Sage | 10 Months

28 07 2015

Sage 10 months onesie

My sweet guy turned 10 months this week!

Sage gets into everything now – he beelines for the stairs or the edge of the bed… eats everything in sight, edible or not. Today I noticed him chewing on a woodchip that he bit off a wooden train at the dentist’s office. Yesterday he was sucking on a plastic size label he pulled from a hanger in a dressing room. No wonder he’s tipping the scales at over 23 pounds! He still loves his sweets, though. He has four teeth (top middle/bottom middle), but the dentist today said he sees 2 more coming in on top, which he predicts will help close up the huge gap between his two front teeth. He’s also really bad about biting us! Like just now. Any suggestions for curbing that habit?

Sage still loves to nurse, and we will continue with it until he loses interest. (E was weaned at 18 months intentionally.) I’m planning to still pump when I return to work next month.

He crawls quickly and pulls up in bed and pushes walking toys around. His vocab still consists of hi, hey, ma-ma and da-da and his brother’s name. His new favorite thing is to point at anything and everything. He wears cloth diapers when we can actually pin him down for a diaper change. He wears size 18-24 months but is starting to wear a lot of E’s 2T hand-me-downs.

He loves laughing and playing with his brother, babywearing, looking in the mirror, walks in the stroller, and crawling around in the sand. He’s still a fairly good sleeper and is STILL in our room with us. He does not like being startled but does love hide-n-seek and peek-a-boo games. He loves any toy or book but has given up his pacifier/Wubbanub completely. If we try to give it to him, he just throws it, so we took both of them away for good.

Sage - 10 months onesie collageWe love you!





When God Calls You to Move…

24 07 2015

So I blog, but I never share the things I write in my paper prayer journal. But here is the series of thoughts  I wrote this summer… and how I feel that God led me to step out of my comfort zone to leave the job I LOVE to move to a job much closer to home.

July 6, 2015 (31st birthday): God, please help me to grow closer to you this year. And to be nicer. And to yell at my kids less. And to love big. And find grace. Laugh at myself more. Ask for help more. Notice more. Help me to seek the quiet place where I can hear You. Help me to give my best yeses. God, thank you for loving me. And for putting my husband on my path to braid my walk with his. Thank you for the blessings of my boys. Amen.

July 14, 2015: God moves in big ways. This summer, the elementary school close to my house has been on my heart as a potential place for me to work sometime in the future. Currently, I commute to another city for my job. It takes me 2 hours roundtrip, including daycare dropoff/pickup. I met the principal and secretary of the school while taking the boys to a summer reading program there and enjoyed talking to both of them. Just for fun, I had timed the commute and later had a playdate at the school. [But still, there was no reason for me to anticipate an opening there anytime soon.]

Last night in my women’s Bible study we talked about discerning God’s will. We are reading the book, “Is That Really You, God?” by Loren Cunningham. One woman mentioned that every opportunity we face could either be a potential detour or God’s will for us. We talked about how it’s easier to steer a moving vehicle, so maybe we should just go for opportunities – don’t agonize over the decisions. God will be in all the places. Maybe our calling is more about glorifying God for the opportunities we are given – recognizing that the pieces coming together come from God. Another friend likened listening to God to playing hide-n-seek with a toddler – He’ll give signs and not hide so well that we can’t find Him. He’ll “stick a foot out, make some noises” – God doesn’t try to trick us, but sometimes we think He is.

“Have you checked your life lately against your original call?” We also talked about the discipline Cunningham describes of not talking about your calling until God gives permission to do so. Today, by chance, I ran into the counselor at the elementary school near my house. I made the choice to go over to her to say hi, and when I asked her about her summer, I learned that she had just gotten married and moved out near my school — really?! I jokingly told her that we should trade, since I live right around the corner from her school, and she will be commuting as well. She said, “you know, we should!”  She immediately sent an email to our supervisor, and I did the same. We learned that the process to switch is quite simple – both principals have to be in agreement, we both submit a written request to transfer, Central Office approves it, and it’s a done-deal. I didn’t think I was one to overshare until today. I am bursting to tell EVERYONE how things seemed to be lining up for a move.

Can a door opening be a counterfeit? Or only if it steers me away from His will? “The will of God is doing and saying the right thing in the right place, with the right people, at the right time, and in the right sequence, under the right leadership, using the right method, with the right attitude of heart,” Cunningham wrote.

