What is my next step?

While I’ve been on a maternity break from anything PreachTeach (well… anything for that matter), I have been putting serious (although sleep-deprived) thought into my future as The Preach Teach.

When I started this blog (Read my first post here), it was more for the purpose of keeping my feet wet in the teaching world. I was a new stay-at-home-mom and struggling to keep, or even to find my identity outside of being just a mom.

But then my blog evolved, because I evolved. Life happened. Being the Preach Teach provided me an avenue to question and wonder, to testify and proclaim, to laugh at my children and myself. Preach Teach has helped me to grieve, heal, and celebrate.

preachteach-now

I am grateful for the encouragement of my family, friends, and those of you who do life along with me. Since I have changed, I feel it is important that I better identify what the Preach Teach really is.

Before Preach Teach, I saw my future in a puffy-painted sweatshirt surrounded by smiling elementary children. Now, I see myself speaking to other moms who aren’t trying to be perfect, just trying to be better. Or to daughters who have had time frozen by the loss of a parent. Or to teachers and coaches who need a simple reminder that it is the kid that matters most. I’m not saying I have all the answers, or any answers for that matter. But Preach Teach has helped me see a different part of myself. A purpose that was maybe written for me before I even started typing.

So to all my family, friends, and faithful readers, I’d like to know what you think. What do I preach? What do I teach? What is it that PreachTeach provides for you? 

Maybe if I know what I’m doing now, I can better decide where I should go…

Thank you for being here with me!

XO-Erica

Chocolate or Poop? Chocolate or Poop?!

Chocolate or poop? Chocolate or poop?

One of my favorite lines to recite from the movie Baby Mama

Baby Mama movie

Never did I think I’d be asking the question to myself… although, I have scolded, “We don’t poop on the rock!” So really, nothing should surprise me at this point…

I am still getting used to this having two babies thing. Technically, at 22 months my daughter is a toddler, but she is still in diapers, and still wears footie jammies. So the way I see it, she’s a baby. I have a baby and a newborn. A newborn son and a climbing, running, “I do it myself” demanding baby-ish daughter.

Over the past four weeks, we have spent the majority of our day confined to the living room as my butt seems to be permanently glued to the couch nursing a hungry (slightly fussy) newborn. My daughter occupies her time playing LEGOs, emptying my Tupperware drawer and her sock drawer, climbing the kitchen counters, and eating granola bars. This day, she happened to be engaged with an episode of her other obsession, Paw Patrol, on the iPad which was conveniently sitting next to me. I myself was guiltily enjoying my DVR’d episode of The Bachelor. One baby nursing, the other finishing up her chocolate cookie.

Wait, she didn’t have a cookie. Maybe she had a granola bar?

What is it she is trying to wipe off of her hands…

… and onto the iPad

… and onto the couch

… and onto my leg?

No. Nope. No. She didn’t have any chocolate!

Chocolate or Poop? Chocolate or Poop?!

As I watch my daughter reach her hand back into the butt of her pants it finally hit me, POOP! That is most definitely not chocolate, it is poop.

Now you may think this is the worst of it. A daughter covered in poop. Poop residue lingering on my iPad, couch, pants and carpet. My friend, that is not the worst part. The worst part is I have ONE hand to try and grab her. To try and make her stop reaching into her pants to bring out more poop. One hand to try and stop her from spreading poop any place she comes in contact with. The worst part, is I have a teeny tiny little baby latched on and chugging away.

The advice echoes through my head:

“Never wake a sleeping baby.”

“Let him eat when he is hungry.”

“Make sure to let him tell you when he’s full.”

But what if his sister is covered in POO…

What would you do in this situation? What would you do if it happened TWICE in one day?! (True story!).

This IS real life people!

XO- Erica

Two years since goodbye

Dear Dad,

I think of you when I look at my kids. I yearn to hear you laugh at the crazy things they do. I wish you’d stop by the house and take us out for lunch. I still feel I should leave an empty chair for you at their activities or birthdays. You were always a couple minutes late but prepared with your video camera. I wish you weren’t a memory to them. I wish you weren’t a story.

I think of you when I take the back roads. You taught me how to blow a bubble while on a car trip. You practiced my spelling words with me as you drove me to school. We jammed out to Garth Brooks while driving to Louisiana. We were in the car a lot. You in the driver’s seat, me right next to you. You loved to go the back way home. The atlas was your friend. You seemed to take pride in finding the road less traveled. I wish we could have one more car ride.

I think of you when I pass a golf course. Growing up, if you weren’t home, you were at the course. I never understood it. Golf bored me (still does). You’d always say, “Track’s my job. Golf’s my game.” You’d golf to clear your mind. You’d golf to be with friends. You’d golf for reasons I may never understand. I miss your passion. I wish I’d have let you teach me how to play. dad golfing

I think of you through any sports season. I can hear you yell. I can hear you argue. I can see you texting all your friends to either heckle them because their team lost, or to dispute some BS call. But it’s track season where I really miss you. The track just feels a little empty without you there. You were the smartest coach I ever met. I wish you were still there with me.

Just the other night, I walked into my bedroom to find Tony rocking Brooklynn to sleep. This is rare. She usually wants Mommy. Tony said he had to fight her for five minutes, but she eventually caved and let Daddy sing her songs. I stood there and watched the two of them cuddled in that rocking chair as she dozed off to sleep. A daddy and his little girl. I was proud because I know how lucky she is. How lucky she is to have a daddy to run to, a daddy to protect her, a daddy to love her unconditionally.

I thought of you in that moment. I missed you, but I was so grateful for you. Grateful you were there for me. Grateful you allowed me to be who I am. Grateful you were my role model. I was so grateful to have a daddy to have loved.

