Friday, January 23, 2015

Under Construction

Hey guys!
I've finally decided to update my blog and switch to Wordpress (which is slightly terrifying!). Things are going to be under construction around here for awhile- possibly for up to a month or so. I've had this site for almost 6 years and over the last year, I've felt like it's time to really clean things up around here.

So, please forgive me while I don't post frequently for awhile. Hopefully the update will go easily, but I have this all backed up just in case.

Thanks for reading along and sharing life with us.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Scheduling Creativity

Stay in your own lane. 
Comparison kills creativity and joy.

I woke up yesterday to a dark, cold, silent and empty coffee pot. Somehow we'd both forgotten to pick coffee up at the store, which is basically one of the biggest emergencies in my book. After breakfast, I gathered my kids, plus the extra little guy that I watch and we all headed out for the store. I pushed the car-cart hard, with the two one year olds steering and giggling, and the older two "helping" me push, which actually makes it feel like there are 3 drivers, all going in opposite directions. There was a close incident where our car-cart nearly took out an entire wine display, but other than that close call, we left the store in one piece.

By the time we'd checked out and everyone was buckled back in, going home and making coffee didn't seem like it'd do. We detoured and hit up Starbucks. "A Venti brewed coffee please. With cream and two splenda." They forgot the cream, but it was still delicious and I was a better person from it.

All afternoon, I sipped it slowly, while putting kids down for naps, feeding them snacks, putting away laundry and doing all of the normal stuff that I'm sure you do at your house, too. Bedtime came and after that darn Venti, I was still staring at the clock at 1am. As I laid there, I thought about life, about how we're all given the same number of minutes each day and how we all get to choose how we spend those gifts that we're given---our minutes.

I thought about creativity, about writing, decorating, crafting with my kids and about how we can go in phases where creativity comes easily and other times where it feels like we don't have a creative ounce in our bodies.

For awhile now, I've felt like I have nothing left to give, after I do the normal stuff that needs to be done during the day. What I've been forgetting is that creativity begets creativity. It might be forced for awhile and then one day, it will magically start flowing again. If you want to establish a habit of creativity, train yourself to make time for it. Do it when it feels hard. Do it when it feels like you should be keeping up with all of the mundane stuff instead. Keep on keepin' on and then one day, it'll start flowing easily again.

So, today I put creativity on my list. After I put Eliza down for a nap, Paisley and I painted together. I didn't do laundry. I didn't sit on the computer. I painted and hot glued and cut yarn and it was glorious.
Together, we decorated the house for Valentine's Day, which makes me so very happy. January can feel long and dark, but Valentine's decorations always seem to brighten things and remind me that spring will be here soon.

This little Valentine banner was made with burlap, twine, hot glue and red paint.
To decorate our world map, we cut our hearts and hung them on this brightly colored yarn. Color makes me happy, don't you agree?
This tree with all of our initials was super easy to create in PicMonkey. If you want to make one of your own, let me know and I'll walk you through it.
Happy creating, friends. What's something you've been wanting to make lately?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Our Girls Need More Than Anything

She almost burst with enthusiasm, as she pulled her first preschool report card out of her folder. We were about to make lunch and she looked at me, asking if we could go over it together after she ate. Setting the bread to the side, I walked over to the couch, sat down in the sun and asked her to join me.
Lately, I’ve been trying to remove the phrases “in a moment” and “we’ll do it later” from my vocabulary. I’ve realized that when I say “in a moment”, I usually forget and when I say “we’ll do it later”, it often never gets done. Someday when I’m gone, I want my kids to remember me as the mom who did it then- not later or even worse, not at all.
And so, we settled into the couch together, while the peanut butter, honey and bread waited for us on the counter. Together we went through the report card, talking about her strengths and the areas she needs to work on.
As we flipped the page over, there in the comments section, was what I’ve always known about my free spirited, never-holds-still, wild child, who’s challenges me like none other and who’s filled with a heart of pure gold.
“She brings sunshine into any room she’s in. I’m so glad she’s in mine.”
-Her Teacher
All evening, I’ve been thinking about those words. Since the first time she wiggled in my tummy, she’s never held still. She falls off her chair about 5 times a day, she talks loud and she cries easily. Sometimes I’ve doubted that I could really be everything that she deserves to have in a Mom. I’ve questioned my patience and my anger. I’ve felt guilty and inadequate. From talking with close friends, I discovered that I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way about her daughters.......................
Read the rest of this post HERE, over on All Mom Does, where I post weekly.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dear Judah, Happy Birthday

Dear Judah,
It's hard to believe that it's already been 6 years since that day, when I reached down and pulled you up onto my chest. Thank you for making me a Mom. If 1 million boys were lined up into a long row, I'd pick you.