Still July 14, 2015:

After dinner tonight, my husband said he felt a push to take me on a prayer walk at this local school. As we neared the school, we almost chickened out because of the rainstorm surrounding us as far as the eye could see. As we approached the city lines, we could see that it had already rained. But we both felt like this school was where we needed to be that night. The local Christian radio station was playing “Praise You in this Storm” – my husband noticed and pointed it out to me.

IMG_3380

The cloud formations were stunning. The lightning started during our prayer walk, but we continued walking around the perimeter of the school, each of us praying. We also talked a lot, and oddly enough, our toddler walked slightly ahead of us, not even begging to go to his favorite playground.
IMG_3397

We found a little track around the school, and I thought about potential coaching opportunities. I started the “Girls on the Run” program at my school.

IMG_3394

“We have about 5 minutes before the rain hits,” my husband predicted. We made our way back to the car as quickly as we could with our two little boys. As we walked, we saw a hint of pinkish/coral-colored light coming from behind the school buildings. It drew us in and took our breath away as we found the best view of the sunset right from our car.

IMG_3409

IMG_3411

God had used the oncoming rain to bring us back to our car at that very moment, just as the rain grew heavy and intimidating. We strapped in the kids, and the moment we were inside our car, the amazing sunset faded back to blue and the rain started. If we had been a minute later, we would have missed God’s handiwork.

IMG_3416

But as the rain cleared once more, He backlit the clouds with the beautiful tips of coral again, long enough to grab some pictures.

IMG_3420

We were driving home when we began to notice the sunset again. I had already remarked to my husband that I felt like God had used the sunset to wave at me after my prayer walk. He kept driving, taking a different way home, as I began to wonder what other signs God would give me. We rounded a curve and this.

Just this.

IMG_3429

IMG_3435

IMG_3439

The most spectacular sunset I’ve seen. Once home, heat lightning took the stage.

IMG_3486

We have been talking quite a bit about calling in Bible study this week. We each received a bookmark listing of favorite scriptures collected from the group. I looked up the very first verse on the bookmark. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 was the reference. I read past it, and then I found 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” Last night in Bible study, we talked about hearing from God. But how do we know if it’s what God wants or what we want?? I had even wondered hypothetically about this other elementary school – should I start praying for it, or is that just something I wanted?

God painted quite the picture for me today. If God wasn’t nudging me the way a mom hints at a toddler playing hide-n-seek with her, I don’t know what to make of His miraculous signs.

God, this is in your hands. Please help me know what to do to move forward if this truly is Your will for me. Amen. 

July 15, 2015: 

I woke up this morning pretty nervous about the conversation I would be having with my current principal about a potential move, especially since it would follow our team meeting in which we’d be planning out the year. But instead of rehearsing what to say, I prayed that God would give me the right words to say at the right time. I felt like a MLB player being traded! I sent the principal a email to request a quick chat after our team meeting.

After the meeting, someone wanted his attention. And then he got a phone call. I wondered if this was Satan’s way of trying to get me to chicken out. (I don’t usually think of situations happening in this way, but that’s how this Bible study has made me to interpret things recently). God opened so many new doors for me today. In my meeting, I learned that this local elementary school would be building a new facility simultaneously with our new school, with identical floor plans, both to open in two years. So switching schools would not delay a new building for me. And my son would start kindergarten in a brand new school! My principal mentioned that he felt like he was in the major leagues, choosing players in the draft. The same thought I had.

Later that night, our toddler was a hot mess and was screaming for attention while I was trying to tell my husband about my promising conversations. I ended up hitting my head on my son’s metal bed frame pretty hard and lost it – I started yelling. Satan was trying to steal my joy in that moment. Would you know that the moment we finally finished our conversation, E was happy and content again!

So many doors have opened so easily – and our prayer walk last night was a bold proclamation from God.

July 16, 2015: 

No news today, except that my principal reached out to the principal of the other school about the possibility of an exchange and told me that she is on vacation.

Today was a faith day. It’s out of my hands, and God is in control. I don’t feel rushed with timing – I’ll be where I need to be. And I’ll be happy with either place.

I do think about it, but I feel at peace so far. I haven’t told any of my friends yet… that scares me. We leave for vacation to Tennessee on Saturday, and I have a feeling things will have to get real pretty soon after that.

We went back to the elementary school tonight for another spectacular sunset. I wrote “FAITH” on the rockwall with chalk. Here is where I need faith. My biggest fear is that this decision is irreversible! I’m most worried about missing my dearest friends, making new friends, and the unknown.

7-16-15 faith

July 17, 2015: Reading “Is That Really You, God?” – excerpts that spoke to me today as we planned for our trip to Tennessee:

“What do you want me to do now, Lord?

