Tag Archives: Lyndse

Looking Back

Most days, I love the look back option on social media. Showing me mini time capsules of this date in our history.

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2012: Watching a pre-release of VeggieTales' League of Incredible Vegetables

“Adelaide ate her first chocolate sprinkles, Graham went down his first wet inflatable slide, & Dave ate his first crawfish boil.”

From a friend’s birthday party in 2013.

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2013: Playing with a 15 cent yard sale find

And the pictures. Be still my heart. I love seeing my kiddos so small.

Inchstones.

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2013: Adelaide scooted backwards into the kitchen for the first time

Milestones.

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2014: Adelaide rolled something for the first time while crawling

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2014: She was so proud of herself

Everyday nothings.

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2014: Big girl booster seat at Great Gma Tracy's house

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2014: Miss Bess navigating the furniture

Other times, I just cry and cry. So many memories with my dad-in-law. We spent just about every Sunday together. And so many other days in between.

“Watched Miss Universe for the first time. My father-in-law, Bob Plummer, called it from the opening sequence. I thought it would come down to Mexico and Jamaica. We are now going to star in our show about private citizens who help the police with their uncanny ability to call pageants before they start. It will be called Psych! We will make a lot of money with this idea!”

2009.

He was always calling the pageants, predicting baby genders, and could tell you who would win American Idol from the auditions.

Miss him so much.

And last year, we ate baked chips and he played with Elizabeth’s feet. But he asked me not to take any pictures of him.

And I wish I would’ve taken one without him knowing.

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Mom Confession: Those Madison Accounts

Full disclosure. Because I think it’s best to get these things out in the open before a breach of security does it for me. I had one of those accounts.

Dave knows about it. He was disappointed, but he helped me get focused back on what’s important.

Sometimes the days were long and I just needed a break from the kids. I would hide in the laundry room. Hoping no one would see me.

I spent money we didn’t even have. All for something so temporary.

They said life was short. And I believed them. It was so easy.

I had to make a list of preferences. I chose one thing: Sweet. And they delivered.

I am ashamed to admit that I signed up for a Dolly Madison account.

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Just to cheat on my diet.

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The Mistake I Made During My Unplanned Pregnancy

Those double lines came at one of the hardest times in our marriage. We were sinking financially. We were still trying to find out if Adelaide was terminally ill. If her condition was deteriorating. If we were carriers of some disease.

I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes for a Saturday wedding. So I jokingly took a Friday night test. And it was positive. We were shocked. And when I should’ve been thrilled, I immediately started thinking of all the things people would say.

We had already heard from loved ones and strangers alike that we had the perfect little family. One boy. One girl. A girl who needed so much. In seemingly nice ways, and horribly insensitive ways, we heard the opinions about our family being complete. No more room for anymore Ballews.

As I stood in that kitchen smiling and laughing and crying with my husband, I already felt my joy being stifled. I was fearful of the looks and comments. I knew they were coming.

I’ve never understood the one of each mentality, but I’m not judging people who stop having children after a son and a daughter. I don’t think it’s wrong to decide to stop conceiving or adopting. I don’t think it’s wrong to have an only child. Or to have no children at all. I don’t have a giant M*A*S*H game for everyone on planet Earth.

Mansion! 2 Kids! New York City! Architect! Lamborghini!

When Adelaide turned one, we were still waiting for our second opinion on her MRI. We were still a couple months away from meeting with that pediatric neurologist. The one we hoped had some answers.

While we waited on his opinion about a baby’s brain, opinions about my uterus were still pouring in. “You’re done having kids after that one, right?” and “You already have one healthy kid. Don’t test your luck.” and “You won’t have another baby after that one, right?” and “Guess you can sell all your baby stuff, since you wouldn’t even think of having another baby after Adelaide.”

The opinions crossed over from the cultural obsession with one boy/one girl to this unhealthy obsession with never giving kids with disabilities younger siblings.

So many people think they do have the answers for me and other moms in the special needs community. That they hold our M*A*S*H cards and the spiral ends once you get a diagnosis. And it’s almost worse when you’re in the undiagnosed club. Too many variables. They forget that any child at anytime has the potential for glitches in the DNA. And that perfect babies do not exist.

