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Friday, March 21, 2014

joy in the ordinary



We're at this weird middle ground where winter stands to let us know its still in control, and spring tortures us with hope for the future that dissipates as quickly as the snowflakes fall.  Promises of park nights and neighborhood walks are within our grasp.  That, and the big adios to cold and flu season.

We have spent too many days sick --mostly me.  We're making movie nights into special occasions with the addition of almost-gourmet popcorn and ice cream topped with a chocolate trail and random bits of rainbow.  More snuggly moments and time to relish the ordinary moments.

This quote that our pastor recently spoke comes to mind and applies so heavily to my life at the moment:

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable, 
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
-William Martin

The cheers!-ing of plastic milk cups just because it's delightful.

Holding hands across a cozy bed, because it seems like the only appropriate thing.


Napping in princess dresses because you're only little once.

Pancakes for dinner because breakfast for dinner is always a win.

Taking three showers a day because that's her tiny little love language.

Fruit and chocolate.

Life is magical.  Even when it's drab on paper.  Just ask a five year old and a three year old.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

happy 3rd birthday, sweet one.







to the sweetest little firecracker that ever was:

Happy Birthday to my big 3 year old!  It seems like an impossibly short time to be with us, and also like time has once again disenchanted me with its speed.  Your precious smile and all of those sassy faces seem like they have lived in my heart forever.

You love princesses above anything else.  You are rarely dressed in actual clothes, just princess dresses and tiaras.  You also are all about snacking.  I don't have clue which part of your actual six pack that you stuff all of the snacks, but you ask for "tacks" every ten minutes.

We have gone back and forth with bedtime routines, but you remain snuggled close because I'm too desperate for sleep to ask for any nighttime shenanigans.  Our life seems to be impossibly busy, which may be evidenced by the fact that this is a date late!  I think this may be a first for my birthdays and monthly letters.

Your imagination is magnificent.  You can be found chasing various monsters out of our living room.  Those monsters become impossible to catch when it's time for bed or time to put away toys, as they completely impede your ability to complete the given task.  Convenient.  You have begun drawing letters and people - circles with two little eyes and some wild hair.

You can count to 12, and you have recently started asking about letters.  You can sing the alphabet, although you have something against the T-U-V part, and often leave it out.



You are sassy, and smart, and full of love.  You are challenging and engaging, and perfectly adorable.  You know what you want, and you'll go to any extreme to get it - I hope you always know how important that drive is for the dreams you have in your heart.

You love Jesus, and can recite the story about Adam and Eve.  You sing about Jesus and talk about Him often - my heart swells with pride that you know Him, and want to know more.

I can't believe you are three.  We are blessed beyond measure for a healthy, happy, and rambunctious bundle of sweetness.

We love you to the moon!

XOXO,
Momma

Monday, February 17, 2014

a different perspective.



You know you're in deep in this mothering schtick when you'd pretty much saw off a limb in exchange for a night's uninterrupted sleep.  And by pretty much, I mean I would.  Eisley's adenoids are the subject of wagging fingers as we struggle to figure out sleep solutions.  I'm working on natural remedies (essential oils at the moment), but am open to ideas.  Share them if you have them!

Exhaustion in my back pocket, I put on my best blessed face because it's true; there are many joyful things.  Despite being tired, I wake up to a happy little face begging for breakfast.  This book has deeply touched my soul - it makes me want to be better, and it's a reminder that I'm in great company with many moms with similar feelings.

We have had the laziest weekend in the history of us.  I'm not the least bit sorry.  After solid weeks packed with so many things, we were turning down various activities (see: the time I quit bible study).  Last weekend began the final week of a packed schedule, and we are relishing the quiet, lazy days that seem so few and far between.

Ruby is officially enrolled in kindergarten.  I will go no further in my thoughts about her being that old, because that's dangerous territory.

The girls went to a father/daughter dance last weekend with our sweet friends (and cousins!)


how precious are these girls?!

Eisley burst through the door and declared, "I had FUNNNN" as if she briefly entertained the idea that she may not.  Ruby raved about the meatballs and the new dance she learned (the chicken dance).  It warms my heart to imagine Jimmy holding his girls and dancing with them, setting standards for their respective futures.

--

I promise myself at least once a week that I'll get better at blogging.  And it appears to fall down the list like putting clean laundry away.  Some day.

For now, the cookies are made and I await company for some shameless reality television.

