Don’t Ever Say You’ve Seen It All

or you will be humbled

and horrified.

It took a moment for my mind to register what my eyes were seeing. I couldn’t figure out why she looked shorter than usual, or where the rest of her body was.

Then the questions kept coming: how did she get in there? do I need to give her another bath? does this count? are her shoes salvagable?

Yet indisputably, we are both very proud that she can proficiently demonstrate potty training readiness and locate her nose at the same time.

This girl’s going places.

On Turning Seven

We celebrated Sophia last December 16, with a Bring your Own Doll Tea Party. There were many guests and many dolls, and many guests, cheez-its and a nugget tray.  I flew high on caffeine and birthday spirit all day. There’s nothing like the 9 days before Christmas birthday.

Along the way, I have internalized a rule for how much I say about my kids here: Before age four , all is fair game, but after age four, I limit and generalize – more  my perspective than their antics. The rule developed naturally and felt right. Before four, I noticed that they didn’t wonder why someone knew something about them that happened in our home privately. I never want my kids to doubt that they have a private world, safe from scrutiny, and even applause.

Do I over- think this? Absolutely. Do they care that they have a private world? Probably not. Am I making this up as I go like every other parent?Definitely. Do any of us know what it’s like to have been a child in the world of Instagram? No.

 That being said, I laugh sometimes as I look over the early years on this site. It is filled with Sophia and her imagination, her creativity, and her lack of inhibition. If I were to share more about her this year, I’d mention her store, her ballet she marketed to the public library, her doctor’s office in the front yard, her dog house, her doll school, the VBS she hosted in our house and how many times I have been a victim of bare feet stepping on scotch tape in the midst of her projects.

I marvel sometimes that I was 25 when Sophia was born, the same age my mother had me, and the same age her mother had her. But it doesn’t make sense – my mother was completely mother to me, total competent grown up, my whole life. Was she, too, figuring out marriage, and calling, and adulthood, over and over again?

Sophia doesn’t know it because I put up such a smooth facade, but we continue to grow up together, she and I. I’m learning – learning that she’s not me,  and learning that she’s not all mine. 

She’s super smart and sensitive and seven is different than six and five. Seven is wide eyes and listening ears. She does not miss strained conversations in the kitchen or tense bedtime routines. I’ve worked my apology muscles this year, hoping, praying that she witnesses authenticity and grace.

Because, she sees through me, so I best be transparent: Olivia: Mom are you a Rock Star? Nina: Yes. Sophia: No, you’re not.

Ohhhh seven. We’re in a different league these days. Those first years, so often are about getting enough sleep. I’m beginning to realize this next phase, and the rest of them, are about staying awake.


I never posted about Sophia’s birthday last year. I was in her classroom passing out birthday popsicles while the tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary. I didn’t exhale much that weekend, and couldn’t bring myself to write about my six-year old. I kept thinking about those mothers and that we were all pregnant together back in 2006. I cried and I prayed and I let myself be really angry and really afraid. I didn’t allow myself to write this post until I sent a message to the families, which I finally did tonight. It was an awkward, halting message, pledging to lift them up on every birthday I get to celebrate with Sophia. I told them about her. I mentioned all the scotch tape. The site, just built on the one-year anniversary is sweet and beautiful and hopeful. I went to offer peace to these families and they ministered to me. Visit here:

The Magic of Snow Days

can wane.


I committed a key error Tuesday night, as the big beautiful flakes began falling. I lost three hours of my life to HGTV. I watched young “Property Virgins” scour McMansions in far-reaching Atlanta suburbs for the just the right-sized Man Cave.

Man Cave?

Travis had to make phone calls on the Snowed In Day. He looks at me, hiding in the bedroom from the children and their debris, weighed down with the anxiety of having had set high productivity goals for this week and reaching none of them because no one ever left and because I still buy the lie that being present is not being productive, that though God is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, I’d rather just create and redeem rather than do all of of this endless sustaining and maintaining, and fuming because, (read: HGTV poison), for the love, it is audacious to assume that I can survive snow without a MUD ROOM, equipped with matching hooks, bins, and benches from Restoration Hardware,

and says “I guess I’ll go to the car.”

“Can I come? ” I asked.

It has not been my best week. Maybe the schedule disruption threw me or just the constant grasping for thumbs in those mittens. “Is your thumb in? Is it in? WHERE IS YOUR THUMBBBBB?”

Last night I was doing my desperation deep breathing in the kitchen and said, “Girls I need some music.”

I grabbed that baby, with food in her hair and hair in her eyes and we twirled around the kitchen to the sounds of Disney making more money, kicking away the plates and knives that litter the floor when a 15 month old unloads the dishwasher. We laughed and I told myself, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will put on make up and get some real stuff done.”