Exhausted…but content

I’m grateful that for my girls and the joy that they bring to our lives. 

I have never experienced so much heartache and joy all at the same time. They make me cringe and laugh everyday. I cringe from all the tantrums, fighting over toys for the millionth time, cleaning up crumbs and spilled milk, cleaning up poo in random places, and oh the drama – so much emotional drama. 

But then there’s much laughter sprinkled throughout the day – enough to rejuvenate me in an otherwise impossible situation.

Annelise said to me the other day – “Mommy, why do you have white hair?” I laughed and told her, “It’s because I’m getting old.” She said, “Oh…you’re getting tired?” (I had told her previously that old people get tired) Haha! Yes, I’m exhausted. My right leg is completely sore from holding Katelynn (who is 30 pounds) when she was sick the other week. Yes, I’m utterly exhausted but so content.

I’m thankful that we survived two HG pregnancies – the road to bring the girls here was certainly far from easy but so worth it in the end.

I feel that way about bringing Ethan home. The waiting is, at times, so painful. But I have to say I’m so thankful that I don’t have to endure another HG pregnancy. Compared to hyperemesis, this adoption waiting should be a piece of cake! Mostly, I’m honored that I get to be Ethan’s forever mommy. 

Mother's Day 2015

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Bringing Ethan Home

I have some very exciting news to share! Last November, we started our application process to adopt a boy from Korea. We found out on Friday that our home study was approved – this means that we are officially approved to adopt! If you want to follow us on our adoption adventure, you can go to bringingethanhome.wordpress.com.

Why did we decide to adopt a boy from Korea?

1) I had two nightmare pregnancies due to a rare, debilitating pregnancy disorder called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  HG occurs in about 1-2% of pregnant women and causes excessive nausea and vomiting which leads to dehydration, fatigue, malnutrition, and a general inability to function. I lost 15-20 pounds with each pregnancy and endured home IV treatment for one to two months.  After much thought and prayer, we decided not to get pregnant again due to the high probability that I would get HG again. If you’d like to read more about my journey with HG, you can go to prisonerinmyownbody.wordpress.com

2) God has convicted us to live out the gospel in a very concrete way by addressing the plight of orphans and foster children in this world.

We hope to inspire you to seek the Lord and to do your part in making the world a better and safer place for our needy children!

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Blessings,

Mimi

adoption announcement

Silliness, Sassy-ness and Sweetness in a Girl Turns Two

Time really flies when you have kids. Your baby wakes up one morning and is no longer a baby! Well, she’s kind of a baby/toddler/girl mix. The kind of girl who can now communicate in sentences like “I want more” or “Hi mommy” or demands to play the same Veggie Tales song twenty times a day. The kind of girl who is independent, strong-willed, and determined to carry her own backpack because she sees big sister going to school with a backpack. But then there are moments you realize she’s still very much a baby. Like when you can’t explain to her why you can’t eat a candle. Candles are not food. Candles are dangerous. 

K crying

Or when you realize that she still has those delicious, baby cheeks. I think I took Annelise’s baby cheeks for granted. Because I don’t remember the exact moment in which her baby cheeks disappeared. So I’m making a commitment to appreciate the little things, like Katelynn’s baby cheeks and her pot belly. I know that soon (maybe in a year), those cheeks will shrink and her belly will go down and she will become a big girl like her older sister. Till then, I have to steal as many kisses on her cheeks as I can.

k closeup

Happy birthday to our spirited baby girl, wild child, daredevil, Miss Piggie who can out-eat adults, and the only two year old I know who still drools through five bibs a day! You certainly keep me on my toes – I’ve been chasing you around all year, catching you bathing in toilet water, eating dirt and sand, climbing on all sorts of things and getting stuck in chairs and shelves. Somehow in the midst of the chaos, all your mischief and adventures, myriad tantrums and crying, you have managed to steal my heart. I think it has to do with those irresistibly plump cheeks. Kissing them is pure bliss. 

kate in house/

Turkey Chili and Cornbread Recipes

Fall is upon us and it’s finally starting to cool down in Valencia! I’m excited to actually be able to take the girls outside to play in the park. It was nearly impossible to do so in the summer due to the scorching heat.