It’s been two years since we said goodbye. I think I’ll always wish you were here but I’m forever thankful that you were there when a little girl needed her daddy the most.

Love you and miss you,

Erica

I still miss him

January 11.

It’s a date I’ll never forget. A date that put a before and after in my life.

Two years ago, on this date, my dad fell. For a week, I floated on a cloud of surrealness, fear and hope.

A few months ago, my husband and I got to hear our good friend, Adam, share his testimony. Adam read a poem he had written to his father whom he lost when he was young. As he read the poem he penned all those years ago, he cried. His words were beautiful, but it was his tears that struck me. Slapped me, even.

I love my dad’s story. I hate how he died. I hate when he died. But I love his story. I love that a stubborn, short-tempered, and sometimes outspoken small town guy, loved people from all walks of life, worked tirelessly even when unappreciated, and showed up when it mattered.

I miss that about him. I remember it fondly. I share it frequently.

But I was still floating. Hoping that someday the sadness wouldn’t be there. The hurt, the void, the absence of my dad wouldn’t be present anymore. That all his good works and great stories would be all I would hold onto. I realized, however, listening to Adam share his story of losing his father, that I was, without awareness, really, searching for a place that does not exist.

engraved memory jewelry

A Christmas gift from my mom. She found notes from my dad and had his signature engraved on a necklace for me and a money clip for my husband.

Yes, with time there does come peace and comfort. But the loss is still very present. The before and after line does not erase. I have learned that great loss means there was great love.

I had an amazing father for almost 30 years. Whether it is two years or twenty years from the last time we spoke, I will always miss him.

All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them, Isak Dinesen.

Love you, Dad! Miss you!

XO-Erica

Introducing Our Last Baby

Welcome to the world, Sean Jacob. baby-sean

God’s gracious gift.

The meaning behind our baby’s name could not be more true. At 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20 inches long, our New Years Eve baby is truly a perfect and gracious gift.

Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

Our last baby has made us a family of six. Bring on the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the tattling, and the endless sibling squabbles. We are ready! Well most of us… family-of-six

XO- Erica

I’m Sorry I’m Ruining Your Life, Little Girl

Each morning my day starts with a little girl, not quite two, climbing into my bed, crawling on top of me and snuggling into me as though I am the most comfortable pillow. Twenty minutes later, she hands me my glasses and then my phone. Time to get up!

While her brothers are still asleep, she requests a Gogurt and Paw Patrol. We cozy up under a blanket on the couch, eat our breakfast and soak in our favorite show.

During the day, when it’s just the two of us, we play Legos, or run some errands, or go find a fun place to play.

At nighttime, she requests mommy. We rock, sing songs and say “Love you to the moon.” Night-Night baby girl.

baby-sleeping-on-baby-bump

Little does she know, I’m about to ruin her life.

No more snuggling til she chooses it to be over.

No more quiet morning breakfasts.

No more girls only days.

No more guaranteed delivery of the mommy request.

Mommy will be busy. Mommy will have a baby. A different baby. A baby that is not her.

I’m sorry little girl. I’m sorry to soon be ruining your life. I’m sorry this baby will change everything as we know it.

But I promise honey, he will change it for the better.

Still love you to the moon!

XO- Mommy

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How Are You Seven?! Happy Birthday, Little Man!

Happy 7th Birthday to my first born.

Photo by Sarah McConnell Photography

Photo by Sarah McConnell Photography

That’s right, 7! I cannot believe I have been a mother for 7 years today. More so, I am pretty impressed I haven’t screwed up exponentially because our science experiment, as my husband and I refer to the first born, is one pretty amazing kid.

Here are 7 of my favorite things about my Teeg:

  1. He’s inventive. He fixes everything with tape, including Christmas ornaments broken by his sister. He turns toilet paper rolls into utensils and makes toys out of bottle tops. Teeg is full of ideas and I cannot wait for him to change the world.
  2. Teeg is the best big brother! He has it all figured out; whispering to his brother to ask a question, or sidetracking his parents while his little sister picks up all the Lego’s. But man, does he love his brother and sister. “C’mon Bro!” “Hey Sis!” I hope he always loves them this much.

    lunch-with-brothers

    Don’t you eat lunch like this?

  3. He’s a creative. He walks slower than most, he gazes longer than most, and he has a story for ALL things big and small.
  4. The child is uninhibited. He once asked the B-Bops drive-through worker for a piece of bacon. He got two slices! While he may need to learn a little restraint (like telling the waitress to get him pancakes and chocolate milk before she even says hello), I am honestly a little jealous of this trait. He’s already a great salesman, marking $1,000 on one of his old toys for a garage sale. Gotta love his guts!
  5. My son has a dorky side. He has no rhythm. He loves to read. Video games are his second language. He tells knock knock jokes that make absolutely no sense. He makes up phrases like, “That is starving good.” My son has so many quirks that I just love. I pray he always embraces the things that make him uniquely him. funny-boy-seven
  6. He has interests that are foreign to me. The other night the TV was on and he said, “Look, there’s Florida and Alabama.” What seven year old, from the midwest, can recognize Alabama on a map when it floats across a TV screen? This kid. He knows all kinds of crazy facts about geography, Lego Ninjago, Mario Brothers, super heroes and insects. Smarter than his mama for sure!
  7. He is perceptive and caring. I’m amazed at how he senses others feelings and thoughts. How he cares that others are happy. All his teachers have told me how respectful he his and how he makes friends with the kids who need a friend most. I know this is truly a God-given quality and I couldn’t be more proud to be his mother.

Happy Birthday, Teeg. I Love You, Much!!

mom-and-son

XO-Mom

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