Category Archives: parenting

Shattered (into) Pieces

For 6+ months, the 4 year old has been in charge of unloading the dishwasher each day. We started slowly with the silverware.  Then added stacking all the plates and cups onto the counter and now have progressed to then getting onto the counter to put them away in the cupboard ONE AT A TIME.

See, as a veteran dishwasher unloader, I have learned the the safest and best tactics for unloading, stacking, and putting away the fragile dishes.  As a mama, I am imparting this wisdom onto our kids, as per my job description (see Deuteronomy 6:5-9).

However, as a fellow sinner, the 4 year old took it upon herself to do it her own way today, which she honestly believed was ok.  Not just ok but safe.  Not just safe but BEST. Taking a handful of bowls and placing them on the 2nd shelf of the cupboard…and you all know what came next.  The crash.

As I enter the scene, looking something similar to this,



You’d think I would be meditating on the verse that Lydia just text me, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” – 1 John 3:18

But no, I was grieving my beautiful green bowls that lay in pieces all over the counter on top of the other clean dishes and all over the ground where my 1 year old was headed as he crawled.  I yelled.  I banned the children from the kitchen. I mourned, silenty. I cleaned and swept and threw away the bowls.  I put away dishes and swept again and double checked so no tiny toe would be cut by a minuscule shard of what once was a pretty green bowl.   I boiled a little.  And I realized that I handled that situation really poorly.

And God brought to mind His spin on this whole situation.  Isn’t it just like us to make such a mess of ourselves, our situations, and our lives when we, in a brief moment of proud confidence and selfish ambition, try to do it our own way?  The way we think is ok? And safe? And BEST?  And look at how quickly we can make it all a mess. A mess that we are incapable of cleaning up ourselves.  A mess that God so lovingly uses for us, in spite of us and out of love for us.

God does this



out of our mess.  Out of our shattered pieces His light most certainly will shine through.

 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-11


Family Mission Statement, Rules, Values, Vows, and Verse

We did it.  Finally put this all together (by God’s grace and my husband’s intentionality).

The Draper Family Mission Statement: Every day we will joyfully choose to love and serve God and our neighbors.

The Draper Family Verse:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with the gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:12-17

The Draper Family House Rules: 

1. Love God
2. Obey Right Away
3. Have a Happy Heart
4. Be Kind
5. Work Hard

The Draper Family Values: To intentionally practice humility, forgiveness, self-control, joy, patience, grace, service, love, and prayer with our family, friends, and the world.

The Draper Parent’s Vows: To treat our children gently, provide consistency, and be trustworthy

The Draper Kids Expectations: To honor and obey daddy and mommy, always being honest

Ok, so…

I do really love blogging.  Honest.

I just choose not to make time for it anymore right now because:

Some days I wipe 3 poopy butts all in a row (not including my own, people) and it takes a really long time.  I mean, 2 of them are cloth diapered and that whole process is more than I really want to write about.  Then the oldest one, well, we waver back and forth between “making it in time” and “skidmarks”…so, yeah.

The past 4 days I’ve been consumed with either canning peaches that were ready when I wasn’t, or familial obligations out-of-state which meant I had to pack water, diapers, packnplay, snacks, emergency snacks, suckers, extra snacks, puffs, baby food, spoons, bibs, stroller, toys, extra underwear, just-in-case clothes, pajamas, extra diapers, sunscreen, sunglasses, a dish to share, and my phone charger – all for a trip that took as long as it did to be at the actual reunion.

Oh, and the peaches that I’ve ‘finished’ canning?  I was so excited to have the last canner on that I forgot to bring it to a ‘slow boil’ and almost exploded one of the cans (read: they didn’t all seal – so WASTE OF MY TIME)

Some days, like today, I have some poop on my leg that isn’t even mine.

There are a lot of little people needing constant attention in my house.  At any given moment someone is learning how to unload the dishwasher while simultaneously fighting with their sibling about not getting to have the yellow car that they want, even though they do have a yellow car of their own.  While the younger sibling is fighting with the sibling doing a chore, he also yells at the recently mobile baby for pushing and biting on his chair which, by the decibel of his screams, informs me that he believes his life is in mortal danger.  Lastly, that baby spits up on the floor and then army crawls through it causing the older siblings to panic, but then he manages to slide through the spit up in such a way that none of us can find it on the carpet once I am alerted because the he has smooshed it into his onesie and the carpet and speaking of the baby, where’d he crawl off to?  Oh, there he is, sucking on my gardening shoe and playing with the cord from the monitor.  Did I mention that this all happened in the span of 30 seconds?  If so much takes so little time, why does it feel like I can never get anything done?

