Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little Miss turns four

Last weekend we celebrated the fourth birthday of our sweet baby girl.

 And let me tell you folks, four feels old

It is uncharted territory- parenting this little person with strong opinions that she can articulate
 in long detailed sentences.

Beware- sassy girls on the loose
One minute you're stressed over sleep training your infant and the next your baby can get themselves fully ready for bed and put them self to sleep without much more than a hug from you. 

It's bittersweet to say the least.

Oh, but how she just light us up with joy everyday. 

She loves pink. She wants to be a Disney Princess. She insists on wearing dresses as often as possible and will scowl should I suggest she don anything other than a glittery shoe on her foot. 

A princess pinata. Naturally.

She loves to take care of her baby dolls and knows just how to turn her daddy to mush. She likes to tell him he's handsome and say the prayer every night before dinner. And she's just dying for her little brother to get a little bit bigger so he can stop pestering her, though I tell her that's not likely to happen soon. 

If what they say is true- that God lets us pick our parents- consider me forever indebted to her. 

Special thanks to Heidi and Beverly from Sweet Birdie's Nest for the insanely cute invites and door decor. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Worthy Reads

Beautiful verse courtesy of Emily Ley

Lately I'm really seeking wisdom from those around me- on the interwebs and elsewhere. Trying to focus less on the daily chaos and more on being a better person while I'm in it.

Every once in a while I stumble upon a post that feels like something that everyone should read. Here are a few of them.

This post is by Paige Knudsen who lives locally here in Atlanta and is the mom to four beautiful girls. This woman has a story to tell, and she recalls the challenges she has faced with incredible grace and wisdom (there's that word again). She wrote this post on her anniversary to her second husband and it has really stuck with me. If you are married- read it. You won't regret it. 

This post was one of those articles that showed up on my Facebook feed because another mom I know (and highly respect) had commented on it. It discusses why sometimes it's good to let your children play alone---GASP! I know. A shocking revelation in a society where we often feel like we need to cater to our child's every need and provide their main source of entertainment, all the while forgetting that the ability to learn to do these things for themselves can lead to incredible character development. Obviously more applicable as your children get a little bit older, but a good dose of perspective no matter how old your kids are.

And lastly, a post that spoke right to my gut. Emily Ley is a designer, entrepreneur, mother, among other things, who's blog (and products) I have really enjoyed. She wrote a post about why you have to take time to nurture the things you love, in the midst of mothering, working, and everything else we manage as women. Taking time for yourself will always make you a better mother in the end. I've talked about this before and I've really seen the benefits. Let the guilt go, moms. Your kids don't want you to be stressed and harried. They want you to be happy and relaxed. Make that happen.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

In this season

I am learning more and more, that every phase of life is just a short season. Whether good or bad, it will eventually pass and you'll move on to the next one.

Sick baby, healthy baby, busy schedule, quiet days, feeling like my house was ransacked by a pack of wild monkeys-- all just a season.

One of the ways I struggle with this is in how I feed our family. I love to cook and making sure that we eat 90% healthy is a top priority of mine. But how to do this while working and with two constantly-hungry children still something I haven't figured out. I use my slow cooker, I try to bulk cook early in the week, but more and more I'm finding myself resorting to healthy convenience foods which while still somewhat nourishing, make me feel like a total mom slacker.

I want to cook big, delicious meals every night. I enjoy that. And I like to sit down and enjoy a good meal after a long day. But this just isn't the season for that.

The kids want to eat the second they walk in the door. And more than that, they want ME the second they walk in the door. They want my attention, and I want them to feel loved and valued. I certainly can't be gone from them all day only to spend an hour facing the stove while they pull at my legs crying.

I know a day will come that they entertain themselves or can help me in the kitchen and things will be different. Until then, bring on the organic chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries. I've decided I'm going to give myself some grace on this one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh, the irony

I've been praying a lot about contentment lately. At my base I feel very very happy with my life, overjoyed even. But I struggle with really silly things like our house not being what I want, the urge to buy new clothes, new furnishings, things like that.

I stumbled upon Nancy Ray's blog a few weeks ago and was so moved by her and her husband's financial  journey I began reading about a contentment challenge she was planning to conduct. No buying extra unnecessary stuff from April-June. No clothes, no house things, nothing, in order to focus back on what really matters and learn to practice gratitude for what I think we'd all admit is a life of abundance.

I committed on Monday, April 1st. And on Thursday, April 4th we encountered our third major house repair in THIRTY days. Trust me people, the irony is not lost on me.

We're spent enough money the past month making repairs to this house that we don't even want to live in that we could have bought a small car. We've been frustrated to see the money we worked so hard to save dwindle away. We've been so frustrated that we had other plans. WE thought we were in control. WE wanted to save a lot of money this year. We We We.

As the reality of having to write another large check set in last night, Matt and I sat down and started wondering if we're missing a bigger message in all of this. Here I am trying to focus on all of the blessings God has given us, and at the same time God is testing my sense of security (which is often wrongly set in that savings account).

Obviously my security shouldn't be in things. Or in money. Or the ability to control our life. if anyone should know by now that WE are not in control, it should be us. But clearly it's having a difficult time sinking in.

So even though it feels like we're financially treading water, like we really just can't get a break, and like we truly are going to live in this house for the rest of our lives I'm going to choose to be grateful. Grateful that we live a simple lifestyle and have the money in savings to cover the unexpected, grateful that we have TWO HEALTHY CHILDREN, and grateful that we can trust that there is a bigger reason for this. We may not be able to see it, but we can feel it. 
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