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.


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?

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