Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happiness

We are finally in a normal stretch of life...for now. It seems like that changes quickly.  This past year has been so crazy and has gone so fast.  It is so easy for us mamas to look ahead. We feel like we always need something different. We need to get to the next stage or past this crazy season. We need to do all this stuff that so and so is doing. And do it all perfectly.  We get caught up in the 'if I could just..., if I only had..., if only my home..., if only my kids..., if only my husband..." mindset.  If only (this) then I could breath deep.  Then I could relax. Then I would be happy.  

In my search for perfection, I am missing today. I have decided that my now isn't good enough as I reach for the next thing.  

I will consciously choose today. I am here for a reason.

My sweet baby will only be a baby once. He will never grow younger.  

My 9 (almost 10 year old-wishing she was 14) year old daughter will grow up.  Someday she won't want me to sit by her and scratch her back in the morning. 

My about-to-be-7 year old son won't ask me to sing to him at bedtime when he is scared or worried about something.  I know that day is coming. A lot faster than I want it to.

Today I am going to sit down with my kids and really listen to them.  Look them in the eye and let them talk. I will play with them. I won't say "just let me finish this first". I'll listen to what their voices really sound like. Make a mental note of what their sweet little hand feels like in mine.

I will live this quote:

Happiness, not in another place, but this place... Not in another hour, but this hour.  -Walt Whitman

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Freedom in the Imperfection

Yesterday was a hard day.  

Bickering kids who couldn't keep themselves from touching each other. School was not going well.  Not our worst day, but definitely not our best. My husband was out of town and I was tired.  

Telling the kids (probably not so nicely) to STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER for the 84th time that day put me over the edge.  My good mood wasn't coming back. I tried, but each time someone whined, cried, or talked back, I let myself answer from a place of complete frustration.  

I wasted almost an entire day with my sweet kids being frustrated by everything they did. 

Later, I took a video of Kayla dancing in her recital dress that we picked up earlier in the evening, and posted it to Instagram with a short caption about the freedom that kids feel.  We went inside for dinner, showers, and bedtime. Prayers with the kids were even a struggle. I just wanted the day to be over.  Everyone needed to go to sleep so I could have some time alone. 

I prayed for God to shut my mouth.  I prayed for Him to speak in His kind way to the kids when I knew I couldn't.  I prayed for Him to comfort them when I felt my compassion was low. 

I sat on the couch with my phone. One of my new Instagram buds, Amber, from Let Love Invade, posted a quote that said "Give it to God and go to sleep."

Then I ate some ice cream, watched a cooking show and went to bed. 
This morning I woke up thinking more about Kayla's video.  All day today I have been thinking about how it can be so hard for me to relax just enjoy my kids. I took a pic of a frame in the video and posted it on FB.

I love this image.
I see the freedom that she feels.  What if we, as moms, let go a little bit? Our days aren't perfect. So many things don't go the way we think they should. 

But what if that's the point God is trying to make?

What if we didn't worry so much about the to do list or the errands or the (fill in the blank)? What would we do or create? What would it look like to our kids? What if we SHOWED them that we love our lives...because we do! We are so blessed to be mamas to our kids. God has trusted us with them.  He trusts that we will show them how to live.  

Even in the imperfection. 

Especially in the imperfection.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easy Bathroom Shelves



We have been married for 10 years and he knows me so well.  For our anniversary, he made two bathroom shelves for me.  Seriously....I couldn't have been happier!  

And these shelves couldn't have been easier!



He picked up a piece of 2x12 pine, cut and stained the two pieces, and hung them with brackets. 

Done!


  Now on to decor...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Christmas Needs to be Easy


Sometimes you have a year where things don't easily fall into place.  Sometimes you have a year when you don't get the stockings down until after the 14th of December although the tree has been up since the beginning of November. Sometimes you just send out the photo card without the letter to go with it...even though you know you know you will get a letter in January from a certain someone laying on the guilt about not receiving a letter.  Sometimes you have a year when your husband has been traveling like crazy, you are almost mid-way through your first year of homeschooling, and getting nervous  eagerly awaiting the arrival of your third bundle of joy.

Sometimes life is happening all around you and you are just trying to keep up with what you can. 


Something that the past few months have taught me is to accept my limits. I know that God did not create me as a person who can handle it all. In the past I would try so hard to keep up with everything, including all the extra stuff, that I would make myself and my family miserable.  I  could easily suck all the joy out of a day with to-do lists and unrealistic expectations. 

I am learning to let it go. Most of it doesn't really matter anyway.  It's totally ok that I don't have the house decorated as much as I would like. It's just fine that I didn't have an Advent calendar ready for us all to go through together until yesterday (hello 12 days of Christmas!). And it's ok that things aren't 'perfect'.

This is where we are right now.

This is who we are right now. 

We are a family who is so happy just to be together for the beautiful normal.

Normal is beautiful. 

The everyday is beautiful. 


This Christmas season, it is ok that you don't do everything. Focus on spending time together as a family and filling your days with joy. Look for the beauty in the normal.  We go through different seasons of life.  Sometimes we can do more, but sometimes we need to embrace that we simply can't.  Being filled with joy is so much more important than all the other stuff.  



Keep the decorating simple.


Plan some fun activities. Singing carols, watching movies, making an easy batch of cookies, a game night with popcorn or a root beer float.  Pick up a peppermint shake (yum!!) at Chick-fil-A and drive around looking at Christmas lights. 

If you don't make it to all the different activities around town, I promise...it will be ok. They are going to remember the laughing. The fun they had dancing and singing to Christmas carols. How they got to decorate the cookies any way they wanted while you smiled and told them how great they looked. They will remember being with you.


My favorite quote (from the Nester) is this:
"It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".

It's true. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Elf Day


We kicked off our week with our first annual Elf Day. The idea came from a super fun Instagrammer I follow: katherinemaries Go follow her! You'll be inspired to do so many fun things with your kiddos!  Here's what we did...


I wrote this up the night before and had it waiting on the breakfast table. The kids were so excited when they got up and read it!

1. Issue elf ID's

I had two laminated Post-It Notes that I punched and strung on twine. The kids picked their elf names and I wrote them on their badge.

2. Play Pass the Present and Elf Relay

Pass the Present: Grab a gift-like box and some music. Turn the music on and have them pass the present like you're playing hot potato. Stop the music. Whoever is holding the present is out. 

Elf Relay: Be set up a cup at one end of room and a plate with 4 marshmallows at the other end of the room. Using their elves, the kids pick up a marshmallow and run it across the room to their cup. First one with all 4 marshmallows in their cup wins.

3. Hot Chocolate Break

4. Blindfolded gift wrapping: We didn't actually make this a contest. It was the best activity of the day. Hilarious!

5. North Pole Picnic Lunch: Fun lunch on the floor next to the Christmas tree.

6. Paint your elf: Paint a picture of your elf.

7. Elf Pancakes for Dinner: I searched Pinterest for Elf pancakes and found this great pic to follow!

8. PJ's and a Christmas movie: Always a favorite activity!

We had so much fun with this day and it really didn't take long to set up! I'm convinced we need more fun days like this in the future!