Leaving and Letting Go

Derek and I decided long before we had kids that missions and service and ministry would be a part of our lives. We actually decided that even before we met each other. We both feel called to work with teenagers. We fell in love because as teachers, we were both the last ones on our hallway each day with students in our room, and we would encourage each other and learn from each other as we just naturally started our ministries. Then, once we got married it just made that ministry even greater. Getting to go on mission trips together and pour into teenagers and people around the world as a team has just always been a life giving calling for us both. 

Now that we not only have a child, but THREE children at once, I feared that this special part of us might have to be put on hold or change for a while. And in a lot of ways it has changed. I stay at home with our 3 kids instead of teaching. Students and former students come over to our house now to play with our kids instead of me having lunch or breakfast with them. In addition, we now get the privilege of pouring into 3 small humans together as a team and as ministry. I recognize that our family alone is a huge and wonderful and life giving ministry. BUT I still feel called to go. I love that even though so many pieces of our ministry look different right now, so far we have been able to be leaders on mission trips the last 2 years while raising our triplets. Both my parents and my in-laws have been champs and are willing to watch our kids while we follow this call on our hearts to go. 

That said. I’m really terrified this year. Last year when we went to China, I was so exhausted from taking care of 3 newborns. I hadn’t been out of the house much and the trip just felt so freeing. I felt like I got to remember who I was and how to slow down again. That trip began a journey of self-discovery in me. It reminded me to not get lost in this craziness of motherhood but to listen to the Spirit. It began a season of healing for me. Plus I just loved pouring into the high schoolers on our trip. We were going to a place that is so close to my heart. Shepherd’s Field feels like another home. I felt so confident leaving for that trip, and then coming back I had this image of the kids running to me and jumping in my arms…

Well, for one thing the kids weren’t really running yet, but when we got back, it was hard. Lucy and Oliver were fine and honestly ignored us when we walked up the stairs for the first time after being gone for 10 days. They just kept playing. Shepherd on the other hand was ticked. He was mad that we had left him and wouldn’t let me touch him or hold him or talk to him. He was back to normal by that evening and even more so by the next morning, but it was still hard.

Now here we are several months later, and we are leaving for Honduras tomorrow. I really feel like the Spirit was at work the way this trip just happened to have an open spot the exact year that we aren’t able to go to China. While Derek and I were praying about how we could still be involved together in missions this year, this trip was instantly on our hearts. Derek has been on this trip around 10 times and he has always wanted us to go together. I know that this is where God is calling me. I know that I will find purpose and that God can and will use me if I let him. I know that this group of high school students is fantastic, and I can’t wait to get to know them better. 

But I’m scared. This time, I’m really really scared. My kids spent several days in the hospital just 3 months ago. It’s still winter, so there is a chance that they could get sick again and have to go back while we are gone. More than that, I’m afraid to leave Shepherd. I know that Lucy and Oliver will barely miss me (haha), but my sensitive Shepherd will be mad again. I’m afraid that it will mess him up. I’m afraid that he will be so mad at me that it will forever change our relationship. I’m afraid that he won’t love me the same. Last year he couldn’t talk. This year, he can tell me how mad he is that I was gone.

The truth is, those things might happen. They probably won’t, but they might. They might get sick. Shepherd might be mad at me for days or weeks this time. It might make his anxiety worse. He might cry for me everyday that I am gone. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t go. 

If I don’t go, then God will still do amazing things on that trip. He doesn’t need me to make that trip great. I’m not going because I am this wonderful Christian and the best mentor and the only one that can pour into those high schoolers. That’s not it at all. I am not invaluable. But I do feel called to go. 

I’m going because I need my kids to know that even though they have forever changed my life and my ministry, my life is bigger than just the 3 of them. My ministry is bigger than the 3 of them. I feel guilty typing that. I feel scared typing that. But I want to raise kids that become adults that depend on Jesus and have coping skills to bravely take on the world. AND I am the best me when I have purpose outside of just them. I am a better version of myself when I am both loving them and others. I need both and that’s ok.

My theme for the year continues to be BOTH/AND. I am both a mom and a minister to teenagers. God has called me to both. And so even though I am scared…I will go.