To celebrate the beginning of autumn, I’m posting a turkey chili recipe and a cornbread recipe. It’s a healthy and hardy meal with lean turkey meat, beans, and veggies. Enjoy!

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Turkey Chili (Serves about 8)
Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 red or green bell pepper,
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 can tomato paste,
1 can cannellini beans
1 can kidney beans
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

Directions:
1) Sautee garlic, onion, and bell pepper with olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and cook 5-8 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
2) Increase heat to medium high and add turkey. Break up the turkey and cook about 4-6 minutes until the turkey is no longer pink.
3) Add all the herbs (except bay leaf) to the turkey and veggie mixture and cook about 1 minute.
4) Add tomatoes and chicken broth, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and add the bay leaf and simmer, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes to an hour.
5) Remove the bay leaf and season with more salt as needed.
6) If you like thicker or chunkier chili, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the broth.
7) Serve with additional toppings and cornbread!

Toppings to serve with the chili:
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Chopped onion
Sour cream (or substitute plain yogurt for a healthier option)

Cornbread (Serves 8-12)
Ingredients:
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 large egg, beaten

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
3) Combine buttermilk, melted butter and egg in small bowl. Mix well.
4) Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until few lumps are left. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared (greased) 8X8 baking pan.
5) Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

*Can easily double recipe by using a 9X13 pan.

Three

I cannot believe how old she has become. Sometimes, I find myself catching my breath when I realize how mature she is. Not too long ago, I think about a month before Lisi turned three, our family was taking a walk around the neighborhood when it hit me that our baby girl was no longer a baby…it’s the little things that you don’t catch when you’re with your kids 24/7.

The thing that I noticed on this walk was that Annelise was sprinting down the sidewalk. I know you’re thinking – So? What’s the big deal? She’s just running.

But it got me thinking about all the walks we had when she was a toddler, when her walking was still wobbly and when her little legs would get tired in a matter of minutes and she would start crying and asking us to hold her because she could not make it back home on her legs. Now, she is running around and able to walk all the way back home without a stroller or without us carrying her.

It was this sudden realization that made me tear up. Where did the time go? How did she grow up so fast without me even fully grasping what was right in front of my own eyes?! On that note, I commit to enjoying every day and every second with my girls who startle me with their development, creativity, joy and love for us. Happy 3rd birthday Annelise!

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DIY Frozen Festivities

Ever since watching Frozen, my daughter Annelise has been smitten with Elsa and Anna. Every night, she asks me before falling asleep – “Where’s Elsa? Where’s Anna?” So, of course, for her 3rd birthday party, I decided on a Frozen themed party for her.

It was a lot of fun coming up with different ideas on Frozen inspired decorations and activities and of course desserts!

Frozen Inspired Decor

I decided to work with blue, white, and dark purple colors for the decorations. Elsa’s gorgeous aqua blue dress was the inspiration for all the blue decorations. For the main backdrop, I used two types of blue tulle (a glittery aqua blue and a deeper blue). I simply hung the tulle onto our two curtain rods in the living room. I also hung up white tissue paper balls (inspired by snowballs of course).  I painted a canvas aqua blue and painted Olaf’s sweet quote about love with white lettering. On the mantle, I hung a ribbon banner composed of white, silver, and baby blue ribbons.

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The balloons were purple, pink and blue (inspired by Anna and Elsa’s outfits).IMG_4554

For the floral arrangements, I used purple delphinium and white and purple tulips.

frozen flowers

Frozen Inspired Party Activities

Pin the Carrot Nose on Olaf

I bought an Olaf poster and made his carrot nose out of orange felt. Super simple!

Elsa Crowns

We made crowns using baby blue paper, decorated with jewel stickers. I hole-punched the two ends of the crown and looped thin ribbon through the holes so the girls could tie the crowns around their heads. How cute do these little princesses look?!