Last Friday, I took you and 3 of your friends out for an afternoon of playing. You have some great friends and as I listened to you guys play, I read my book. After just a few pages, I got to a part where the author was talking about taking her kids to the pool and not only sitting on the sidelines (which was typical for her), but getting in there with them and playing. Her story gave me an idea.....

I called you boys over for cupcakes and presents and as you all finished up, I asked you guys if you'd like me to go down the slides with you. Before I knew it, I was following you up to the top of the play area, crawling, darting, running and sweating. We lined up and made a train as we zoomed down the slide and then.....we did it again and again.

I'll always remember racing down those slides with and your friends. I don't know how many more years I have where you'll actually think it's cool for your Mom to play with you. Until then, I want to slide more, laugh loud with you, be there with you and not just sit on the sidelines.

For your Birthday, you asked that I'd sew you a blanket. I don't sew well- I'm pretty sure that the way I sew would make most people who know what they're doing shake their head. The best part though is that you're easy to please. You don't care if my lines aren't perfectly straight, if I have to change thread colors once, twice or three times (since I didn't plan well) or if I didn't follow a pattern. I stayed up late making that blanket and when you opened it this morning, to you, it was perfect.

This afternoon it got really quiet and when I went to look for you, I found you asleep on our bed with your new blanket. Later when you woke up, you asked me to carry you downstairs. As I walked down with you heavy in my arms, my eyes glanced in the mirror and I saw your toes hanging all the way to my knees. The times I've carried you in the last year are few and far between. Each time I wonder if it's the last and I try to soak it up, as best as I know how.

Thank you for making the last 6 years of my life the best ever. Before I was a Mom everyone warned me that I'd never sleep again or that I might loose myself. I have to say that all their warnings were wrong. I don't feel like I've lost myself at all. Instead, you and your sisters are the catalyst that makes me want to be the best that I can be. You make me not want to settle for anything less than exactly what God created for our lives.

Happy Birthday to you. You're 6 now and I couldn't be more proud of you.
If you're into birth stories, you can read Judah's here. He was 9lb, 7oz and I gave birth to him with a midwife. His birth was everything I'd ever wanted and after that, I went on to have his sisters with the same midwife.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Favorites

Welcoming the weekend with a few favorites from this week:

Favorite Post of the Week//
They Should've Warned Me
If you're a Mama, take a few minutes to read this. It's like she wrote everything I've felt for the last 6 years.
Favorite New Face Cream//
This Mimosa Blossom Dream Cream from the Super Salve Co. is my new love. All winter I've struggled with awful dry skin and after trying everything under the sun, I feel like I've finally found the right face cream for my skin! My sweet friend Julie Lamb suggested it to me and I'm forever grateful.
Favorite Thing Happening in our Kitchen//
The other day I got a wild hair to start growing our own sprouts. I posted about it on Facebook and one of my Mom's most wonderful life-long friends, who happens to be really into health and wellness sent me this link. 

10 Reasons To Eat Sprouts, A Living Food With Amazing Health Benefits

The next day, the kids and I headed to our local Co-op and picked up some organic Mung Beans. After just about a day, our sprouts are well on their way and we've been getting the biggest kick out of watching them grow.
Favorite Hike I Pinned This Week//
Blanca Lake, Washington. This lake is hike-in only and it looks absolutely stunning. This hike is an absolute must for this summer. 

For more Pacific Northwest inspiration, join my Pacific Northwest Hiking and Adventures Pinterest Board
Favorite Book I'm Reading Right Now//
This book is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. It's breaking me down, and making me see life in a different way. I feel like I'm waking up to my life and realizing how technology addicted we all are. 

The best part is that since I love it so much, I couldn't help but email the author and ask her if she'd provide a copy for me to give away to one of you. Rachel (the author) was so sweet! She emailed me back and a copy for one of YOU is on the way to my house! This book is so good that I'd feel like I was doing something wrong, if I didn't share it. 

So, be watching for the giveaway. This is a book I wish every Mama would read. 
Favorite Selfie of the Week//
Exactly 6 years ago today, it was my due date. Little did I know, he'd join us 3 days later and 6 years later, I'd still shake my head in amazement while trying to wrap my head around the fact that God picked ME to be his Mama. He's the one who made me a Mom and although it's the hardest thing I've ever done, it's beyond a doubt, the BEST thing in the world. 

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon- instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
- Dale Carnegie

Have a great weekend, friends. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kid Friendly Kale and Spinach Smoothie

I made Broccoli Cheese soup tonight for dinner and Paisley cried and refused to eat it and sat at the table until bedtime. The funny thing is that just hours before that, she drank a huge glass of this Kale Smoothie and it was as green as green is green. 
Making smoothies together was a habit that Judah and I started back when he was just over a year old. While the blender would roar loudly, we'd dance and we still do that to this day.
I grab the blender, they all pull chairs over and help put everything in. Today I was inspired by Mary Beth Johnson  and we made our first Kale Smoothie.
Kid Friendly Kale Smoothie
1-2 ripe bananas
1 vanilla yogurt
Huge handful of spinach
Apple Juice

Tear kale leaves from their stalk and throw a good handful into the blender. Add the ripe, peeled bananas, the yogurt and the apple juice. Blend it well, adding more juice if necessary. After it's well combined, throw in a big handful or two of spinach. If you like your smoothies cold, then you could also add some ice to make it chilled. ENJOY!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gratitude Lately

When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. 
And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
Lately I've been thankful for our monthly hikes.
 For that wonderful feeling of reassurance when you see that other people enjoy doing the same things as you. 
For this girl, working diligently on a present for her brother's upcoming 6th birthday. 
For my Judah who calls out "come see the pretty sunset Mama!", because he knows I can't get enough of this stuff.
For Coconut Banana Bread that's easy to make, but impresses the heck out of my kids.
For a friend who's letting me borrow this heart-changing, wonderful and deeply convicting book.
For little hands covered in dirt from planting garlic.
And for this baby, with bare feet and enough sass for the whole town.
Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
Happy Monday!
What have you been thankful for lately?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Favorites

Welcoming the weekend with a few favorites from this week:

Favorite Sweatshirt//
A girl at my MOPS table was wearing this sweatshirt and I couldn't get over how much I love it. The best part is that it's made by "To Write Love On Her Arms", which is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.

Goodness, how cool is that? Someone please tell me why we keep buying clothes from the mall when we could be supporting causes like this?
Favorite Soup Recipe//
Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup. I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was hands down one of the best soups I've had....and that's not because I cooked it so well, it's because it's a fantastic recipe.

The whole idea came from a time when we went to Olive Garden as a family and I had this soup. It was so good that when we got home, I scoured Pinterest in search of a similar recipe. To me, this was just as good as Olive Garden's.
Favorite Lunch Box Printables//
When Christmas break was over, I felt a little sad as I packed Judah's first lunch for the New Year. It seemed fitting that something a little special should go into his lunch so, I used these easy Star Wars printables and I wrote my own little note on them. To print your own, just save this image to your computer and then print it out. Easy!
Favorite New Song//
I heard this in the car the other day and had to come home and look it up right away.
Toby Mac's new single Beyond Me is GOOD!

Favorite Quote of the Week//
This quote makes me feel better about the post I wrote, in which I showed pictures of my kids' room at it's worst. I can't even tell you how many times I've almost deleted that post. Hopefully it made you feel a bit more normal, or it helped you give yourself and your kids a break.

Have a great weekend, friends. Do something you love.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why I'm Cleaning My Kids Room Less

I love cleaning messes I didn't make
So, I became a Mom
Said -No One Ever
Sometimes I look at Instagram or read blogs and wonder if those people's kids even play. When I was in highschool, I never imagined that I'd be a 30 year old sometimes (very) insecure Mother who wonders why everyone else has kids with rooms that always look so clean and tidy. Do their kids play? What do they even do all day?

I walked past this the other night and I couldn't help but go back for my camera. If I've fooled you into thinking that my kids always have a tidy room, I sincerely apologize. Let's start this new year with some real pictures, why don't we? No more pretending that everything is shiny and always put away. Around here, things stay put for about 2.5 seconds.
Oh, it's just us? Well, now I feel silly.....

I spent a lot of time during 2014, doing something that before I was a Mom, I thought I'd  never do and my kids would ALWAYS do. I cleaned up their room- like not once a day, but off and on all day. This is like Confessions of a Type-A neat freak, who had 3 children and actually loves being a Mom. It's like therapy, except I feel like I'm talking to myself.

So..... I'd have them help, it definitely wasn't all bad. We implemented lots of good habits like how you should put one thing away before you get another out.....but still, I was cleaning up their room all day and I was frustrated with the never ending mess. The messes drove me crazy and instead of expecting them to clean it up each time (since I don't feel like it's appropriate to have a 1, 3 and 5 year old cleaning all day), I'd end up doing it myself.

Towards the end of the year, I realized that I wasn't doing them a favor by always going behind them and cleaning up their messes all day. I was teaching them basically nothing and I was putting away toys that they were potentially not done playing with.

So, while everyone was making New Years Resolutions to clean more and become more organized, I made a little deal with myself. I'd clean their room less AND I'd let it get messy. I'd create other spaces in our home that can be tidy and that I love AND their room? Well, I'd let it look like this and then together, at the end of the day, we'd clean it up. That's right, we'd clean it once a day or if it was becoming a complete danger zone, we'd tidy it up here and there.

When I made this little deal with myself, I wondered if my kids would play more, if I wasn't always going behind them, picking up everything that they'd just pulled out. After just a week, I'd say that they do play better. It's like someone hasn't just gone behind them and ahem...put their toys away.

The rest of the house can be how I like it, but for now, I'm working on letting their room be a little messy and I'm sharing real pictures, because I feel like other Moms need to see this stuff. The internet has lots of pretty, shiny photos to inspire us. I love pretty and shiny, but sometimes I need to also know that I'm not alone.

I'm working on cleaning my kids room LESS. What are you working on right now?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fixer Upper- Go set your DVR NOW

Today I'm popping in while my girls nap to take a few moments to talk about my favorite couple on TV right now. Chip and JoAnna Gains. Oh, don't you just LOVE them?

Not only can you tell that they love Jesus, but they live on a farm, in an gorgeous old restored farmhouse, but they also have 4 adorable kids, goats, cows, chickens AND she loves to garden.

Their style is by far my favorite right now and I love they way they interact with each other. I feel like they are such a bright light and a great example for all of us married couples.
Long before their show, JoAnna started a blog. She still writes there and it's one of my favorites. You can find it here.

Here are a few pictures from their home. I love how white and bright it is.

Their girls' room....
On their show Fixer Upper, Chip and JoAnna find the most old, run-down and trashed houses that no one would ever want and they transform them into the most beautiful homes on the street.

Tomorrow night, Season 2 of their show, Fixer Upper starts. I've already asked my husband like 10 times if it's set to record.
Are you obsessed to? Have you seen it?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My First EVER Trip to Ikea

There are two things about me that might make some people wonder if I've been living under a rock.
Number 1: I've never seen even a minute of Starwars. With a boy, this will inevitably change.
Number 2: Until today, I'd never been to Ikea.

It was epic, you guys. I can't believe I've never been! And thank you all so much for the fun tips and suggestions on Facebook. You guys really know your stuff!

As you'd expect, we were in the store for about 3 hours and then we ate dinner there. Slowly we wandered up and down every isle, at least I hope I didn't miss one! I knew it'd be huge, but I didn't know that it'd feel like it was practically it's own town! 

I thought I'd share a few of the fun things I bought, since you all had such great suggestions. Honestly, I was so worried that I'd go crazy in there, that I really came home with very little. It was like a little warm up trip tonight- a chance to check out the place out and see what they have.

So, here are a few of the fun things I grabbed:

I guess you're supposed to draw with them and then lightly paint over your drawing with water. Have you used them? I think they look really neat.
2. Colorful Markers for myself. 
Can I get an amen for pretty lists? 
3.Yummy Organic Coffee
I had a cup of this tonight and it was delicious! 
Because from time to time, everyone should be throwing away their old toilet brush.
5. More craft supplies for the kids.
Left: Heart Shaped Ice Cub Tray, that could also be used for making crayons or a zillion other things.
Right: Enough beads to last us for awhile. 
The one with the flowers is called the "Dorthy", which happens to be the name of my Grandma who's with Jesus now. The white, paired with the bright colors makes me happy. Plus, they have removable covers, which is a huge bonus.
Those were just a few of the things I picked up. I saw a large metal, industrial looking shelf that I absolutely loved, but since our home is listed and we'll hopefully be moving, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy big things right now.

Before we left, we sat down for dinner. I had the Cob Salad and it was so good, although it should have been a bit bigger....or maybe I was just extra hungry. 
So, enough about Ikea and salads and was your weekend? What did you do? 


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