And this lie that a woman can’t have another child after one is born with issues causes us to put some of our joy on the backburner.

It is wrong to tell a woman who is raising a child with special needs that she no longer has the option of more children. That a child with disabilities can’t be a big sister. But I wasn’t brave enough to say these things when I was pregnant with my third.

I made the mistake of letting everyone into my head. When I should’ve been rejoicing, I was worrying. I stressed about how people would judge me. How he was thinking we should’ve been more careful. How she was thinking we should’ve waited for more genetic tests. How they were thinking we couldn’t afford another little one with all of Adelaide’s medical bills. How everyone was thinking I couldn’t handle three kids so close together.

When we announced our pregnancy, my imagined fears became reality. I rarely heard a “Congratulations!” without a “They are going to be really close together. Hope you can manage a baby and therapy.” or “That was fast! If Addie doesn’t get better, it will be like having twins.” or “Are you worried it will have disabilities, too?” or “Well, you know this one’s your last, right?” or “What are the chances it won’t be healthy?”

I always had witty responses, but never the courage to say them.

I also lacked the courage to tell our new neurologist that I was already pregnant with a baby we hadn’t planned on. At all. “You may decide to have more children someday, after doing all the genetic tests.” I just kept my mouth shut. He didn’t see my baby bump. Because I was hiding it. I wasn’t emotionally ready to be judged by one more person.

As I sobbed on the way home about Adelaide’s appointment, our news about polymicrogyria, and the realization that there was no cure ever for our sweet daughter, I just held my small baby bump. Dave looked over and said, “Every single baby comes from a messy gene pool. It’s a crapshoot. But we’re in this together.” He thought I was fearful for Baby Ballew‘s future. But I wasn’t.

No, I was fearful for mine. I was doubting my ability to parent this surprise. I was so sick from growing a human and breastfeeding another. And it seemed like more proof that the lies I kept hearing were truth. I was in over my head. I could barely mother two, but now I would have more kids than hands. I gave into all the comments from man. When I should’ve been listening to the Holy Spirit.

Bess was unexpected. She wasn’t planned by us at all. But she was dearly loved by us from that first pregnancy test. And loved by God before we even knew about her. How I wish I could go back and silence my inner chatter and all the naysayers.

Now I often hear “Three? You’re done, right?” and “You’ve got your hands so full you would never even think of a fourth, right?” and “Three is a perfect number! You don’t need anymore!” and “Guess you’re done! Where would you put another one and push a wheelchair?” And I just smile and walk away if the person seems sweet and nosy. And I give my teacher look if the person is rude and needs to quickly walk away for everyone’s safety.

I don’t know if we’ll have a fourth. We aren’t planning anything. We gave away our baby items to make room for homeschool containers. When Graham asks when he is getting another baby, I just answer that we don’t know if we’ll have anymore babies.

But if we do, I won’t make the mistake I made with Bess. I won’t listen to all the people who share their opinions, well-meaning or nasty. I will proudly show off my baby bump. Shout from the rooftops that another blessing is on the way. Ignore the stares and the constant judgment that we continue to make Adelaide a big sister to someone who will eventually pass her up.

It’s hard slaying the idols of pleasing others and being accepted. But I won’t stop trying. I owe it to my kids to celebrate them to the fullest. And we’ll keep inviting people to the party at our mansion, but shutting the gates when they don’t accept the invitation. I’m no longer giving up my joy to people I wouldn’t even allow into my modest living room for coffee.

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You Know You’re A Filmmaker’s Wife When

“Sweetie, did we wash my villain clothes?”

“I’ve got an idea that should need only a few guys.”

“We found this perfect spot for the explosion scene.”

“You’re in the movie this time. I need someone to kiss.”

“I just watched this great tutorial on YouTube.”

“I think I can build that myself for way less.”

“That was all shot on the GoPro.”

“Can you run to Salvation Army to see if they have an old, nasty prom dress?”

“Thank you for always supporting my dreams. I love you.”

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Yeah I Saw Sparks

It’s so cliche, but I fell in love with Dave’s eyes the first moment I saw them. He walked into an ice cream shop and I turned to my best friend and whispered, “He is so sexy. I see Jesus in his eyes.” Then Dave sat down across from us. I blushed. We talked for almost 5 hours.