“in obedience he made travel plans,”

“Everything was happening too quickly and too spectacularly, and the amazing series of events was not over yet” (169).

“After such a stunning series of Bible-story-like encouragements, we had to plunge ahead with negotiations,” “I suppose God had to be so overwhelmingly obvious with me because He knew I might give up otherwise” (170).

I love my current school. My very best friends are there, and many of us went through pregnancies together. I am so slow to warm up to people that starting a new job would be way out of my comfort zone. It always seems to take me a whole year in a new place to feel really comfortable – just thinking back to when I went to college, grad school, started new jobs, churches, etc.

But 2 Corinthians 12:9 promises, “Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Moving and being new is a weakness for me. 

I do ask the “why” questions – what is my ministry that I need to be at a different school right now and leave all my friends? And then I maybe found the answer I needed to hear:

“If the guidance moves people into a deeper relationship with the Lord, then the direction is probably from God” (172)

As divine guidance begins to unfold, it always seems to come with hard, gritty work. Gone is the thrill of the original leading” (178).

July 20, 2015: From Hebrews 11:1 (Message) “By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home… they accepted the fact that they were transients in this world… through acts of faith… they were protected.”

From James 1: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.

Right now, the light is pouring down through the canopy of trees at our cozy cabin in Tennessee, where we have now been for 3 days.

“Act on what you hear: But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” 

This morning I woke up doubtful, I admit, even thinking that staying at my current school would be a welcomed answer – back into my comfort zone. Not hearing anything from either principal has me doubting where I am supposed to be, so I sought God’s word this morning to get my faith in check. I’m listening to the songbirds in Tennessee, sitting in a wooden rocker on the porch with my Bible, journal, and coffee. Truly a gift. Light is streaming through the woods, and I literally just heard a tree fall!

7-20-15 cabin

As I bowed my head, I breathed in the sound of the songbirds. I told God I was ready to listen. The birds went silent for a moment. As I thought about what that could mean, I realized God was clearing the way for me to listen. And then the big AC unit went silent on the porch, and the songbirds went completely silent again throughout the woods. And I really felt God telling me to “stay with me on this.” After the stillness, I heard the chatter of my little boys inside the cabin, and I have to remember that my family is the reason I’m even considering this leap of faith. I’ll admit that when I woke up this morning, I wondered if God put me through this process just to see how far I’d step out in faith, just as a test. And then maybe He’d take it away from me once knowing that I grew closer to listening to Him in the process. But I continued to read in James today about this: “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed. Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil to say, ‘God is trying to trip me up.’ The temptation to give into evil comes from us and only us.” 

So, my friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.”

Maybe Satan is trying to have me doubt God’s plan. Trying to rationalize why I don’t have answers immediately. I’ll admit I don’t often see how or when Satan is trying to creep into my thoughts, cutting through my line of faith. But that doubt, that justification in radio silence is Satan. God wants me to put full-faith in this. And that could mean more waiting. But it won’t last forever.

God, help me to find more moments of quiet with you. To put my faith to work and give me patience in your process. Keep Satan at bay, the Satan who is trying to get me to rationalize why this plan may not be happening, at least not right away. You put this desire on my heart for a reason when you did (this summer, and especially that night of Bible study), you brought me to this quiet place in the woods (instead of our original plan to go to the beach), in the cabin of a good Christian couple — I read that your gifts are “desirable and beneficial.” This isn’t just a desire of my heart, but a gift of time with family that will be priceless. I truly believe You found me here this morning.

I am looking at some leaves on a branch of a nearby tree, and they started to raise up in the wind. And as I watched them lift and lower, the lyrics “You’re the whisper in the wind” came to mind… is it maybe Lonestar? I’m Already There? Right then, before my eyes, a bunch of water fell from the treetops right along those leaves, just in that one tiny spot.

Thank you, God, for Your counsel. The affirmation in signs that I heard and saw today. For your promise in Scripture and how it always comes at the right time, when we’re seeking Your guidance. Help me to continue to listen for Your voice. Amen. 

The tree branch waved again, the crickets fired up to add a layer of sound to the songbirds’ calls, and there is music in the woods again. And I can hear my baby crying inside now!

July 20, 2015: Had to return to my treetop porch again this afternoon – we are having a beautiful storm – heavy rain, thunder, yet we are completely protected on this porch – dry, safe, and warm. The rain is cleansing. It’s not pouring through the leaves where I saw it before. Actually, there are pretty pink blossoms where I look up.

James 4 (Message): “In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.”