Climbing out of cribs, Taking clothes off, Our first batch of stitches, and more!

In the last few months, our 3 toddlers have learned how to be expert climbers. We love to share the tricks that we have learned. First off, I am thankful that we have been extra vigilant in tethering all of our furniture to the wall and baby proofing to the max. With three monkeys running around, I wanted to feel confident that even though there are more of them than my number of arms, they are safe in our house. Somehow the kids constantly still find ways to show us what we need to add to the baby proofing list. For instance, our stairs are still gated even though they are really good at climbing chairs simply because I need a place to put things that they cannot get to! All of our cabinets are locked. except for the bathroom cabinets which we just cleared out and let the kids climb through freely as a sort of jungle gym, and our dining room chairs stay pushed against the wall all day unless we are eating so that they are not another jungle gym. 

We did have our first batch of stitches. Sweet Shepherd fell off of a little kid’s chair and hit his head at just the right spot. He wasn’t doing anything crazy or climbing where he shouldn’t. I think he might have inherited my ability to run into things and fall ungracefully. Sorry Shep! It split right above is right eye. I immediately called my wonderful pediatrician only to learn that my pediatrician does not give stitches. We had to take him to our nearest Urgent Care, but Urgent Care doesn’t open until 11am so we stopped the bleeding with neosporin and a bandaid until we could get there. Also, we went during Shepherd’s nap time with a scheduled appointment so that we could miss most of the germs in the waiting room.  I feared that it would be exhausting for him to go during his nap time, but it turned out to be amazing. He slept through all 4 stitches!! 

On another note. We have done 2 things that have been successful in helping the kids to stay in their cribs and pack-n-plays. 2/3 take naps in a pack-n-play so that they can all nap in different rooms, and we use pack-n-plays when we travel. They started climbing out of those first. Oliver was the main culprit. He would climb out but then be immediately terrified and want back in. We could tell that for our 3, toddler beds would not be a good option yet. Fixing the crib situation was easier. We first dropped the crib mattresses to the ground which instantly helped. We had to be careful to not leave a gap between the mattress and the crib rail. We put quilts and thick fleece blankets under the mattresses to make sure that the mattresses were tall enough and that there was no gap. They have been sleeping like this in their cribs for a couple months now, and it works great!

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We also had one of our 3 start to take their pajamas and diaper off in the night. I walked in one morning to a naked Lucy. She was so confused at why this was concerning. She was sitting in a puddle of pee (thankfully not poop) saying “I NAKED!” When I asked her why she was naked she said, “I pee-pee.” Well, it’s hard to argue with that. I think she might be closer to potty training than I am. I am SO NOT ready to go down that road yet. So anyway, to help them keep their clothes on, and to also help them stay in the pack-n-plays we decided to add a sleep sac into the bedtime routine. It not only encourages them to keep their clothes on, but it keeps them in the crib/pack-n-play because in the potato sac fleece they can’t use their legs to climb. And they LOVE sleeping in it! They beg to put them on at night. I think it brings them back to their swaddle loving days, but their arms are free. It zips from the bottom so it’s much harder for them to unzip it. They are currently wearing a size Large. Link for the Halo sleep sac

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This was taken the morning of their 2nd birthday, and I put them all in one crib to try and get a cute picture.  Lucy is not a morning person. haha They do NOT all sleep together. 

We have also learned that it is possible to make a 15 hour car trip in one day with toddler triplets. We left at 3am, and they slept for the first 4-5 hours, and took a 2 hour nap during the drive. It made the trip so much better with them sleeping for a good bit of it. We only stopped a couple times to eat, get gas, and stretch our legs and even then the kids stayed fairly happy. I would move back and forth between the front seat and sitting in the back to entertain.

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We also, moved the triplets car seats to forward facing right at their 2 year birthday. We love our Diono carseats that can fit 3 across on the back row of our van!! They love being able to see everything as we drive now. It is so much fun, but I am so glad that I waited until they were 2 to turn them.

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Please let me know if you have any other questions about my current triplet toddler life!! I would love to write some things that you are curious about!