Jul 31, 2015

Flowers Fade Friday: Battling Lies and Living for the Legacy

thoughts on motherhood

Two kids is hard. Two under two is really hard. I have nothing to compare it to but more experienced mothers ensure me that I am definitely in a draining season with a 22 month old and a seven week old.

However, these days are also good.

Even when my infant won't sleep or my toddler has a fever or we are perpetually late going anywhere and I break a sweat just trying to get my kids out of the house - these days are so good.

thoughts on motherhood

These are truths I am speaking to myself on the days I am still drinking coffee at 4pm and in the moments I want to cry because I feel so overwhelmed...

Just because it's hard doesn't mean it isn't good. Some of the hardest seasons of my life have also been the times when God has been doing a mighty and holy work in my heart. This time with small children at home is one of those times. Every morning I pray that I will die to self and serve my children well, without resentment and with great joy. I often fail at this. My sinful nature whispers to me that I deserve time to myself. That I am right to get frustrated when nap times don't align. That I'm entitled to more time with girlfriends and a clean house and that these kids are getting in the way of those things. Those are all lies. Thankfully, in Christ, I wake up to new mercy each day and learn to battle the lies in my head. The truth is I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. They are gifts. They are beautiful, needy gifts the Lord has entrusted me with. Each day, by God's grace, I learn to serve my children more sacrificially and love them more deeply just as the Father loves me.

Live for the legacy. The recent trend in mama-hood {at least according to social media} is to "live in the present." And I get that to some extent. It's so easy to overlook the beauty of this season because you are wishing for the next - when the baby sleeps through the night, when the big kids head off to school, when you can resume your career, start a new ministry, have five minutes to yourself, etc. etc. The present is very special and truly the only moment God guarantees. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, so surely we should be living abundantly today. However, there are aspects of motherhood that are so utterly tiring, heartbreaking, and humbling that I think it's actually essential and quite good to look at the bigger picture and what the years down the road might look like if God so allows. No mother thinks, "Middle of the night nursing is so sweet. I hope I never sleep through the night again." That's foolish. In the midst of blow-out diapers, night feedings, tantrums, fevers, and toddler discipline, I sometimes imagine what my Thanksgiving table might look like thirty years from now. I see my daughters, and hopefully a few more children, gathered around with godly spouses and perhaps babies of their own. I see a new generation of people who love and fear the Lord and serve His kingdom with joy and boldness. I am a grandma and as I wash up dishes after the meal, my hands more wrinkled from age than from the sudsy water, I praise God I got to be a part of the legacy and thank him for the hard years and humbling moments when this family tree was taking root. 

This season is hard, mamas, but it is good. Enjoy today, but live for the legacy.

Jul 25, 2015

Saturday Snippets



Wisdom to consider when commenting online...


I'm intrigued by this online healthy grocery store of sorts...

This crossbody bag will match any outfit...

Love this "Write the Word" journal concept...

And also this smart app to help you read your Bible first thing in the morning...

Fascinating read on a year-long shopping ban...


These art pieces are amazing!


As someone who had a diary named "Trista" in second grade, I could relate to these journal entries...

Sheets with zippers! This is genius for young kids...

An interesting read on the role of sports agents...

When the headlines get crazy turn to the Word of God...

Jul 22, 2015

Worth It: The Postpartum "Purge and Purchase"

I'm entering into the postpartum stage of "purge and purchase." If you've ever had a baby, you probably experienced something similar. You are ready to banish all maternity clothes, but you suddenly look at your closet and realize you're disinterested in many of the items you haven't worn in the past 6-12 months. Furthermore, your body is different and still shrinking down and many things don't fit quite like they used to. Also, nothing is nursing friendly, so even though you thought you finally had your whole wardrobe at your discretion, you find yourself wearing the same four things over and over again... just like during pregnancy, but with more laundry due to baby spit-up. This is the purge stage. One day you get fed up and clean out your closet. Anything ugly or unflattering goes. Mama does not have time for ill-fitting fashion. {For details on my next closet sale, follow along on Instagram... @thecuratedcloset.}

Then comes the purchase stage. Beware of this stage and seek intervention if needed. Almost every young mom I've ever talked to has shared a similar desire to buy some new, shiny, flattering clothing post-pregnancy. It's the next maternal urge after the nesting stage is over. Conveniently for me, July is one of the best months to shop because stores are anxious to get rid of spring and summer inventory as fall styles roll in. My postpartum urges and the sales align, for better or worse. Over the past few weeks, some of my favorite stores have offered discounts anywhere from 40-70% off {!!!} so I've been able to score some pretty great deals during my purchase stage. 

Even if you aren't postpartum purging and purchasing, here are some great, affordable styles for you to check out. These items are literally hanging in my closet right now...

Jul 21, 2015

When your baby throws up on you outside Trader Joe's...

When your baby throws up on you outside Trader Joe's, do not go inside.

Do not think for a minute, "Okay this is gross, but we are almost done with our errands and if we pick up these last few things I will feel so accomplished for the day. And my toddler loves pushing that little cart so much..."

Seriously. Banish all thoughts from your head. When you have a five week old and a 22 month old and you already did a monster shopping session at the big grocery store down the street and you are on the brink of lunch time and nap time and an infant meltdown and your baby pukes on you, do not go inside. Abort mission. Go home.

This is the lesson I learned today. And in case you were envious after my last post... thinking I'm handling my transition to two kids so well, I tell you this story today to clear up any such illusions.