1 Peter 5: “God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”

July 21, 2015: When I returned to my spot on the porch again this morning, my toddler asked why I was coming. “To pray,” I answered. “Why?” asked my 3-year-old. His new favorite question.

The “why” piece I may never know. I know the why on my end, but not God’s end. I read that God’s promise would be desirable and beneficial. Closer to home, and my boys could go to the new school with me when it opens in two years. I’m mostly at peace with the idea bc it has so blatantly been God’s will. In fact, if I did not listen to God and heed His guidance on this, I would be worried. I do worry about not seeing my friends on the daily. But maybe I don’t need to ever know why.

Reading Genesis 3 this morning: “If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce, it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”

July 22, 2015: Back on the porch. After my devotion about keeping my faith on Monday, I got an email from the other counselor that very afternoon! God’s timing is so, so incredible. In my faith, my walk, and in what He brings to fruition. Because I know He has a plan for me, I’m a little less-scared about the possibility of a new job. I decided to read Jeremiah 29:11+ in a different version, in the Message:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

I’ve always loved the NIV of this: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. 

I’m excited about a change, knowing that I have followed God’s lead through this process, as much as I am learning how. So I know there must be something good waiting for me on the other side. I always assumed I’d move eventually, I just didn’t realize it would happen so fast, and now! I’m hoping it will solve many questions for me down the road… God, continue to lead me to You, even as we leave this beautiful cabin today. Help me to find a new quiet time with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

July 23, 2015: We are back from our trip to Tennessee. Lots of commotion today – emails from several people who are all just waiting on me to send one quick email to Central Office officially requesting a transfer before everything can be finalized. I drafted the email but couldn’t pull the trigger on it just yet… I still felt like I needed to know more about what I was getting into. I felt like it was still a weak line in my faith, but I didn’t want to be completely blind-sided after leaving a position I love and have invested so much of myself in over the last six years. I was so afraid something was being overlooked, something was being sugar-coated. This whole process has been way too easy!

And so… an hour-long phone call to the new school. Another phone call to the woman with whom I’m switching positions. And then a 2-hour tour of the “new-to-me” building with my new principal. I heard everything I wanted to hear. I saw why this school needs a new building, too. She kept saying that this whole thing happened so quickly and that “it must be fate, it must be an intervention.”

And this is where I can’t forget about God. In my hesitation to share the news with my dearest friends, in my excitement about a fresh start, in my fears of the unknown and in my relief over logistics and no more commute, I need to praise God for this gift He has given me. And so, I shared parts of this story with my new principal. And it is here that I’ve shared more bits of the story.

It’s not over yet.





No-Sleep Week | Worth It.

13 07 2015

July is one of my favorite months, for good reason. This year, between the 4th of July, my son’s 3rd birthday, my birthday, a trip to the lake, a drive-in movie, a family trip to Busch Gardens, teaching preschoolers, and a kayaking excursion (sans kids) with a group from our church, we are EXHAUSTED in a good way!

My son loved every bit of his 3rd birthday party. We decided to invite several of his friends from preschool and church in addition to family. The theme was construction. I’m sure a blog post will come eventually. It was pretty hectic getting everything ready because we were out watching fireworks the night before, but I guess that will always be the case.

IMG_3210

 

IMG_3225

I had jokingly “complained” to my husband that I never celebrate my birthday anymore, because my son and I have our birthdays a day apart. He went out of his way for me this year – he took off work so that we could all go to the lake. I rode my son’s new scooter around our neighborhood (where were these when I was little?!), got extra snuggle time with the baby, went to Target, drank coffee and flipped through a magazine (unheard of!), and had a yummy birthday dinner. And had my own cake, even though we had about 2 dozen leftover cupcakes from E’s party.

IMG_4157

On Thursday, we attempted our first drive-in movie to see Minions and Inside Out with free tickets we had. Both kids were restless, so we only stayed for Minions. We are just not movie-watchers – none of us can sit still for that long!

IMG_4191

IMG_4195

We also joined my husband’s family for a day-trip to Busch Gardens. It ended up being a perfect day despite the forecast of rain – the sky was cloudy and overcast and there was a cool breeze, unreal for mid-July! There was a torrential downpour midday that pretty much emptied out the park and shut down the rides, but we were eating lunch then. When we returned to the park, the rides were reopening with essentially no lines. So I think we rode almost every ride in the park plus visited both kiddie play areas. It rained again that night while we were on a roller coaster – the rain was coming down so hard, we could barely breathe! I ended up with 18k+ steps on my FitBit even with 5 hours in the car.

