And then came Mother’s Day

There was a day when I dreaded mother’s day.  Not because I don’t have the best mom in the world…I do-I do!

But because there was a time when I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.

And I couldn’t.

Since we now have two beautiful girls who are one and three-and-a-half, it’s sometimes hard to remember not having children.  And since having our second I find I don’t have the moments to pause like I used to, sitting completely still looking at my children with appreciation, love, joy and pure gratefulness that God blessed us with them.

When we just had our oldest daughter, for the first 10 or so months of her life I cried tears of gratitude every time I rocked her to sleep at night.  I can still hear the lullabies we played as she fell asleep.  I can still feel the warm glow of her nightlight.  I can still see her little face snuggled into me as she slept so peacefully.

I firmly remember asking God several nights as she slept in my arms to freeze that memory into my mind so I would never ever forget how I felt during those moments, what I saw and what I heard.

And as I had already learned so well, He answers prayers.

When my husband and I were first married, neither of us were in any hurry to have children.  We waited about three or so years before starting, not even thinking of any possibility that it wouldn’t just happen.

But month after month went by and nothing happened. Over the span of about three-four years we tried various things to get pregnant including fertility medications, all the way up to in vitro fertilization.  That was the most difficult time of my life thus far.

It is something that is hard to understand unless you’ve been through it.  Those few years were filled with every emotion you could imagine and I questioned so many times why God just wouldn’t give us a baby when everyone around us seemed to be having children.

I began to avoid situations that would remind me in the most in-your-face-ways of what everyone else had that I wanted: baby showers, kids’ birthday parties, family picnics at church and of course, Mother’s Day.

But this blog isn’t about the sadness.  It’s about the hope.  It’s about the fact that I would travel that hard journey one million times over because it made me a better disciple and a better mom.

There is no question that through those hard years God strengthened my faith. And I humbly had the opportunity to prove that no matter what the circumstances in my life are, I Believe.

And then came Mother’s Day.

To celebrate Mother’s Day is what I prayed to God for many, many times over.  I’m talking, on my knees, crying out, begging, pleading, desperation prayers.

And He answered.

Image

Worth the wait, worth the tears.

But most importantly I am humbled that God took the time on me…little old me to…to strengthen my faith.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7

For my children, God made me a better mother so He can use me to lay out the plan for their future in Christ.  As James Dobson says in A Night Light for Parents, “If we truly believe that the eternal souls of our children hang in the balance – that only by winning them for Christ can we spend eternity with them in heaven – will we change the way each day is lived?”

Yes I will.

But only by the love that was shown to me through such a difficult time am I even remotely able to impact my children and show them God’s true love.

So on this Mother’s Day I thank God that He waited to answer our prayers for children; that we have two little girls who are healthy, happy and arrived in perfect timing.  My husband and I have been so unbelievably blessed by them in our lives, more than we ever imagined or asked for (Ephesians 3:20).  There is nothing more that I want to be than their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mama Burde

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So I bought this pair of jeans…

It’s been a while since I have purchased a pair of jeans for myself.  Last fall, winter and early spring I was pregnant, so was wearing maternity pants.  This spring after our baby was born was like Christmas as I pulled all of my pre-pregnancy clothes back out of totes.  Everything was new again, and I could cut off the rubber bands that were keeping my jeans up last fall as I avoided maternity pants as long as possible.

And since I pretty much live in yoga pants (much to my husband’s dismay), I really only wear a couple pair of jeans regularly.  All that background information is to make me look like less of a loser when I tell you it was probably in the spring of 2010 when I bought last myself a pair of jeans.  Sad, I know.

So, I found this cute pair of jeans at pretty much the only place that I know has jeans that will fit my excessively long legs.  Gap.  And, these jeans happened to be on sale and they were also dressier ‘trouser jeans,’ which fit into my master plan of avoiding skinny jeans for so long that they will go out of style.  Please.hurry.

So, I ordered the jeans in a Tall (waist size undisclosed…geez…how personal do you think I’m gonna get on this blog?).  I ordered them (oh yes…I said ‘them.’ OK, so actually I splurged and bought TWO pair of jeans.  I was making up for lost time).  I checked my current Gap jeans to make sure I ordered the right sizes and waited anxiously for the jeans to arrive.

The just recently confessed pair of jeans fit perfect. They are the same style as my favorite jeans, just much darker.  These trouser jeans however, are a different story.

They are at least four inches too long.

I am six foot, two inches tall.

I would love to know, who could wear these jeans?  I mean really, they were so long that even when I tried them on with a pair of high heeled boots (which I also try and avoid like the skinny jeans) they were still too long.  Like, I couldn’t even walk too long.

Did I mention I am I am six foot, two inches tall?

Even though my memory usually fails me, I do remember that momentous time in the spring of 2010 when I was actually in a shopping mall at the physical Gap store.  The first pair of jeans I grabbed had the length of ‘Extra Tall.’  Isn’t that what you would consider me?  Extra tall?

I then also remember them being so long that I asked myself this very same question I am asking here.  Who could wear these?  I possibly asked the 16 year-old skinny jeans wearing clerk (male, of course…making me feel even more awkward that I was avoiding his jean type), and he looked at me and said something…yea, there is no way I’m going to remember what he said.

Anyway, Gap has long jeans.  I am talking super-duper-ain’t-for your-typical-six-foot-tall-girl tall.  And, speaking of tall…I doubled checked the difference in my newly purchased jeans’ length and found that my correct length should be LONG (the jeans that fit) and not TALL (the jeans that make me feel short).

Thank you Gap.  That is the first time I have not been tall enough.  Now to perfect my

hemming skills…

The jeans, post hem.

It’s a Tastic Christmas

Part One: Bag-Tastic

So, I don’t usually endorse products on my blog, besides my beloved Pooper Scooper, but this year I found some really awesome bags and purses that were so awesome they well…made me want to write about them!

Back in the day, before we had kids (goooosh it seems like I am writing that a lot lately), I used to be really into purses.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I was and never will be a purse snob, only sporting Gucci, Coach or whatever else brand is really cool now (and since I can’t even think of a third brand name, how cool does that make me?).

I live in rural Michigan.  Coach is not required.

But, when I used to work in an office and get up early to take an entire hour to get myself ready for work, I always had a coordinating purse.  Now I grab the one nearest the door with the most diapers and snacks left inside…and that includes snacks for me.

When I put on my Cyber Monday Queen hat and Christmas shopped for all the lovelies on my list, I added myself as a lovely.  It’s been a while since I have bought myself anything and well, the temptation was just too great for me.  I bought myself this super cute, functional and fun mommy tote.  It is seriously the most-clever-idea-for-a-mom-with-a-toddler-and-a-babe. Ever.  Like ever-ever.

The Mother Child Tote in blue

The little babe is most-always attached to my hip.  So, I hold this bag on the other shoulder and our toddler holds onto the handle.  HOW.CUTE.IS.THAT?  And, our toddler loves it!  It’s also ginormous, which is great because I look like a total fool carrying small bags.  I am vertically blessed…remember?

The most awesome part about this was that it was only $20.  What a deal!

This bag must have been really popular because they don’t even have it listed at my second favorite online shopping site where I bought it just a few weeks ago, uncommongoods.com.  But, luckily…if you’re interested in it, they have it at my first favorite online shopping site, amazon.com.

The other Bag-Tastic find is from a great nonprofit group at plywoodpeople.com.  I went to college with one of the founders.  They do this amazing project to help legal refugees who were forced to flee their countries because of conflict.  The material used for their ‘billboard bags’ is upcycled from billboards on the streets.   Proceeds from the bags (or wallets, laptop cases, etc.) provide English classes every Friday and restores dignity for the workers.

The bags are not only unique, but carry your stuff…and a story (hey, I should take up marketing).

Back of my billboard bags.

Front of my billboard bags.

Message tag on the billboard bags.

I ordered two billboard satchels, not knowing who I would give them to, and now I am trying to decide if I should give them away or keep them.  You can designate any specific colors you want, but I didn’t and thought I would just see what I got.  I happen to get leopard and grey.  Grey?  That is SO my second favorite color (first being black).  They will both match everything I own.

Tough decisions here.  Tough decisions.

Stay tuned for a Tastic Christmas Part Two: Craft-Tastic!

Cutting Corners

Among other things I have called myself, I am now deeming Mama Burde the worst Christmas Present Wrapper in the History of the Entire World.

It’s pretty bad.

But actually now that I think about it, I once saw my husband tape a paper plate to a box when he ran out of wrapping paper.

Edit: I am now deeming myself the SECOND worst Christmas Present Wrapper in the History of the Entire World.

But honestly, I don’t care.

There are some things I cut corners on.  Wrapping gifts is one of them. It is so beautiful and cheery when people wrap gifts with bows and ribbons and little flares here and there.  But really, I’d rather spend my time getting something else done.

I wrapped all of our Christmas presents in about 10 minutes.  I blasted through about 20 gifts, giving me a two minute per gift wrapping average.  Pretty impressive.

I’m so not a slacker.  I just choose to cut corners on things that I really don’t think matter that much.  The paper is going to get ripped; if you’re my toddler you don’t even see the wrapping paper because you’re so excited to open what’s inside.  If you’re my husband, you don’t care if it’s wrapped or not.  And, if we’re hauling gifts in the car to visit family than it’s all about ramming them in as little space as possible.

So, if I didn’t trim enough paper off the ends of a box and the wrapping is all bulky and my dollar store tape is half hanging on, at least I can say I was able to take the extra time to get the kitchen cleaned up or watch an episode of Extreme Couponing so I can make myself feel like an even more frivolous shopper.

Yes, there are so many better things to do than spending extra time putting a little pizzazz on my gift wrap.

Let’s Give Credit Where Credit is Due

They call me the casserole queen. Well, not really. No one has ever called me that. It’s actually the first time I have ever used that term.

My point?

I make a lot of casseroles.

‘And, why do you make a lot of casseroles Mama Burde?’

Thanks for asking…

Before we had baby Burde #2 I went through a phase where I never mixed our foods for dinner. Example of a Burde nest’s dinner about a year or so ago: chicken, corn, potatoes and probably a salad. (The salads have stuck because that is one vegetable I can always count on the hubs eating.)

Example of a Burde nest’s dinner for about the last six months: chicken, corn, pasta, all mixed together in some sort of concoction that allows me to call it a casserole. (I am also known unlovingly as the Cream of Chicken queen.)

The major reason I make casseroles (in or out of a crock pot) is because the hour or so before dinner is probably one of the busiest times for me. The girls are getting up from a nap with energy and I’m trying to keep them entertained while I get dinner made. It used to be very easy with our handy-helper toddler, but the babe just isn’t quite ready for the apron yet.

So I have this saying: if isn’t in a casserole or a crock pot, it’s not going to get done.

So who are we giving credit to? Me? The infamous casserole queen?

Ahhhhhh…no. My husband.

I provide a limited variety for dinner each night, especially when it comes to meat. As Chris Farley would say in one of the best movies of all time, Tommy Boy, ‘Chicken or chicken?’ I choose chicken. Every.single.night.

My husband sits down blind for dinner almost every night.  And, he eats whatever I cook.  He likes meat. I like veggies. If I am to eat meat it’s going to be chicken. I can’t remember the last time I have cooked a steak. I am confident in saying I have never cooked a steak (or ordered one at a restaurant).

I am afraid of steak. There, I said it.

I am afraid because I don’t know how in the world I would cook it. Chicken is easy. And I have mastered it. My BFF Bobby Flay told me not to flip it a bunch of times while cooking it and my husband told me to sear it first to keep it juicy. It’s works!

If I went to the store to buy steak to cook, one of two things would happen:

  1. I would buy the worst cut of red meat ever produced and present it to my hopeful husband as a delicious steak.
  2. I would buy THE most expensive steak known to man and cook the living heck out if it until it resembled my husband’s shoe.

So what will I do? Continue to cook chicken until my family goes on chicken strike and forces me to cook something else? No, I will face my fears and cook a steak – make that two. One for my husband and…one for my husband to have as leftovers…not really, I will-I will try to eat it.

My goal is to cook the poor man a steak by the end of the year. And since it’s December 16 I’d better get going!  (This is where you rescue a helpless burde by posting some of your easy and delicious steak recipes).

Mommy First. Professionally Unprofessional.

I work from home. That can sound a little sketchy, like when I see the ‘Make $1,000 a week working from home!’ ads. But, it’s legit. In fact, I know quite a few people who work from home in my field. Marketers, graphic designers, etc. can make quite a good living doing what I do and companies can save a lot of money by hiring people like me without having all the overhead, retirement, health insurance and other costs associated with having employees.

Now that I’ve plugged my business…

They call me a ‘working mom.’

I consider myself a ‘mom working.’

I am fortunate enough to not only work from home, but keep a more part-time schedule and flex my hours a lot, doing work at night if needed, or early in the morning before the kids get up. (Yeah, like that ever happens.) Our oldest daughter just turned three in October so I’ve had just over three years to look like a fool in various venues, meaning I look like a mommy first and professional second. I’m OK with that.

I have…

  • Spilled diapers out of my purse as I put it down while meeting with a prospective client for lunch. 
  • Lied to clients (yes, I’ve lied) when they ask what that noise is in the background… ‘nope, not my daughter in the monitor…just the radio in the background.’ 
  • Told many, many poop stories to clients and realized the topic after it was too late to return. I had to finish the stories hoping they’d laugh at the end. Most of the times, they did. 
  • Spoken to clients on the phone while nursing…gotta love the multi-tasking options with the telecommute, minus a web cam, of course. 
  • Along the same lines, but one thousand times more embarrassing was when I quickly dropped something off to a client shortly after our oldest was born. I had leaked and didn’t realize it until I got home. I felt full of awesomeness after that one. And I was obviously full of something else too.
  • Let’s just get all the nursing stories out in the open here…had to pump while working at a marketing agency I do work for.  It was just me and one other employee (male, of course), in their fairly small office.  I had to come out and tell him what I needed to do.  He could only get himself to say, ‘do your thing.’ He was actually great about it!  And now that he has a prescious little girl he can totally relate.

But over the past few years I have become more open and honest about how I run my business. Not that I tried to hide anything before, but I try and be blatantly upfront about the fact that I don’t work full time and I’m not available 24/7 to anyone else but my family. But when I work, I work. And my kids are well taken care of so I can concentrate on something I love to do.

So, the next time you’re in a meeting and you see a mom with drool on her right shoulder and diapers peeking out of her purse, show her a little love. And bring her a latte for crying out loud. She deserves it!

Self-Awareness – Toddler Style

Let’s face it.  Kids are smart. And, the more time I spend with our three-year-old I realize how smart she is. Unfortunately it also makes me realize how smart I’m not (for the sake of not writing ‘dumb’).

I forget just about everything.  In fact, I had to read the paragraph above to remember what the heck this post was about.  And there, I read it again. 

I forget to put coffee grounds into the coffee pot.  I forget to take my bra off when showering (read blog dated 10/13/11). I have even forgotten where my cell phone was while talking on it… ‘mom, I’m going to have to call you back; I can’t find my phone anywhere!’  Self awareness can be depressing if you can’t laugh at yourself (or use it as blog material so others can laugh at you).

I blame my lack of self-awareness, and awareness of anything really, to the many daily tasks I complete – all at once – to run a business, raise two children, attempt to discipline the dog and keep the house clean and the family fed.  Our toddler doesn’t have all of that to do, so that’s why she remembers everything. And I mean everything.

‘Momma, did you remember my dance bag?’ NOPE!…as I do a u-turn in the bank to head back towards home.

‘Momma, is this an envelope you were supposed to give to the mailman?’ YES…as I put it in my purse and head towards the post office.

‘Momma, is this cheese supposed to be in the freezer?’  NO…as I realize instead of putting it in the fridge I put it in the freezer.  Yes, I did that.  I have also found many things in the cupboard that should have been put back in the freezer.

You get the point.

The other morning while getting breakfast around she said to me, ‘Momma, why are you walking around in circles?’  Good question little miss.  Why am I walking around in circles?  Is it just what mothers do?  Or, am I creating this daily to-do list all in my mind about things I think need to be done?  A better question is: What happened to the calmer version of me who took time and care in cleaning, laundry (OK, that’s a lie I never took extra care in doing laundry) and cooking?  Would that calmer version of me be able to get all these things done?

I don’t have an answer to these questions.  Maybe I’ll ask the kid.