(and yes, the laundry still awaits.)



Monday, February 3, 2014

see jane run

Yards of fabric dance through the dryer; my mind tumbles almost as rapidly with ideas for transformations.  Some rainbow, some plain; all amazing.  I'm waiting for spare time (ha. ha. ha. ha. ha. ha.) to turn these into the sweetest outfits.

Today was a refreshing day to stake my claim for the couch and two precious girls.  We did a lot of snuggling and letting the day drag.  Those sort of days seem few and far between.  After the Broncos let us down, a whirlwind week last week, and a craving for sit still days, it was perfect.

Yesterday, on February 2, 2014, my big girl read her first book.

In that notorious sort of choppy reading, stopping to look for my approval after each and every word.  Stopping at "the" and saying, "Is this that funny word?"

I have worked in many schools, I have seen the knowledge of letters turn into the ability to decipher words, but this, with my own child is positively unreal.  I can see her wheels turning, her face lights up, and all of those trillions of times she asked me what sound this letter said?  Payoffs.

We spent our quiet time before bed talking about things like loose teeth, and where the tooth fairy makes her home.  I like five.  I like five a whole lot.

--

We spent a snow day on Friday with friends, saw numerous performances brought to us live by the Hello Kitty microphone and an array of other noise-making items deemed necessary to interrupt adult conversation.

Satuday night saw me trekking off sans children (a hallelujah may have escaped) into a snowy night.  I ate dinner with my mom and enjoyed THE QUIET.

--

I have been so wrapped up getting through each day's routine with a daunting calendar full of social events.  We are finally wrapping up the kindergarten debacle.  Which was basically on a similar level to college application essays and declaring your entire future with the line asking what you wanted to be when you grew up.  And equal reactions upon discovering she got in to our favorite.

With that behind us, and my second bible study class decidedly marked maybe later from my end (<< that right there was a nice way of saying I DROPPED OUT OF BIBLE STUDY.  For real.) I'm trying to reign in the important things with the time that seems to slip away.


Also?  This kid is a month away from turning three.  Her sleep is off the charts wacky, and I think she's cramming last minute tantrums with the few remaining days of being safely tucked under the terrible twos title.

Tonight, she couldn't seem to eat her chicken.  Jimmy asked her why she didn't eat it.

"Um. It was raw. AND, it clapped at me."

I can't even argue with such a thing.

Almost three and five.  Life seems startlingly short and so amazing all at once.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

life and death.



The shackles and chains have been broken, and he is running free.  Without the heavy burden of ALS resting on every part of his tired body.  We said goodbye to Uncle Harvey on the 21st of January.

I will never forget the way his smile lit up a room, the way he made everyone know how special they are, or the way his laugh reverberated in a room.

Death is such a startling confrontation with this reality we live.  I sat beside my sister in law, our nephew tucked safely in her belly.  The world hasn't yet greeted him, but he is oh so alive!  Barely beginning his journey as we said goodbye to someone on the other side of this life.  Surreal.

Twelve days after he left this earth, his precious wife gave up her battle with cancer and joined him - they are healed and together once more.



Jimmy came home with a tempting offer to run away to the enchanting Rome.  A tempting idea when I think of the number of funerals we have attended, the countless social engagements, and the somehow mundane and stressful nature that has been January 2014.




Everything around us is blanketed in white, the trees looking eerily spectacular with an icy dimension.  I drove today with an overwhelmed brain and a sad heart.


You are wanted
                              To every broken heart, He stands with open arms
You are wanted

My breath caught and my eyes welled.  I'm sad because of our loss.  They are no longer hurting, and they are at the loving feet of Jesus.  I am strung out over school decisions and Disney events, and Dress Like a Clown Day.  I'm doing the very best that I know how with my children.  And it matters.  I matter.

Ruby presents a poster and some of her most treasured possessions this week at school.  She chose to bring her bible as her favorite book.  

Motherhood is draining, but oh so rewarding!

I'm sad and refreshed.  And happy and thankful.  Thankful to know the love of Jesus in moments like these.  Thankful for all that I have.  And thankful for today.

Last week, a lady stopped me to admire the dress Ruby twirled in - she asked if she could look closely at it.  She was the designer of the pattern I used to create that dress; a pattern I purchased on a whim last summer.  My mind was blown for an entire couple of days.

Life is funny, isn't it?




Monday, January 13, 2014

oh, precious life. and a list of favorites.