IMG_3297

IMG_3331

IMG_3335

IMG_3342

Props to Busch for having a nice nursing center in the kiddie area. I don’t care about privacy so much, but it had rained off and on and all the benches outside were soaked and all the covered seating was taken. Land of the Dragons had 2 private, locking rooms with couches, so I took advantage of the space to get my baby changed and fed before heading back out into the rainy weather.
IMG_3318

The next morning, we taught 24 preschoolers at church and headed out for our first kayaking adventure! We rented kayaks and dropped our kids off with family, joining our church group at my favorite lake. We loved it and were a little sad to return the kayaks the next day. Kayaking on the serene lake was basically the opposite of going to Busch Gardens. 

IMG_3363

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7-12-15 kayak

(Does anyone know how to still get FitBit steps while kayaking? I didn’t get any with it strapped to my wrist! And we kayaked for HOURS!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am loving summer, but here’s to hoping for more sleep this week! :)





4th of July | 2015

5 07 2015

The 4th of July has ALWAYS been my favorite holiday. This year we visited a hot air balloon festival, made red, white, and blue bark, and took my parents to our favorite brewery, followed by spectacular fireworks at a ski resort!

IMG_3136

IMG_3147

IMG_3133

IMG_3140

IMG_3150

IMG_3148

IMG_3146

IMG_3161

IMG_3158

 

That night, after the boys fells asleep, I held my toddler’s hand and prayed for him (and my patience this year as a mommy of 2) as the clock struck midnight and he turned into a 3-year-old!





Five on Friday

3 07 2015

Linking up with September Farm and The Farmer’s Wife (she has news!) for oh hey, Friday and April for Five on Friday!

This week brings so much celebration – my brother-in-law got married, one of my best friends had a baby (and I held him!), obvi the 4th of July, and then my son’s birthday and mine fall the next 2 days! So this morning will just be a quick recap of our week:

IMG_3035

one | My “Mommy and Me” yoga class inspired me to get a yoga mat ($2 new at a yardsale) and a workout DVD (free at library). Neither of which will get me any steps toward the challenge I recently registered for with September Farm, but at least I’ll be motivated to train for two upcoming races.

two | I took the boys on a lake outing. It had all the benefits of the beach, as far as toddlers and babies are concerned, without the long drive. They loved it!

IMG_3708

three | We’ve been going to a nearby peach orchard each week for their children’s program. Since my husband and I are on a “no donuts for a year” kick, I bypass their peach cider donuts and get a slice of fresh, homemade peach pie or a peach milkshake. Heavenly.

7.1.15 peach orchard

four | I stumbled upon this playground not far from my house through a library program. I cannot BELIEVE we didn’t know about this place! We were also excited to get free lunches, and the boys each picked out brand new, free books to keep!

6.30.15 playground

five | We also went to our first $1 movie at Regal! Sage loved the movie but then nursed for the last half. E was terrified and shouted loudly every few minutes, “I want to go home and get in my bed!”

IMG_3826

And now… off to celebrate the 4th and party on my little guy’s THIRD birthday! Weren’t we just celebrating his 1st birthday with our matching birthday smashcakes?

IMG_1148

 

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!





Sage | Nine Months

28 06 2015

Sage 9 months nine onesie

Sage. You’re a smiley, giggly, chunk. You’re nine months today and wearing size 18-24 months. There is so much to love about you! Look at that hair, for starters. Blonde and wispy and way too cool.

Teething: 4 teeth came in at once and you’ve been gnawing on EV.ERY.THING. You’ll pull out dresser drawers to chew on, and today when E kicked the drumset cymbal you were chewing on, it cut into the top of your gums. You love Pumkin Butt teething oil and your chocolate silicone teething bar.

Eating: 3 meals a day with lots of nursing and snacks in between. You might have tried wedding cake last night. And loved it. So just pretend on your birthday like it’s all brand new.

IMG_3067

New tricks: Crawling forward! I didn’t want to rush this, but clearly you don’t want to be left out.

IMG_3077

Sleeping: You’re not big on daytime naps, but you stick to your bedtime. You’re usually up to nurse a lot throughout the night, but I don’t mind while school’s out and we’re not rushing to be out the door by 6:45 AM. You’re still in our room!

IMG_3607

Playing: Endless giggles shared between you and E. You are the very first person he looks for every morning when he wakes up. You have also said his name several times! Your giggle is much deeper then E’s, and your eyes absolutely sparkle when you look at him. And your dimple!

IMG_3324

IMG_3474

I can’t leave the two of you alone together though. E likes to say, “Baby’s all locked in!”