Then there’s Monday: laundry day.  Today I luckily looked at most of the shirts and caught a sticker before throwing it in and causing the entire kids laundry load to stick together from the residue of those wonderful yet cursed little joy-bringers.

And my hair?  I trimmed it, 4 months ago.  I think.  (it is time, Simba)

Some evenings, when my knight-in-shining-armor returns home to save all of us from nearly annihilating each other over whose turn it is to draw on the magnadoodle, I find myself standing in awkward positions, like a started walking and then stopped with only one foot on the ground, transfixed by what is going on in the Instagram world, and suddenly snap out of it to realize everyone is happy in the living room and 13 minutes have passed me by and I can’t even remember whose name is ‘sweeet_sally_16’ because I don’t even know any Sally’s, but man, I must have needed some detox time.

Then there are the projects.  The computer armoire, bookshelf, stool, and possibly some walls need painted.  The new curtains need hung, but I don’t have the right rings (or the right curtain rods depending on how you look at it).  There are a pile of frames without a home.  We started a compost bin but it’s not in the correct spot.  There are STILL TOMATOES GROWING IN MY GARDEN.  Joel brought me a pallet and says he has an endless supply at work (I just clicked over to Pinterest to make a board of projects for pallets that I probably will never get to, boohoo, and ended up wasting 17 minutes).  And I have this grand idea of a bedroom redo (thanks, The Nesting Place) but so far, it’s still a mess and we have no time to ‘fix’ it.

I could go on some more, I think, but I have a few laundry basket’s of clothes to fold, the boys are napping, and I really would rather be reading Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst or blogs from some of my friends that do still make time for some creative outlet

And for the 3 of you that still read this (Hi, Mom!), thank you, without your feedback, it would feel like this was a giant waste of my time 🙂

Choosing Thankfulness

My partner’s gone this week.  Work traveler…


However…when I tend to bathe in cookies, ice cream, late night movie marathons, pity party’s, and other self-indulgences while he’s away…I am choosing thankfulness this week.  Maybe it’s my new obsession with Instagram…or the 100 Happy Days challenge I’m doing ON Instagram…but however it happened, God is gracing me with peace and thankfulness this week.

Husband and I up at 5am Monday morning so he can catch his flight? Peace.  He gets to the airport to find out his flight is cancelled and instead goes to work over an hour early? Peace.  Husband and I up at 5am Tuesday morning so he can catch his rescheduled flight? Peace (though, I was not so much ‘up at 5am’ this particular morning…).  Once again he gets to the airport to find out his flight is cancelled…Peace.  God reveals to me that all of our prayers for ‘safe travels’ and ‘protection’ could have been answered through him missing rush hour traffic two mornings in a row.  Or flying two mornings when there were storms…or who knows how God ‘protects’ us – we don’t even know all of the things that we miss!

Checking out at Target with the kids behind another customer who’s credit card isn’t getting read and it’s taking forever at the same time I should have them home in bed? Peace.  My 4 month old literally crying the entire way home? Peace.  My almost 4 year old telling me she had to go potty as soon as I pulled out of the gas station parking lot (to check on the 4 month old and try to assess why he was still crying…)? Peace.

We’ve still got 2 days to miss him and lots more opportunities for stress and sadness and selfishness…But thank you God for unexpected days home together, plans still working out for Joel’s work needed done in Mexico, kids who sing to the baby when he’s crying, over-tired cuddles, going to sleep right away, Grandma’s who help out, Kids Eat Free night at Chik-Fil-A, and a God who is teaching and molding in every situation


The first night…

Remember my first day at home alone with 2 kids?!  Well I haven’t had my first day at home with 3 yet, but we did have our first night at home as a family of 5…and it was eventful, to say the least.

1:30pm: Mommy, Daddy, and Olson arrive home!  We put stuff away and rest all afternoon

5:30pm: Mylin and Sullivan arrive to meet their new brother! (along with both sets of grandparents).  Pictures, kissing, hugging, and holding ensue.

Olson Emmanuel 011 Olson Emmanuel 023 Olson Emmanuel 024

7:00pm: Mylin is intrigued by Olson’s diaper change and gets close enough to get peed on.  Hysterical crying and confusion and bathroom fleeing follow while the rest of us chuckle and try to calm her down.  (Sullivan uses this opportunity to climb onto mama’s lap.  It is evident he is a bit jealous of my lap and this new little boy consuming it…).

8:00pm: Mylin and Sully go to bed.  LOTS of getting up, asking questions, wanting to see Olson and other excuses continue for about an hour.  Then there is lots of giggling coming from their room.  They sure missed getting to share a room while at grandma’s house

9:30pm: Exhausted daddy goes to bed and mommy gets alone time for some devos, reading blogs and emails and winding down.

