Saturday, December 1, 2012

Light 'em Up!

I really wanted to focus on giving this Christmas season.

Last year, I decided on my word for the year but I cheated a little and chose a phrase. "Give more, spend less."

I tried all year long to focus on giving and less on spending. Looking back, I feel like I failed miserably in so many way but the point is not to make yourself feel guilty, it's to inspire you to do more. And I definitely did. Yes I could have done more. But the point is, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found some new ways to be generous.

 I started tithing at my church....yup, until this year I had not been tithing regularly. Now I've firmly gotten myself into the habit. I adopted a Compassion child; we write letters every month and I just sent her a Christmas and a birthday gift. I gave money to a family whose house burned down this spring. I did a little bit of volunteering, and I baked a lot of things for moms with new babies and some funerals at our church. Just little, everyday things like that. Things I should already be doing, but always found excuses not to.

I knew that when Christmas rolled around I wanted to find some ways for Brook to experience the joy of giving. I brainstormed a few ideas and we have been talking a lot about how excited we are to give gifts to other people, versus focusing on what she will be getting.

And then I found this blog post.

It was exactly what I was looking for, exactly what I wanted the holidays to be focused on for our family. What I want her to grow up remembering most fondly.

I read this and had tears welling in my eyes. She managed to write down exactly what had been laying on my heart for so long, but for some reason I couldn't verbalize it.

This year, I am participating in the Light Em Up campaign! And I am super, super excited! I cannot wait to show Brook how good it feels to give, and to find ways for her to live out her faith. No lectures, no boring lessons....just real life. Real giving. Real joy.

We are starting tomorrow. I will share a few of our activities, but I won't be blogging about all of them. I thought about making it a daily post, but it just didn't seem right. I want to share some of our ideas with you guys, in hopes it will inspire some of you to join in. But I think this quote from the blog says it best

"Don’t forget to be sneaky and anonymous when possible. Whenever we get the credit or glory, we get further away from true service and generosity."


Friday, November 30, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I sat down one night with hot chocolate and watched the new episode of Oprah's Favorite Things. I always loved that episode of her show every year - I never cry at movies but I would always tear up watching this show for some reason. It was so fun to see the surprise and joy on the audience's faces!

I was really excited when I heard they were doing a special episode on the OWN network, I think I set the PVR to record it twice, just in case.

And it was awesome. No screaming crowds, no elves bringing in armloads of packages, but still awesome. I just love seeing these people be showered with all sorts of luxuries they could never afford on their own. Some of Oprah's choices have me rolling my eyes and their extravagant price tags when I could get a similar version at Walmart for $9.99, but that's all part of the fun.

I'm not Oprah so I can't give anything away. But just for fun, here are my favorite things!

Sigma eye makeup brushes. They are softer and more precise than M.A.C. brushes, and for a fraction of the price. I only have a few brushes, not a complete set, but all my future brush purchases will without a doubt be Sigma.

This candle from Voluspa. I was gifted this scent, and at first I thought it smelled nice but wasn't anything amazing. And then I burnt it and fell in love. I have since found a local retailer that carries Voluspa and I spent about 10 minutes smelling every scent they carried...I think they all smell amazing and I will definitely be picking up another one as a treat to myself when this one is gone.

David's Tea. I cannot sing the praises of this tea chain enough! I am a huge tea drinker - my favorites include Chocolate Rocket (pictured above), Pumpkin Chai (a fall limited edition), Cream of Earl Grey, and Bear Trap. I currently have probably 15 or 20 different bags and tins of tea, it seems every time I am in the mall I end up in their store asking the girls behind the counter to bag up some of this, that, oh, and some of that one too. My husband laughs at me because an entire shelf in our kitchen has now been taken over by their silver bags, tins, and random tea accessories.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Best book I've read this year!

Ocean Salt from Lush. I am a huge fan of Lush Cosmetics, and this scrub is probably my all time favorite product of theirs. I use it on my face when my skin is particularly flaky, and it makes the best hand scrub. They recommend it as a whole body scrub too, but I find it's a bit harsh for my sensitive skin to use that way. It makes a great hand treatment combined with their Lemony Flutter cream; slather your hands with Lemony Flutter, and then scrub with Ocean Salt. Rinse with warm water, and your hands are left feeling softer than they ever have!