My Monday started out great. I was actually able to get up a little before the kids to read my Bible and have some coffee. Micah and I are implementing some big changes in our diet and I was excited to tackle the grocery store with my heavily researched Paleo-esque shopping list in hand. Micah offered to do the shopping for me this week, but I turned him down. Never mind that I would have two kids with me for the first time at the grocery store. I had a baby wrap, a toddler that needed to get out of the house anyway, and a long, detailed list to help us overhaul our health around the Russum household. This trip would be a piece of sugar free, gluten free, dairy free cake.

The first few errands went fine. I picked up cash from the ATM, filled my gas tank, and we handled the big grocery store pretty well. I wore Talitha in the Solly Wrap and told Zianne she could ride a car-cart for the day {yes, that obnoxious contraption where there is a plastic car affixed to the front of your shopping cart and you run into things all over the store while your toddler hangs out the side of the vehicle dragging their hands on the ground}. Never mind that the first car she got into was missing its steering wheel. After we juggled carts three times, we finally got Zianne in the "green and yellow!" car and we were off through the store. Talitha slept the whole time and I only bought three processed foods. Win. For the first time ever, I accepted the offer of help out to my car, and a kind grocery store worker pushed my cart for me and loaded my trunk with groceries. Why have I never taken them up on that service before?

Things were going perfectly and we had just one more stop - Trader Joe's, where we would round out our supply of Paleo-friendly food staples. Talitha was due to eat, so I kept the AC blowing while I nursed in the front seat. Z started to get crabby in the back, but I provided her with a perfectly timed "pouch" and preservative-free cereal bar and all was well. For the mom that usually forgets to pack snacks for crucial moments, I was pretty proud of myself. This grocery shopping with two kids thing was a breeze. I decided I would wear Talitha again and jumped out of the car to slip her into the wrap. As I was dancing around the car in 100 degrees, trying to juggle the toddler and grab my purse and remember the list, I suddenly felt a little lurch from my baby bundle and then the alarming feeling of warm liquid dripping down my chest all the way to my stomach. Baby vomit. The projectile-from-the-pit-of-that-tiny-infant-stomach kind where they puke out all the milk of their last three feedings. I cringed and pulled Talitha out of the wrap. This was a setback but it would not stop me. I would put T back in her car seat and finish buying the items on the healthiest shopping list known to man! Never mind that the entire front of my shirt was covered in regurgitated breast milk...

We made our way into the store where I dumped Talitha's car seat into a "big" cart, while Z gleefully picked out a toddler-sized cart to push around the store. Please keep in mind that Trader Joe's is a small store. If you've never been in one, they pretty much all look the same. Produce on one side, wine and beer on the other side, and about three aisles down the middle. To match their small square footage, they provide small-sized carts, because how much could you possibly buy at a store with three aisles? They also provide even smaller carts for kids to push around the store, because what could possibly be more convenient than erratic toddlers with tiny shopping carts underfoot in a small, yet always crowded, grocery store? Zianne has only had her own TJ's cart once before and she did great! We were picking up a few items, I put them all in her cart, she pushed it calmly around the store and unloaded the whole cart by herself at the checkout counter. That was when life was easy and one of my kids was still in the womb...

Today, Zianne did the opposite of last time. She pushed the cart all around the store and half the time I had no idea where she was because my other daughter was so busy screaming her head off. Every time I bent over to frantically shove Talitha's pacifier in her mouth, Z would turn a corner and disappear out of sight. At one point, I left Talitha crying in the dairy section and found Zianne two aisles over stuffing her cart full of all-natural health supplements such as milk thistle capsules. I kept trying to steer Zianne toward me but I physically couldn't keep track of two carts. Since Zianne's cart was so full of items we weren't actually buying, I had to start piling food on top of Talitha's car seat. Usually I wouldn't set a package of ground turkey on the canopy of my child's infant carrier but these were desperate times. I had to put the eggs underneath the cart on the little rack that is usually reserved for large items such as dog food and charcoal for the grill.

Eventually Zianne's cart, which was filled with supplements and coconut oil and whatever else she could get her tiny hands on, got too heavy for her. At one point, she was trying to walk on her knees while pushing it through the produce section before she eventually abandoned the overflowing cart in the back of the store and walked around saying "I poopy. I poopy." Turns out she was accurate. Sorry kid. 

Meanwhile, Talitha was still screaming as I crisscrossed back and forth across the world's tiniest grocery store because I couldn't keep track of my list and why the heck were we eating all this healthy food anyway? Half the customers were looking at me with sincere pity in their eyes, a few were surely disgusted with me, and a couple of kind older ladies tried to convince Zianne to push her cart to the front of the store {bless you!}.


We finally made it to the checkout where Zianne somehow found room to stuff a few more items into her cart. Who can say no to the candy bait while you wait in line? I monitored as each item came out of her cart and told the attendant which items we were not actually buying. We made our way out of the store and into the hot car where our other groceries had now been sitting in the 100 degree trunk for close to an hour. 

I made it home with both girls and put Zianne down for a nap almost instantly. It was time for T to nurse again, so I let the world's healthiest grocery items sit out on the counter for almost another hour before I got them put away. They say fermented foods are healthy for you, right? As I emptied the final bag of Trader Joe's items, I pulled out an unexpected package. Plantain chips? They were not on my list but somehow made their way home from Zianne's cart. I served them for Zianne's snack later that day and she gobbled them all up. I think her antics were just a ploy to sneak home a Paleo snack of her own.

So in case anyone thought I was transitioning to this mom-of-two thing gracefully, I hope this clears things up for you. Next time Micah offers to grocery shop for me, I'm taking him up on it.

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