Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Favs

A few favorites to wrap up the week.

Favorite Team: 
We got all decked out for Blue Friday today. Can't you just hear them shouting "Go Seahawks!!!" You guys, I think we've got the Superbowl, don't you? My friend Angie said this today and I couldn't agree with her more "I'm pretty sure that in my 15 years of living in Washington I've never ever seen people as united in their excitement about something as everyone is about the Seattle Seahawks."  So, Go Seahawks! We'll be watching on Sunday!

Favorites out and about:
Yesterday I got a random urge to hit up a thrift store and look for treasures. We ended up going to one that I haven't been to in months and I was so impressed. It's a funny thing how when I was younger, thrift stores seemed totally repulsive to me and I would have been embarrassed to go in one. Now, I think it's super fun. I love looking for a killer deal and we found some really fun stuff! 

I mean, where else can you buy feather boas AND (children's) books? And just look at this girl. Obviously she's taking this whole dress up thing very seriously.

Favorite Moments Creating:
To welcome February, we painted red, white and pink hearts today. We also cut sponges into heart shapes and used those to stamp hearts on paper. After the paint dried, I cut the hearts out and we hung them with Baker's Twine. 

Pink bubbles.

Random favorites from around the web:
This photography. I saw this a week or two ago and I'm still thinking about the beauty in these photos.
Photo by Elena Shumilova. Click here to check out more of her amazing work.

These paintings. I think I'll be putting the one with the red barn on my Birthday wish list. Farmgirl Paints is so talented and I just love her style and her heart.

These retro Valentines. They make me happy.

This ring, from here. Love.

And this, that Christine Caine posted on Instagram. This one really got me. I'm raising a couple of strong women. May I not forget what an honor it is to raise my spirited girls! 
Have a great weekend and go Seahawks!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Around the Table

Some of our sweetest moments this week happened around the table. These were teaching moments, that possibly taught me more, than my kids. I've always told myself that I couldn't be a teacher. I have a huge respect for all the teachers that I know and in my heart, I've always told myself that I could never do that--that I'm definitely not patient enough. All of the teachers that I know seem so smart, so creative. To me, they seem to know all the tricks- tricks that I've never learned, because after all, I'm not a teacher. I went to school to be a dental assistant, which seemed like a great idea, to my 18 year old self.

This week, as we wrote out 1-100, made sparkle dough, played games with Dominos and read lots of books, I reminded myself it's not about all that I'm NOT, but that it's important to remember what I AM. Breakthrough happens the moment when you stop telling yourself all about what you AREN'T and you start telling yourself all that you ARE.

I think in Motherhood there's this big thing that we all need to let go of. We need to let go of what we think everything is supposed to look like. 

Like there's some certain standard for mothering. We need to let go of that idea that our houses are supposed to look a certain way or that we're supposed to teach our children a certain way. We need to let go of that "supposed" to and create our own ideals, for our own uniquely created family. The voices around us and the plethora of ideas drown out our own inner voice and our own ideas, that happen to just be perfectly adequate and actually quite good for us and our children.

It's the comparisons and the idea of how things are supposed to be, that keep us from being our best selves. 

Yesterday, our lunch time looked like this:
3 kids in the dining room, two of which were at the table in their undies and one was in her jammies in the highchair. All were eating homemade breakfast cookies and drinking water. I was drinking coffee.

I sat down at the table and started to ask Judah about this day. Judah tells me that his day wasn't very good and that counting at preschool was really hard. He tells me that he just can't do it, that he can't do anything.

After talking a bit, I jumped up and grabbed some brown packaging paper. As they ate, I had them count to 100 with me, as I wrote all the numbers out on  paper. After he was finished, I gave him a long chop stick and had him touch various numbers that I said. Next, we pulled out some Dominos and he created his own game, covering certain numbers with the Dominos and then guessing which number was underneath. We played different variations of these games, until I saw him loosing interest and then we cleaned up and moved on.