The Vileda Promist mop. Love this thing! It has a refillable spray chamber that you can fill with your own floor cleaner, and mop pads that velcro onto the head and rip off to go into your washing machine. No batteries either, like a lot of mops that have a sprayer (cough Swiffer cough). I love that this mop doesn't cost me money with every use - the pads are washable, and I use my own homemade mop solution that costs pennies at best.

What are your favorite things?? What would make the list if you were throwing a Favorite Things party?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Last Place I Looked

My camera has been missing for two months.

It's not a fancy camera or anything, just a Canon Powershot that we've had for 3 or 4 years. But still, it was missing.

We searched the house. The car. Asked all our friends and family. I scoured the daycare. We moved every piece of furniture, checked every coat pocket...

I finally gave in and ordered a new one on Cyber Monday.

Guess what I just found? Sitting in the basket of my giant 6 seater stroller that I had parked in the garage for the winter.


Not impressed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bits and Pieces

The weather has been awful this week. Grey and dark, the temperature on the thermometor is deceivingly warm, but as soon as you go outside you are hit with an icy, biting wind that chills you to the bone. Everything, including my back yard is covered in a sheet of ice. No use trying to play outside, so indoors it is today. I think I will put on a movie for the kiddos as a treat. I don't like having them sit in front of a screen very often but I have a horrible cold and there is no safe place to play outside, so I'll give myself a pass.

We finally got the nursery painted on the weekend and the crib is set up. It's not decorated, and we have no window treatments or closet doors, but I feel so much better knowing we at least have a fresh space with a proper crib ready and waiting. I am not a last minute type of person so I feel relieved knowing that the bare basics are at least in place for this baby. 13 weeks left! Which probably means 14 and a half....

We went shopping the other day for nursery stuff. I had been saving money and had a couple hundred dollars I wanted to spend. I was looking for an area rug, some curtains and a curtain rod, a light fixture and black frames with large white mattes. Oh, and a lamp. And anything else that might be cute/catch my eye. I came home with nothing. Seriously, 3 hours of shopping and not a single thing. I almost cried on the way shopping has not produced anything I can afford once I factor in shipping and duty.

I have been stalking Old Navy online all week. I am filling up a cart with sale items for Brook; shirts for as low as $2.99! I am waiting to order until Black Friday...hoping I will get an even better deal. She has no need for clothes right now, so I am purchasing everything in the next size up to put away for when she grows.   How is my baby already going to be wearing size 4 soon? sniff sniff.

Been thinking a lot about Christmas lately...about traditions and what I want to create for Brook. Thinking a lot about how I can find ways for her to be involved in giving and surprising others this holiday season, focusing on doing things for others rather than just receiving presents. Thinking about ways to make it magical without spending a lot of money, and making it about time together rather than "stuff"

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hope for the Weary Mom

I discovered this book a few weeks ago, when a friend posted a link on Facebook to a free dowload (it was free for a weekend, I believe the ebook price is now $4.99) to a book. I downloaded it and forgot about it for a few days.

When I sat down and began to read it, I could not put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting and I am halfway through my second read. This book speaks to me, right where I am in my life. It hits me. Convicts me. Challenges me and encourages me.

I am not usually a self help book sort of girl. And I don't really think of myself as one of those weary overwhelmed moms. I mean, yes, I am of course, all moms are to some degree, and you're lying if you say you aren't. But I am generally organized and have my stuff together. I don't struggle on a daily basis with feeling behind, overwhelmed, alone. Generally my days are calm and I feel like I am on top of things. Generally.

I always thought this kind of stuff was for "That" mom. You know, the one who has food splattered all over her  t shirt, hasn't showered in 3 days and is late for everything, dragging her kids behind her and yelling at them while they come behind her, noses dripping and wailing loudly.

I've never really identified with "that" mom. I am generally organized. I always shower in the mornings and take time to do my hair. I juggle my job with running a home and do a pretty good job of it, although I won't pretend I don't have dirty laundry piling up or a floor that needs to be vacuumed. I just don't generally walk around feeling like I am overwhelmed, like motherhood is too hard, or I am on the verge of a breakdown. I have my moments for sure, but if I don't feel like my life is out of control then why do I need this book? was my thinking when I started it. But my friend raved, so I read.

And read. And read. And every page was like a lightbulb moment.

It has truly changed the way I see motherhood, particularly my attitude about it as a whole.

The biggest thing I got out of this book was was a question at the end of one of the chapters....(I'm paraphrasing here)

Do you realize that  God cares more about working in your heart than he does about changing your circumstances?

How much time do I spend, asking God to change things or fix things? Asking Him to take things away, make things easier...fix my problems. Instead I should be asking for the courage and strength to get through them...not asking God to take them away. He's never promised to take all the bad things in our lives away, but He has promised many times that He will be with us, give us rest and strength, guiding us and helping us.

He's waiting for us, here in our piles of laundry and our crusty dishes, to ask Him to come. He isn't waiting anxiously like a fairy godmother for us to ask Him to whisk away all of our mess, our tiredness, our work, our problems. He's waiting for us to ask Him to walk with us THROUGH meet us in our mess. He wants to give us the energy we need to get that housework done. To bless us with patience we can't muster on our own to deal gently with our child's tantrums. To give us what we need to keep going after a night of no sleep.

I used to sometimes feel like I needed an escape. I'd sneak off to the grocery store by myself just to have some "me" time. I'd eat some chocolate, take a long bath after a hard day. But those things are just bandaids for what is really a heart problem. When I have a bad attitude toward my family, when I am tired of being the one to keep this house running, when I feel like I don't even have a minute to myself to think...a bath is not going to solve it. What I really need is to dive into God's Word and spend some time recharging. God is waiting to be asked, waiting to give. He can fill us with energy, patience, understanding. And even just plain old endurance beyond what we can muster on our own.

I find myself now, when I grumble about the supper dishes or find myself sighing over another household task...praying. Right away. Asking God to meet me here in my mess. And He always comes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Winter Itch

About once a year it strikes me.

This strong urge to quit my job and make a living doing something creative and crafty, something messy and artsy.

I think maybe it comes when the snow falls and I am basically housebound for the next 6 months. Maybe it's just the Christmas spirit. I don't know.

But every year around this time, I feel this strong pull. This desire to sand and paint and distress whatever I can get my hands on. To try new things. To actually get renovations done around the house, and finish projects long-abandoned in the garage.

And every year I start thinking. "Wouldn't it be nice to do this for a job? To just MAKE stuff in my free time and sell it? I could totally do this!"

And every year I go searching for the THING that I can do. There is already someone in our tiny town who makes handmade furniture. Another who makes shelving, wall decor, potato bins and benches. Another who refinishes old furniture and sells it. A lady who sews baby headbands and clips. A lady who makes cloth diapers....

I feel like anything I do will be stepping on someone else's toes and infringing on their business. And I also know logically that in a tiny town, any "crafty" business I come up with will not make enough to cover my paycheques.

But every year, the urge returns. I enjoy my job. I love my job, actually. But I do feel like it is what I am supposed to be doing for a season in my life, and in a few years I will be needing to move on. I want so desperately to carve out a job for myself where I can stay at home and be my own boss...which is what I already do :) It's just that childcare is very draining, and sucking.

I enjoy it but I can see myself burning out in a few years. And as my children get older I know I will really struggle with my lack of flexibility. I have no days off, vacation is just another word for sucking our savings account dry. There is no "Can I get off work early today?" or "Can I sneak out for my kids' XYZ?" It's just me, all day every day, with no breaks or time off keeping the place running.

One day, I have a feeling that when I am missing out on my kids' special school assemblies and someone else is driving them to soccer practice and piano lessons, I will be done. And I want so badly to have something to fall back on. Something I can do to make money for my family, something I enjoy as much as the job I have right now. But something that is flexible with my time and gives me the freedom I am so lacking at this stage of my life right now.

Maybe one day I will figure out what that THING is.

But for now, I will content myself with snuggling the children I have the privilige of caring for during the day, and filling my evenings with making clay ornaments and crafting wreaths out of feather boas. After all, I've got it pretty good.

If you Really knew me...