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Frozen Inspired Desserts

Snow Cake

I baked a simple coconut cake. The flaked coconut really looks like snow! The great thing about this cake is you don’t have to worry about frosting it perfectly since you get to cover the frosting with the coconut. I made an adorable banner for the cake using blue and white polka dotted straws and a baby blue ribbon decorated with white snowflake stickers.

coconut cake

Recipe – I used Ina Garten’s recipe for coconut cake.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/coconut-cake-recipe.html

Snowflake Chocolate Cupcakes

I baked chocolate cupcakes frosted with a cream cheese frosting. I created baby blue frosting by mixing the frosting with Wilton’s Sky Blue Icing. Then I decorated the cupcakes with white pearls or blue sprinkles. For the cupcake toppers, I used snowflake stickers that I found at Michael’s.

frozen cupcakes

Recipe – I followed Glorious Treats blog’s chocolate cupcake recipe as well as the cream cheese frosting recipe.

http://www.glorioustreats.com/2010/12/snowflake-cupcakes.html

Hope this inspires your creativity for a fun-filled Frozen party!

Blessings,

Mimi

Glory in Suffering

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Mother’s Day has passed and today is HG Awareness Day. Almost a year and a half has passed since I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum for the second time. HG is a rare, debilitating pregnancy disorder which occurs in about 1-2% of pregnant women. It is a disorder which is commonly misunderstood and routinely minimized by the public as well as by the medical community. Often times family members and friends are clueless as to the severity of the disorder which complicates matters and the HG sufferer suffers alone and in isolation.

HG is characterized by severe and excessive nausea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration (and subsequent visits to the ER for IV treatment), weight loss due to the excessive vomiting and inability to hold down food or water, hyper olfaction (extremely strong sense of smell), fatigue, lightheadedness, and overall inability to function due to the severity of nausea. HG causes disruption in day to day activities – inability to care for oneself, inability to work, inability to care for children, inability to shower, etc, etc! Many HG sufferers are forced to stay on bed rest simply to avoid movement which makes the nausea worse.

HG symptoms are the absolute worst the first trimester. Some women find relief after the first trimester but many HG sufferers still battle severe nausea/vomiting to the very end of their pregnancy. Severe cases require in-home IV treatment or a PICC line for continuous IV fluids to make sure the HG sufferer is hydrated.

Heavy doses of anti-emetics (anti-nausea med’s) are given – Zofran, Phenergan and Compazine. The most severe case would require a feeding tube so that the woman is not completely malnourished. Fortunately most HG pregnancies end with successful full term births! However, I have heard of cases in which the pregnancy was terminated by the doctor due to the severity of the disorder in order to preserve the mom’s life.

Nausea seems like such a harmless thing at first glance but imagine being so nauseous that you cannot stand the smell of your own, dear husband. Walking around or trying to take a shower becomes an insurmountable task because you end up puking due to the motion. I have described HG as a 9 month bout of severe food poisoning or stomach flu.

The most challenging part about HG is not the physical suffering (as difficult as that is!) but the emotional toll it takes on the sufferer. Many women with HG suffer from depression due to the chronic medical issues day in and day out. Many women contemplate abortion as well as suicide due to the immense burden that excessive nausea/vomiting and dehydration take on the body and subsequently on the mind and soul.

My journey with HG started with my first pregnancy in November 2011. We didn’t even have a chance to rejoice in our first pregnancy because of how fast HG ravaged my body. I had no clue that this nightmare would hit me. But I found out very quickly that my pregnancy was not going to be normal when I threw up everything I tried to eat very early on in my first trimester. My mom kept insisting that I try to eat for the baby’s sake but I would get extremely frustrated knowing that it didn’t matter what I ate, my body was simply rejecting it! I remember telling my OB about my excessive nausea/vomiting and she brushed it off, saying that it was just normal morning sickness and that I should feel much better soon.

She, unfortunately, was very, very wrong. It got to the point that I was starving, not eating anything, but still vomiting! I was vomiting water and bile. I was on bed rest and the nausea was very relentless and there 24/7. My only relief from the nausea was to sleep. I remember very distinctly on Christmas day of 2011 just vomiting all day (maybe 10 times). I felt very out of it. I stepped onto our scale and was shocked to see that I had lost 15 pounds! My gut told me that something was very, very wrong. This could not be normal morning sickness.

We went to the ER that day and I was immediately admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. The doctor ordered a PICC line (a long term IV line) for me and set up in-home IV treatment. I received in-home IV treatment for one whole month before I was able to start eating normally. During this time, Danny faithfully took care of me and even administered the anti-nausea medications through the PICC line for me daily. After my first trimester, I felt much better and was able to go back to work. I still had mild-grade nausea and had nausea till the day I delivered. Annelise was 8 pounds, 5 ounces – a healthy and big girl!