Eisley snores gently from the foot of our bed.  We are making a leap in milestones and pushing for better sleep with her slightly out of reach.  We're two nights in, and I'm somewhat rested in the mornings.  I'm considering this a miracle of epic proportions.

I'm eating cool mint oreos with such unrestrained glee, it should probably be deemed problematic and concerning.




Sometimes I get caught up in the monotony of a repeat game of picking up All The Things all day, every day.  And most days, I still feel like it's not enough.  And then I have weeks like this one.  We remembered our baby that we never got to meet this week.  January 6th.  This year, I told Ruby about it through hidden tears as we snuggled beneath her covers.

She asked questions and seemed pleased with the thought that one day, we'd see that baby again.  One day, six years ago, we were devastated, and completely blinded by the future.  Walking through a desperate fog that seemed so lonely.  I was mad, and I was judgmental, and I was broken-hearted.  And once, I even made the comment that I couldn't do it again; just didn't want to take the chance.

But, I knew it wasn't over.  And I would have done anything for a healthy baby.  I dreamed of the days where I played princesses or toy trains or a zillion games of Candyland each day.

I can't imagine my life without these little girls.  The simple things are the most joyful.  When the doorbell rings, or the dogs bark, Eisley asks if it's Snow White here for her birthday.  I smile and shake my head each time.  In March, her tiny heart will be bursting when she really does come for her birthday.  Until then, I get a smile every time the thought enters her mind and exits her mouth.

I don't know why we lost our baby, and I'll never understand.  But I do know that whatever happens is perfect.  And in the meantime, I have special friends, a better grasp of life and thankfulness in general, and a different perspective.  My heart aches for the people that have suffered similar devastation.  It's something you don't ever quite get over.  

And this life I live?  Precious.  Mundane at times, but never boring.  I'm so thankful for enduring the path that lead me here.



I'm not sure if it should be alarming at how stealthy my videographer skills are, but I needed to capture this sweet sister moment on video.  And this is a regular occurrence - princess talk and singing in conversations.


current favorites:

The Naked3 Palette (I ordered mine from Sephora.  I have an intense love with that place)

These storyboard sets from byMaree on etsy (TO DIE FOR - we have Noah's Ark and The 3 Little Pigs)

My new vacuum (seriously?  How old am I?!)  It's this one if you need a good one.

Texas Trash:

There are a million different recipes out there for this - many use tabasco, but we are big believers in Cholula at this house, so I substituted.  If you want perpetual heartburn with a happy tummy, here's the recipe I used:

1 c. butter
5 oz. your favorite hot sauce (add or subtract depending on how spice you like it)
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. season salt
2 boxes Crispix cereal (Chex would work too!)
1 bag of pretzels
1 large can of mixed nuts.

Melt two sticks of butter, and combine with hot sauce and spices.  Pour over dry ingredients, and spread onto cookie sheets.  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes.


--

The girls and I have loved reading The Jesus Storybook Bible (this one) - and they request to read it each night!  It has become a slight obsession of Eisley's to hear the various stories, especially Adam and Eve.



What a precious thing to witness!

Friday, January 3, 2014

reflections of 2013






Resolutions and hopes are scribbled and closed tight in a journal - a year of thankful lists closely behind them.  I'll forever be thankful to 2013 for being the year that finally showed me how to lead with my heart, and not my mind.

The year where I celebrated the genuine friendships.

The one where we were globe trotters - covering thirteen states {missouri, kansas, colorado, wyoming, montana, idaho, indiana, ohio, kentucky, north carolina, pennsylvania, georgia, florida} and five other countries {italy, croatia, greece, turkey, paris}

The one where I discovered my goals of perfection are not attainable and they are not supposed to be.

The year where fears and failure stared me in the face.

The year where I aligned myself with positive forces and devoured holy inspiration.






we celebrated the turn of the year with bubbles in the bath, bubbles in our cups, "monster legs", and cupcakes.  






I'm going into 2014 with a motto to trust and to love.  I'm handing the reigns over, and I'm letting go of the fears that grip me.  I'm trusting in the good without waiting for the bad.  I'm trusting that I'm good enough.

I'm a work in progress.  It's the beauty about new beginnings.  A new focal point, room for improvement, and a chance to turn failures into successes.

Happiest of 2014, friends.  I am in the dark about the things this year holds, but I'm confident that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Life is precious - I'm living in the moment.
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