And that night, I told my mom I wanted to marry him.

A few years later, we were Mr & Mrs David Ballew. Alex, who had introduced us, was our best man. My sister was my maid of honor. Dave and I danced to a Coldplay song with twinkle lights all around the room. And he touched my leg for the first time when he removed my garter. His eyes were twinkling brighter than those lights, and I couldn’t stop looking into them.

And I haven’t ever stopped.

I promise I get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when he looks at me. While he’s making dinner. Or making a bottle. Or making a Lego helicopter. His eyes have seen grief and joy and test results and I still get lost in them. They are my safe place. But also where I find so much excitement in myself.

It sometimes takes my breath away for a moment when I think back on that day. When I least expected to meet the person I would never want to be away from. And I didn’t want to leave him. Then, I got into Alex’s car and remembered I was dating someone. A really nice guy from my university. So sweet. And a great friend.

Dave just wanted to be friends, but there was no way I could continue dating someone else. I broke up with a perfectly wonderful guy, for one who wasn’t that interested in me. “I met someone else. He doesn’t actually want to date me, but I can’t date you when I’m in love with him. That seems like a horrible thing to do.”

My mom had always teased that ‘you never know when you’ll meet your husband’…which was her line every time I tried to run an errand in baggy yoga pants. But she was right, as most moms are. I didn’t wake up that June Wednesday thinking I would meet my future lover. Over strawberry ice cream.

And I didn’t think I would love him before he loved me. It just happened that way. And I waited and waited for him to either fall in love with me or just fall in love with someone else. Even though the thought of him marrying anyone other than me caused tears so many nights.

There are times when I forget that I’m a mom with three kids and a mortgage and junk mail to sift through everyday. And I just think back to our first kiss.

I don’t share the details very often, because it’s one of the most intimate and gorgeous nights of my life. Months before, he had already told me he wouldn’t kiss me until he knew he wanted to marry me. So when his voice said, “May I kiss you?” his eyes said, “I want to marry you someday.”

This month is the anniversary of our first date. And the anniversary of when he asked me to be his bride. One year apart. We went through four seasons together before he was in front of me with that ring box. And that’s another story I don’t share very often, but I just might if pressed.

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Sex After Three Kids

*****I once said I would never talk about sex on the blog. But it seems like all the people who shouldn’t really be talking about it are clogging the internet with their thoughts. So, here are some ramblings from a monogamous 32-year-old mom.*****

“Last night, I told my husband I’d slept with only 2 other guys. Not sure if he bought it.”

“Were you lying to him?”

“Lyndse, how do you not know the subtraction rule? You take the number of guys you’ve slept with and subtract 3. Or 7. Depends on how much you’ve gotten around. You can’t tell a guy your real number.”

“But my number is zero.”

“It can’t be. Nobody’s number is zero. And guys wouldn’t believe that anyway. You’ll need to at least say 1. You don’t want a virgin reputation.”

“I already have a virgin reputation, because I’m a virgin. I’m not going to add false notches to my chastity belt. That’s absurd.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but nobody’s gonna date a college girl who says zero.”

My co-worker and I had very different worldviews about sex. I can’t even remember her name. This is the only conversation I even remember having with her in all the time we worked together. She saw me as a silly little college girl with a promise ring. I saw her as someone I didn’t understand who desperately needed to know that Jesus loved her…she was looking for love in some scary places.

I was a virgin on my wedding day. I don’t say it to brag, just to point out that Dave and I were clueless about sex. But we were clueless together. We had read all those books you were supposed to read before you get married. But reading and doing are two very different skill sets. We were both starting at zero. And our inexperience brought us together quickly.

We went away on a month long honeymoon. It was filled with joy, unmet expectations, funny conversations, fireworks…so.many.fireworks…and indifferent experiences. But it was fabulous. No schedule. Doing as we pleased. Caught up in exploring one another. Even when it seemed awkward.

But neither one of us would say that our honeymoon sex was our best sex. We look back and laugh. We have fond memories and hilarious anecdotes. And we would never trade that season of naivety and learning for what we have now. Because it was worth it to start at the ground floor and build our intimacy together.