My second battle with HG was much, much harder than the first. I remember finding out I was pregnant and feeling angry that it happened so soon (Annelise was not even a year old)! I was not ready to face hyperemesis again. I hoped and prayed that my second time would be easier. But those prayers were not answered and my second HG pregnancy was an even darker nightmare than the first.

My symptoms were worse and lasted the whole pregnancy. I lost a total of 20 pounds with my second pregnancy. Again, the doctor ordered home health care and I received in-home IV treatment for two, long months. I hoped that by the end of the first trimester, I would feel much better. But no relief came and I continued to vomit through my second and even my third trimester. There were occasional good days where I felt good enough to go out and eat. But those were really rare. Most days were spent at home, in bed, watching television around the clock just to keep my mind distracted from the nausea. I had insomnia at night due to the nausea and would stay up till 3 am.

I was unable to take care of Annelise so I stayed with my parents for several months so that they could take care of me and Annelise. I was unable to shower regularly during my first trimester so my mom would wash my hair for me once a week. My hair would get so tangled; I felt utterly inhuman, like an animal, like a zombie.

I battled depression with my first pregnancy but the depression with my 2nd pregnancy was worse due to the longer lasting symptoms and my frustrations that I wasn’t feeling better. Every day, I wanted to die just to escape the merciless nausea. Every day, I asked my husband to shoot me, to end my misery. Every day, I felt the temptation to abort the pregnancy just to feel normal again. The spiritual battle was enormous and I am so thankful for God’s grace, the conditional love of my husband and parents, and many friends’ prayers – for protecting me not only physically but spiritually.

Even after giving birth to a very healthy and even bigger baby (Katelynn was a whopping 9 pound, 5 ounces!), I had mild-grade nausea that lasted a month! I was petrified that this nausea would never leave me, but it did. And I’m grateful to have survived this ordeal. I’m thankful for my two, lovely girls – my reward and my gift after the suffering. If there is anything I’ve learned from all of this – it is this – that God is good all the time.

This is the lesson that Job and Joseph learned. This is the lesson God forced me to learn. There is glory and a purpose to our suffering because it molds us into Christlikeness. Suffering from HG has taught me to appreciate life and health. It has brought me a greater compassion and empathy for those suffering from chronic medical illnesses.

I am reminded of these verses from the book of Job which ministered to me during the long, dark nights I battled insomnia and nausea.

Job 1:8-12

“Did you notice my servant Job?” the Lord asked. “There is no one on earth as faithful and good as he is. He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil.”

Satan replied, “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? 10 You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. 11 But now suppose you take away everything he has—he will curse you to your face!”

12 “All right,” the Lord said to Satan, “everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself.” So Satan left.

At the end of all of this, I still have my faith in Christ and that was the great test that Satan requested and that God allowed in Job’s life.

I hope that you have a better understanding of how debilitating hyperemesis is. If you have the means, please consider making a donation to the HER Foundation at helpher.org. We need to raise awareness as well as funds to research this disorder in order to find the cause and cure!

I hope my story inspires you to fight whatever battle you’re going through and to come out stronger at the end of it! If you’re interested in reading further about my HG journey, you can go to prisonerinmyownbody. 

Blessings,
Mimi

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The Joys of Mothering Toddlers

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s a great time to reflect on the blessings of being a mommy to two active toddlers. Our days are hectic and filled with lots of drama (aka fighting between my daughters) and it can be so easy to grumble about how tired I am or how difficult it is to raise my little ones who are only 18 months apart (or how many diapers I have to change).

But I know that despite how exhausted I am, at the end of the day I am a very blessed mother. It’s such an honor and privilege that we shouldn’t take for granted, especially as I think about my friends who have been waiting to get pregnant for quite some time. Furthermore, I know that God truly had mercy on our family by granting us healthy daughters as I battled hyperemesis with both my pregnancies.