IMG_3468

Loves: Movies in the theatre, Taylor Swift, listening to the sermon at church, reading board books, dancing at weddings, puppets, your brother, your parents, babywearing. How do we know you love all of these? Your arms and legs FLAIL. WILDLY.

During the last month, you have: been to 2 weddings (but the rest of us have been to 3!) and a rehearsal dinner, you were dedicated at church, attended a “Mommy and Me” yoga class, spent time with our LifeGroup, picked strawberries, went to Busch Gardens, went to a library kickoff program, helped Mommy teach Sunday School, went to yardsales and a Food Truck festival, ate lunch and watched puppets at an elementary school, went to the peach orchard, saw Paddington at the movie theatre, danced at the library, fed ducks at the park, enjoyed playgroup at church, swam at the lake, went to a birthday party, visited puppies (you LOVED), had several playdates and time outside, went to the river, and played on many different playgrounds. I love being at home with both of my boys for the summer!

Sage nine 9 month collage

Month by Month

birth | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight





Five on Friday

19 06 2015

Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday and April for Five on Friday!

Now that I’m off work just for the summer, I try to leave the house everyday with the kids, which can be exhausting at times, but rewarding. It’s a lot of work to pack up everything for the day and make sure they’re fed/changed before we leave, but more fun than chasing them around the house all day long! And certainly more fun than packing up their stuff to be away from them all day while they’re at daycare – plus no pump parts and bottles to wash! We’ve been able to do so many things this week that I normally can’t do when I work during the school year, from trips, to playdates, to starting fun projects and trying out new recipes.

It makes me a little sad to see how close the boys get to me, and how sweet they are to me and to each other throughout the day. When I work, I come home to tantrums that last all evening after we’ve been apart for 10+ hours, and I miss out on all these little moments.

one | We scoped out a new-to-us playground. E always prefers the big kids’ playground to the toddler ones!

IMG_3572

two | After visiting a puppet show and signing up for a couple summer reading programs at local libraries, we went to another program at an elementary school. They provided a free lunch during the puppet show, with BBQ sandwiches, chips, cookies, apples, carrots, and water bottles for the kids and for the adults!IMG_3628

three | I don’t have a green thumb, but I’ve been diligently checking our garden each day for progress. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, basil, lemongrass, and peppers. My favorite, though, is the sunflower my son brought home from school. I love that it was tiny when he brought it home, but it will eventually grow taller than he is!

IMG_3680

Using my basil, I made a one-pot pasta dish this week with most of the little plant. It was so good, so easy, so PRETTY, and a keeper for sure!

IMG_3634

four | Water balloons – fun to fill, fun to throw, but not sure they were worth the meltdown that ensued when I threw one at his little piggies!IMG_3684

five | I must have caught an exercise bug, because yesterday I got up early and ran on the treadmill, and last night, I attended my first free “Mommy and Me” yoga class at a natural parenting store taught by a friend from church. My midwife suggested I try yoga after several recent bouts of tachycardia. At the time, I just laughed, but I loved, LOVED it, and so did Sage. He was fascinated by the poses, laughing and clapping (probably distracting), and he loved participating and being held all the different ways. I was also surprised to learn that the instructor began yoga because of tachycardia, too. This might be something new to try!

Happy Friday!





Finding “Me” Time

18 06 2015

IMG_2999I just finished an excellent book that I borrowed from a friend – The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative. I highly recommend this for moms of little ones, for when it seems like there is never time to get anything done for yourself! I journaled alongside reading it but would still love a copy of my own! And no, this is not a sponsored post. Just thought it was great.

First – finding the time to read the book. Luckily, it’s a quick read because of its workbook format. I spend a LOT of time nursing the baby while (sometimes aimlessly) scrolling through my phone. I set social media down for about 2 days and put this book in my hand instead. BOOM. Done. Checked it off my summer bucket list and on to the next book.

Since reading Jessica’s book, I’ve actually found some of those hidden pockets of time to work on several little DIYs that I’ve been wanting to do… projects that all seemed daunting before reading this book because I was waiting til I had entire afternoons or days to devote to completing them. I realized that every time I have a pocket of 5 minutes, instead of spending it scrolling through my phone or cleaning up toys, I should put that time toward a checklist of little tasks that add up to a completed project! Like reserving books online at the library when I have 5 minutes, then running in and grabbing them when I’m there a few days later for storytime with my kids. It just takes some planning ahead.