Nine years and three kids later. Sex is different. We no longer dance around one another. We know what we like, love, hate, and what makes us yawn. We can tell one another anything and everything. Always transparent. And we can try new things and chuckle if they go horribly wrong.

Sex after three kids changes things. Literally. We traded gold canopy curtains for drying diapers. Exactly 22 bath toys took up residence where our candles and bath oil used to sit. We started keeping jingle bells on our door, because Graham is a sleepwalker.

We find the laughter, just like in the early days. But the reason for our laughter has changed. Making bets about which kid will wake up when we turn on the shower. Or who will cry for a bottle as soon as we light the first candle.

And we cherish all the moments we get, because sex after three kids is a gamble. Sometimes we hit a jackpot. Sometimes the house, with three tiny owners, wins. But Dave and I are still on the same team. We exchanged the zero for 1 almost a decade ago. It’s been our unique adventure. With straightforward math. I love our story more and more each day. drying diapersbath toysjingle bells

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So My Stylist Brought Me Starbucks

A couple days after Adelaide’s pixie plunge, I went to visit Haley at the salon. She has been doing my hair for a long time. We’ve been through five births and an adoption. And so many milestones. Conquered and missed.

She temporarily passed me off to a friend while she did missions, then Savanna passed me back to Haley when she finished dental hygiene school. Haley took so many notes on my hair for Savanna. My hair is complicated and free-spirited. And not easy to balance.

I’ve had the same part since I was a newborn. One side has twice as much hair. But I’ve always loved it. And I love that I don’t have too many expectations for my hair. I just let it be.

When I was 16, I tried to color it. I thought it would help me blend in better in a youth group where I was so different from everyone. Tattoos, piercings, dyed hair. And plain Jane me. But my hair turned red. Like Jean Grey red. It wasn’t supposed to be that red.

My natural highlights were covered up, and I didn’t look like me at all. I was so upset. But my mom hugged me, and said, “It’s just hair. It will come back normal. Let’s buy some lipstick.” I was so self-conscious about it. As I was trying to fit in, I ended up sticking out even more.

It’s been back to its natural color for almost 16 years. Brown. Nothing spectacular, but it’s me. Just my natural color with my natural highlights. And the candy apple tragedy of 1999 makes me chuckle. The Lyndse with a driver’s permit would’ve never predicted that she would be so in love with the hair she was born with.

When I decided to go shorter, I had a hairstyle picked out. Haley said, “No, I don’t think that’ll look good on you. It takes a lot of work and you don’t really work on your hair. You just let it do it’s thing. That’s what I love about you. You always accept that your hair can’t look like everyone else’s.” We found a different shorter style that worked with my laissez faire hair routine. I loved it.

And still do. I genuinely wake up every morning thinking, “I love my hair today.” I wash it, let it dry, sleep on it, comb it out, throw sunglasses in it, work out with just the front pieces up, run my fingers through it, let Bess ‘brush’ it, and go three days without washing it…and it always looks great. Or at least presentable. I never spend more than 3-5 minutes on it.

I was supposed to go in after our trip, but Haley squeezed me in two weeks early. No questions asked. It was unspoken. My previous appointment was two days after my dad-in-law’s death and we were about to leave for his funeral. This time, I needed my hair cut for the sentencing hearing.

Hair seems trivial at times like these, but it’s comforting to feel comfortable with your locks.

And I needed to look beautiful for my anniversary getaway with my husband. Our first getaway in years. Haley has three kids, so she knows what a treat it is to get away with your lover.

Haley sees her work as a mission field. She had known about my past for almost a year and a half, and had been praying Scripture over me from day one. She sent me messages of encouragement and words from the Lord. She brought me Starbucks. She took a photo with my shorts, because she was so proud of me. She’s invested in my life. It’s always been more than hair to her.

The next week, I drove to Colorado. And as I was a Phoenix going into that courtroom, Haley was praying for me. She had supported me from that first awkward conversation. Never questioning me. And my journey ended with a hike near Garden of the Gods in a pair of shoes she had left on my porch while I was at Bob’s viewing.

We were young marrieds when we met. Giggling about silly things. Typical salon talk. Then we became moms. Long pregnancies and even longer adoptions. Went through tribulations. Reached double digit anniversaries with the loves of our lives. Forged a friendship in fire. And prayed one another through some of our darkest days. And through all of that, she still managed to make my hair look beautiful. What a gift.

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Go, legs, go!

Normally, Adelaide stands by holding onto our hands and pulling herself up with her upper body. Her bottom and legs basically follow as her upper body does the work. Her legs have always been weaker. There were concerns for several months concerning her leg strength. At one point in our journey, a muscle biopsy and body scans were on the table. We had a deadline for being able to support any amount of weight with her legs. As we got closer to the deadline, I was so anxious. But, in true Adelaide fashion, she took it right down to the wire and was bearing some weight with her legs right before the deadline. Whew.

As her legs get stronger, and her brain sends the message to her legs that they are indeed made for bearing weight and standing and walking, we are seeing improvements in her leg motions and abilities. So, on Thursday, we had a major milestone! Adelaide stood up with assistance by having her legs do the work! Her little legs worked so hard. I was thrilled to record it for Dave. Two times! And when you are trying to get ‘proof’ of special needs milestones, that’s close to winning the lottery. Our kiddos never do things when the cameras are on. It’s like a sport for them. But we got it!

And when I showed it to Dave, he said, “Yes! She did that in her crib this morning while you were at your hair appointment!” I was so happy for Dave. He doesn’t usually get to see the milestones first. It was such a blessing that he was able to have that moment while getting Adelaide from her crib.

We are so proud of her! She just turned 3 1/2 this month. Our girl is getting so big!

adelaide sitting

 

 

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Sorry, Girls, He’s Taken

Dave worked all day, went and helped a widow, then came home just in time for nighttime toothbrushing duty and putting our kids to bed.  Since we are actually celebrating our anniversary next weekend, I was surprised when he carried in a bag of goodies. I had mentioned last week in passing that I really wanted some wedding cake. He bought me a layered coconut cake. Which I ate while he was cooking me dinner.

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I had also mentioned last month that I wanted Taken. I love vigilante justice movies. I ended up with Taken and Taken 2.

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And this card. Who says the cobbler’s family never has shoes? I become absolutely giddy when my designing husband designs something for me.

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TAK9N

Nine years ago, you took the heart of my good friend, Dave, and have since held it captive. If you were looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you….

…or at least, would make me a nightmare if I were trying to recover Dave’s heart. Lucky for you, he doesn’t want it back. Says you can keep it. Which begs the question, “What am I doing here, making yet another Taken film?” The answer: actors guild insurance. I can’t let them take it from me. I’m 63 years old for crying out loud.

Giddy, I tell you.

I love my witty, caring, gorgeous husband. Nine years. He took my heart, too. And I never want it back.

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Mom Confession: Tetris

This isn’t really a confession if you know me, but I love Tetris. My favorite is T. That T piece is just too adorable. I could play for hours, but I obviously don’t. I mean, there are three small humans who require my care.

Awhile back, we downloaded the Tetris game on our Roku. I hadn’t played in about 6 years. It was like riding a bike. Except I didn’t fall off…I’m not that great on a bike. It was more like reading a book. Or opening a candy bar. I am approaching expert level on those skills.

Graham wanted to learn to play Tetris. Have you ever taught an emotional perfectionist with a strong will to play a video game? There isn’t enough chocolate on our continent to deal with his defeatist attitude. And when Graham sees an S or a Z, he goes into a full panic mode.

I decided to switch us to the Ultra mode. It is just two minutes long. So, if he doesn’t stack to the top in one minute and fifty-nine seconds, he “wins”…which means we all win. He tends to get between 300 and 1100 points in a round. I get about 4k. But we can take turns, experience some mini successes, and I don’t eat all the mini Mr. Goodbars.

It’s nice to reward myself for being a grown-up by playing a round of Tetris. It’s the little things that motivate me to keep all these people in clean pajamas at night.

Speaking of pajamas, someone wore Big Brother’s earlier this week. I was behind on laundry, but it had nothing to do with Tetris…I swear on the I piece. Further proof this girl is going through a growth spurt. Slow it down, sweet sister…

adelaide pjs 1 adelaide pjs 2 adelaide pjs 3

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