Here is my list of the top ten joys of being a mama to toddlers:

  1. Hearing them say, “I love you.”
  2. Receiving hugs and slobbery kisses from them.
  3. The way they eagerly imitate everything you do (from the way you eat & drink to the way you scold the dog).
  4. Knowing that you are their security in times of distress.
  5. The privilege of training them to obey the Lord
  6. Losing yourself joyfully in sacrificing your body, time and energy to these little ones because they are so needy
  7. The complete and genuine joy in their faces when you come home…from a short trip to the grocery store.
  8. Hearing them say the darnedest things like – “Mommy, don’t worry.”
  9. Having a little shadow with you all day – they follow you even into the bathroom.
  10. Witnessing their amazing milestones – walking, talking, climbing, spinning, engaging in pretend play, making friends, saying their own prayers.

That Irksome Question…

That irksome question that people like to casually ask stay-at-home moms is, “So, what do you do all day?”

It almost feels like you have to defend yourself to be a stay-at-home mom. I think the question that they are really asking is – “Why are you a stay at home mom? / Why aren’t you out in the world doing something productive?” / “Aren’t you bored out of your mind staying at home all the time?” / “What do you really do with all that extra time you have?”

I usually go out with the girls to the library, park, a friend’s house for a playdate or the mall in the morning and come home in the afternoon for their nap. Here is a sample schedule for a day in which we stay at home.

7:00 am-8:00 am – Annelise wakes up and comes running to my bed. “Mommy, come on! Mommy? Mommy?”

8:00 am – I get drag myself out of bed. I change Annelise’s diaper, then Katelynn’s.

8:15 am – I take our dog Cole out to the yard for his morning pee and poo.

8:30 am – I make the kids breakfast and feed Katelynn and sometimes have to help Annelise eat.

8:45 am – Annelise spills her milk. I encourage her to be more careful while cleaning up the mess.

9:00 am – I make myself breakfast and eat try to eat in peace.

9:15 am – I wash the dishes.

9:30 am – If laundry needs to be done, I sort and do laundry (I have to do about four loads of laundry a week)

9:45 am – I change Katelynn’s poopy diaper.

10:00 am – If the house needs vacuuming (I have to vacuum twice a week because of the dog hair!), I vacuum upstairs while the kids are playing downstairs.

10:15 am – Annelise interrupts me, “Mommy, are you all done vacuum?” I will tell her no and encourage her to play with Katelynn. She refuses to and will simply wait for me at the stairs.

10:30 am – I am almost done vacuuming but I hear hysterical screaming/crying from both the girls. I run down the stairs to see what’s going on. They are fighting over a toy. I try to calm the girls down. I try to convince Annelise to play with something else. Sometimes she’ll push Katelynn to get her way.

10:45 am – I am disciplining Annelise for pushing Katelynn. She is not liking the discipline…It takes 15 minutes for her to calm down and apologize to me and Katelynn.

11:00 am – We go outside to our yard for some play time. I blow bubbles for the girls or we color with chalk on the concrete.

11:30 pm – The girls are fighting over a piece of chalk. I have a talk with both the girls.

11:45 am – I make lunch.

12:00 pm – I feed the girls lunch.

12:30 pm – I make myself lunch and eat try to eat in peace.

12:35 pm – Annelise wants me to hold her. I tell her she has to wait since mommy’s eating lunch. She sulks and goes to a corner to suck her thumb.

12:45 pm – I wash the dishes.

1:00 pm – I read books to the girls.

1:20 pm – I change Annelise’s poopy diaper. (Sometimes I feel like a professional poop cleaner…)

1:30 pm – I put the girls down for their afternoon nap.

1:45 pm – Annelise sneaks out of her room and says she doesn’t want to sleep.

2:00 pm – I put Annelise back down for her nap. She finally takes her nap.

2:15 pm – I have to decide whether I want to shower, take a nap, or fold laundry or vacuum downstairs. I need to take Cole out for his afternoon pee/poo.

3:00-4:00 pm – The girls wake up from their nap. I change their diapers.

4:00 pm – Time for their afternoon snack.

4:15 pm – Katelynn has managed to grab a hold of shoes and she is gleefully gnawing on one for the hundredth time. I tell her no and take the shoe away. She throws herself on the ground and starts wailing…as if it’s the end of the world. I ignore her and she eventually gets distracted by another object.

4:30 pm – Coloring time or an art activity for Annelise. Free play for Katelynn.

5:00 pm – Time to cook dinner.

5:30 pm – Annelise interrupts me, “Mommy, watcha doing?”

5:45 pm – Katelynn is crying because she’s hungry. I appease her with some cereal. Annelise wants some too. They gorge on Cheerios or goldfish.