The fact that I'm not a teacher often makes me feel inadequate. I never expected to feel this way in Motherhood. I see all the teachers around me and it feels like they have so much to offer. So much knowledge to share with their children that I don't have. I think what I'm learning though, is that you don't need that degree to have these moments. That it's important to not remind myself of what I'm NOT, but to instead, remind myself of what I AM. I am their Mama. I am creative, resourceful, interested, and excited to learn with them. I love to read and I share books with them. I appreciate community and I'm not afraid to ask for help. I know them and they know me. I am Mama and I've got their backs.

Some of our best moments this week, were when learning just happened, because I saw something spark their interest and we rolled with it. In those moments, I feel like maybe I do have a bit of teacher in me. I may not have a teaching degree, but I'm their Mom and that carries a lot of weight.

A few moments from around the table.....


Monday, January 27, 2014

A Monday List: Reading, Right Now

A Monday list, for this foggy, cold Monday.
What I'm currently reading and what's on my {very} long and growing "read next" list.

Reading//Right Now.
Jesus Calling. I read this devotional to start my day and I absolutely love it. Can't say enough good things about this one.
Undaunted.This book has really opened my eyes to the huge issue of young girls being lured into slavery, right now, in our current world. It's awful, it's scary and it needs to change. Besides opening my eyes, this book is super inspiring and talks about daring to do what God calls you to do. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through, but so far it's really good.
Backyard Chickens. Because well, we're getting chicks and I need to learn a thing or two.
Love & Respect. My sister and I are going through this one book club style. So far, I'm not completely sold on it, but I've heard lots of good things about this book so, I'm sticking with it.
A Million Little Ways. This one was written by Emily Freeman, who blogs over at Chatting at the Sky. She writes about being who YOU are and bravely living the art that YOU were created to live.
You Are A Writer. I'm almost done with this book and I've enjoyed it, but it's more for the person who's writing a book that they want to have published. I for one, am not doing either of those things right now so, although it's been a good read, it didn't really apply to me. Still enjoyed it though and hey- if that's you- the gal (or guy), wanting to be published, you might really like this.

These are the books that are on my "read next" list.
What are you reading right now?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Confessions

Confession #1: Sometimes I have my husband drive around the same round-about not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times so that I can take pictures of ordinary things that take my breath away like foggy fields and weepy trees. I make him a bit dizzy, but a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do, ya know?

Confession #2: Yesterday I parented 14 hours solo and was too busy to even eat dinner so, after I finally got all the kids tucked into bed, I collapsed onto the couch and ate pretty much the first sugar that I've eaten all month. It was ice cream for dinner last night, complete with Downton Abbey, that's been waiting for me on the DVR. After being almost totally off carbs and sugar for the month, the ice cream made me feel completely awful and I couldn't even finish the bowl. I ended up dumping the rest out in the sink and falling asleep on the couch about 30 minutes later. Gosh, what an exciting Saturday night that was.

Confession #3: Eliza has stated yelling, like loud and I'm tempted to start calling her Screech. Instead of giving her less than desirable nicknames, I've decided that everyone in our house needs to remember to keep their voices quiet, because she's learning by example. I'm really hoping this helps because the girl has lungs and I'm tempted to invest in a set of ear plugs.

Confession #4: Sometimes, friendship with other Moms totally scares me, but I push though that. Over the last few days, I've felt abundantly blessed by the amazing women in my community. The sun came out on Friday and we met my new friend Sareh at the park. Visiting with her and her sweet girls was so much fun. While we were at the park, lots of Moms showed up from the MOPS group that I went to last year. Seeing all of them was so great- I felt like I could have stayed and visited all day. And then on Saturday, we went to my dear friend Cindy's house. We each have 3 little ones and when we get together, it's busy, but we can do life together and I'm so thankful for that. Saturday afternoon, my sister came over with her boys and all of our kids rode bikes together. Again, 6 kids, all zooming around. That's a lot of training wheels, you know. Loved every second with these sweet friends over the last few days. Putting yourself out there in friendship is sometimes scary (especially when you have young, unpredictable children, that are going to do who knows what), but goodness, it's so worth it.

A few photos from our family adventure today.....All of these are iPhone pics and the foggy ones were taking while driving round and round the round-about. I just couldn't help it. I hope you understand.

