1.18.2017

Everyday a Look

Lily looked at me the other day and I promise she looked different than every other day I have looked at her.  She looked more like her grandma, less like the baby face I have imprinted in my mind for all eternity.  I literally had to stop and take it in and pull her face to mine to get a better look.  Yes, she looks different.  More like a toddler.  Less like an infant.  More like her grandma.  Less like, well, what she used to look like.  More like a girl who is changing and growing everyday.  Less like the baby I want to be able to hold in my arms forever.



Time is ticking...all the time.  It passes us while we shower, make dinner, gaze out the window as the snow falls.  It is fleeting and finite and always less.  The time with my babies doesn't seem to be enough and yet at times it's too much.  

But, as I looked at my little girl, maybe my only little girl, I couldn't help but be astounded by the amount of growing up she has done in such a short amount of time.  I am simply in awe of the changes that have taken place in the seconds, minutes, hours, and days that make up her life.  I honestly can't remember what she looked like on day 89 of her life or on day 467.  Isn't that funny how we forget so quickly? 

So, from today forward I am going to try and look, really look, at Luke and Lily every single day.  Not glance, not talk to them while doing the dishes or looking at my phone.  No.  I am going to look into their sweet faces everyday because tomorrow they will be a day older and could potentially look a whole lot different than today.  Time does that...it changes us and I don't want to miss out on a day of enjoying and savoring the faces of the ones I call mine.


1.15.2017

Embracing Winter

About five years ago I used to be a June, July, and August girl.  Those were my most prized and favorite months of the year.  Mostly because I was teaching, but also because I loved the heat, sunshine, and glorious feeling of freedom that seems to come with summertime.

These days I am in love with fall and winter.  The cooler nights in September sitting around a bonfire, the crunchy leaves under my rain boots in October, the warm meals lit by candlelight in November, and the one thousand reasons to stay inside in December and gaze at twinkling lights.  Then comes January and a lot of people lose a bit of steam and are begging for spring to show it's face. Trust me, I used to be there and couldn't wait for warmer weather and a chance to spend more time outside.

But, this January and the past few Januarys I have been trying to embrace the long, cold haul of the winter months post-Christmas.  It's a time to reset, refocus, and recharge for the spring and summer months that are sure to come. Spring and summer on the farm mean quite a bit more work and maintenance, so I welcome the rest and relaxation of these cold days inside.

This year we will be welcoming a new baby in February and I am going to relish in the time to sit and snuggle and love on this new one while the temps are still low outside and there is nothing to be missed by sitting with my feet up and my heart full.  With two other babes to love and care for, I might be dreaming a bit, but I know there will be many moments (mostly during nap time) when it's just me and my third baby snuggled up together.  And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

There are about three and a half weeks until baby boy is set to arrive and I have a few things I want to do to embrace winter with my littles and reset for this new season that is to come.

Pajamas and Bubble Baths

In the summertime we are dressed (almost) everyday by 9:00 a.m.  This may seem early or late to some of you, but this was our norm this past spring and summer.  This winter I have given myself permission to let pajamas be okay all day long.  There are many days we don't leave the house and what better way to spend a day at home than in pajamas.  We have also started implementing mid-day bubbles baths.  I love routine by nature and we usually do bath time at night, but sometimes the day needs to be broken up a bit and a mid-day bubble bath keeps my littles giggling and happy for about 30 minutes.


Meal Planning

You can ask Kevin about my meal planning skills this pregnancy.  They have been, um, less than desirable.  It seems there were always about thirty-eight other things on my to-do list and I always always pushed meals to the bottom of it.  Since I am in full blown nesting mode, I have been trying to be better about planning out meals a week in advance, grocery shopping (or having Hy-Vee do it for me), and sticking to the plan all week long.  I am also trying to get some meals in the freezer for when baby boy comes.  Here are some favorites and some I want to try soon.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Husband's Delight Freezer Casserole

Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Read, Read, Read

I have so many books on my book list right now and I want to read them all. Winter is the perfect time to cuddle up under a blanket with some hot cocoa and a good book.  I am trying to do as much of this as possible before I have a little less time on my hands.  Some titles I am swooning over right now:

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom


Purge and Organize

Recently I read two minimalist books.  This is a topic I love reading about, even if minimalism looks a lot different to me than it does others.  Living on a big piece of land has it's advantages, but being close to a Target or coffee shop or other conveniences isn't one of them.  So, minimalism looks different for us, as I stock up on items and keep things on hand to make or create the feeling of a coffee shop or dinner in the city.  However, I do love purging things that we no longer need or use and organizing spaces that need a little TLC.  With the addition being finished, it has been the perfect time to go through things that have been in bins, tubs, or stored in cupboards since we moved in.  I still have a bit to do and am totally in love with the feeling of piling unused-no-longer-loved items into a box to donate.

