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.

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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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Martha, Sit your Butt Down!

Well, this is the longest I have gone between blog posts. I’ve been busy. Busy doing an assortment of things that keep me busy from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep.

I just finished the very important job of organizing my purse. The assortment of suckers, chap sticks, pens, gift cards and of course teething rings were taking their toll on me. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something as silly as an unorganized purse was driving me crazy.

I know after only one kid outing it will all be unorganized again.

That’s the thing with most of the things I obsess about; they keep happening. Over and over again.

Take the dishes, for example. I do them at least five times a day. Funny thing is we only eat three meals a day and we have a dishwasher. But, if there is a dish in the sink I do it.

I was at a work party for my husband about a month ago, chatting with a couple other moms with young children. We laughed about how we rush to get dinner on the table, ram food in our mouths and try to finish before everyone else so we can start the dishes before the kids get done. So much for an enjoyable family dinner.

My husband had the idea a few weeks ago that we would save the dishes until after the kids go to bed, that way we could enjoy some family time after dinner and I wouldn’t be rushing around like a fool.

You mean, leave the dishes in the sink? I got the shakes.

So, I have been reminded, more times than I would like to admit, about the story of sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Picture this…both sisters were extremely excited about Jesus’ visit to their home. However, their mutual excitement yielded two completely different reactions.

Martha (AKA Mama Burde), rammed around in the garden, picking veggies and herbs for dinner, cleaned, cooked, set the table and expected the house to be in tip top shape for this glorious guest. I can just see her running around in circles going just about crazy to have everything perfect. Good intentions of course.

Mary instead sat at Jesus’ feet and hung on his every word, not worrying about the house, food or anything other than the One thing that got her excited in the first place.

Oh, if I could be like Mary.

I have tried…a little…to take some extra moments to enjoy dinner, look past dirt on the floor and try and let the laundry pile up a little before it’s done so I can enjoy the moment and not always be thinking in the back of my mind about what has to be done.

But honestly, it’s hard. I have been Martha for so long I really have to constantly think and be intentional about well…sitting my butt down!

Jesus actually said to Martha (Luke 1-:41-42 The Message), ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it.’

Oh yea I heard that. I get far too worked up on a daily basis about absolutely nothing.

So, this is where tips and feedback are more than welcome. How can I become more like Mary? With so much to be done and so little time sans kids to do it, how can I maintain a nice, clean home (which I think is important) and finish all my tasks, but enjoy the moment? It does always get done after all.  And frankly, I think I’m ready to stop getting worked up over nothing and enjoy only what is essential.

This Martha heard it loud and clear!

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!

10 Things I Never Thought I’d Say to (or about) My Dog

Rewind about 10 years ago and you’d find me volunteering at our local animal shelter, walking all the dogs there in a day and crying all the way home, ‘waaaaaa…if I can’t come back tomorrow…who will walk them?…waaaaaa!’ I was like the primo-super-duper dog lover. My husband and I – before kids – even fostered several dogs and for one term I was actually the president of the humane society. Who was that person?

When I was pregnant with our first, who is now three, someone told me that I would not smother, love, cuddle and otherwise obsess about our dogs (we had two at the time) like I did. Whatever lady, that was so not going to be me.

Ten weeks into my first pregnancy something terrible happened. Our beloved, wonderful, amazing, human-like Great Dane passed away suddenly. We were crushed. For many years Duke was like my child when we couldn’t have any. He actually thought he was a human, so it worked out well for the both of us as I had motherly instincts and nowhere to direct them. He was my baby. My 180 pound baby. And I do still miss him to this day. It was a great time in our lives, full of funny memories of all the crazy things this dog did. Everyone loved Duke.

After Duke passed we still had his brother from another mother, our Bloodhound, Tucker. Tucker was THE laziest dog in the history of the world. The total opposite of Duke, he would lie on the couch all day, sometimes only lifting his head and grumbling when we got home from work. He was more like a cat, needing his space, hiding in rooms we weren’t in to assure he got his 23 hours of sleep in a day. He was actually a perfect dog to have when our oldest was born because he just wasn’t needy and steered clear of the baby girl, maybe only sniffing her once a day. But, once the little babe got mobile, we had to keep a pretty good eye on their interactions together. Tucker was eight at the time she was born and had never been around kids. He would have preferred it stayed that way.

Just after his ninth birthday he developed a very fast-moving form of cancer. Still a little doggy crazy, we took him the cancer center at Michigan State University and discussed a lot of options for him. But, the cancer moved too fast and took over his liver before MSU even got the final results of a tumor that was removed. He was so tired, even more than usual, and we put him to rest as we laid with him at our local vet office.

So, now we have Moose. The Moose. The Big Dufus, Lugnut and my very large, brown and furry shadow. We got him from the local shelter when he was about a year old and our oldest was about one and a half. Now that we have two kids I don’t have much time for him. Plus, he is always in my way, or tucked behind my rear, getting as close to me as he possibly can no matter where I go. The only time he isn’t connected to my behind is when he is very anxiously awaiting my next move and gone to the next spot he thinks I’m going to (and he’s usually right). I also have a toddler who does the same thing so guess who gets priority? Not Moose.

He’s kind of like Duke when I think about it. He has to be in the mix and by my side all.day.long. But now that I have kids it’s frankly quite annoying. He is spectacular (I don’t use that word often) with the kids; a perfect pet to have in a family. But, I tell you what…sometimes I want to open the door and just let him run, hoping he won’t return. BTW that has happened on accident before. He always comes back to me.

I digress…but that’s the background to lead into The Top 10 Things I Never Thought I’d Say to (or about) My Dog. You’re earned it by your patience…here they are.

  1. Moose, go jump in the river. (We live on one.)
  2. Oh, you like this dog? He’s yours.
  3. How much is that doggie Prozac? Are you kidding me? How can they charge that much? We’ll take a year’s worth.
  4. Oh, it’s OK that you let him outside Charter repair man…he’ll come back. And if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. 
  5. Don’t look at him, raise your voice even a half-octave or even think about him. It gets him too excited. 
  6. Oh look, Moose was so excited he peed on you. 
  7. Moose if you don’t get out of my way I’m going to slam my head into the refrigerator.
  8. Hurry, run out the door before Moose sees that we’re leaving!
  9. Moose, can I please have five inches of personal space?

And my personal favorite…

  10.  Moose, get out of my butt.

Disclaimer: Don’t call animal control on me. We do love the big Lugnut, feed him, pet him and make sure he is otherwise happy. And, I do cuddle up with him. It’s just when no one is looking.