If you REALLY knew me . . .'d know I have the nose of a bloodhound. I can smell things no one else can.'d know I like my house to always have a scent, usually something fruity or that smells like a baked good. Probably because I have the nose of a bloodhound and I always worry about my house not smelling good.'d know I don't like chick flicks or fluff chick lit books'd know I have always wanted to be a writer and I still write stories and work on a novel sometimes'd know I have a very sarcastic sense of humor'd know my dream job would be an event planner'd know I hate seafood'd know I have a hard time standing up for myself and saying no'd know I love watching Youtube makeup tutorials and experimenting with makeup'd know I am a garage sale and thrift store shopper, and I love to find deals

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

23 weeks

23 weeks....

Indigestion seems to come every night now, and sciatica is rearing it's ugly head on my left side. Other than that though, there doesn't seem to be many bad symptoms lately. Well I guess I've been having some minor breakouts on my face but nothing too major. My brother got married last weekend and we spent the weekend in a hotel - when we got home I fell onto the couch and slept for 4 hours straight and my entire body was sore for a few days. I think I just overdid it with being on my feet and too little sleep. It was a great wedding though!

Movement is regular now. Usually 2-3 times a day I feel a lot of movement for a while. It's become thumps and taps now, but the Mister still can't feel anything on the outside. He hasn't tried very hard though.
I hadn't gained any weight all month. And then after this weekend of feasting I had a doctor appointment and low and behold I've gained 2 pounds. And all of it in a weekend. Eek. Too much eating out!

We still haven't done anything to prepare. The nursery is not even started, I haven't gone through the tub of newborn clothes, and we still need to buy a carseat. There's lots of time but I think we need to get started on some of these things.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Day In The Life

A couple of my favorite blogs have been doing this, and I think it's a great way to document how life is right now. The little, mundane details seem so boring but looking back, they are always changing! Days were so different when Brook was tiny, and even more different still before she came along. I am sure they will change again when baby #2 comes along in a few months. So here, in all it's a day in my life.

5:45 David's alarm goes off. I roll over and go back to sleep

6:30 my alarm goes. I hit snooze but I've been awake for a while listening to David get ready for work. Just too tired to actually get out of bed.

6:40  David comes in to give me a kiss and make sure I get out of bed before he leaves for work. I head straight to the shower...miraculously it's still quiet down the hall.

7:15 As I'm putting mascara on, I hear little feet shuffling down the hall. I know she's standing there, peeking around the corner but pretend not to notice. She likes to "scare" me by saying BOO! The first words out of Brook's mouth after that are "Can I have a nack?" She calls all meals snacks ....

I usually give her Rice Krispies or greek yogurt. She eats at the table and then watched a PVR'd episode of Max and Ruby while I finish getting ready and tidy the house

7:45 I dress Brook and comb her hair, then she turns off the tv and we rush downstairs. She begins to play while I turn on all the lights, unlock the front door, turn on the kids music, and start mixing cinnamon flop cake for the kid's morning snack. I have to go back upstairs twice - once for flour because the daycare kitchen was out, and once for socks that I forgot to put on Brook's feet.

8:00 The first daycare child arrives. Mom and I chat at the door while the kids run off to play. After mom leaves I make myself a cup of coffee and get the cinnamon flop into the oven before the next kid arrives.

9:00 By now, most everyone has arrived and I've spent the last hour greeting everyone, chatting to moms, and getting kids settled into an activity or helping them wave goodbye at the window. My coffee is forgotten and has now grown cold. Morning snack is out of the oven and the kids are hungry, so I announce snack time and they all go trouping into the kitchen to eat. Colorful plastic dishes are passed out, along with forks and glasses of milk. Lots of happy chatter and LOTS of mess.  I remind them to put their dishes in the sink and wash their hands - I herd them one by one off to the bathroom and then send them off to play. While they get busy in the playroom I wash the table, wipe down sticky chairs, and sweep the floor. Dishes can wait.

10:30 We've been playing (and I've been alternating between playing and just sitting and supervising) but now it's cleanup time. We sing the cleanup song, get to work. I lead a circle time with the usual songs, calendar, a book, and a simple game and then they all head back to the table for an art project. More mess ensues...another round of hand washing, table scrubbing, floor sweeping.

10:45 It's usually outside time, but it's windy and cold so I skip it in favor of more play time. Brook and one of the other kids are having a hard time this morning, lots of bickering between them. Some children want to color and play with playdough, so there's another round of table washing, floor sweeping, and hand washing.

11:45 Cleanup time and lunch. After lunch a few moms come to pick up their children so we chat as I help children pack their lunch bags up and get started on some quiet book time while the rest finish eating.

12:30 Bed time. Ah....Everyone is laid down on a cot with a blanket from home, Enya is playing softly. One child begins to cry but it doesn't last long. I change the baby and tuck her in to her own room for a nap. She screams herself to sleep, poor thing. Once she settles, I sit down in the nap room with my Bible and my ipod to relax. Brook is rolling around, talking, and being noisy. Most of them do fall asleep but a few stay awake and I give them books

2:15 The baby begins to wail, so I turn on the lights and most of the children get up. I change the baby and then put out a snack.Brook finally fell asleep at the end of nap time and is still snoozing. As the kids eat snack I wash the dishes. Brook wakes up crying, so I abandon the dishes for a snuggle.

The rest of the afternoon passes in a blur of cleaning, changing diapers, breaking up arguments, reminders to put toys away, and greeting parents as they trickle in to pick up their kids. The last child is picked up just before 5. Brook plays for a few more minutes while I tidy up the daycare and turn off the music and the lights.

5:10 We head upstairs. Brook reads books while I start supper.

5:45 Daddy is home! Brook runs to him, they hug and read books together until supper is ready.

6:00 We eat dinner and then relax in the living room. Brook alternates between playing and jumping all over us. David offers to give Brook a bath tonight, so I clean up dinner while they splash in the tub. He gets her ready for bed and they read a book. We both tuck her in and say prayers.

8:00 Brook talks and calls for us for close to an hour, but falls asleep around 9. We watch tv and sit with our laptops. David gives me a foot rub in exchange for watching Duck Dynasty. I fall asleep on the couch and David wakes me to go to bed just after 10.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I wish

"I wish I could get the flu so I could have a break."

I seriously thought this today.

What is wrong with me?

I think I am just tired and overwhelmed with life right now. At least, I hope that is all because otherwise that sort of thought is just crazy.

The mister called me today. JUST as the kids had finally gone to sleep for a nap, and I had tip toed away and begun to wash the mountain of dishes from this morning. Elbows deep in dishwater, the phone rings and I have to dry my hands to answer it, only to hear "I don't feel very well so I'm on my way home."

And I was jealous.

He spent the afternoon on our bed, sipping ginger ale and playing on his phone.

I spent it working hard, like always, downstairs.

Now I know he was truly sick. And I do feel bad for him. But I was totally jealous. And I kept thinking how nice it would be to get the flu so that I could spend a whole day laying around with nothing better to do than take naps and play Angry Birds.

But I don't REALLY want to get sick. I have too much to do. If I have to call in sick, that means I have to give back a day's wages to my daycare clients. Yeah, who likes to fork over a day's wages because you dared to get the flu? And we have a big weekend coming up that I cannot afford to miss.

So I spent the evening making dinner, running errands at the store, giving Brook a bath and tucking her in. Reading "just one more story" and then getting up to fill her water bottle, tuck her in one more time, and tell her to get back into bed because she most certainly does NOT need to wear her tiara to fall asleep.

Once she was finally settled, I circled the house armed with clorox wipes and a bad attitude. I was mad. I wasn't mad at the poor sick man on my bed, I was just mad. Mad that he ALWAYS is the one getting sick and staying home. I swear he catches every sickness that goes around, and he has so many sick days banked up that a mild case of the sniffles is cause to take 2 days off work to recover. I have NEVER in 4 years taken a sick day. I've been sick, yes, but I just worked through it.

I just feel like I am always the one left standing. Everyone else gets to take personal days. Curl up on the couch every time they have a fever and watch trashy tv until they feel better. And I am always the one nursing and cleaning and keeping the house running while they are down for the count.

Just once I almost wish I could throw responsibility out the window and actually rest when I get sick.

I probably will get this stupid flu. Even after cloroxing every surface I could think of and shreaking "Get back!" every time the mister emerged from the bedroom where he is quaraintined.

But will I take a day off? Nope. Because we can't afford it. And the world would stop spinning and everything would crash and burn and my life would fall apart if I risked spending a day on the couch and calling in sick.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...