  All of them.  I’ve mixed, baked, melted, and chewed.  Posting about it gave me the right amount of enthusiasm to get the job done.  Yes, motivation sprouted from sharing my craving to try these recipes.  Sometimes it takes just that.  Talking about what I want to do that gets the job done.

These Chocolaty Pretzel-and-Peanut Cookies Bars were amazing the day they were made.  Personal opinion, pretzels in food does not taste as good one day later…

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Gotta try this Whole-Wheat Brown-Sugar Sticky Buns!  Ladies, it’s tasty with a hint of healthy!

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Sadly only one left!  Here today, gone tomorrow as I write this!

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And, lastly,this > > > Aahh-mA-ZInG  > > > Speedy Biscotti 

 Loved these little guys!  {You only have to bake them once!}  I will so make these again!  Click the link to watch the video for recipe!

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X X X X X

This very week, Jason and I have been relishing our time with this flavorful couple!  One way to do that is over food.

Enjoying Mexican food at Rosa’s Cafe.  Over a table crowded with spicy food we laugh, spill stories, chew apart hot topics and grin like goobers for selfies!

Gavin dear has grown.  In fact, he is now able to wear this matching 12 month onesie (at 9 mon) with his dad’s t-shirt stitched by Aunt Lucy.  Sunday morning father/son matchy moments.

{{ Warm fuzzy memories }}

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And Gavin’s faces he makes these days always melt me in a puddle,

right in the moment,

right there,

EVERY time he cheeses like that.

Because I love him to Reese’s >PIECES! <

I am FOREVER changed.

I am  a MOMMA with a HEART that is 1,000x’s bigger than EVER BEFORE!


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Love this.

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{{ Pop goes my heart }}

Don’t you just wanna squish that belly!??!

the Gift of Life and Peace -> in our minds

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How easy it is to let my mind slip and delve into the negative self talk!

All is takes is one little look at somebody sitting in church in front of me or reading a post on Facebook.  Pictures on Facebook get me too.

No matter what, I find something wrong with me or I’m not good enough.

  • horrible mother
  • not clean enough house
  • bad taste in clothes
  • worries too much
  • talks to much
  • talks to little
  • too spiritual
  • not spiritual enough

And the list goes on and on.

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A friend mentioned (in a totally non relating conversation) that at night the worrying tends to get worse.  It’s easy to over dramatize things at night then to think rationality.  So, I began to monitor my thoughts in the evenings.  And, she’s right.  I freaked out way sooner.  I over-reacted.  I worryed my pretty little head.  Situations tended to get way out of perspective.

Things just seem way worse.

At night.

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Jason told me a story about a mother who locked her 2 little children in a car for a long period of time with the heater on and they died.  Suddenly that story came to my mind one night.  And I almost started panicking.  I could barely focus on reading.

Then I remember what my friend said.  A short time later I shoved the story from my mind, said a quick prayer and I could read again.

But, it’s amazing how when I let my mind say fixed on bad stories or negative self talk, even dialoging conversations in my head ( <- anybody else do this?!) – and NOT always at NIGHT, honestly – I can quickly spiral out of reality and away from TRUTH.  My mind can think so many thinks, as Dr. Suess says, that if I”m not careful, it begins to runaway with CrAzYnEsSSSS!

And, I actually BELIEVE it most of the time!

 

Sitting in church one Sunday, I started comparing myself to the lady in front of me and how much of a better mother she was.  Right then, I caught myself.  It took a little effort to remind me that I am a good mother and eventually my thoughts we redirected.  (I wish I could say I prayed that time since we were in church no less!!)

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I think I started something.  And I like it.

You know, we so easily sell ourselves short compared to the person beside us.  There is ALWAYS something way wrong with us and somebody else is just way better.  Immediately, those well rehearsed phrases:

“Why would she like me my clothes is not as cool.”

“My baby is so much more wild then hers’.  I’m so embarrassed to be with her because she probably thinks I’m a bad mom.  And I’m sure I am.”

“I don’t fit in with ______.  They never invite me along.  What’s wrong with me?”

“Something must be wrong with me because she never comments on my Facebook.”

Yes, phrases like these, run through our minds (at least mine) affirming our inadequacies and we turn ourselves away from real friendship.  We turn away from friends because we believe our thoughts.  We turn away from the truth about each other.  The truth about ourselves.  The truth of what God thinks of ourselves.

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But what if we fixed our minds on things above?  Things that are true?  Honorable?  Lovely?

Especially true?  True about ourselves?

Because the truth is we are enough.  In Christ.  Lacking nothing.

Reading Romans 8 verse 6, Paul says, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life! and peace!

I want life!

I want peace!

I want life and peace in my mind!

As ladies, don’t we all?

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So, today, I want to give you the gift of peace of mind.  How?  By letting you know that I am not thinking any bad things about you.  I think you are neat.  One of a kind.  Talented.  Good cook.  Loving mother.  Sensitive friend.  Fashionable and smart.

In fact, I’m over here trying not to compare my lousy self to next you.  I’m trying to un-convince myself that I will never have what it takes.  I’m trying to believe that as child of God, I am enough.  I’m trying to believe that God created me with something to offer you.  I’m trying to let the Spirit control my mind.

Today, I wish life and peace -> in your mind.

Texas Snow Day

Baby’s first snow.


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We don’t have any boots, so the only shoes we got will have to do!

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Not knowing what to do with all the white stuff, he ker-plunked down and looked at me questioningly.

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But, a boys’ gotta discover his world!

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No time for sitting around . . . .

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Rosey nosey & pink cheeks

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Hello Snow!

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january.

Thinking about another year and things to accomplish.

A new year and goals and ideas taking flight from a soul that failed to take flight last year.  Or, it’s the vision of what could be/should be/ might be? different that presses in our minds and urge us to a new year with different expectations, dreams, plans, visions.

I made a list of things that (mostly) MUST get done by the end of the year -> or more ideally, this spring.

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Just some goals.  And, I’m happy to say that 2 already can be removed as of January 20th.

What a difference it makes in my life if I simply write stuff down.

It makes it more official.  More real.  And it helps organize my days so they don’t feel like they just all fall on top of each other with nothing to show for their poor jumbled unorganized selves.

And, not just a thought up there swirling around in my brain with the rest of my >>>>>unfinished thoughts <<<<<

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This morning I baked.

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I love pretzels.  Not usually plain but with things.  Like chocolate for instance.  :)

Feb Martha Stewart Living magazine had this recipe in it along with several others that I tore out and added to my line above the stove.  I wanna try these recipes and I also love the pretty food pictures that inspire me.

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Can’t wait to try this:

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I’m ALL about SPAaa-Eeed, people!!

I don’t know if you know this or not, but to make delish biscotti, it’s best if you bake it all night….

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The beginning of this month we flew up to Pa for a Zimmy Christmas.

Gavin did great flying.

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We had some great family time

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(Oldest and youngest to date Zimmy grandchildren.  There is one more on the way.)

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Grandpa time

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GREAT grandma time

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Quelf game time

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Cousin time

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Party with the besties New Year’s Eve time

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Our babies that are 1 month apart ‘meet and greet’ time

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And some Zimmy men time :)  Bah-ha ha!!

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*note the one civilized handsome man on the far left ;)

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And, January’s almost over.

And I’m still handing out our New Year’s cards and trying to have my teeth brushed before lunch…