Fasting

No, I am not talking about not eating.  I'm nine months pregnant and can hardly make it twenty minutes without putting something in my mouth.  I'm talking about a season of less.  The past week I have been taking a step back and evaluating if I really need that Starbucks or if I need to buy those boots I really want with my birthday money or if I need to put thirteen things on the calendar next week, just because we have some free time.  I am trying to embrace less of everything.  I think what I will find is that I actually have more...more money, more time with the ones I love, and more opportunities to sit and read and think and pray.

Me Time

One of the biggest ways I can fill my bucket and recharge is having some quiet time alone.  I have been trying to create a space and time for this every single day, which is no easy task.  Whether it's in the morning before the kids wake, at nap time, or getting a babysitter and going to town to sit at Starbucks, I am trying to make this a priority.  Since starting this, I feel like I have been a better mom, wife, and friend, and have more patience by the time dinner hour rolls around.  This will be a stretch when baby boy is here, but there are seasons for everything.


As an ice storm approaches on the Trail and everyone stocks up on groceries and snuggles inside to watch Netflix and read books, I am thankful for this slow, easy time at home.  The winter months may be brutal outside, but they sure give ample opportunity for all kinds of good things inside.  How will you embrace winter this year?


1.14.2017

Goodies for Baby Boy

It's another Sunny Saturday!  I hope it's sunny and beautiful and warm where you are today.  We are soaking up one of those three adjectives and beautiful is it.  Our fridge is fixed after living without it for a few days this week and that piece of stainless steel in the corner of the kitchen with it's cool insides is one of the most beautiful things my eyes have laid eyes on in awhile.

I have been in hyper nesting mode all week and have been gathering and adoring all the sweet items I have picked up for Baby Boy.  His room is almost complete and I am loving having time to organize and clean and wash and put everything in it's place.  (Thank you to Bob our builder for getting done a month early, not that he would ever, ever read this.)


If you are in the Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska area and have littles, you should know about Oh So Vera. They are a small clothing company that specializes in baby and toddler clothing that is fashionable and functional...and also ridiculously soft.  Lily wore one of their twirl dresses for Christmas and I couldn't resist ordering these dapper leggings for Baby Boy to wear after he makes his arrival.  They are monumentally soft and will go with so many different tops.  I just love them.

Another one of my favorite things are these onesies from H&M.  They are soft and simple and, again, will go with almost any pair of pants I want to throw on with them.  I will probably be heading back there for more when our sweet boy grows out of these.

After two babies, I finally learned my lesson about hanging picture frames above the crib.  I have fought the urge to hang anything above the crib because eventually that sweet, helpless baby will grow into a toddler who will try and tear those beautifully hung frames off the wall.  My friend, Annie, had the smart idea of putting decals on the wall in her baby boy's room and so, of course, I totally copied her. These wall decals are so easy, I literally hung them in ten minutes.  I have plenty left over, so I am debating doing another wall as well.  I am all about simple and easy.


This swaddle and hat is the sweetest from Lynn and Liv Swaddle.  It's buttery soft and I know our little man is going to look super handsome all wrapped snug in this blanket.  And if he is anything like our other children, he will outgrow his hat with his large head before anything else.  #bigheadbigbrains

I pray your Saturday is filled with lots of snuggles under warm blankets and Netflix on repeat.  Kevin and I are still mourning the end of college football season a bit.  Anyone have any good Netflix recommendations?  Have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today!


1.07.2017

Winter Pick-Me-Up

This past week has probably been one of my favorites in awhile.  First, because it was my birthday yesterday and second, because our addition is finally complete!  They finished up laying carpet, doing some odds and ends, and cleaning and we are going to slowly start moving things over to our new space. It is the absolute BEST birthday present!

Today I'm sharing a few things that made my week a bit extra special, although getting the addition done is at the top of my list.


First up is this book, All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth.  It is a memoir and I just can't put it down.  It's the story of a woman (Edie) growing up incredibly poor in the Appalachian south and climbing her way out of poverty to be a doctor, but never feels whole until she is able to really find her eternal Father.  It is heartbreaking, yet full of grace and redemption and love.  If you're a woman and love memoirs, I highly recommend this book.

Who has vibrant orange lilies in January?  I do!  My sweet in-laws brought these over when we had dinner this week for my birthday and I was so happy to see some fresh flowers.  We haven't had them in our home in awhile and it's amazing what some real, cut, bright beautiful flowers can do for my mood when it's cold and dreary outside.  They are sitting atop my counter beaming with beauty.  If you need a pick-me-up...boost your countertop and your mood with some fresh blooms, even in the middle of winter.

In my post about 2017 I talked about my quiet mornings.  I have been sipping decaf coffee and hot cocoa out of this mug all week and I'm pretty sure it makes it taste better.  A pretty mug always helps and this one from a special friend makes it even sweeter.  

This Wax Buffalo peppermint candle has been keeping my kitchen smelling yummy and fresh for the past few weeks.  It is subtle and perfect for someone who loves peppermint as much as I do.  As far as I know, they are sold out, but check her site soon for more delicious scents for winter.

Today I am spending the day getting pampered a bit with some spa time my adorable husband gifted me and then we are off for a date tonight to celebrate my birthday.  My mom is here and I am so looking forward to some time with my man.  Hope you all have a Sunny Saturday!


1.03.2017

Three Things

A New Year always sparks in me a desire to be more intentional with my time, my thoughts, and my home.  It's the season of starting anew and I love the opportunity to ponder what I want this new year to look like for me and my family.

In years past I have been a new year's resolution type of girl.  I enjoyed writing my goals down and posting them somewhere for all to see.  These days I'm more of a think about, talk about, and implement kind of girl.  I am not going to write anything down this year.  I'm not going to hold myself accountable to eat a fruit and a vegetable everyday.  (Although I probably should.)  But, I am going to try and think about how I want myself and my family to live differently this year and these are the three things that have been on my mind and heart.

As my belly balloons, I am awakened earlier and earlier each morning.  This baby boy surely loves to keep his momma awake!  He usually is moving around about 5:30 or 6, just a few hours after I have gotten up to use the bathroom for the second or third time during the night.  I roll over and dream about going back to sleep (and sometimes I do), but mostly I pull my large self out of bed and head upstairs for some reading and quiet time with God and myself. Guys, this time has been my saving grace during this busy season of Christmas and our renovation.  It allows me a slow start to the day without my babes starting the day for me.  I love it.  I know it won't last forever with a new baby coming in just over a month, but I am enjoying this time while I can and want to remember that a quiet hour in the morning might just be what I need to stay sane in the future with three littles at home.


I just read the book The More of Less and it is so so good.  Books like this I could devour everyday.  Every new year I am ready to purge and with my nesting hitting it's peak, I might be a little happy to get rid of anything and everything that we don't need or want or that has just been taking up space in our home for far too long.  This book is not a minimalist book like others, but gives a practical, not weird approach and ties in Jesus as being the first minimalist.  It's so good and as I go through my house and decide what to keep and donate, it has made it easier to let go of the things that we really don't need and could benefit others.  As our renovation wraps up, I want to be intentional about the things we bring into our new spaces and only choose things we need or make us happy.  My goal is to not just fill spaces!

Kevin and I sat down yesterday and chatted about what we want this new year to look like for our family.  It's hard because we really don't know what it's going to look like with the coming of a new baby, but we wanted to discuss how we could help each other through this next season.  One thing we agreed was important was sitting down each week to connect and go over each other's calendars.  It seems our calendars get fuller and fuller and I need to work on protecting our family time as much as possible, as quality time is Kevin's love language and, what can I say, we are both homebodies.  Communication is so important in a marriage and at times this year we didn't communicate something as simple as a dinner with friends or the dates family members would to be in town.  It made for some disappointing conversations, so we are going to try and be better about knowing what each other's weeks looks like with a little Sunday afternoon sit down.


I am looking forward to another year and what 2017 will bring...a renovation complete, a new baby boy to bring home, a family to nurture and love, and so many unknown surprises that lie ahead.  Cheers (with sparkling apple juice) to the new year!


12.30.2016

Our Christmas

Like many Mommas, I am recovering from Christmas and remembering the loveliness of it all.  It's hard to believe one of my favorite holidays passed so quickly, but I think that's what Christmas is like for most adults who prepare so much for the special day.  It comes and goes and the magic of the season slowly fades as we all prepare for the long, cold winter ahead.



We spent lots of time with family and cousins, we snuggled at home in our pajamas as a family of four, and ate trays full of cookies and cake and gingerbread men.  There were presents and good food and Thomas the train and surprises and so many fits of laughter and giggles. 




My favorite part of Christmas is always Christmas morning at home with just our little family.  We had a slow morning and Kevin and I actually had to wake the kids up around 8 because we just couldn't wait any longer.  We ate egg casserole and sipped on coffee and hot cocoa as the kids opened their gifts. I'm pretty sure neither Luke or Lily ate anything until lunch, as they were too excited to take time to eat.


  
After the gifts were opened we reorganized bedrooms and went through some of our old toys to see if there were any we could donate or give away.  It's one of my favorite days of the year to be home as a family.  Even though we didn't have snow this year, we still cuddled up under blankets and stayed in our pajamas all day long.  The day ended with our little tradition of singing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus.



The day after Christmas is always the day to take down the Christmas tree.  I love getting out all the Christmas decorations and I love taking them all down and having a clean, uncluttered slate to start the new year.  Luke was slightly disappointed about the tree getting put away, but he had his train table and Grandma and Grandpa to keep him occupied.


Now that 2016 is almost behind us, I am looking forward to the exciting changes in 2017.  Adding a sweet baby boy and moving into our addition (and out of the basement) will start this year off splendidly.  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the ones you love most and have a fantastic 2017!




12.21.2016

"I'm sorry, Mommy."

Monday night my phone turned off and wouldn't turn back on.  It happened about midnight and I know this because my white noise app turned off, which woke this pregnant momma right up.  

Like most Americans, my phone is pretty much a lifeline or an extra appendage. I didn't feel safe not being able to communicate with anyone.  Whether or not this is logical, I'm not sure, but it is exactly how I felt.

So, literally five hours later, I woke up, got my kids ready and headed into town to the Apple store in hopes of getting my phone up and running again.  As I pulled up to the store, there was a line of about twenty people out the door waiting to get inside as soon as it opened.  I zipped my kids into their coats and quickly walked to join the crowd.  The nice man who was taking names told me it would be about an hour wait.  We walked and picked up a snack and headed back to the Apple Store because we had no phone for them to contact us when they were ready for us.  

Guys...I sat with my two littles in the Apple Store for 45 minutes until our name came up on their little iPad, with only muffins and my own not-full-of-energy self to entertain my full-of-energy children.  We ate, people-watched, and made about the biggest mess the Apple Store has ever seen.  Bless their hearts, the Apple employees were so kind and many of them came over to chat with the kids.

At one point I was holding Lily as Luke was attempting to jump on me, as well as trying to speak to Nate, the Apple guy and the Verizon customer service person on the phone.  I'm pretty sure people thought I was a crazy person.  And honestly, I thought I was a crazy person.  I hit a breaking point and had to hide my face and take some deep breaths to keep the tears from falling.  Call it hormones or stress or whatever, but it was embarrassing and tough and just a wee bit humbling.

Finally, it was decided I needed a new phone and another 45 minutes later there lie thirty wipes on the table from Lily 'changing diapers' and Luke made about fifty laps around the store, touching something whenever he thought I wasn't looking.  I walked out with a phone that worked and a heightened awareness of how hard this mothering thing can be some days.  I realized I am not able to do this all on my own.  Sometimes I believe that I can 'do it all' without any help.  I believe I can 'mother' my children; keep them fed, clothed, happy and not a major distraction to others, all while keeping up with the daily tasks of this life.  This is obviously not true and I do need help.  Help from others and help and a heaping bowl full of grace from God. 


Yesterday I left the Apple Store exhausted, spent, and needing the grace and love of God.  I drove silently to the Children's Museum, a reward for my babes not completely sending me to the psych ward.  It took me most of yesterday to process and recover from those two hours and I'm glad I took the time to think about it.

As I prayed and processed, I had an epiphany that those two hours really didn't matter.  Yes, I may be spent and exhausted and in need of grace.  But, can I be honest?  That is pretty much my tag line these days.  My kids didn't even think twice about yesterday and they probably definitely won't remember it.  I need to remember that those moments, those hard days when I think I've come to my limits, God has more for me.  He gives me the ability and the strength to power through those times and loves me through it all.  He shows up even when I want to hide in a corner with my broken phone and muffins.  He holds my hand as I hold my babies' hands.  He is always by my side and gives me the help I am in desperate need of.

I am pretty sure I will try really hard to never go to the Apple Store alone with two small children again.  Lesson learned.  But, there was a sweet moment right after we left the store that will forever be embedded in my mind.  I was loading the kids into the backseat and Luke looked at me, cocked his head a bit and asked me if I was sad.  Usually he asks me if I am happy and my reply is almost always yes, because I am.  This boy of mine noticed something different in me.  I told him Mommy was just tired and a little sad and that kid said, in the most sincere voice, "I'm sorry, Mommy."  That made my insides go to mush and I felt a bit of guilt for him having to say sorry to me, but then I realized that I am doing my best to raise a kind boy and those three heartfelt words were so very, very kind. 


Mommas, you are doing good work.  In those hard moments, on the hard days, remember we all have them.  We all need help and grace raising our babies and that is exactly why God sent His only son to earth so He can be with us always. He is with you...in the good, glorious "I'm sorry, Mommy" moments and in the embarrassing, humbling, being a hot mess at the Apple Store moments.  You've got this...with God's help.


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