For another example, to make some jean shorts – I broke up that project into little tasks that each took less than 5 minutes:

  • go in the attic to find old jeans to cut up to make shorts
  • find my sewing tape measure
  • watch youtube tutorials on the best way to distress denim
  • cut the jeans to the desired length
  • ask hubby for sandpaper
  • practice distressing the unused denim using a variety of techniques to find the best method
  • look online at the best way to stain the shorts a darker wash

While I did these tasks, I watched a movie on my summer bucket list (reserved online from library) in short, 5-minute increments until I finished it! I am rarely one to sit and watch a full movie, and never at home. In fact, I’m not allowed to – my orthopedic surgeon told me never to sit for more than 2 hours because of my spine condition. So even at the movie theatre, I sometimes have to get up and walk around the lobby.

IMG_3579 IMG_3581 IMG_3582 IMG_3583

Another similarly-executed project was the process of lanolizing wool overnight shorties for my new little heavy-wetter! The shorties sat around for weeks because I didn’t think I had the time. But I finally broke the project up into DAYS of 5-minute steps until the shorties were lanolized and ready to use!

IMG_3608

Even trying a new recipe! First, I found a recipe using the search term “easy basil dinner.” Another time, I wrote a list of ingredients needed. BOOM. It was ready to make after the next shopping trip.

IMG_3635

My husband and I had an Amway Ribbon gift catalog from our baby shower that is older than our 8-month-old. I think in theory, the concept of the gift is to make it easy for the parents to select what they really need. Well, the baby has long-since outgrown most of the newborn and infant items in the catalog, but I finally broke the process of selecting a gift into 5-minute tasks:

  • browse the catalog
  • lookup the actual items on Amazon to compare retail values. The variety of price ranges is insane!
  • log in to the website
  • realize all of the items in our catalog were no longer available, all replaced with newer items
  • start process all over again
  • select an item that we both wanted (bonus: it was also the most expensive retail item)
  • order the item – a waterproof, easy-to-clean, play mat! This wasn’t even listed in our catalog.
  • our gift arrived today! Went outside and got it off the porch. Just before the baby turns 9 months old

Ribbon Gift

Jessica’s advice has really helped me to streamline the party-planning for my son’s 3rd birthday. I had actually considered taking him on a fun trip instead of dedicating the time and effort into a party, but I also don’t want to skip celebrating this milestone with his little friends! Party planning was broken into a series of 5-minute tasks:

  • gathering ideas
  • making an invite list
  • making a list of things to buy/make
  • making a food list
  • designing simple invites in PicMonkey using a free template
  • finding free printables as party decor that fits my theme – so easy!
  • printing the printables
  • cutting out the printables
  • addressing invites, etc.

My next big project might take the whole summer, but my goal is to finish it in the next 2.5 weeks. When I listed it on my summer bucket list, it seemed daunting, but the trick was just to START. Start with the first step! I give myself grace to know that it’s not going to happen all at once. I may never see a 4-hour chunk of time to myself in the next 18 years, but 5 minutes here and there eventually adds up to the time I will need to complete the things that matter to me, things worth doing.

I’m not talking about the big things – going to my women’s Bible study, volunteering (and I’m learning to say “no” more often now that I have little ones unless I know what I’m doing is truly meaningful), spending time with family, going to work — all that stuff is LIFE.

IMG_3471

In fact, if my kids are awake, I try to prioritize so that I’m spending almost all my time with them. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to know I have hobbies, and I want them to be able to entertain themselves and be creative and have their own outlets, but when they’re grown up, I also want them to remember me and my husband playing with them, reading to them, listening to them, and including them in everyday tasks – like cooking, or our garden.

IMG_3431

IMG_3684

The little projects or hobbies are just little things that give me an outlet for myself in a crazy infant/toddler world when that time to myself is SO.HARD. to come by. And as an introvert, I NEED it. I’ll be interested to see how this works during the school year when I’m working and not at home with the boys.

And no…  I didn’t write this blog post all at once! And yes, all I still want for my birthday is this breakfast at Panera BY MYSELF! ;)

IMG_3499





Five on Friday | Segue to Summer

12 06 2015

School’s out! I want to make the absolute most out of my time home with my kids, since I’m away from them a majority of the school year while I teach.

one | I made a quick summer bucket list and a calendar of activities that we can quickly check if we are looking for activities. I washi-taped them to our (non-magnetic) fridge. We bought a few supplies to have on hand.

IMG_3534IMG_3524

two | My son started off the summer with a birthday party for a classmate. It was adorable, and I’m so grateful for these little friends he’s had for the past 2 years.

