Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

The not-so-rough riders February 23, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 12:56 am

The other morning I walked past the little one’s room, and this is what I saw…

I’m not quite sure where they were headed, but I’m¬†glad they waited while I got the camera ūüôā


Poppins, I presume February 21, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 11:59 pm

I’m answering to a different name these days.¬† Can you guess what it is? Yeah, so we’re kind of crazy for Mary Poppins around here right now.

I guess it all started near Thanksgiving when the Disney movie came on T.V. I thought our three-year old might enjoy bits of it, but I had no idea the rapture that would ensue.  Then, about a month ago, we reserved the 45th anniversary edition from our local library. 

We all just plain love this movie. The plot, characters, and casting are magical. The songs are fantastic, and the messages are sweet and timeless.

I have to admit that it sort of took me by surprise that¬†the girls¬†liked it so much. I guess I’m learning that¬†we¬†often sell kids short by assuming they want “cartoony” movies. In my experience though,¬†a lot of them seem to prefer shows¬†with real “live” people. Mary actually¬†has both. There¬†are some little vintage animated¬†bonuses sprinkled in to keep things interesting.

So anyway, the big girl has assigned roles.

Mommy=Mary Poppins.

Big sister= Jane Banks (uh, the big sister).

Little sister=Michael Banks. (Shh… don’t tell the tiny that she¬†is playing a¬†boy in this show).¬†¬†

Our little director has¬†done this before. About six months ago she was emphatically Dora. As in “The Explorer”. I was¬†addressed exclusively as¬†Boots, her Daddy was Swiper, and her helpless, but¬†always¬†willing, baby sister was… well, “The Map.”¬†

My husband and I found this part so hysterical that we even started referring to the baby as “The Map.”¬†Like “Do you have diapers for The Map?” “Does The Map need to eat sometime soon?” ¬†The 6 month old (at the time) seriously seemed to crawl in time to her theme song. “She’s the map. She’s the map…” We were pretty sure the nickname would hang around until college at least.

During¬†the Dora casting, I was a little conflicted. Do I let her insist on this?¬† Is it disrespectful? Thankfully, I chose more of a wait-and-see approach and, after a few months (and many a fantastic¬†expedition), it just sort of fizzled out.¬† Very occasionally it would enter into a conversation as a control tactic. ¬†As in…

Me: ______, please don’t do that.

Her: No! Dora please don’t do that!

Me: (Sigh). Ok. Dora.

There might have even been a few exasperated¬†“Whatever your name is, please don’t do that!” Just trying to be real here ūüôā

But overall, it seemed pretty harmless.

This time however, I’m taking a different approach. I’m all in. I’m desperately trying to fill Mary’s adorable ankle boots by affecting my best British governess accent and using cheery phrases like “Spit spot!”

The big girl¬†is totally thrilled by¬†it. Her eyes widen and¬†sparkle when I refer to her as Jane. And I’m here to¬†tell you-¬†that “Spoonful of Sugar” song? Gold. Pure gold!¬† The kid runs around the house in a toy-picking-up frenzy as soon as we launch into the chorus. Hmm, wonder how long this will last…

We recently had to return the movie to the library, but it is sure to be on our list again. Sorry if you were waiting on it. We kept this one the maximum time. It’s just that¬†good.¬†¬†She was also clamoring for a book about the Poppster. (Am I¬†pushing the bounds of propriety with that¬†familiarity? Mary would probably not approve). So we checked out the original book by¬†P.L. Travers. It is thoroughly delightful, but still a touch over her head (and attention span), so we’ll probably try it¬†again in six months or so.

For now, I’ll just be blissfully basking in the strong glow¬†of a three-year old’s imagination, and hoping that the magic lasts a lifetime.

“Alright then! Carry on children!” ūüôā

Who do your kids pretend to be? Are they totally insistent? Do you correct, remain neutral, or play along?

P.S. Anybody seen the Broadway show version? Anyone read the books?


Trust February 20, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 1:23 am

There are things I want to write about. Things I need to write about. Some of them I should probably even post about. But I am a worrier. And a scaredy-cat sometimes.

These are things writhing in my past, bubbling in my present, looming in my future. They are memories, mistakes, triumphs, losses, hopes, dreams. I think about them. Pray about them. And sometimes there is this urging.

Sometimes, when¬†I am finally overcome, I scribble about them so swiftly that I know that it is coming from somewhere deeper. Somewhere else. It is not the methodical “Oh! I should write about that” and sitting down with the¬†intent to converse and chronicle. While that type of writing is becoming so valuable to me, there is this other kind of writing that changes me.

These are scribbles of surrender. Finally giving up mulling, and realizing that in order to listen, to be obedient, I just have to get it down. And that, in and of itself, is a wonder and a relief. It is a deep sigh of my soul and a clearing and lightness.

But then sometimes, the urging continues.

Now what are you going to do with that? I am asked. And suddenly I am afraid. Self conscious. Timid even. Fluttering at the edge of a windy cliff.

And then a quiet word.


Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.

And nothing else. Nothing is more worthy of trust all the time. And I know why this writing changes me. Because it is part of a plan. It forces me to document the plan that I am trusting. I am documenting¬†a storyline that is not completely my own. It is one that I often can’t see. That I¬†frequently obscure with my silly scratching busyness.

It seems such a treacherous tiny path to try to decide what to keep inside and what to put out there. What is of value and what is vulgar. To balance transparency and discretion.

But I know that although I am not able to strike the balance, I know the One who can. I know that He knows what He can use, (and He can use just about anything).  Most of all, He can use my weakness to reassure me, and maybe you, of His strength. He has got this.

If only I will trust Him with all of my heart, lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him in all ways, He will make my (tiny treacherous) paths straight. 

I am reminded that when I read about those¬†things from others, I am changed. I remember all of the times that I have been moved by reading someone else’s honest¬†account¬†of doubt, tragedy,¬†monotony, or¬†victory.¬† My heart soars when they are courageously sharing the tough stuff. The messy stuff. Because… we connect. I am forced to recognize the completely-knock-me-to-my-knees-with-tears-in-my-eyes beauty of it all. I know that there is a way through it.

I know that this comfort has a purpose. That I was comforted (and am comforted still), so that I may comfort others. I am reminded that I have every reason to trust. Mine is the life vividly redeemed. When I have really trusted, I have never been let down. I will never be let down. We will never be let down.

We are promised that when we trust in the God of hope we will be filled with joy and peace. We will overflow with hope.

Well, sign me up!

So I will trust. And I will probably share. After prayerfully handing my pen over to the One who should really write the story, of course.


February+impromptu picnic=sweet life February 16, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 11:57 pm







Bye bye baby mullet February 15, 2011

Filed under: Milestones — dayna @ 2:03 am

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I, of course, must post on the most obvious of¬†topics. You guessed it:¬†baby mullets.

Yeah, so I am not too big on Valentine’s Day. Not that I’m not a hopeless romantic (because I am). I just think all the Valentine’s stuff feels a little contrived and commercial. I’m so sorry if this is one of your favorite holidays. I hope we can move past this and just agree to disagree. Maybe we can find common ground in chocolate ūüôā I guess¬†a day with so much chocolate can’t be¬†that bad, right?

Anyway, back to the pressing matter of baby coiffures.

Last week I¬†decided I couldn’t take it any longer and simply had to remedy what seems to be a familial problem around here. My fourteen month old¬†had been growing her hair into a full-fledged baby¬†mullet.¬†You know, baldish in the front and gradually thicker and longer in the back. (Seriously, you have got to go back and click on that hyperlink for a smile or {gasp!} memory).

This strange phenomenon happened with my first-born¬†as well. The transition went something like this…¬† Baby girl¬†born with what seems to be a full head of dark hair. Patchy baby hair falls out as baby¬†head grows. Blondy¬†peach fuzz emerges,¬†but seems to be¬†very slow-growing¬†in¬†front. Increasing fullness in back and finally-¬†scraggly growth down the back of the neck and even poking out over (the most) adorable ears.

Now don’t get me wrong, somehow these girls seem able to pull it off, but at some point a mom must breakdown and admit that her baby needs a first haircut.

Over the past few years I have gotten¬†somewhat comfortable cutting the big sister’s hair. It just seemed silly to go in for trims and, thankfully¬†her gently curling ends made her hair pretty forgiving. But her first haircut was done at a salon. And there was a certificate involved. With a lock of hair taped to it.

I just couldn’t bring myself to skip over what seemed to be a essential¬†fun¬†entry in¬†the baby book (ok, so it’s¬†more “baby Rubbermaid bin” than book at this point). I mean I really couldn’t stop documenting these sorts of things for my second-born so early, could I?

So an appointment was made. I actually called around to a couple of different cheap haircut places to find one that gave out the all important certificate. I decided that if baby sis and I were going to the salon, the¬†three-year old¬†would probably enjoy¬†a “real” trim, too.

So we waltzed into our local Great Clips in all our girlish glory.

The big sister went first.

She held really still and followed directions so well.

When the patient but efficient Nancy was finished, she told my daughter that she had “princess¬†hair.” Smart lady! Not sure what tipped her off to the key word.¬† I think it might have been the crown the big sister was wearing when we arrived. Bonus points (and appropriate tippage) to the brilliant Nancy.

Next it was time for the babe. She was so good as well. She is just the bravest little thing ever.

And that was it.

Pretty quick and relatively inexpensive. My baby was suddenly the picture of baby chic. More dainty pixie than ever. 

And we have the certificate to prove it.

I’m sure¬†glad they enjoyed themselves, because it will probably be back to “mom clips”¬†for a little while at least.

Do you document the same “milestones” with your latter-born children as you did with your firstborn? Do you cut your kids’ hair or take them to a salon? Any tips or recommendations?


A tribute… February 10, 2011

Filed under: Milestones,My night job — dayna @ 5:42 pm

So I have this friend. She’s “just a mom”.

Hopefully¬†you know that I say this “tongue-in-cheek,” because hopefully by now, you and I both know that there is really no such thing.

So this friend of mine is beautiful. (Those redheads always have an edge, right?) She is warm. She has¬†a “throw her head back”¬†¬†laugh like another certain redhead we all like to watch. She is generous. She just give, give, gives to her friends, to her family, to just about everyone. She is an amazing¬†mom.¬†One of those¬†whole food cooking, consistent structure building, affection slathering, majorly loving mothers. She is also a total smartypants. She is a highly educated PICU RN capable of taking care of the sickest of the sick patients on our unit (and a few other units as well).

View from the delivery room window on the day he was born

One year ago on this day my friend’s personal life and her professional life were headed for an intersection of the most epic proportions. It was probably more like a traffic circle really, with all of her worlds of people mingling and swirling around and around.

One year ago on this day, her lovely family welcomed their third incredibly handsome son. One year ago today they embarked on what must have been a roller coaster journey of a year. The first few weeks of this precious boy’s life simply had to have been the most challenging time this young family had faced so far.

Their much-loved¬†and warmly welcomed baby boy started having respiratory distress almost immediately after being born. He spent a few very tough days in the hospital’s NICU¬†and then, when there seemed no other option, was transferred to the PICU to be placed on ECLS¬†(or ECMO as it is commonly called).


Similarly to¬†his oldest brother,¬†he¬†had something called¬†PPHN. While ECLS¬†is one of most effective treatments for PPHN, it is not without its risks. And his mommy knew those risks. At the time of her youngest son’s birth, his mother was finishing her training to¬†manage the very equipment that would now hopefully help save his life.

Those days must have been unbelievably difficult. Just imagine being postpartum, seriously sleep deprived, with two young boys at home, and one son incredibly sick in the unit where you work.

I was out on maternity leave at the time of my friend’s ordeal. Although we were relatively new friends and co-workers, we had bonded a bit over our¬†closely timed pregnancies.¬†I already knew she was amazing. ¬†I was already thankful to have such a great “mom-friend” as a resource, especially in navigating the¬†fresh (to me)¬†waters of sibling relations. So I was not actually present on our unit during her family’s crisis, but I am certain that the whole experience must have been surreal.

I also know that during this crazy blurry time, Meg felt held. She was held. By God, by prayers, by her incredible family, and by her friends, many of whom were also her coworkers, who were also the medical staff who were caring for her precious newborn son.

Thankfully (that word doesn’t seem quit big enough), their boy fought, and worked, and even thrived. After a few days, he was successfully weaned off of ECMO¬†and eventually went back to the NICU. After what seemed like an eternity of tiny steps, about a month later, their littlest boy came home.

These Brothers

And today this boy is so incredibly healthy. He laughs, he plays, he eats, he grows!

His momma graciously shares all of her boy’s milestones with her friends and coworkers. She must know that sometimes we need the encouragement. She allows us to glimpse the possibilities of what can happen in our workplace. She shares as any friend, any proud mom does, all of his cute stuff, his silly stuff, even his frustrating stuff.

I have heard her marvel before that people often say what a miracle he is. “And he is!” she’ll say. “But he is also just my kid,” she adds with a proud but knowing smile, fully appreciating all of the “normal” her family is bound to experience together.

This Family

On this day I give thanks that I have this friend. I am thankful to know her wonderful family with her loving husband and their three spectacular boys.

On this day, we give thanks for medical technology, for¬†brilliant minds, for healing hands, for¬†God’s grace, for family, for friendship, and…

This day


…¬†for a boy who is “just a kid,” but a miracle just the same.


I hope you will take some time and explore¬†Gabriel’s family’s website @¬†¬†¬†
 His parents are talented writers and their story deserves to be told.
G.K. Chesterton wrote that “the most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”

“Almost” again… February 9, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — dayna @ 4:42 pm

Another almost “wordless Wednesday.”

This morning…

…when early morning snuggles turn into back-to-sleep bliss ūüôā


On a lighter (but not reduced calorie) note… February 8, 2011

Filed under: Better life,food — dayna @ 1:33 am

Shades of gray

A couple of weeks ago our kitchen island “play-doughing” turned into actual¬†baking (ok- sort of actual baking).

My mom had come for a visit a few weeks prior, and¬†while¬†visiting introduced my girls to the delights of one of my childhood favorites…monkey bread.

Oh my. The whole experience left quite an impression on the three-year old.

Don't worry, there was no mixing of media.

Well, on this particular¬†grey play-dough¬†day, we¬†were scheduled to attend a¬†potluck style baby shower.¬† We still had all of the few, (and I mean few),¬†simple ingredients to make this monster, so¬†monkey¬†bread was the obvious choice. The big sister was delighted and didn’t even¬†seem to ¬†mind¬†pushing aside¬†her” baby-sister’s-naptime-playdough-creation” to bake something real.

If there is a pre-schooler or perhaps even toddler in your life, this is a great recipe to bake (I use the term loosely), because it is fun and easy¬†for little hands to make, fun and easy for¬†little hands to eat, and involves very little mess or clean up. There aren’t even any mixing bowls involved. Seriously!

In action

And there is popping and shaking!

You basically cut up pieces of already made popping-can buttermilk biscuits, drop them in a freezer bag with cinnamon and sugar and shake¬†’em. (Add your favorite¬†“shaking” song and dance moves for really genuine three-year¬†old giggles. I¬†happen to have a few in my repertoire. The originals probably weren’t appropriate for her little ears, but the cleaned up mommy versions seemed to do the trick).

Next¬†you dump the cinnamon and sugar coated¬†pieces into¬†a bundt pan, drown them in a heavenly brown sugar-melted butter mixture and throw it in the oven. That’s it.

The link to the actual recipe is here.

I think it goes without saying that this stuff has virtually no redeeming nutritional value. But it is decadently delicious. Buttermilk biscuits, brown sugar, butter. Some seriously tasty b- words.

I have to admit that I¬†briefly considered ways to possibly” health it up”.¬†We did happen to use one can of¬† Trader Joe’s brand biscuits because our leftovers from the Mamaw¬†visit were one short.¬† They were supposedly all natural, preservative free, and worked just fine. I think I would use all this kind next time. Shh! Don’t tell Pillsbury.¬†I also noticed that the recipe on the website (which¬†I didn’t look at until now)¬†includes walnuts and raisins.¬†A little protein and crunch wouldn’t hurt to balance¬†things out.¬† But for a first attempt, ours seemed to turn out just fine…


Sadly, the event we were supposed to attend was cancelled, and after lunch our family was forced to enjoy some of this stuff still warm from the oven.

Tiny taste tester

Do not, I repeat, do not let this happen to you. Find a party to attend, or invite people over…QUICK! You will eat inhale the whole thing. ūüôā

Have you made or enjoyed monkey bread? Got any interesting variations? Is all your play dough gray?





You may never know February 3, 2011

Filed under: Favorites,My night job — dayna @ 7:19 am

A note from this PICU RN to the parents of my young patients:

Dear Parents,

You may never know your full impact during your time of crisis.  Although it is most certainly not your intention, you are profoundly affecting those around you and your child. 

Including me.

When you kiss your baby as you send them into surgery, I learn about surrender and trust.

When your family suffers due to an accident, I want to strive to make the world a safer place.

When your acts of violence or cruelty sent your child into my care, I tremble in anger at injustice and ignorance.

When you educate me on the specifics of your chronically ill child, I know that every child is unique, precious, and deserves unfailing love.

When you joke with me on a night I really didn’t want to come in to work,¬†you lighten my load.

When you incomprehensibly ask me about my day in the midst of your tragedy, you teach me about selflessness.

When your friends and family rally around you and lift you up, I see love and community in action.

When you reach for your Bible in your hour of greatest need, you point me to the Source of all hope.

When you involve me in the most intimate of goodbyes, I am humbled to be on sacred ground.

When hope is lost for¬†your child’s life¬†and you bring up the ultimate gift¬†¬†before being approached, my knees buckle in awe.

When you leave the unit with aching empty arms, I know that I must cherish every single moment with my loved ones.

When you commend my co-workers, I recognize that I am shoulder-to-shoulder with greatness.

When you express gratitude for the care that I am giving, I dig deeper to give more than I knew I could.

When you send pictures of your now healthy child or stop by for a visit, I remember why I chose this profession and specialty.

Dear parents, you may never know who you are affecting in the very times that you feel the most helpless.

Often your grace and faith in those¬†unspeakable circumstances¬†can astound even the “seasoned” professionals¬†surrounding you and your child. You affect us, and you affect your community.

You force us to face our worst fears and inspire us to step forward with courage into this heartbreaking but hopeful world.

Has your child ever been hospitalized? What made their stay easier or more difficult?


Sonoita Serenity February 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 11:58 pm

The Front Porch


Grandma's Arms

Grandpa's Seat

Heading out...

to the back porch.