All posts by Jessica

These Feet of Mine

They have carried me, through time, over months and years.
They have walked along sandy shores, rocky beaches and grassy knolls.
They walked me down the aisle to my husband.
Horses have stepped on them, they have stepped on rusty nails and shards of glass.
They have carried me into and out of hospitals with the births of our children.
They pound the ground, chasing after squealing giggles
or elusive numbers on a scale.
They have walked across the {now} dirt sky of friends and family that have gone on.
They have burned on sun baked stones and cooled in mossy brooks.
They have walked me across stages and danced me across rooms.
They have been cooed over and tickled.
They have been pinched and blistered in shoes and luxuriated, barefoot, in the lush grasses of Ireland.
They have been beaten, abused, neglected and still they march on.
They have been and they will be.
30 years, 10,950 days; over a million times have they
been slapped to the ground, ever on ward.

~on the occasion of my 30th birthday

These Feet of Mine - 30 Years of Life at JessicaMWhite.com

Thoughts on Turning 30

Tomorrow is the official day: At 3:15pm I will be precisely 30 years old. I’ve been having all these deep, introspective posts over the past few days, but I haven’t really shared much about my thoughts on actually turning 30.

I sat at my desk before writing this post, just kind of mulling over my thoughts: All the little things that flit in and out of my head about turning 30. There are quite a few, some of them are a bit more “mature” and others are less.

two roads 2By 30 you’ve really become more of an adult; an adult in ways that aren’t tied to children, home-ownership, jobs, etc. You’ve {obviously} survived your teens and 20s and are a lot more settled in your life. There aren’t as many life-changing unknowns, such as colleges, careers, and such.

When I was a teenager, I never wanted to get married or have kids. I was content to fantasize about being a photo-journalist for National Geographic Magazine or an architect. And at times I believed myself. But, that was my defense mechanism: I was afraid that I would fail at getting married and having kids, it felt safer to say I didn’t want those things. Then I almost didn’t have those things.

I had it all figured out: Married at 23, first baby at 24, second at 26, third at 28, fourth at 30, then the 5th at 32 or adopting. I wanted to be done with having kids before I was 32. I wanted to be a young mom who could enjoy her children and then grandchildren.

I had plans and why couldn’t God understand that! At 27.5 we had our first kid. My timetable was out the window, there was no way we would have the family we had wanted.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and
not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.
Jeremiah 29:11
 
Then last year there was that  little ultrasound that showed we were having 3 babies.
Now, I’m turning 30 and have 4 kids; which absolutely amazes me! It certainly wasn’t my plan to go through several years of infertility, have Ave, and then have triplets, but God did a phenomenal work in my life, our life, and created a wonderful testimony to Him and His goodness through us.
This birthday could have been very different for me. Thirty would have been devastating to be turning and not even have had one child, and it happens to people, it happens all the time. I can honestly say that it would have been a very different birthday celebration tomorrow.
My 20s have been incredible! If it had not been for the ups and downs I would not be entering this new decade as I am; stronger in my faith, trusting in my God, relishing my children and my husband, having had the memories and experiences that I have.
“I would have despaired, had I not believed in the goodness of the Lord.”
Psalm 27:12
What a wonderful work He has done in my life, drawing me ever nearer to Him! I look forward to this new decade in awe and wonder if what lies ahead, knowing that my Lord, God, goes ever before me!

Routines in the White House :: Bedtime

The other day my grandfather was asking me about our bedtime routine, and I realized that most people probably have no clue what daily life entails with a 2 year old and triplets.

There are two ways for bedtime to go down:

1) I do it by myself (which sometimes happens when Matt is working late and my mom isn’t here helping)

2) Or I have help {My mom comes over on Tuesday nights, when Matt is busy loading the trucks for the week}

The process is pretty much the same both ways, it’s just that one way results in a slightly less exhausting and slightly more peaceful ending {and that result is not contingent on whether anyone else is here or not}.

Sleeping Babes copy[10]
6:30-7:00 Dinner time
: Ave and I (and whomever else is here) sit down and eat dinner. Sometimes there are babies playing or screaming (they then get bottles, propped, while we eat) and sometimes babies are sleeping.

7:00-7:30 Bath time: If I’m alone Ave showers by herself or takes a bath, depending on if the babies need baths too.

If I’m alone {or my mom is here} and they need baths, this is where I get my workout, because it’s in and out and up and down with 20lb babies in hand. Ave goes in the tub, and I bathe each individually with her. If babies don’t need baths, then they proceed to play or have bottles in the living room, while I do the necessary things with Ave in the bathroom.

If Matt is home, then one of us showers with Ave and if the babies need baths we hand the babies in one at a time to be showered {which is the preferred method of bathing}.

7:30-8:00 Bottles, Books and Prayers: After everyone who needs to be scrubbed is scrubbed we all head upstairs.

If I’m alone, I get Ave dressed and she runs around playing or doing whatever upstairs while I get the babies dressed, bottled {if needed}, and into their cribs. Once they’re down {and hopefully content} Ave and I go in her room, where we read a couple of books, say prayers, and then sing a few songs, before she climbs into her bed. Of course, just as we’re getting in to bed there is the usual “I need to go potty” request.