IMG_2983

three | We attended a local “Touch a Truck” event – a perfect family outing :)

Touch a Truck

four | Why can’t every morning start like this? I’ve been devouring a new book this week and can’t wait to carve out time to read (and pursue other hobbies) more this summer.IMG_3508

five | I’ll spare the pics, but I spent part of my week hooked up to a Holter monitor and visited the cardiologist a few times this week. Instead, I’ll share some fun summer-y pics!

June 2015 summer collage

Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday and April for Five on Friday!





A Wedding to Set the Bar

1 06 2015

Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I attended the fanciest wedding at the beach for my college roommate. Her parents live on the waterfront, so her occasion took place in their backyard, a truly serene setting.

It meant the world to me that she invited my whole family, and that my boys would get to meet her – she’s been living in Florida since the last time I saw her at my wedding 7 years ago. Before the wedding day, her mother let me know that she would have servers for my table, even though it was a buffet, since she knew it would be difficult to get our meals with little ones in tow. So thoughtful! And then offered that if we needed any sorts of high chairs or seats, we’d be welcome to bring anything we pleased. It was just the sweetest gesture.

Valets met us at the driveway to whisk our car away as we walked the grounds. We received an order of ceremonies, where we quickly realized the wedding would last well into the evening – 1 AM – and that we’d still have a 3.5-hour drive to get home that night before my work at 7:40 the next morning!

The setting was breathtaking!

5:00 Ceremony at the Waterfront, Petal Toss to Send Well Wishes as Mr. and Mrs.

IMG_2743

IMG_2746

IMG_2694 IMG_3314

Guests were given doilies filled with soft pink rose petals to toss as the bride and groom were introduced and recessed down the aisle.

5:30 Cocktails on the Deck, Sweet Treat, Acquire Escort Card, Locate Table Name on Map

IMG_2706 IMG_2710

Delicious almond macaroons!

IMG_2711

The bubbly flowed all night from multiple bars scattered around the lawn.

IMG_2728 IMG_2730 IMG_3281

The bathroom trailer was super fancy and had everything you could possibly need in a pinch – Tide Pens, mints, anything!

IMG_2748

The sound system inside the trailer was also playing the Jurassic Park theme song. You know, like when the T-Rex ate the lawyer. (Did I mention the bride and groom met at the same law firm?)

jurassic-park-t-rex-eats-lawyer

IMG_2750

IMG_3277

The front yard was set up with a bubble machine for the kids, and someone even offered to watch our kids for us!

IMG_2717

7:00 Bubbly in the Tent, Dinner, Speeches, and Spectacular Dancing

The family set up a receiving line as we entered the tent for dinner. It was SO good to catch up with her sweet family again!

Aren’t she and her mother stunning?!

IMG_2732 IMG_2735

Wrong fork. I know, I know.

IMG_2741

I sat on the dock to nurse the baby while I listened to speeches as the sun set. Perfection. Soon after, servers brought plates out to the couples with small children.

IMG_2752

We had been given our own monogrammed menus to fill out for our servers; even the baby had his own menu! With persistent instructions from the bride’s mother to “check every box! Order everything! Order the baby everything so you get two, and then go up to the buffet for thirds anyway!” No one was going hungry that night!

IMG_2753

Every bite was DELICIOUS.

IMG_2754

IMG_2757 IMG_2758 IMG_2762

She had glowsticks for us, just like at my little brother’s wedding!

IMG_2765 IMG_2769 IMG_2772

9:00 Cake, Coffee, and Cordials. Open Favors, Dancing

Our favors were wrapped up like Tiffany’s boxes and included light-up neon ice cubes, and we were instructed to drop them in our drinks and head to the dance floor with them when we heard the song “Firework.”

IMG_3293 IMG_3294 IMG_2773 IMG_2775

Dessert bar menu

IMG_2781

11:00 Bouquet Toss, Last Dance, Late Night Fare

As the dancing finished up, we were served cheeseburger sliders, fries baskets, and bourbon-caramel-glazed bacon by the monogrammed ice sculpture.

IMG_2782 IMG_2783

E was still going strong with us, even into the wee hours! Sage slept off and on.

IMG_2785

I happened to see alcohol in the garage, and the caterers told me this is what was leftover (unused) from the bar… she said they started with 4 times this much!

IMG_2790

12:00 AM Loyal Order of Midnight and Moonrise on the Waterfront, Valet Keys Returned

The loyal order of midnight meant that we all met at the dock to shoot flaming arrows into the waterway.

IMG_3304 IMG_3311

1 AM Couple Departs, Happily Ever After

Indeed.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers