Life in Lape Haven

Author - Kishona

Honing My Mommy Skills

Life in Lape Haven: Honing My Mommy Skills

On Sunday, I earned a small feather in my “mothering” cap, a little mental badge of “Way to Go, Mommy!” There was a moment Sunday when I was not only surviving, but I was dominating this adventure of parenthood. It felt pretty great.

We were getting ready for church (and not running late, which is another WIN!). I was in the bathroom, finishing my hair and makeup. Brad was checking the diaper bag and helping our boys get their shoes on the right feet.

Suddenly, I heard Josiah half-crying, half-yelling, with a slight edge of panic in his voice.

And I KNEW. I knew with 100 percent certainty what was going on. I knew this cry. Somehow, I just knew exactly what it meant.

“Brad?” I yelled to the kitchen. “Brad, Josiah is stuck in something. What is he stuck in?”

Then I heard Brad, who hadn’t replied to or acknowledged me, ask Josiah, “How did you do that?”

Again, I yelled to the kitchen. “Is he stuck in something?”

Apparently Brad finally heard me over Josiah’s complaints. “Yes. He got his finger stuck.”

I smiled at myself in the mirror, feeling rather impressed with my mother “skills.” I had called it. I knew his “I’m stuck” cry-whimper. It was like leveling-up in my “mommyness”!

When you bring home your newborn baby, you feel like such a “parent” when you finally start to differentiate your baby’s cries for when he’s hungry, tired, or needs changed. You get to know his reactions to everything: you know which toys he loves, what food he’ll eat, what food he’ll throw over the side, and which people will make him cry just by talking to him.

However, lately, I’ve been fine-tuning my “mother’s sixth sense,” that instinct that makes our kids believe that we have eyes in the back of our head, that certain awareness for knowing exactly what your child is doing without having to be right beside him.

I’ve learned the sound of the refrigerator being opened. I know when they’re being TOO quiet (pretty much ANY TIME one or both boys are quiet and not sleeping). I can tell from something in their laughter that they are wrestling and one of them is sitting, standing, or lying on top of the other one (Do you know how often I say, “Get off of him!” in a single day?).

Now, I wish I could say it’s just because I’m awesome that I can tell Josiah’s “I’m stuck” cry-whimper from his “I’m just faking this” cry, but that’s not it.

And it’s not just because I have to, although it does help to prevent certain disasters when I can anticipate or at least catch them doing some things BEFORE they do it.

It’s actually really simple. It’s because I know Josiah. I know Elijah. After spending nearly every single day of their lives with them, including their time in utero, I know my children very, very well.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, feeling excited with my “momtasticness” (I don’t know if that’s a word, but I like it), God dropped a verse in my heart.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

The Bible tells us that when we call out to God, He will answer us and help us, but I’d never really thought about the fact that, just like other parents, God knows what each of our cries mean. He can tell OUR “I’m stuck” cry-whimper from our “I’m just faking this” cry. (Hmmm…)

He hears, and He delivers us from our troubles.

God knows what we need because He knows us (also because He’s God). And while I’ve only been a mother for a little over 5 years, God has been a Father for quite a bit longer. He’s got this parenting thing perfected. He’s known us from before we were born, before we were even conceived, and He knows not only our past, but God has already written out His plans for our future. (Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 29:11).

So while I felt pretty “parenting level: expert” on Sunday morning, as much as I love my boys, pay attention to their intricacies and quirks, and can anticipate to the second when a meltdown is going to hit, God reminded me that my skills are just a drop in the bucket compared to how capable, equipped, and on-it He is when it comes to caring for His children.

Embracing the Moments of “Mommy Sadness”

Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness

He held my hand tightly as we walked into the school. Neither of us knew where anything was or where we were supposed to be, but we were on this adventure together: Kindergarten Open House.

How was it that my little guy was big enough to be preparing for kindergarten? (I still remember clearly when I was in kindergarten!) Sitting beside him at a table in his soon-to-be cafeteria while we waited for the parent meeting to start, I felt my heart squeeze tightly, as though it were trying desperately to hold on to this moment, this second in time.

He still seems so little.

Then he nestled closer to me, laying his head against my arm, making my heart tighten further. I blinked back tears when he smiled sweetly up at me.

I thought about what my sister-in-law had said when I asked my friends and family for advice in facing these weeks of transition, “Remember to try to enjoy the moment in your mommy sadness, too.”

Looking at Elijah’s excited little face, seeing the hints of nervousness in his eyes, in his fidgeting, in the solid grip he had on my arm, and the complete trust overwhelming it all, knowing that Mommy was right there with him, I knew I was in that very moment, the double-edged sword of parenthood.

What other experience in life is as bittersweet as watching this precious child, whom you love more than anything, grow, become independent, and flourish as their own person?

There is so much joy and pride in seeing their discoveries, accomplishments, and individual triumphs, mixed with the heartbreaking awareness of how quickly time is passing and how briefly we get to hold so closely these most beautiful gifts of God.

It’s so hard to stand there, slowly letting go, watching them step out from your constant protection and comfort (even knowing that God is with them), and seeing them face potential disappointment or hurt in a fallen world.Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - First day of Kindergarten

While we often say, “This, too, shall pass,” as encouragement on those long, draining days of temper tantrums, potty training, and our every request being questioned, it’s these moments of “mommy sadness” that remind us that those giggly morning snuggles, that tiny hand clinging to yours, the wide-eyed fascination in simply studying a nighttime sky also fall into the category of “This, too, shall pass.”

So there I sat, my wiggly kindergartener anxious to meet his teacher, see his classroom, find his desk, and meet some other children. He was ready for this next chapter, eager to embrace it.

I knew he wouldn’t understand my “mommy sadness.”

None of us do when we’re the kindergartener (I love you, Mom!).

But as the mommy, I held it close, not to wallow in my own pity party, but to revel in the beauty of such an opportunity to love so soul-wrenchingly deeply.

What a gorgeous glimmer of God, dropped right into our hearts!Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - Mommy and Elijah on the First day of Kindergarten

The “mommy sadness” is a result of loving my child. And I’m choosing to embrace it. I could tuck it away, brush it off, or distract myself. With two busy boys, a house to clean, dinner to make, and a new book on my Kindle, I have plenty of ways to ignore my heart. – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

However, I’d rather it challenge and encourage me to cherish each and every minute with my boys, to be present and attentive to truly hear what their little voices are saying, to be quicker to drop housework or outside distractions to play with them, and to love them even more soul-wrenchingly deeply.

Embracing that “mommy sadness” allows me to enjoy the moments more fully because it shows me the true value in that moment.

Today, he held my hand tightly as we walked up to the school. He knew where everything was and exactly where he was supposed to be, and we were ready to embrace this adventure together: Kindergarten.

Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - Heading in to school

Update: If you’d like to know how our adventure in Kindergarten was, check out my look back on the year: Trusting God Through Kindergarten.

Get more ideas & encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood.

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Why Our Child Goes to Public School

For Such A Time As This: Placing Our Children’s Future in God’s Hands

Elijah and the Bully

The Last Time He Called Me, “Mommy”

Zucchini Pizza in a Pot

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Zucchini Pizza in a Pot

I love having a garden. Being able to go outside and pick what you’ll have for dinner is awesome and so fun. However, when everything comes on at once, it can be tricky to eat it all up before it goes bad.

This year, hubby, our boys, and I planted a small garden with cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow summer squash. Our zucchini and summer squash plants were initially feeding the local rabbits, but once we blocked the plants off with chicken wire, we’ve managed to harvest a few vegetables from each plant.

My parents’ garden, however, has flourished with zucchini and squash, so with all that they’ve grown and our own garden’s contribution, we have quite a bit to use up between us.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Zucchini Pizza in a Pot

For my family, the go-to recipe for zucchini and/or squash has been zucchini pizzas. (In case you don’t know, zucchini pizzas are made by slicing the zucchini into thick rounds or cutting it in half as “boats” or planks, then topping it with pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese, and whatever other pizza toppings you want, and baking it.) It’s so yummy, and it gets my guys to eat their veggies.

Well, at least two of my three guys will eat their zucchini or squash. Josiah, who’s 2, just pulls off the toppings and eats those, leaving the sad little zucchini “crust” all alone on his plate.

So last week, as I stared down at a zucchini and squash that needed to be cooked, I had an idea and decided to try it out.

Since there wasn’t enough there to make zucchini pizzas for everyone, I decided to slice them both very thinly then cook it in a pot, adding the sauce and pizza toppings at the end to create the flavors of zucchini pizza, but all mixed together. I hoped this would serve two purposes: it would stretch what I had to work with and maybe, just maybe, Josiah would eat it better.

It was super quick and easy to throw together, and the end result was tasty, just like zucchini pizza, only saucier, which my guys loved.

My experiment worked, at least on one count. It definitely made enough to feed us all. Josiah, however, was not convinced. He actually sat there and picked the toppings out, bit by bit, leaving strips of zucchini and squash behind. *Sigh*

Brad and Elijah loved it, so it has become a new go-to zucchini recipe for us. Since I know we’re not the only ones with an over-abundance of zucchini and squash right now, I thought I’d share my little thrown-together, quick and easy, one-pot meal recipe with you all.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Zucchini Pizza in a Pot

Just a note: Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your family’s liking. If I were making this just for myself, I’d use less sauce (maybe even half as much), but my guys love some pasta sauce. (Ours is almost a zucchini pizza soup. Haha) You can add more or less pepperoni and cheese and add whatever other pizza toppings you have on hand.

If you try it out, let me know how it goes over with your crew and if you were able to sneak it past any picky eaters with better luck than I had!

When God Says, “Start a Blog”

Life in Lape Haven: When God Says Start a Blog

Obeying when His plan makes you say, “Wait…what?”

I was preparing to upload a picture to Facebook one day last fall, when I realized that I had more to say about the picture than I could really put in a simple caption. That was when God whispered, “Start a blog.”

I immediately thought, “Wait…what? Um, no. That’s not necessary. Besides, I don’t want to blog. I have no idea how all that works, nor do I have the time. And I wouldn’t have anything to write about. I’m a stay-at-home wife and mom. There are plenty of other people blogging about that same thing. So, yeah, that’s not for me.”

But God is persistent. And He knows me. That means He knows that He HAS to be persistent for me to finally get what He’s been telling me all along.

How do I know this? Because He’s done it before. It’s kind of our thing.

For example, when I was a young, single chick, I l lived in an area where there weren’t many available guys my age, which was frustrating for a girl who knew in her heart that God’s plan for her included a husband and a family.

God said (believe it or not), “Join eHarmony.” Seriously.

I immediately thought, “Wait…what? Um, no. That’s not necessary. Besides, I don’t want to. That’s for desperate people. Online dating? No, thank you. What about creepers and all that? Yeah, that’s not for me.”

The whisper never went away…for at least a year. Finally I mentioned it to my mom, and she said, “Oh, I think you should! It could be fun.” I think for her, it was like playing “The Dating Game” or something. She liked seeing who I got matched up with.

However, within a few months, I met my husband. Within a year and a half, we were married.

Do I think online dating is for everyone? No. I didn’t even think it was for me. But God knew.

Did I miss out on time with Brad because I hesitated in signing up? Nope. God’s timing is always perfect. Brad actually hadn’t been checking his account for a while, then one day switched a setting to include a larger area of Ohio, and I popped up.

No, God, again, knew what He was doing. He knew I take a while, sometimes, to accept that what I’m feeling is truly His will. So, He started nudging me right when He needed to.

Even though it wasn’t what I had planned for how I would meet my Prince Charming, God came along and perfectly orchestrated everything. There is no doubt in my mind that it was part of His plan. My husband is everything that I didn’t even know that I needed in a mate. But, as usual, God knew.

Life in Lape Haven: Brad and Kishona at the wedding

So, when I felt God’s leading to start a blog (of all things), I, of course, hesitated at first. However, as the idea settled into my heart, I started doing research. I started trying to come up with a name. I started planning what I could actually write about.

Since God had only given me the directions of “start a blog,” and little else, I was just stepping out slowly in faith that He would give me the answers I needed along the way.

Thankfully, I know I’m not the only person that God leads in this way.

Remember Abraham? God simply said, “Go,” and according to Hebrews 11:8, “He went out, not knowing where he was going.” (As in, without a map or destination.) Did he say, “Wait…what?” I don’t know. Genesis 12 just says that he went. Abraham simply started walking and followed God’s leading to the land God had for him and his descendants.

Remember Gideon? God called him to be a warrior and lead an army when he was hiding from the enemy and believed himself to be the least of the least. He was clearly hesitant and slow to accept God’s plan. Once he did, God whittled away his numbers until there were only a few hundred. Then God decided that the weapons of choice were trumpets, pitchers, and torches. However, despite how confusing that probably felt at points, Gideon still obeyed and was victorious. (Judges 6 & 7)

You could go through the Bible, cover to cover, and find numerous accounts of how God’s plan, ones that usually didn’t make a lot of sense initially, interrupted a person’s life for the better and for His glory.

So, I’m starting a blog. Not because I really wanted to (I’m enjoying it now, though), not because I feel I’m the world’s greatest writer (I do like writing and value grammar, but don’t expect perfection every time because I’m probably typing surrounded by the chaos of my boys playing), not because I know what I’m doing (I’m learning, but it’s still overwhelming at points), and not because I have any grand plans for my blog to change the world or make me famous (Despite my personality, being in the spotlight and vulnerable is not exactly comfortable).

I’m doing it out of obedience to His leading, plain and simple, and with the prayer that God will use it to encourage, challenge, or at least amuse those who actually find it and read it.