Hope you've had a great weekend. Share a confession with me, it'll make me smile.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Imagination Station

I know this might all sound so backwards and crazy, but nothing makes my inner  Type-A control-freak happier than watching my kids let their imaginations run wild. We've been doing this new thing called "Imagination Station" and it's been so much fun to see what they come up with. Basically, all I do is make up two kits of totally random art supplies, clothes pins, string, small boxes and whatnot (basically, recycled junk). Then the rest is up to them. With these supplies, they are encouraged to go crazy, creating whatever they can think of.

While I run around the house, gathering up miscellaneous items, I tell them to start brainstorming and think of different things they might be able to invent. After they get to see what's in the "Imagination Station", they have free reign to do with it whatever they please. Today I went and put away laundry. When I came back, they were making what they call "puppet robots". This makes my Mama heart smile.

This is one of the ways that we play. Meet Robot, the puppet. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wanting to do the Internet Differently, a Party and a Winner

I've been feeling restless lately to do this whole internet thing differently. To use this space more intentionally, to be on Facebook less, and connected in person more. I'm craving those real conversations over coffee (oh, how I love coffee!), not in comments or likes. I'm craving that un-distracted feeling, that I had just a few years ago. That feeling of not being torn to look at my phone, over the eyes of my children.

I read this a few days ago and I think there's a lot of truth here. This is Ashley from Under the Sycamore, interviewing Dr. Barbara Sorrels,  Executive Director of The Institute for Childhood Education.

About a year ago, I listened to you share at a conference. One key point you made was that we can starve our children emotionally through preoccupation. Being preoccupied with jobs, technology, etc. You said you believe we are a nation in crisis when it comes to our kids. Will you explain this more?
In the work I do with teachers and child care providers I am often asked, “Why are children today so angry and out of control?”
There is an increasing number of children in classrooms around the country who display challenging behaviors, causing problems with learning and social relationships.  Parent participation in schools is at an all time low.  Churches struggle with recruitment of volunteers for children’s ministry.  Experts say the rate of secure attachment relationships in our country is at 40% and plummeting.  The evidence is all around us that children are emotionally starving.
The primary cause of emotional starvation is preoccupied parents.
In order for a parent to truly nurture a child, the adult must be able to “hold” the child in mind and be attuned and aware of the emotional state and needs of the child.  Daily living can sometime consume our mental and emotional energies to the point that parents are unable to truly “see” their children.  Some parents are preoccupied for legitimate reasons.  Financial stresses, health conditions and family issues can sap adult attention and energy.  For others it is a matter of priorities.  Climbing the ladder of success at any cost, pursuing a materialistic lifestyle, and an obsession with technology are just some of the things that can consume adult attention and energy.
After I read that, I saw this that Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary wrote (that's the name of her blog- I'm not being mean) and I felt like she took the words right out of my mouth- although I'm pretty sure she said it way better than I ever could have. I've been reevaluating how I use the internet and I'm craving change. 

I wish I could tell you exactly what this means for me, but honestly I haven't figured it out yet. All I know is that I'm brainstorming ways to make this space a meaningful creative outlet, without letting it consume my life too much. I've seen the bloggers who spend hours each day creating new content for the purpose of crawling up the popularity ladder in the blogging world. I know without a doubt that isn't for me, it's actually so unappealing and sad to me that real people with real stories, feel like their blog readership somehow is connected with their worth. 

I want to learn how to do the un-distracted life better, to put the phone and laptop away and bring them out only at certain times of the day. I want to enjoy special moments with my kids and be there, fully present with them. I want more coffee chats with girlfriends, looking at each other, not typing at each other.
Does this make any sense? Ever feel this way?

Wrapping this up with a few photos from Judah's Superhero Birthday celebration. It's hard to believe that I'm the Mama to a 5 year old.

The winner of the "You Are Very Special" giveaway is "caregiver mom" who said, "I would share with my grandchildren, my oldest son completed suicide July 5 2012. We have not had much to share since our world changed on that day. I don't know how to answer their questions about why daddy left them, when I can't even understand or wrap my head around the fact that my son would rather die, than live another day here with us." 

Your comment made me ache inside for those kids and I'm so glad that you get this wonderful book to share with them. I've sent you an email.  This book is also available on Amazon, here


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