10:30pm: I nurse Olson and put him down in the pack-n-play in our room.  We’ve never had a room-in baby before…but mommy was a little too emotional to let him be too far on our first night…

11:00pm: I pump. My milk came in way fast and Olson cannot keep up with it.  During this time I hear O-baby have a huge blowout.  During the diaper change, more newborn poopy explodes into his nice cozy swaddler. 😦

11:30pm: I crash

12: 30am: Joel and I both wake up and talk for a little bit, during which time we hear what sounds like a fountain coming from Olson’s bed…it turns out he just projectile spit up 😦  We’re both a little shaken by the sound and the fact that it happened and thankful he was in our room or we wouldn’t have heard it!

1:00am: Everything is cleaned and changed and we’re back in bed

1:30am: The empty bellied boy cannot be comforted and mommy nurses him again, but in bed with daddy so we can all lie together and be cozy

3:00am: I wake up abruptly, realizing here lies Olson still!  I have no idea how much he ate and am a bit frightened we slept with him in our bed when we were SOOO exhausted!

3:30am: Inconsolable Olson cannot be put back to sleep in pack-n-play.  Falling asleep (for Mommy) during a feeding is not good, because baby doesn’t get a full feeding!  I nurse him and put him back to bed, again.

Next: I have no idea what happened next.  I am officially delirious.

6:45am: Mylin pops into our room and asks to hold Olson and wants to know when she can help me pick out his outfit for the day.  She is promptly put back in bed and mommy and daddy go back to sleep.

7:30am: book time for kids, shower for Joel, and our day ‘officially’ begins

I think I love my new life 🙂



Blanket time

A couple years ago, I heard a friend sharing about how her children do ‘blanket time’ when they are little.  This time was for them to learn how to sit still, be content, and play safely while she did school with her older children (she has SEVEN).

I was very intrigued by this and asked several questions about how to appropriately and correctly implement it

Birthday and autumn 020

When Sullivan was born and Mylin was just turning 2, I began implementing blanket time in the mornings while I nursed Sullivan.  I needed Mylin to stay put so I knew she was safe, and this was a great opportunity for her to learn those sitting still qualities that all of us so strongly desire for our toddlers!  She caught on right away and I never had any issues with her obedience.  We’d pick out several books, lay out a blanket at my feet in the nursery, and she’d sit there and read (look at) the books until I said it was time to pick up.  Heavenly.

In preparation for #3, we began implementing blanket time earlier this fall with Sullivan (and again with Mylin).  My friend, Hannah, who taught me how to do blanket time, said that as soon as a child can come to you give you a five when you say ‘High Five!’, they have enough comprehension and obedience to sit still when told.  This happens generally no earlier than 9 months, but almost always by 12 months.  Our little man was regularly sitting still to eat snacks and could follow many other verbal commands, so we knew he was ready!

I found special new toys at a garage sale (score Melissa and Doug hand-me-down’s!) and those became their blanket time toys.  These stay stored up and only come out during designated blanket time.

Birthday and autumn 022 Birthday and autumn 023

This is a wonderful time right now for Joel and I to do some quiet reading

Birthday and autumn 021

And soon (like 8 weeks!!!), this will be the best tool to keep the kids happily occupied while I spend necessary one-on-one time with the baby!

Any other tips on activities for toddlers and preschoolers to stay occupied while mama is occupied with an infant?!

Becoming a mother began 3 years ago…

3 years ago today, I began my journey into motherhood!

While Mylin wouldn’t be born until June 25th, it was precisely in the 2 o’clock hour of June 24th that I was admitted to the hospital in active labor…

Since I haven’t written this story on the blog yet, I’m going to write out Mylin’s birth story today!

So, for those of you that don’t care – come back tomorrow for some cute pictures of the 3 year old 🙂

And for anyone who loves nostalgic memories like I do…indulge me while I write this out (more for me, than you) to remember one of my favorite days of our lives!

My doctor’s appt was at 12:30 on June 24th, 2010.  Joel and I came to the appointment WITHOUT our overnight bags – even though everyone said, ‘Take your bags to those last few appointments…you never know what could happen!’  They were right…we should have!  In fact, the only thing we DID bring with us was a list of boys names (we had a girl name picked out).  A list of NINE boys names…we would have been in some serious decision-trouble!  I was 3 1/2 centimeters dilated, but only having contractions about every 20 minutes.  Our dr. stripped my membranes and let me choose whether I wanted to go home and come back later (if I was in labor) or stay, be monitored and checked again shortly.  We stayed!  We found out nearly an hour later that I was 5 centimeters dilated with closer contractions and we were officially admitted to labor and delivery!

baby Mylin 001 baby Mylin 002

So we called our moms and together they got our bags packed and brought up to us.  We felt some urgency because my dr. was pretty positive I’d have the baby by the time she left for home – 5pm that evening! (only a few hours away…).  We were so excited!

Well, that didn’t happen…and at 6:15 pm we got convinced to have my water broken (in hindsight, this is regret #1) – and for all of you moms out there that have experienced your water breaking…what an interesting feeling/experience, am I right?! Throughout the evening they gave me small doses of Pitocin to speed up my contractions (regret #2) because they weren’t progressing as expected.  Now, we were full on-board to do this whole thing naturally.  And I honestly, REALLY enjoyed labor.  Honestly.  I loved the concentration, the hard work, and the building excitement – not to mention my stellar birth-coach 🙂  But at 5am on June 25th, we were both absolutely exhausted.  Joel may or may not have labeled my labor moaning a ‘death cry’…At this point I told Joel I was done and I wanted to go home.  He was pretty firm in not letting that happen (jerk…just kidding) 🙂

When I looked up at him in the wee hours of the morning and noticed how much he was crying…I realized how difficult this was on him as well.  So since I was adamantly against an epidural, I thought I’d try pain meds (MAJOR regret #3) to see if I could relax enough to finish dilating (I was 9 1/2 by this point – and gals, getting checked at that stage pretty much feels exactly like having the baby come out – not my favorite memory of this story).  This is definitely one of the worst experiences I’ve had.  I hardly remember much of that hour, which I HATE, but I know that Joel wouldn’t tell me what I said during that time…yikes.  I just remember being in and out of consciousness and by the end of it all – STILL NO PROGRESSION!  So, the doctor on call at 6 am insisted I get an epidural, or he was going to do a c-section (he actually told him I’d end up having one either way…he was the real jerk), so I could finish dilating.  It was literally within minutes after that I was a full 10 centimeters (I guess I really did need to relax!).  I remember telling the guy who gave me the epidural how much I loved him 🙂

Later in the morning we began pushing…for THREE HOURS.  During this time we (probably Joel) sent out a few texts to some friends to pray pray pray that I could deliver and not have a c-section – it seemed as though everyone was telling me I’d have to have one.  A huge blessing at this point was that it was Friday morning…a normal business day…which meant my dr. was back!  I was so thankful to have her to make these decisions with me and not the overnight guy who seemed mad I was keeping him awake…

She came in at noon on June 25th (about 24 hours after my appointment with her where this all started!) and told me that they baby was not moving down far enough even though had pushed for so long.  She was turned slightly and my pelvic bones didn’t move out of the way like they needed for her to fit.  A c-section was inevitable.

My heart stopped.

The tears started.

She let Joel and be alone for a few minutes while we cried and prayed and focused on what we were thankful for:

1. Dr. Thomas was back and would do the surgery

2. God created minds that came up with alternative ways for babies to be born

3. This was not an emergency, just the way it had to be for us

We callled our parents and they came up right away.  After I was prepped and heading down the hall to surgery, my parents happened to just check it and were able to hug and kiss and love on us.  Joel got to stay by my side, comfort me, and watch them pull our firstborn out and see and hear, “It’s a GIRL!”  We were so excited, grinning, and sighing with relief that it really WAS Mylin this whole time…like we were hoping 🙂

Joel got to take pictures of her right away and bring them over to me so I could see her

baby Mylin 013 baby Mylin 016


June 25th, 2010 2:03 pm

7lbs 8oz, 19 inches long

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her 🙂  Joel brought her over to me and just held her next to me so I could see her – I will never forget the way he looked at her – I’ve never seen him look at anyone like that before (except me!).  I couldn’t have been more full of love!

Our parent’s were so excited and thrilled that we had a baby girl and LOVED her name (Mylin is my mom’s maiden name – she was quite surprised!).

While recovery after being in labor so long and then an intense surgery was very difficult, Joel was my knight-in-shining armor, helping me do everything (literally, folks) for those first few days.  I am so thankful for that man!

And while we did have regrets on how this whole experience played out, I am realizing that I have to give those up to God, and seek healing from them and the repercussions they have on any future children we have had and will have.  God is sovereign and we are not to live in fear, but to trust Him.

He gave us this precious gift after all:

Mylin and friends 036 Mylin and friends 037We are so undeserving and striving to do our best to take care of her, for Him!

Thank you, God!