“Ladies. I have a confession to make. I have fallen into the comparison trap. That old gag. Again. It’s happened to us all once or twice (or maybe 1,500 times) in our lifetimes, right? Let us take a brief moment of silence in remembrance of that lovely period of time called middle school. Ugh. This time, I have coveted thy neighbor’s … kitchen. No. No. No, not thy neighbor’s husband. Y’all can keep your husbands! I’m quite fond of my own husband. It’s kitchens that I’ve been lusting after.” Continue reading…
My 2nd post is up over at Raleigh Moms Blog today! Go. Read. Share. Enjoy.
I want to write. I do. I want to curl up with a hot cup of coffee and my computer. I want to sit and write and share my soul with you. I want to think and read and reflect and consider and ponder and imagine and … write. That’s what I want to do. But, I’m sure that my absence from the world of blogging would reveal that what I want isn’t always what happens. It’s, quite honestly, rarely what happens. That type of quiet time is simply a luxury that I currently don’t possess. And, it’s fine. I’ve accepted it. I like the happy chaos that surrounds me. But, quiet time to write is just a bit elusive. Which means less time for Elle Bee Lovely. Less time for you, my dears. Less time for me.
I’ve been a Stay-At-Home-Mom for two years now. TWO YEARS! I can not believe it. Where did two years go?! It’s not possible. It’s just not. I remember my last day of work, walking to my car at the end of the day, walking away from my lovely team at The Green Kangaroo, as if it were just a few months ago. I was excited then, and maybe a tad apprehensive, for a new adventure with my babies. And, what an adventure it has been!! N was going on 3 then and A was still baking in my belly. Now, N will turn 5 (FIVE?!) late this summer and A will be 2. Time flies! I mean, it really flies, doesn’t it?! Sure, the days can be, at times, long. Some days, really long. But, even still, it goes quick. Staying at home is, well, not quite what I expected and exactly what I expected, if that makes sense. It is easily the hardest I’ve ever worked. Easily. And, maybe that’s because it’s so many roles in one and you never, ever go off the clock. And, I’m so invested in it. I love it. I’m rewarded by it. I care so much about it. I desperately want to get it right. The “SAHM” title makes me chuckle though. It’s not-so-accurate. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t spend much time thinking about that sort of thing. But, still … we don’t really “stay at home.” We go everywhere. We do all the things. My mom (who was also a SAHM) still talks about a male family friend who used to laugh when she’d say that she stayed home with her children and say, “Your house must be so clean! Do you just sit around and watch soap operas?” Clearly he had no clue. No. Clue. We go out and about nearly every day … parks, playgrounds, pools, libraries, play dates, Chick-fil-a, shopping, errands. We go out. And, some days, we don’t. Some days, we stay in. We (I) clean, we relax, we make messes, we do art projects, we color, we play, we build legos, we go for walks, we play outside, we make cookies, we read, we laugh, we dance, we watch movies, we kiss, we hug. Whether we are out or we’re at home, we are always doing something. It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? I’m snorting a little as I write this, because it sounds so fun, so easy, so carefree. And, it is lovely. It is special. It is a blessing. But, it is not easy breezy. Because, in listing all the “fun” things that we get to do, I’ve left out all the other things — the tears that happen as we drive around town — the hundreds of cups of juice/milk/water that must be filled and not forgotten — the snacks and messes and spills that happen in the car — the kid who needs to pee just as we pull onto the highway — the other kid that howls like she’s being tortured most of the time that she’s in her carseat — the diapers that must be changed at the most inconvenient times — the lost pacifiers — how much you sweat as you are attempting to get everyone seated for what “appears” to be a simple lunch out — the boo-boos that must be kissed — the toys that are All Over The House at all times — the cleaning up and putting away that never ends — the laundry — the way everything seems to fall completely apart right as you are trying to fix lunch and dinner (don’t even get me started on dinner) — the silly battles that happen — and on and on and on. That list above, that sweet list of all the things we do … it needs to also include these: we cry, we yell, we argue, we sit in time-out, we make-up, we negotiate, we talk it out, we color on walls, we stomp our feet, we throw tantrums, some of us throw food, we use some mean words, we pray, we are sticky, we make other things sticky, we say “I’m sorry”, we pray some more, we love. We love. Through all things – we love. And, we sweat. Did I mention that? I had no idea. I was never much of a Sweaty Betty, but motherhood is sweaty. I’m not kidding. It’s one of those things that no one tells you. That kids make you sweat. You should know that. They should put that on the warning label that comes with the children. Ohhh wait, that’s right! 