Let's pretend we're chatting...

Jan 27, 2015

Right now it's evening and the first time I've sat down without one or both of my boys on me or touching me. I love them so much, but wow, this is nice. We have nothing sweet in this house and after a long day, I was desperate. I pulled a jar of peanut butter out of the back of the pantry and grabbed the jar of pretzel rods and settled for the salty-sweet combo while watching my woman-crush on Fixer Upper.

I'll admit- today was a rough one. Michael is out of town for work tonight and even though he normally would be gone during the day anyways, knowing he won't be home later in the evening just sets a bad tone for my day. I really shouldn't let it. I just love that guy so much and he is what we look forward to all day. I don't think he believes me when I tell him I miss him 10 minutes after he walks out the door, but I do. 

I was impatient today, mostly with Noah. He gets so wound up on these cold days and I need to do a better job at doing something everyday that helps him get some energy out. Tonight as I was putting him to bed, I apologized. I said, "Noah, mommy is sorry that I lost my temper with you today, will you forgive me?". He said, "Mama lose temper?". "Yeah, baby. Mommy was selfish. Will you forgive me?". "Yeah, mama". And he rolled over onto his belly, put one arm around my neck, and ran his fingers through my hair. I can't even describe the joy it is to be his mama. He's a good reminder right now that mercies are new every day. 

I haven't talked much about what's been going on around here lately, but we're keeping pretty busy. We've slowly but surely picked back up on the remodeling. The stairs are our current project and they're almost finished! They've gone from being covered in 25 year old carpet to brand new and beautifully stained steps and new handrail and balusters. They're so pretty I kind of don't want to walk on them! Up next is Abe's room, although I am being so tempted to redo our kitchen next. If we do the kitchen next we'd have to break our goal of doing this whole thing debt-free, and I think Dave Ramsey yelling at me in my head is enough for me to avoid that. I'll wait on my planned kitchen for awhile, I guess! 

Noah is two and this is such a fun age. Challenging, but fun. He can communicate with me so well now and I can see some of the fruits of my labor paying off. He's so independent so I try to really respect that while setting limits. Abe is growing like crazy. He loves making sounds and has the cutest little dimples ever. I love being their mom. And I'm not saying that only on peaceful days. I say that from the middle of two boys crying, five loads of clean but unfolded laundry, and no possible way for a shower. It is beautiful and worthy and amazing.

We have been busy during the week. We're usually out of the house by 9:30 and are back around one, just in time for naps. Today we ran through Chickfila's drive through and by the time we pulled in the driveway Noah was asleep holding a chicken nugget in each hand. I'm kind of starting to figure out Abe's napping routine and am trying to slowly help him adjust to what we're doing. I wear him when we go out so he usually naps in the ring sling, too. We try to mix up our week activities. We'll do runs to town, play dates with friends, trips to the kids museum, open gym at the local gymnastics center, bible study, and the occasional lunch date with Michael downtown. 

I feel like I've done a much better job at getting out of my comfort zone and making friends than I did when we lived in Dickson. There have been so many great people I've met here who have really made this move as good as it has been. I prayed exactly for that and I am so thankful for answered prayer. As much as I hate Facebook sometimes, read hate my addiction, it has been what has helped plug me into this town. I felt like I was back in the dating realm at first. Meeting new mommy friends can be intimidating! Everyone has been so great and there's a sweet sense of support and community that I appreciate. 

Along with my New Years goals, I do have some health goals as well. We have a fun summer vacation planned to St. John and I'd like to get back to pre-baby weight by that time. Michael just got a new mountain bike and rides at a nearby nature park. It has walking paths everywhere and I look forward to taking the boys there and working towards getting fit while Michael rides. It's hard when it's cold, so in the meantime I plan to take advantage of having a fun yoga studio shout five minutes away. I really got into Yoga right before I got pregnant and I'm excited about getting back into it. 

If you've kept up with me at all on Instagram, you'll notice that I'm seriously in love with my Lily Jade bag. It's beautiful and I can't wait to review it for you all! Also, and this is equally as exciting...my sister and I are going to MommyCon Atlanta in March! I have been wanting to go for the last few years and am happy that I'm within three hours driving distance. I also was chosen to be a part of the MommyCon blogger team! I can't wait to talk more about it and even give you a coupon code for a MommyCon near you. And one last blog related thing- Abe's birth story is just awaiting some pictures and it will be done. I'm excited to share such a precious moment from our lives with our family and friends. 

Of course, all of that can't be done on my broken laptop. I'm writing this from an iPad, something that's not easy to do!  It finally bit the dust last week and I'm impatiently waiting on my new computer to get here. I choose a desktop over a laptop because I want my time at the computer to be more intentional. I think it will help to have it in a designated "office" area so my computer time doesn't mesh into my time with Michael or the boys. I'll also be able to focus a bit more on blogging, researching, or planning instead of trying to do multiple things at once. 

So there's a bit of our life at the moment. It may not sound all that attractive, but it's wonderful to me. Now I'm going to go put these pretzels and peanut butter up and try to sneak upstairs for a shower while both boys are sleeping! 

friendships

Jan 13, 2015

Our little church group, I'm second from the left. Clearly, our moms dressed us fabulously!
I've been thinking about friendships recently - what they used to mean, how they've changed, how I've changed, what they should be. When I was younger I had no problems making friends. Our lives revolved around school and church and making friends was easy. Between co-op classes, sports games, and church services, seeing friends was effortless and happened often. Some of my favorite memories include those friends.