6:00 pm – Dinner is served. Danny will feed Katelynn. I can semi-enjoy dinner. Annelise refuses to eat dinner. I have to scramble to find something she will actually eat (lately the only things she wants to eat are Cheerios, goldfish, fruit, kimchi, pickles, cheese, milk, bagels, yogurt, soups).

6:30 pm – Danny will do the dishes while I play with the girls.

7:00 pm – Bath time for the girls.

7:30 pm – Drama ensues because both the girls want to be held by me (not daddy) at the same time. I try to hold both of them on my lap but they are pushing each other while on my lap. (Sigh)

7:40 pm – Annelise is frantically searching for her bunny. She cannot sleep without her bunny. (Sigh) We search high and low for her bunny. I finally find the bunny downstairs. I make a mental note to purchase a back-up bunny in the case of an emergency in which we really cannot find her bunny. Of course, this is the 20th time I make this mental note.

7:50 pm – We brush the girls’ teeth and change their diapers one last time.

8:00 pm – We pray together and put the girls down for bed.

8:30 pm – Annelise sneaks out of her room and attempts to negotiate her bedtime…

8:45 pm – Put Annelise down again. She wants me (not daddy) to lie next to her in bed.

9:00 pm – I sneak out of Annelise’s room.

9:00 pm – Midnight – Cole eats his dinner. I am exhausted and want to sleep but I get my second wave of energy (I’m a night person!). These are the things I can get done while the kids are asleep – I can take a shower, read, fold more laundry, clean up clutter around the house, go grocery shopping, clean the toilets, watch TV, spend some time with Danny.

12:30 am – Katelynn wakes up crying because she lost her pacifier. I grope around her crib for her paci. I find it and place it back in her mouth. She falls back asleep.

1:00 am – I finally go to sleep. I should be sleeping right now but of course, I found something else to do – blogging….I will so regret this tomorrow morning!

This is what I do all day, every day. Sometimes it feels like the chores are endless. The dishes pile up, there is always laundry that needs to be done or folded, the toys are always cluttered around the house, and something always needs cleaning.

Sometimes it feels like the battles with discipline are endless. I am constantly having to remind Annelise to share and not push and to be gentle with her sister. I am perpetually taking random objects out of Katelynn’s mouth and telling her to not touch dangerous items.

I am a diaper-changer, a housekeeper, a chef, a wife, a referee between the girls’ squabbles over toys, a discipliner, a story-time reader, an art teacher, a bible teacher, an educator, a temper tantrum tamer, an entertainer, puppet show master, professional tickler, but most of all a mommy who has been blessed with the opportunity to love and care for her children.

I have been given precious time to nurture these relationships and to teach them the ways of the Lord. I have to remember this in moments where it really does feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again.

Elsa?

Today, I was in the bathroom and I made sure the door was locked because if I don’t lock the door, I know that my daughters will come bursting in. And of course, my older daughter Annelise (almost 3) came running to the door and knocked.

Instead of our usual back and forth – “Mommy?” / “Mommy’s peeing, you have to wait”, something different unfolded.

“Elsa?”

I chuckled and replied, “Yes?”

“Elsa? Snowman?”

“Do you want to build a snowman?” I asked. She was re-enacting the poignant scene between the two sisters from Frozen.

I opened the bathroom door and was greeted with a very enthusiastic rendition of “Let It Go.”

Annelise then grabbed my hand and urged me, “Elsa, come on!”

“Oh okay….where are we going?”

“Build a snowman!”

“Okay, let’s go build a snowman!”

We gleefully ran around our magical, make-believe castle, searching for Olaf the goofy but lovable snowman.

Somewhere down the line, it hit me – my little girl is growing up. She has such an active imagination and is so impressionable and absorbs stories and information like a sponge. I had to hold back my tears as I tried to compose myself and continue to engage in her fantasy in which she was Anna and I was Elsa.

Sometimes as a mom who spends all day, everyday with my children, I don’t notice all the changes in them that take place everyday. It feels like I just blinked and life fast-forwarded and my oldest daughter has become so mature, creative and expressive.

As Anna and Elsa loved each other with a fierce kind of love, I hope that one day, my girls will build many “snowmen” and many memories together.

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