If my mom or Matt is here, then I deal with Ave while the other person takes care of the immediate needs of the babies’. If someone needs extra attention, I’ll help with the babies while Ave continues to play or run around crazy {which is the more likely thing — We say “stop jumping on the bed, you’re going to hurt your brother/sister” quite a bit}.

Usually, everyone is in bed by 8:15-8:30, then we/I come downstairs and get things cleaned up from the day and dinner OR we collapse on the couch and watch a movie.

And THAT is what an evening routine is like in the White House!

A Body Worth Loving {coming to terms with the postpartum body}

Coming to terms with the postpartum body doesn’t come as naturally as it should. Awhile ago, Lisa-Jo Baker posted about loving your post-baby body for the sake of your children, especially daughters. Lisa-Jo responded to my comment saying:

“TRIPLETS??? Girl, your body deserves a medal. You should break out into song every time you see it in the mirror. Your body is a HERO!!! Give it something delicious right now. For reals.”

And I do.

I think quite frequently about my body and what it accomplished. That my body was just the way God designed it to be, for these three precious babies to have been born as healthy and as big as they were, despite being 6 weeks early; to have been able to avoid having a c-section.

I look at my stretch marks that go well above my belly button and the skin that hangs below where it should definitely have stopped, and I’m in awe of it. That these three babies were cradled in there for months. That these babies were born with no health issues, despite having been sharing a womb with 2 others.

Then I look at my body the way the world does, the way we all judge ourselves: I see a flabby stomach, that still looks like there could be a baby in there when dressed; I see arms that are much too soft, particularly for lugging 4 kids around all day (at 14, 18, 19, and 30 lbs each); I see thighs that rub and have their own tributaries of stretch marks, without thinking that those legs are strong and able to run after these kids, up and down stairs countless times a day.

A Body worth loving coming to terms with the postpartum body

I think to myself, “You weigh the same now as you did just before these three kids were born” and I hang my head in shame. Knowing that an over abundance of cookie dough, avocados and cheese, and a lack of true exercise are the cause of it.

I waver, back and forth, between loving this body that has brought forth life 4 times in 2 pregnancies, and despising the “curves” that I have yet to figure out how to dress in a flattering way. When I figure out how to love this body 24/7 I’ll let you know, but I somehow think it’s going to involve a lot more time with God and a pair of sneakers.

My Mother Letter

{I wrote this during my freshman year of college, September 2000}

It is the common person who doesn’t receive mass amounts of glory for the accomplishments and risks taken in his or her lives, but it is these uncommon stories that are the mark of something incredible. I speak of the admiration I have for my mother, the decisions she has made, and the life she has lived.

My mom has never received the proper amount of recognition, respect, accolades, you name it: I have failed that part of my duty as her daughter. At nineteen, after two years of college, my mother had decided to drop out, wanting to get married and start a family instead. I have often belittled her decision. She has told me that college had held no meaning for her, that her calling was to be a wife and a mother.

My Mother Letter @JessicaMWhite.com

I have always held this decision of her’s in two lights: Fear and awe. Fear, because {sometimes} I understand and sympathize with how she felt some twenty years ago. Awe, because I find it inspiring that she had so much faith in her own future. She now tells me that my decisions are my own, and not to be afraid of what the consequences may be. I often wonder if she ever regretted not having finished college. I asked her once; her response was “Why should I regret it? I have never been happier, even through the hard times.”

“Hard times,” I always found it humorous when she said that. Since we moved from Glendale, NY, fourteen years ago, we have had nothing but hard times. Growing up I never remember being deprived of anything; vacations, clothes, birthday parties, or toys.

As a cure for our “hard times” my mother and father have been entrepreneurs: My father comes up with the new business idea, my mother supports him. Their most recent business venture is a butcher shop with a small restaurant in Delhi. My mother had a secure office job for the past twelve years and quit because she had wanted to be with her family, working in our store.

I see my mom come home from a thirteen-hour day, exhausted, and still she cooks dinner, cleans, does the laundry, and pays the bills. Many times I think a lesser woman would leave, not able to handle hard work combined with the stress of more month than money. I think, “I wish I could be as strong as she is.” I know that I am the lesser woman who would have ran from the hard times.

Another risk my mother has accomplished was her decision to home school my younger sister. In our progressive times home schooling is becoming more and more popular. My brother and I both attended public school; which is why her decision was a shock. My mother had been going to college to be a teacher before she dropped out. I find it amusing to see how things happen; she gave up teaching to be a mother. In exchange for that she became a teacher to her children.

Running a home and a store, sometimes it’s difficult for her to set aside time to teach my sister. I tell her, “Send her to public school, it would be easier.” She agrees that it would be, but she’d be letting them both down, my sister and herself. My sister is now in third grade and I can see how she has benefited from my mother’s decisions and persistence.

I now see the strength and beauty behind my mother and I wonder if I could do as she has. I admire the things that she has done. Sometimes it is hard to see her strengths, because I am blinded by what society labels as “weaknesses.”

 

~*~

So this Mother’s Day….Mom, thank you for being you! For being a wonderful example of a wife and mother, for admitting your imperfections and helping me on my own path along these journeys.

What letter do you long to write to a mom or perhaps your Mom?

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If you’re looking for a heart-warming and tear-jerking gift for the “mothers” in your life, get them a copy of Mother Letters. This sweet collection of letters will draw you in, encourage you, and help you not to feel so alone in one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs there is.