I didn't make many friends during college. Some of that is because I'm only half an extrovert and was struggling a bit with depression. There were people I would smile at and say hello in passing, but less than a handful that I spent time with and who knew me well. After college, those friendships weren't what they could have been. I see where I could have cared more, been more invested, been more other-oriented. If I'm being honest, Michael and I were so obsessed with each other that we really didn't make much time for anyone else. We've both admitted that to each other at separate times and it kind of felt good to mutually agree that it should have been different.

After we got married and moved away, it was a hard realization that some people weren't really part of my  life anymore, and that I wasn't a part of theirs. It was even harder when I was shown my own selfishness that contributed to that. I had tunnel vision through college and once life quieted down, I realized I was really lonely. Some of it is natural- getting older, choosing different priorities, becoming different people. Life gets busy, but I don't want that to be my excuse for letting relationships fizzle out or not showing love to the people in my life, right here and now.

The thing was, I don't think I knew how to really, truly be a friend once it wasn't easy...when it took effort to make phone calls from college or hang out during a short weekend home from school, when it took a little planning to remember birthdays, and on a deeper note, when it took me looking outside of my bubble to see when someone was hurting, needed encouragement, or needed practical help.

All this thinking was brought about by thinking about community and my desire to live life alongside others, to do life together, and allow others to see a glimpse of the character of Christ through me. I want to be vulnerable enough to let others into our messy and ugly and accept them for theirs. Those kind of relationships take each person living the gospel out in their lives, and that's something I'm still learning how to do.

This isn't a beat myself up kind of post.Thankfully there is grace. Grace in that I've been shown how I can be a better friend. Grace in that lots of the friendships I haven't invested much time in just need a little TLC. And grace in that God has placed people in my life who have shown me what all of that looks like. That's why one of my goals this year is to reach out. I want to show other people I care and not just assume they already know. I want to invest time into getting to know the people in my life, getting to really know the good and even the not so good, and show them the Love that's been shown to me. I want to be more giving with the time and resources that have been so graciously given to me.

So I'm curious - How do you feel invested in? What makes you feel cared about in a friendship?

a year end's tribute and looking forward

Jan 7, 2015

Because the new year and my birthday are only 6 days apart, I suppose you could say I get extra sentimental when I think back over the previous year. If you've kept up with my blog at all, you've probably seen all the changes that have come with 2014...

We thought we might move, then found out we weren't moving after all. We found out we were expecting baby #2 and later in the year we found out Noah was getting a brother! We made some good friends. We made some fun trips back to Virginia to see family.  We found out we were, in fact, moving to Chattanooga and much faster than we had anticipated.  We sold our Dickson house in two days and moved less than 30 days later! We found a fixer-upper in Chattanooga that already had an offer in, we were bummed, then the offer fell through in time for us to offer, buy, and move in right before Michael needed to be at work.We started the remodel process! We traveled with Michael for work. We made new friends and connections in our new town. We had a home birth and welcomed our baby "Abey". We celebrated Noah's second birthday! 

I thrive on change so years like this really work well for me. There is an adjustment period for sure, but I don't mind it and find that God has used years like this in my life to show me a whole lot about myself. He has brought people into my life at just the right time. He has sovereignly overseen our details and used them, good or bad, to grow and challenge me in this year. I feel like I've gone from wanting to rush from one thing to the next to slowing down and cherishing the moments I'm in. Parenthood has a way of doing that to you, I think! 

Last year's New Year post was full of ambition....and tons of blogging intentions that I never carried out. This year I'm focusing more on relational goals rather than strict, measurable ones, if that makes sense. I do have some measurable ones (ahem, pounds on the scale), but I'll just keep those to myself! The goals I am hoping to work toward sound something like this...

Dive into the scripture. I feel like I've spent the last couple of years working through my faith on an emotional level and that has meant leaving much behind that was automatic more than sincere. This year I'd like to be more intentional about re-learning the Word from a truthful perspective. How? I've really come to love the She Reads Truth app. The devotionals are really good and I love that it's available anytime, anywhere. I can see God's hand in my life and I want 2015 to be about getting involved in what He's doing around me.

Teach my boys. Now that Noah is a bit older, I want to slowly start incorporating more learning experiences at home and in public. At home I plan to make time in the morning to work on things like learning the alphabet and numbers, music time with his little instruments, getting creative and messy with art, and reading more books. I'd also love to find one class that Noah can be a part of, like Kindermusik or Moms Day Out.

Invest more in relationships. I want to be more intentional about letting the people in my life know that I care about them in tangible, practical  ways. That looks like smaller things like thank you notes, messages of encouragement, remembering birthdays, etc. But that also looks like bigger things like time and money spent, being selfless with my resources, and going out of my way to show love. 

Get rid of excess. I do a pretty good job of keeping the clutter away, but sometimes things get cluttered, receipts pile up, that kind of thing. Each month I'm going to choose a few categories to organize and minimize, things like our file box, the hall closet, the garage, our wardrobe, etc. I get overwhelmed when I can't do it all at once, but I think knowing there's a plan will help me focus better on one thing at a time. This goal also includes making sure the things that I buy will be used or have a purpose. I'm notorious for perusing the dollar section at Target and coming away with cute, but cheap, crap that doesn't really have a place in our house. I will also occasionally buy a piece of clothing just because it is cheap, not because I really love it. That means it doesn't usually last long and I don't wear it a lot. I want to have fewer, quality items that I can mix and match. 

Otherwise, I want to keep our life pretty simple. I want to savor time with my guys. I want us to try new things as a family and a couple. I want more community with those in my life, to do life together, even when it gets messy. This year, 2015 and my 26th, holds wonderful possibilities!