🙂 A few weeks ago N, A and I met a group from N’s awesome pre-school (Grow Pre-school, if you are curious) for a rainy morning at an indoor mall playground and a food-court lunch. As we struggled with our strollers and trays of food; as we struggled to get all of our children seated, to get their plastic placemats stuck down (only for them to be ripped right back up); as we struggled to get everyone’s meat cut and drinks handed out and to avoid ketchup spills; as we just struggled in general – I looked across the table at one of the other mommas and she, literally, had beads of sweat covering her forehead and another momma was fanning herself as sweat ran down her face, and it wasn’t even that hot. We were just … working hard. And, then, we finally get to eat … for 35 seconds and then someone has to pee again and then someone else is crying to get out of her highchair. So, yeah … it is the life of leisure …
Did I mention that I’ve been a SAHM for two years now?! Ha ha! Don’t get me wrong. I celebrate it. I do. It may be challenging. It may be hard. But, it’s beautiful. It’s my beautiful, messy adventure and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not anything.
In trying to balance it, trying to figure it all out, I’ve let the writing (among a list of other things) slide. You’ll hear from me still. Just, less, for now. A is growing and napping less and demanding more. N is out of school for the summer. Any quiet time that I may have had, seems to have floated away and it’s remaining just beyond my grasp. And, yet, it’s okay. I’m allowing myself to be okay with it. Give yourself the gift of letting yourself off the hook. One can not do it all or have it all, despite what society may say. One still must prioritize. And, it’s just a season, remember. In the long run, this time will be a little sliver out of my life. Probably the best, most cherished, little silver. I’ll have plenty of “me time” in the years to come. This is my “momma with littles” season. I’m choosing to embrace it. Let’s embrace it. Let’s own it. Let’s roll with it. Let’s make it the best damn season under the sun!!!
Today. January 6. It’s been 3 years since R’s dad (my quiet, sweet, father-in-law, Tim) passed away. His loss hit hard. It wasn’t easy on our family. Yet, as each year passes, it’s become amazingly apparent to me that one’s spirit can grow long after they’re gone. I feel his presence in our lives, sense his soul in our home. He’s there. This year, on this day, we celebrate him, as we do each year (with Reuben sandwiches for dinner and lots of stories told.) Yet, it feels a little different somehow. There is now more happiness mixed with the sadness. It’s becoming easier for R to share his memories with us. Though he’s gone, N, A, and I are growing to know him better somehow. We are still getting to know him. He lives on.
R made N a very special work bench for Christmas this year. It’s easy to see how much the memory of his father inspired it. Tim’s spirit is all over that thing! N will carry on the Blair name … and quite a few of Tim Blair’s tools too. Passed down to a new generation. N even wanted to trace his tools so that they’d always be placed back where they go, “just like PopPop Tim did.” So, N and R spent time together tracing old and new tools on N’s pegboard. The finishing touches made us all smile … and remember. There is so much meaning in it and so much love. It surrounds us. HE surrounds us. His love lasts. His memory lasts. We miss him. He’s gone and we wish that he weren’t. We wish that A could meet her PopPop. He would ADORE her. Yet, so much of his spirit is very much present. We know you are watching. We know you are with us. Have a Happy Day, PopPop Tim! Xoxo
The new year opens before us like a fresh, crisp notebook – waiting to be filled, written in, inspired. Welcome. I’ve always liked the beginning of a new year. A chance to start fresh. A chance to move forward. December is a time for me to step away, to look back, to reflect, and to surround myself with love and memories. This year I was able to fully embrace all of it. I took advantage of all of it. I actually, really, stepped away. I didn’t write, at all, in December, and I hope you’ve missed me. I hate to take long blog breaks, but during this season of my life, my littles are my very top priority. I gladly let everything else slide, as we truly enjoyed every day of December – of this Christmas season. It was such a special year. N is 4. A is 16 months. It was magical. We baked, we played, we created, we read, we crafted, we put together a special Jesse Tree, we decorated, we explored, we looked at lights, we visited Santa, we shopped, we played more, we baked more. It was easily one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. We were together. We enjoyed!
