Weeks 4 and 5: Ode to Sickness, Semester’s End, Snow, and Screaming!

***Hope you hop on over to Missions 52 for a poorly executed poem about life 😉 I am mom.  Not awesome.  Simply that.  Mom.  HAHA!  Love to all you CRAZIES!!!!  ***  (link in below)

If I was a poet, I would compose a poem right about now sharing my exact moments. I am not, however, screw it!  I will!  This will be my attempt to let you all know how this missionary momma……

Source: Weeks 4 and 5: Ode to Sickness, Semester’s End, Snow, and Screaming!

When your 10-yr-old daughter is surrounded by machine guns and stands her ground…


We went through two metal detectors before we could enter the areas of the Western Wall (under Jewish control) and then the Temple Mount (under Muslim control) in Israel.  It wasn’t too bad—except we forgot we had a knife for making sandwiches.  Big oops.  Gracious security warded off angry men security and allowed us to keep our sandwich making materials—including the knife.

As soon as we entered the Temple Mount, bought by King David to build the Temple upon thousands of years ago, I was accosted.  I had read it was conservative, so I wore a dress and scarf and tights and boots for the day. Apparently if you can see the boots and the dress, you are a harlot.  Forget the fact that all of the other touring women are in trendy skinny  bun-hugging jeans…my boot showing dress was enough to stop the entire Mount.

So, there I was, on my way to becoming a harlot on the Mount…getting accosted for my boots showing, having to cover and hobble the rest of the tour while having a scarf tied around my boots.

Can you say troublesome?  I can.

But I entered the Temple Mount area and, therefore, chose to abide respectfully by the rules brought to us by the machine-gun wielding security there.

We toured the area and began our ascent to leave.  That is when it happened.

What you need to know is that the Mount is only open 2 different hours throughout the day because it is the Muslim holy ground and has extremely strict rules.  So, as the hour was ending when we needed to leave, we were doing just that.  Leaving.

On our way out, however, one young gentleman asked my 10-year-old to take his photo.  She obliged politely and waited for him to get in position when two machine-gun wielding men rushed her and the 2nd tourist.  A lot of loud yelling took place.  I am helpless mom on the other side of chaos while my 10-year-old and the random tourist are surrounded by guns.

A few moments pass, the security move, Adelyne takes the photo, the random tourist is hauled off with the machine guns, and we grab Adelyne and practically run out into the nearest hallway, where Rich is then given the task to get rid of the world’s worst tour guide—oh the gut-wrenching laughter stories I’ll tell later about him—and we sit for Turkish coffee and delights in a darkened hallway surrounded by non-machine gun wielding men and telling Adelyne how brave she is to stand her ground…

Even amongst the chaos of adventure!

Don’t Scare Maxwell, Momma…He’s my BEST FRIEND!

“Dear Lord, help me!” I cry out everyday.  All throughout the day…even as I drift into sleep at night.

My kids are a circus of never-ending entertainment.

Today is the LAST day before my amazing parents arrive in Poland to stay with us for a month!  I AM SO THRILLED.

That, actually, is an understatement.

And, as with any arrival of guests, a serious scouring of the house has been had.  BUT — oh GLORY day…on Monday of this week, actual professionals came and helped clean my place.

Woohoo.  Can we say, “Angels in disguise?!”  I can!

The last time my house was cleaned by anyone outside of the Nungesser family name was about 18 months ago.  THIS … THIS gift of a clean house that I simply got to enter and breathe in was one of the most angelic gifts anyone could receive this glorious Christmas season.

Okay—enough about the CLEAN HOUSE (must shout that, as it only stayed clean for approximately 30 minutes).

There is so much going on this holiday season.  I won’t bore you with my list, as I know yours is long.  WE ARE ALL CRAZY CHICKENS BUSY this glorious season—my literally FAVORITE time of year!!!!!

And amongst all of the lists and lists and lists of STUFF we must get done and are going to do—I still am a mom.


Apparently not.


So, as I am needing to go upstairs and finish every drop of laundry to make room for two extra big people in a 3-bedroom house, I turned off Maxwell and Josephine’s cartoons and said, very sweetly, “Okay, you two, up the stairs.  Time to play!”

“NOOOOO!  I am not going up the stairs.  I want my TV!”  (the kid knows how to work the remote, so he knows that turning the TV off is only the start of our mommy vs. 4yearold-son battle.

Knowing he is about to turn the TV back on, I take one STERN look at him (believe me—terrorists would FLEE), I said, “MAXWELL LOREN!  UPSTAIRS NOW!”

Boy howdy…You would think the use of a stern voice and two names was like the most horrible infliction that could have been bestowed upon this meek (insert sarcasm) 4-year-old, undies wearing boy.

“MOMMA—you scare me!  I don’t go upstairs with you.”

Momma eye roll…

“MOMMA—don’t scare Maxie!  He’s my BEST FRIEND!”

Now I’m being scolded by a 2-year-old chubby naked toddler??????

DEAR LORD—serenity now 😉

Needless to say, despite their best attempts to shame me—I am Momma.  I cannot be shamed (insert mwah-ha-ha!).

AND two half naked littles made their way up the stairs—while I have finished nearly every drop of my laundry!


Serenity is now 😉

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old


Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.


This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.


Getting in Shape? Not me…


Saw this on Instagram this morning…I nearly died laughing.  Because.  Well, just because this is not my #truth when it comes to my infamous eyebrow and s.  First of all, I don’t get in shape.  Second—not even my eyebrows are there!

Last—I actually never knew the internet was FULL of all sorts of quotes about EYEBROWS!

I mean…I thought it was just my blog that ranted about these top hovers.  But, no.  I was rolling.  And so I found a few fun quotes and a few blog reminders so we all may enjoy!

Here we go…a few fun internet finds and how I tend to blend right in to this craze.


Jack Black has something to say about eyebrows, and I learned this one the hard way…When I didn’t have one:  Vanity Will Get You One Eyebrow—Less


Next..I never knew how important they were until I went to make a statement about my marriage: Marital Unbliss and Lack of Sleep Had a Devastating Effect on My Eyebrows


I guess this last one is especially humorous to me since I write a blog…Haha!  Enjoy the quote and the blog: Do You Want To Wax Your Mustache?


Show me your SWEET face!

I am driving my son home from JUST ANOTHER doctor’s appointment.  For the last month, since the middle of September, to be more accurate, my son that came back to life has been in and out of the doctors’ offices.

It’s okay.  I mean, I am SO thankful that we can go to the doctor’s office and receive care.  But, on the other hand, the doctor nearest our village (only 10 minutes away), told us under no uncertain terms to NOT BRING OUR SON BACK TO HER AGAIN…She was done trying to treat him.

So we have to drive an hour to go and get him care elsewhere.

And it’s okay—because the doctors have been attentive.  But for the past month and a half, not much has changed.  He remains the same.

Struggling to breathe.  Daily.  All the time.

He’s on 5 daily meds.  This doctor today, just put him on like a bazillion more.

Maybe one of the extra million will help him breathe.

Who knows?!?!?!

We can only hope.

I mean, I’m not keeping score on my son or anything—but I have had like 20,000 cups of coffee this past month as I have been getting only about 2 hours of sleep per night—4 hours if he is REALLY REALLY a good son.

I am not saying he is going to owe me like a LUXURY retirement gift one day — but this kid will at least owe me some really awesome Mother’s Day present one year.  Like a new car 😉

Anyhow—back to the car ride home from the doctor’s.  This is where is actually gets funny…

On the hour drive home—after the hour drive there, the 1 hour wait in the doctor’s office, the appointment, and all the fun that entails with a 4-year-old and 2-year-old IN THE COLD…On the hour drive home—my son (the sick one) decides that he is JUST SO FUNNY!

So he takes his toddler sister’s blanket — which is like THE END OF THE WORLD!

I am driving on the highway at about 80mph and he takes her blanket…

Have mercy on my soul.

So she is wildly screaming.  Not crying.  Screaming.  Because, “Nobody takes Josephine’s blankie!”

I’ve had no sleep for 6 weeks…

I am driving in the COLD.  If you know me, you know I don’t even REMOTELY like the cold…

And he takes her blanket.

If you know my third kid, the toddler, she is like a lumbering LARGE ball of lungs and fluff.  I mean—this girl.  She’s a presence to be reckoned with.



And FEISTY coming out the wazoo…

And her brother took her beloved.

He is immune to the shrieking.  In fact, he finds the entire situation so funny.

My sanity is at the end of the rope.  And I say nicely, because, believe it or not, I try to be nice to my kids (most days 😉 )…”Maxwell, please give Josephine her blankie back.”

OOPS…Mom has jumped in…So Maxwell knows now that he has to make a choice—continue the harassment of his sister against his mother’s wishes or listen to Momma and do as she asks.

But the thing with 4-year-olds is that they are FINALLY getting smart.  Like they realize that they need to do what they are told—BUT that they can do it THEIR WAY.

So, Maxwell, tells Josephine…”Okay, GoGo, I will give you your baba (blankie) back, but you have to say ‘Please’ to me.”  (Conditions, I see 😉 )

“PLEASE, MAXWELL!!!!” Josephine bawls, tears streaming down her face.

“No, GoGo…Say ‘Please’ with a SWEET face!”

Please was apparently not enough in his battle to “win”.

Of course, the sweet face did not happen, so the boy asking for the sweet face then leans over to his sister and PINCHES her arm to get her to say “Please” with a sweet face.


Like a pinch will REALLY bring Max the results he so desperately wants to “win”!

I am dying.

I am exhausted.

I am driving.

I am this close to pulling the car over…Do you all remember your parents using that expression?!  Haha!

But I don’t.

Josephine never smiles.

And Max never gets his sweet face.

The blankie winds up on the floor.

And Josephine cries the entire way home.

Well, until she sees some cows, at which point she begins singing her adorably two-year-old version of Old McDonald “Moo Moo Cow”.

We made it home.  All children alive.  Mommy alive.

And get out of the car to live another day. Miraculously.

So, here’s to you…

I hope when your going gets rough you either choose a sweet face or a silly song to survive—because sometimes that is all we’ve got.

That or Maxwell is going to pinch you!

Record the delights in your heart


I pulled out a journal that my mom sent me for my 40th birthday the other day.  There is so much for me to write and see and say, and I wanted to begin to record.

But pulling out my journal brought me back to the last several years of my life and marriage.

If you have followed this blog since its inception 3 years ago, you would know that my husband and I have had to work really hard at our marriage.

One point, while we were receiving professional help, my husband was journaling.  It was a good thing.  Yet is was a VERY depressing thing.

While it was both cathartic and healing—it was just SO SAD!

And every time I read it, it was hard to read.

Hard times in life are hard.  And we need to share them with someone we trust—but that doesn’t make it easy.

So when I pulled out my journal…during a hard day of just being me, being mommy, being wife, I decided to do something different.

I decided that I was going to write about the joys of my day.  And while my children sat screaming and crying and throwing fits, I remembered that ONE moment of the day where they were pure joy—

And I wrote that.

And I giggled while I wrote.

And I shared with my husband what I wrote.

And we smiled.

Through the tears, through the difficulties, through the hard—we smiled…because, really, there was something to smile about.

Take for example, my family photo above.  My 2-year-old delight (sarcasm inserted here) cried and pouted and shouted throughout our entire photo session.  She was tired.  She was sleeping.  And she is two.  TWO.  That, in itself, is an answer for everything 😉

She did not want to smile for any photo.  It was impossible.  And as much as we tried, we just could not get that ideal and dreamy family photo that I had envisioned on the drive to the palace gardens where we were taking photos.

So we had to come to the conclusion to either leave her out of photos or just go with the flow.

And we did both.

When she wasn’t in the photos, we clicked magnificence.

When she was, we just had so much fun with her two year old pouty expressions…capturing not perfection but real life.

At the end of the day, when the gardens were about to be locked up, we wandered to the exit and just let the children run and play.  After all, they could get dirty now that mom had what she wanted.  That is when the sun actually came out.

No, dusk was on the horizon, but our 2-year-old Josephine ran and played and laughed and smiled.

And that is when my husband took back out the camera that he had already packed away and started to shoot.

And that’s when we saw her smile.

You know…It’s good to record life.  The ups and downs and all arounds.

But sometimes we especially need to record the joys—because they remind us to smile!