I have no idea what God has planned for this blog, but I know He has a definite purpose that maybe only He can see and understand right now.

Hopefully someday I’ll look back at it all, seeing what He’s done, and say, “Wait…what? You did all that?”


Photos courtesy of my father-in-law and pixabay.

Going “Naked” at the Water Park

Life in Lape Haven: Going "Naked" at the Water Park - How Being a Mom Has Given Me More Confidence as a Woman. Summertime means water fun and swimsuits. Not most moms favorite attire. Moms, it's time we just forget our insecurities and dive into to having fun with our kids.

How Being a Mom Has Given Me

More Confidence as a Woman

Summertime is a wonderful season. The sunshine and warm temperatures mean my boys are eager for picnics, exploring parks, being outside morning until night, chasing fireflies, and playing in water whenever and wherever they can (Oh, look! A puddle!!! What? What do you mean, “Good clothes?”)

Of course, water and swimming mean swimsuits, which is fine when you’re a 2-year-old or 5-year-old kid. They’d be fine without changing into any swim appropriate attire (see “Puddle” above) or completely nude, if allowed (mine are not). But once most of us hit a certain age, maybe late tweens or early teens, swimwear, along with our outward appearance overall, become kind of a big deal, or rather, a big ordeal.

Life in Lape Haven: Going "Naked" at the Water Park - How Being a Mom Has Given Me More Confidence as a Woman. Summertime means water fun and swimsuits. Not most moms favorite attire. Moms, it's time we just forget our insecurities and dive into to having fun with our kids.

Now I know that there are those special few who are graced with a self-confidence impervious to mean kids or expectations of physical perfection promoted by the media. Kudos to them! I was never one of them. As a teenager and younger adult, I struggled with accepting how I looked, how I wanted to look, and the disparity between the two. And of course, doing what I could to help the situation.

I did not leave the house without my hair fixed or my makeup on. When anyone was coming over to my house, I was ready. Only people who I really knew or trusted, such as family or very close friends, have ever seen me bare-faced or flat-haired. I even had myself all presentable when I gave birth to my boys.

I never had too much of an issue with my weight or my body itself because I stayed active enough and was blessed with good genetics and a healthy metabolism. However, I did watch my diet and tried to exercise to ensure that it never was an issue.

Even marrying the sweetest, most adoring man, one who will adamantly proclaim my beauty and perfection to the world, hasn’t completely changed my self-esteem. He could tell me I’m pretty as I am, and I’d think, “That’s because you love me. Other people don’t.”

Then I had babies. If you think that made me feel better about myself physically, you’d be wrong, at least initially. Was I proud of what my body was able to do (with God’s help and divine design) when I carried and naturally delivered my babies? Absolutely. It was amazing. Precious. Miraculous.

But babies – They can wreak some havoc. Not only do you face weight gain, stretch marks, different boobs, and the knowledge that your body will never be exactly as it was before, but caring for a little one often means sleepless nights and shower-less days, among other things. Not many new mamas go around feeling super beautiful and attractive, at least not most days. As the children get a little older, the time you get to spend on yourself is still less and harder won than before the sweeties were in the picture.

But we love them in the picture. We do. We would never change that picture now. And so slowly, we grow accustomed to a new standard of what is acceptable in order to feel pretty and confident. (When you’ve not shaved in who knows how long, finally doing so is like a whole spa day!)

With more to worry about in our lives than some random stranger’s opinion of us, we can start to relax our comparisons of ourselves to others. When we start to focus on the little people who we love so much, we spend less time focused on ourselves. That’s very freeing.

Life in Lape Haven: Going Naked at the Water Park - Four cousins walking together at the water park

Then came this summer, and we got invited to a water park to celebrate my nephew’s fourth birthday.

First thought – water equals swimsuits. However, I’m fine with rocking the swim shorts and tankini after a few summers as a parent because I have two boys to keep up with, and I don’t want to be readjusting everything each time I move. I’ve learned that, as a mom, sometimes I need to be quicker than I am cute. Just like heels don’t work at the park, a more revealing, more-likely-to-move-around swimsuit isn’t practical for me. Plus, this suit is good to cover up those areas that have…um…changed since having children. It’s still a cute suit, though, so I can feel confident in it.

However, when I’m out and about, I dislike getting totally wet because of my hair and makeup hang-ups. My hair doesn’t look great wet. I mean, I know most people don’t look great with wet hair. Very few people come out of the water looking like the Little Mermaid, with that backlit flip of her gorgeous red locks that fall beautifully into place. Nope. We look like drowned rats. Or raccoons, if we’ve worn too much waterproof mascara, which is generally more water-resistant than waterproof. A tired mom with under-eye circles doesn’t need anything else darkening that area.

That’s why I usually let my husband do the heavy water stuff with my guys when we’re out in public. (You can’t put children in water without getting soaked.) I can better take pictures that way, too. However, for this particular day, he had to work.

It would just be me with my two boys. I knew what that meant – it was either all or nothing.

If I didn’t enter in to that day whole-heartedly and abandon my concerns with how I would look, especially when it was over, my boys might have an okay day, but none of us would have an awesome day.

Life in Lape Haven: Going Naked at the Water Park - Josiah going down a water slide

The morning of our adventure, I made a decision: vanity and self-consciousness were not going to keep me from enjoying my boys and their day to the absolute fullest. I pulled my hair into a ponytail, styled my bangs knowing they would be flat and parted by day’s end, and only applied foundation because of its high SPF (this pale girl burns easily).

Now makeup and hair styles may not be a difficulty for you. You may be able to flaunt your natural beauty without a second thought. But all of us have some area of vulnerability, something that we keep covered up rather than being completely, truly who we are. We fear judgment, rejection, or people misunderstanding us.

Fear, though, is a thief. It’s a lie. And it’s not of God. His Word clearly tells us that “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Does this mean that my fear of what people think of me, or any fear, is the end of my Christian walk? No, it just makes me human, and should, honestly, push me closer to God. Where else can I find my true worth and value? I’m important enough to Him that “every day of my life was recorded in (His) book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16) I can come to Him, baring my heart and completely stripped of pretense, with whatever vulnerability or flaw and find grace, love, healing, and acceptance. God knows who He created me to be, and by resting in His love for me (and that of my husband and boys), I can continue to become confident and free in who that is.

At the water park, I felt naked at first, aware of my less-than-my-standard appearance, but once we got to the park, and my boys saw the water, I knew being “bare” for them would be worth it. They didn’t care what I looked like as long as I was with them. And I didn’t really care what I looked like, as long as I was with them. I only hesitated for a second when my 5-year-old pulled me up onto the big kids’ giant play area, where water showers down continuously from all over, and you have no hope of coming out of it as anything less than drenched. I took a deep breath and dove through the torrent, holding onto my laughing, loving little boy’s hand as we headed to a water slide.

Life in Lape Haven: Going Naked at the Water Park - Elijah on a water slide

Get more ideas & encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood.

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3 Things I Know About Becoming a Mother

The Last Time He Called Me “Mommy”

6 Ways to Entertain Your Kids With Nothing But Their Imaginations


Photos courtesy of my sister-in-law, Carrie. Feature image courtesy of pixabay.

Tried It Tuesday: Blueberry Hand Pies

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Blueberry Hand Pies collage

My hubby calls me nearly every day on his way home from work. (It’s something we started when we were dating…aww) Inevitably, after an update on the boys and how our day went, he’ll ask, “What’s for dinner?” He knows that he’s in for a surprise when I reply with, “I’m concocting.”

“Concocting,” for me, means that I’m not just following a recipe. I might have one that I’m referencing, but I’m not sticking to it too closely, either because I’m making substitutions for certain ingredients or because I’m improving. Usually I’ll end up with two or three different recipes for a certain dish that I pull from, and the resulting effort is bits and pieces of them all.

I know – It sounds scary. However, you can ask Brad, and he’ll tell you that I have yet to make something horrible or totally inedible. (I’m not a food expert, but I do watch Food Network on TV.) I’ve made some okay meals this way and some super fantastic meals this way.

So when I found myself with a couple of pints of blueberries that I needed to use up quickly (they were on sale, and my boys love them, but they don’t have a long shelf life), I started looking for a new recipe that I could use them in.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Blueberry Hand Pies, Bowl of Blueberries

Having recently added this rather yummy recipe for beef empanadas to my repertoire, I was curious about using the dough from it for blueberry “pie pockets” or hand pies. Of course, I wasn’t going to use the beef filling with my blueberries, so I needed a good blueberry pie filling. After searching for a while, I found a simple one and adapted it for what I wanted.

The results were delicious, and those little pies were gone within two days. The tweaked recipe mash-up has become a new favorite around our house, and I’m going to share it with you today.

Now I will say that the pie dough is not your average flaky pie crust. You could use any pie crust recipe or even store-bought crust with this filling. The reason I didn’t is because I like the flavor of this dough and its elasticity. I don’t have a problem with it tearing or breaking apart, and I can fill each pocket pretty full. Also, you can always change up the filling. Do your own concocting, and make it an adventure!