Now, January is here and it’s time for a new beginning. Fresh air. New hopes. Possibility. Let’s all just take a deep breath together. Ahh. And, onward march. For me, there are no resolutions. I make goals, plans, lists, etc. But, I don’t make resolutions. I just don’t. I don’t make A New Years Resolution. I find them discouraging somehow. Disappointing. Stifling. Rather, I make a list if things I’d like to happen. The key word is “like.” I’d like these things to happen. If they don’t, it’s okay. They give me something to work toward. Goals. Projects I’d like to tackle. Dreams for the future. Plans (if they be God’s will) for the year. Generally they follow the same sort of tune and this year is no different. Organize and Simplify. But, this year I want to take it a step further. Organize. Simplify. Deepen. Not just our home, our routine and our lives – but, also our hearts, our spirits and our bodies. There are lots of things, words and ideas that fall under these categories. Lots. But this is the gist … of my list (insert snort/chuckle). To organize, simplify and deepen. And, the big word for the year, I believe, is TRUST. We made great strides, spiritually, in 2014. Huge strides. Huge changes. We joined a church. We actually GO. We are becoming more involved. R was baptized. Like I said, big strides. This year, we will attempt to go further. To trust more completely. Stress less. Worry less. “Read, Pray, Trust, Obey.” These words will be our guide as we tackle our lists, goals, plans and dreams.
Let’s take one more deep breath. Ahh. Hello, 2015!! Let’s make it a joyful year!
First, with a thankful heart, I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope you are spending the holiday loving on your sweet family. But, if you aren’t, if your day will be spent working, or if the holiday feels bittersweet to you … my prayers are with you …
Honestly, though, today my heart is focused on the upcoming Christmas holiday. I’ve tried to plan a little more this year … though to be perfectly honest, we all know what happens when we plan … life laughs in the face of our plans, right? But, by plan, I don’t mean decorate or prepare my home. I haven’t even touched any of that yet. My decorations are still in the attic. Maybe next year I’ll “plan” to decorate earlier. This year, I’ve been attempting to prepare my heart for the holiday. I truly want to focus our family’s thoughts and hearts on The Lord this year, as He is The Reason For The Season after all. There will still be plenty of Santa, our Elf-On-The-Shelf, Christmas cookies, Christmas movies and reindeer in our house. We do love those things too! But, I want to raise my children with a clear focus toward God. What better time to start then now?
Have you heard of the Jesse Tree? Maybe you have. Maybe you’ve been doing it for years. If so, good for you! I’d love to hear from you about how your family incorporates this tradition. Feel free to comment below and share with the rest of us. If you are like me, and you are just discovering this amazing tradition, maybe you can start with me …
I was initially inspired by an article on Missional Motherhood (which is a fantastic resource for women, by the way) titled Teaching Your Children His Story With The Jesse Tree. So, what is the Jesse Tree? To put it simply, it is an advent re-telling of the lineage of Christ. It’s told in a chronological way (from Creation to the birth of Jesus) that makes more sense to our children … and, honestly, to us too. Each day, starting either after Thanksgiving or on December 1st, a new ornament (one that you can create, download, buy, etc.) is put on your Jesse Tree, representing the story for that day. My plan is to keep this tradition as simple as possible this year as my children are only 4 and 1. Then, I’ll grow it as they grow. I don’t want this to feel like a hassle, something else that we have to do. I want it to be enjoyable, easy, fun and meaningful. This year, we will read the Bible verses and story for each day together, then we will create the ornament for the day with foam paper, crayons, markers and yarn. The ornaments will be messy, childlike and … wonderful! I’m going to place a small tree in the dining room that will act as our Jesse Tree. The Littles can add their handmade ornament each day and decorate this tree as they choose. I’m not looking for pretty or perfect here. I’m looking for meaning and memories.
The goal, with the Jesse Tree, is to have a more intentional Christmas. To approach the holiday with faith and the desire for our children (and ourselves) to grow spiritually. To create meaningful traditions and memories, while allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate their precious hearts to be drawn to Him.
Let’s do it. Let’s create meaning.
A list of helpful resources for you: