Being Still

Sometimes, some days, my heart just gets caught up in all of it. In all of the … the mothering. And, I start to forget. I forget the point of it all. I start yearning to hear God’s voice. I start aching for … more. I start feeling like I should be doing more of something.

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The past few weeks have been harder than most. Full of chaos, tears, tantrums, sickness, teething, messes, more tantrums and just … soooo many needs that must be met. I’ve felt pushed and stretched and tested. I’ve felt raw, vulnerable, exposed. I’ve felt like a big, giant failure. Yes, there will always be days like this. Weeks like this. Days when motherhood will take all that you have to give, and then ask you to give even more. It’s easy to get caught up. Lost. That’s what was happening. I was starting to lose myself to these types days. Starting to drown in them.

But, then … yesterday happened. The sun was bright and warm against my skin. I had a few minutes to myself (let’s be honest, I was going to the doctor, but still … I was alone.) I felt … something more. And then, today happened. Today, my sweet girl (who doesn’t like to be held) actually fell asleep in my arms. This is so rare. Sooo rare. She typically pushes me away and reaches for her bed. Yes, honestly. She’s only 20 months. It’s tragic. I know. So, when she let me hold her for longer than 1.2 seconds, I was immediately in tears. I was in tears and thanking God for this sweet gift. This precious moment to just let go, be still and stare at her. I took in her beautiful baby profile, her flawless skin, her sweet smell, the gentleness of her breathing. Time stood still. Everything got quiet. My mind. My heart. In that moment, I pictured her … I pictured her jumping into crisp, beautiful lake water – feeling the coolness on her skin. I pictured her laying in the grass watching the clouds roll by. Feeling the fresh wind of spring on her face. The spray of saltwater on her warm skin. The butterflies that come with new love. The warm sand beneath her toes. The voice of God within her heart. The feel of her own baby in her strong arms. I just sat there, held her and glimpsed into her future … and let the quietness carry me…

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As time started moving again, as I laid her in her bed, I knew I had been given a gift. A moment of stillness with my growing girl. A moment of calm during days of storm. A chance to hear God’s voice in my own heart. A confirmation that I’ve been needing. I’ve been praying and seeking – wanting to know the plan. The next step. Yearning to understand what I’m supposed to be doing. What I’m supposed to be writing. If this blog should be growing. But, clarity comes … with stillness, clarity comes … and the voice I’ve been seeking has been trying to answer me all along. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Be still. Be STILL. And know. He’ll let me in on the next step when it’s time. Right now, it’s not time. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. This is my season in the sun with the littles. These are short, precious years. “Be still.” THIS is what I’m supposed to be doing. Being “Mommy”. The rest … He’ll reveal it all in time. I can rest in that beautiful knowledge.

XOXO

Side Note: My sweet husband, R, sent me a link to this video and it was exactly what I needed to watch. It’s short and sweet … if you want to check it out. I already loved Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and Magnolia Homes, but now I love her even more.

Photo Credit: The top photo is from Janna at Yellow Prairie Interior Design. I love following her Instagram page and snatched this photo to share with y’all. Isn’t she awesome? Also, the “Be Still” sign, as well as the other, are from The Rustic Orange. The bottom photo is from The Secret Place Ministries.

Freedom from The Mommy Guilt

Aha! Aha! A few weeks ago, a light bulb went off. I was sitting at a women’s conference (Tara Furman’s uh-maz-ing “Making a Difference in My Generation” conference), listening intently, taking notes, when all of the sudden a distracting thought smacked me across the face. Really. She was talking about something mostly unrelated. But, still, somehow in the midst of her words, a thought came over me and I haven’t been able to shake it.

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It’s about that good ‘ole Mommy Guilt. Some of you know it well. Some of you don’t let it bug you. Either way, get this — All of the “mommy guilt” (or, honestly, any guilt for that matter) that we are always talking about/thinking about/fretting about — IT’S NOT REAL! Hello, people! Oh. My. Gosh. It’s just so simple all of the sudden. It’s so clear. How did we not see it all along? It’s just not real. Can it be?! Can it be that easy. Holy freedom! All it is … all the “guilt” really is, is the devil telling us that we aren’t enough. IT’S THE DEVIL TELLING US THAT WE AREN’T ENOUGH. That sneaky little bastard. He whispers it. He yells it. When we are running late. When our houses are littered with toys. When we work an extra hour one night. When we ignore work to read two more bedtime stories. When we let the littles eat waffles for dinner. When we forgot to put a single veggie on their plate. When the library books are overdue. He whispers quietly, “Hhhheeeyyyyy, you should have done better. You should be more. You should get it together. You should be able to do. it. all……” He whispers these little lies in our ears and we believe him. But, y’all, he’s a liar! He’s a notorious liar! He wants us to think we aren’t enough. But we ARE! We are ENOUGH! He wants us to think God doesn’t love us; that God doesn’t have our backs. But, He DOES! We are amazing mothers! We work hard. In and out. Every single day. We love. We give. We pray. We try. We fall. We get back up. We’ve got this. “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you” (Deut. 33:27a) and … WE ARE ENOUGH! Repeat after me:

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So, whatever is guilting you today. Give it up. Turn it over. March on. You got this! Don’t forget. God made you. He loves you. YOU are exactly who you need to be.

Stop Comparing – Focus On YOUR Gifts

I continue to take my eyes off of the prize. I continue to slip. To look around. To watch others. And, you know what … when this happens, I start to feel a shift inside of me. I start comparing. I compare. It’s no good. It’s simply bad for me. But, it’s a truth that I struggle with. It’s not quite as green and ugly as straight up envy or jealously. It’s more subtle, swirling around inside of me and whispering, “You need that. You should have that, too. That is so cute. You deserve that.” Maybe the fact that it’s so subtle is what makes it so evil. I don’t think that I feel envious of others. I don’t feel jealous. So, I don’t even notice that it’s happening. Yet, when I give in – when I start comparing, I stop focusing on what’s truly important and I fall, like Alice, down a materialistic shaped rabbit hole. So, how do I stop, ya know, “coveting thy neighbor’s kitchen“?

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I know y’all love Glennon over at Momastery, right?! If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you need to. I think she’s probably the Queen of the Mommy/Woman Blogging World. That’s what I’ll call her. Queen G. She is always honest and brutiful, and she says, “I think comparison and competition exist partly because we believe that there is a scarcity of good things in the universe. And that belief makes us kind of small and scared and unable to feel true joy for others or peace for ourselves.” Wow, right?! But, there is enough, y’all. And, WE are ENOUGH.

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Why do we think we need MORE all of the time?? It’s something that’s been weighing on my heart and mind a lot lately. Why do you think you need more? Why are we all constantly looking to the next better thing? Ugh. It feels kinda gross, doesn’t it? It feels sinful and ugly for sure. Why do I think I need more? I have everything. I am in love with my husband, and he happens to adore me too. I like our marriage. A lot. We have two healthy, beautiful, contagiously happy children and a fantastically, loyal doggy companion. We have LOVE. We own our own home and have food in the fridge. We have cars to drive. I have supportive and loving parents, that also happen to be supportive and loving grandparents. I get along with my mother-in-law. She’s kinda awesome. What more is there? For real?!

Maybe I need to spend a little less time daydreaming about what color my cabinets are … and more time encouraging the fruits of the spirit within my children.

Maybe I need to spend less time looking at houses online and more time reading The Word, writing from my heart and creating something beautiful.

Maybe I need to spend less time thinking about what I can do better or how I can be better … when the truth is I am already enough. I am enough. We are enough.

The materialistic things that I don’t have, the things that I think that I want or need, won’t make me more. They won’t make me more of anything. That won’t make me happier or more fulfilled. Things don’t make us more or less. They are things. They are JUST things. We are not defined by what we have. We are not defined by THINGS.

Our lives are not meant to be the same as someone else’s. Our things aren’t meant to be the same. And, our GIFTS are not meant to be the same as someone else’s. At times, we might even find greatness in the midst of our own imperfection. We must embrace it. We must share it. We were created unique for a reason. We may to0 often analyze ourselves and focus on where we think we are lacking. We may consider something to be a weakness … when, in fact, that “weakness” may be the very thing that inspires or saves someone else. So, let’s stop. Or, attempt to stop. Or, at the very least, let’s just tone it all down a bit. Let’s stop looking around to see what everyone else is doing and wearing and keep focused. Keep our eyes fixed on The Lord. Feed our hearts and our souls.

“We were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to fly!” (Casting Crowns)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing they way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as a standard of measurement. How ignorant.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:7)

 

Photo Credit: 1.  Thrive Moms – Empowering Imperfect Moms With His Perfect Grace. 2. Momastery – Truth Tells and Hope Spreaders. Check ’em out!

You Might Not Remember

N and I were laying side by side, having one of our bedtime chats a few nights ago and he was quizzing me about “when you were a little girl, Mommy”, “did you do this and that?” And, honestly, I had a hard time answering. I couldn’t remember all of the specifics that he wanted me to remember. The details are hazy now. I wish they weren’t. I’d love to remember. I had a beautiful childhood. I WANT to remember it. All of it. As he fell asleep, I held him tight for a little longer than normal. My heart hurt as I realized … he won’t remember this. Oh. My. Gosh! He won’t remember US, the way we are right now. And, ahhhh, the way we are right now is everything to me. And, to him. And, He won’t remember. And, I’d love to say that I would … that I’d remember for the both of us. But, I don’t have the world’s best memory, sooo, I might not remember all of it either. Ugh. My poor Momma’s heart! So, what’s a girl to do to? Well, write it down, for one thing …

~My N. You probably won’t remember. At times it’s a thought that haunts me. This special time that we are sharing right now – this magical season in our lives – this most amazingly wonderful time. You won’t remember it. You’ll simply call it “your childhood” and hopefully, think of it fondly. But, actual formed memories … You’ll have a few. You’re 4. Not many people remember 4 very well, if at all. Our day-to-day lives and routine right now – you won’t remember. You already don’t remember our first moments together – the very first time ours eyes locked, the way we already knew each other. You don’t remember the day you decided to finally smile at me. The way the fog lifted then, and all was right in the world. Or, the way you’d cling to me to me late into the night, not wanting to be left alone. You’d cry, “rockaby baby, rockaby baby.” You won’t remember how you loved bath time and how you’d giggle when I sang, “Stinky feet, Stinky feet, I love you.” You won’t remember Daddy and I taking turns laying in your bedroom floor because you refused to sleep or how you slip your hand through the rails of your toddler bed to hold hands with me. You won’t remember the way our hearts hurt when we had to say goodbye in the mornings at daycare. Your face and your tears broke my heart every time. Yet, you’d race into my arms at the end of the day and we’d both feel whole again. You might just remember how much you loved your Curious George, how much you needed him, how you took him everywhere, how he went to school with you every single day of your 3-yr-old preschool. You might have loved him just enough to remember loving him. You might not remember the summer that Audrey was born. I started staying home full time with you and we’d spend afternoons just laying in the grass talking to each other. You might not remember becoming your momma’s very best friend that summer. You might not remember, how, when I’d dry your hair after bath-time, you’d lay your head on my belly and whisper to your sister. You might not remember how you insisted her name be Peaches and how you called her Peachie her whole first year. You might actually remember coming to the hospital in your Big Brother shirt carrying a pink bear, ready to meet our baby for the first time. It was pure magic. The kind of memories that, when strung together, make up a lifetime. Sigh. You probably won’t remember how you’d swear you were gonna marry me one day. “When I’m a grown-up, I’m gonna marry you, Mommy.” “And, drive a big truck too!” Oh, how sweet your love for your momma is. May we never forget. How you’d shyly whisper, “I love you more than anyone else in the world.” My heart would burst, not just from your dear, sweet words, but from the way you said them. You pronounced words correctly, but in your own way. I adored it! It wasn’t “world”, it was more like “wolod”. And, my boy, you sure rocked mine. My world. You won’t remember singing the sweetest Sunday School songs in the car with me. Or, saying prayers for strangers whenever an ambulance would go by or we’d pass an accident. You probably won’t remember how you’d fly out of the door when I’d pick you up at pre-school and jump straight into my arms for giant hugs and kisses. You won’t remember asking me for “snuggle buggle time” or curling up with me under our favorite blanket. You might not remember how wonderful you were to your baby sister. How much time you’d spend talking, playing and teaching her. Oh, my boy. You probably won’t remember all of this — your first years. But, I want you to know. They were dear, sweet, messy, beautiful, lovely, innocent, perfection. I may not remember all of the details as clearly as I’d like either. Yet, I know we’ll always have it. The feeling that comes from it. That part won’t leave us. The love. The beauty. The joy. That feeling — it’ll always be ours. We’ll always have that.

Xoxoxo

Learning to Trust – A Testimony

Am I asking all the wrong questions? Lately, I think – yes – I am. I have been. Maybe?

You see, a little while ago, almost a year now,  I (we) … without uttering any actual words because they seemed so cliche somehow and they don’t feel like the right fit … but, I suppose, for lack of a better phrase, we re-dedicated our lives to The Lord. We are trying. One day at a time. To break free. To learn as much as we can and grow as much as we can. To live IN Christ. To walk by faith. To trust. To experience his fullness. To surrender. At this point in my life, I’m ready. It feels different now. I grew up in church. I grew up loving The Lord. Then … I dunno. I drifted. I guess, I drifted slowly, yet steadily, away from God. I took my eyes off of him and looked toward the world. I even wanted to be part of it, to experience it. I was young. I thought it would be living. I spent years and years there, just drifting along. I thought it was okay, and, in a lot of ways, I was okay. I thought it wasn’t a big deal. I thought I was fine. I thought I still had a “relationship” with God. He remained in my heart. I knew he was still there, watching out for me. Yet, somewhere along the way, I got lost. I kept putting Him off … waiting for another day. A better time. When I’m not so busy. When I don’t need to sleep in on Sundays. When R and I are ready. When the baby is a little older. Excuses. Excuses. My whole life was worldly and not of God. I realize it. I always realized it. I just ignored it … to be honest. Which is, exactly what I’m being – honest. Raw. Honest. Vulnerable. Truthful. Me.

You see, I am not a person who generally sees things as black and white. I just don’t. I see gray. I see hundreds of shades of gray. I even tend to live in the gray. I can usually (usually, not always) empathize and sympathize and understand why some people may do the things that they do. It seems to me, that so many Christians that I know and have known in the past are so easily convicted. They seem to see things as “wrong” vs. “right.” I’ve always struggled with this because it’s not always how I’ve been and I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand why it seemed so easy for them. I didn’t, and still don’t, always see “wrong” and “right” as defined spaces or things. And, so, for much of my life I held myself separate from other Christians. I was afraid to be part of a church. Afraid of hypocrisy or judgement. I was afraid to feel convicted (I understand that now, but I couldn’t then.) I was afraid of … something. But, I was wrong. I was wrong. I was focused on the wrong thing. I was missing the point entirely. The point was HIM.

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Luckily, His loving grace is so good. He waited for me to let Him back it. Now, I want It in a way I never truly did when I was younger. I realize that my hesitation is unimportant. That the wrong vs. right isn’t really what matters. The “rules” don’t matter. It’s my heart that matters. The Lord will take care of all of the rest. He will show me the way. He will show me my own ‘right’ way. He will convict me, change me, challenge me and inspire me. Now. Now, the desire to truly know my Lord is there. I understand clearly that I’m not in control. That my life is His. Yet, I stumble daily. I struggle with true trust and true surrender.

We’ve been tested lately. I don’t know what else to think … what else to call it, but a test…
October. November. December. Things have happened. Things still happen. Financially, things happen. As homeowners and car owners, things happen. Money is tight. We are unsure. The same questions keep forming. Why? Why can’t it be easier? Why can’t the money come more freely? Why does this keep happening? What are You trying to teach us?
I am trying to throw off my worldly desires … To cry. To yell. To question. To fall apart. To CONTROL it. I don’t get to control any of it. It’s not mine to control. Where is my trust? What questions should I be asking? What lessons should we be learning? Are we not understanding? Are we not getting it?

The truth is, right now I don’t know. I’m not here to tell you that I have the answers. I’m here to tell you that I don’t. I don’t have the answers. Maybe you don’t either. Maybe you are trying too. Let’s keep trying. We don’t need answers all of the time. We need God’s Word. We need trust. Let’s trust. And, until that trust comes more naturally, let’s keep trying to trust. My heart knows that there is a lesson to learn. Probably many, many lessons. Read/Pray/Trust/Obey. Xoxo

Photo Credit: photo from (In)Courage, a lovely online community that’s “Insta-awesome“)

Gone, Never Forgotten

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.

photo (10)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

A Fresh, New Year. Hello, 2015!

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!

The Jesse Tree – A New Tradition

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 …

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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.

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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:

Missional Motherhood

Ann Voskamp

Blessed Beyond a Doubt

I Didn’t Know – So Hard to Watch Them Grow

This morning N wanted to watch a video (a video of himself) on my phone. He doesn’t usually watch the older ones, but this morning he chose the oldest. It was recorded a year and a half or so ago. We watched it together and laughed at how cute and sweet his baby voice sounded. He was maybe two and a half years old. He was singing happy birthday and other silly songs. He was talking about my growing belly and what it was going to be like to have a sister. He looked so much smaller to me, so much more like a baby. I didn’t realize just how much he’d grown. Just how different he’d become. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to react to it the way that I did. But, his voice was just too precious. It brought tears to my eyes immediately. I smiled over at him, tucked snuggly under my arm, and we giggled and laughed about “silly Mommy and her happy tears.” Later though, after I dropped him off at pre-school, I watched it again by myself and I cried a little more. Maybe it IS silly. But, for a moment I let myself miss that little guy. I allowed my heart to hurt. It’s just amazing to me … how much he grew in a single year … how different he sounded. How different he is. I don’t want to be sad. This is a GOOD thing. This is the BEST problem to have. My children are growing. I’m not crying over any tragedy or loss. It’s all good. Yet, every now and then, I let myself grieve the passing of time. I let myself FEEL it. It does hurt. It does. I have a wonderful boy and a wonderful girl. They are healthy.  I love watching N grow and become who he’s going to be. I love it. I love who he is today. Yet, I just didn’t know it would be so painful. I didn’t know how I would mourn each stage once it passed. I watch A now and try to memorize each little piece of her. I know how quickly it goes. How fast it’s moving. I want her to be my baby. I’m grasping for her to stay little. I’m no fool. I know exactly what happens when you hold too tightly to something. It slips right through your fingers. I want them to grow, of course. Of course. I just didn’t know. I just wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know that I’d yearn for them, my babies. That I’d miss their littleness, even as they are still right by my side. That I’d miss two-year-old N and 3-year-old N and 6-month-old A. My memory isn’t the best. I have trouble holding on to all the details. I just can’t keep them all or remember it all. It grows fuzzy way too fast and I’m left feeling helpless. I didn’t realize, I didn’t know, that with motherhood would come the strangest combination of wholeness and brokenness. I had no idea it was possible to feel, simultaneously, complete joy and the crush of a broken heart. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that watching my babies grow would fill me with pride and wonder… and agony. I didn’t know that I marvel at the child they were becoming while still longing for my chubby-handed baby. I didn’t know that I would feel so much all of the time. All. The. Time. I feel so much. It’s like I’ve been stripped raw. They say that once you have a child, it feels like your heart is separate from your body … that your heart is out there, walking around in this big ‘ole world. And, I find that statement to be completely true. My heart grew, with each baby, so full and tender that there are days when I worry it will burst wide open. It’s full of love, joy, peace, happiness, tenderness, fear, worry, pain. There are days when I’ve never felt more, or less, like myself. It’s the most puzzling of mysteries. The heart of a momma.

Halloween Recap

Yes, Halloween is over. The costumes have been tucked away. Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner … and already filling our minds. Yet, I just have to take a day to recap our 2014 Halloween costumes. This year, we went the DIY route and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Of course, I’m no seamstress and couldn’t have done it without the help of my mother (N & A’s talented Gram). I mean, really, they would not have had these costumes without her.

N wanted to be The Man With The Yellow Hat. It truly was the most fitting costume that he could have chosen for himself. He’s loved his Curious “Georgie” for nearly a year and a half now. That stuffed George of his looks loved too, let me tell you. So, I was pretty thrilled that he selected such a unique costume, and one that was just so HIM. However, a brief Google search showed that there weren’t any Man With The Yellow Hat costumes for kids. None. Amazon offers an adult version, but that wouldn’t help us any. So, I enlisted the help of good ‘ole Gram and we tackled N’s costume together. She really did the hard part. She sewed yellow pants and a yellow shirt. I made the yellow tie and the yellow hat.

I started with a basic, black, kids-sized witch hat and yellow felt. Then, really, I just went for it. I wish I had step-by-step DIY instructions that I could share with you, but I don’t. I just held my breath and got started. My goal – to cover the witches hat with yellow felt, make it less pointy on top, and reassemble The Man’s yellow hat as much as possible. Perfection was NOT the goal. And, after doing, I’m so glad it wasn’t, because I sure didn’t achieve the PERFECT yellow hat. But, I did achieve my goal!

As for the tie, I simply used one of N’s ties as a guide, traced it onto the felt, cut out separate pieces, and hot-glued it together. I doubled the felt so that the tie would be thicker and I left room at the top (knot) to thread the elastic through so that N could easily wear it around his neck. I’ll admit, the tie was easy. The hat …. not easy.

In the end, N was The Man With The Yellow Hat. He looked awesome. He felt awesome. It was ALL awesome!

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Next came A’s costume. This was her first REAL Halloween. Last year, she was an itty-bitty 2-month-old and I didn’t put her in a costume. This year, A’s one and this momma wanted to have some fun! Plus, A didn’t care about Halloween. She didn’t have multiple ideas and opinions about what she wanted to be (unlike a certain brother of hers). She didn’t even really know what was going on … she was just along for the ride. So, I just had to, HAD TO do one more “peach” themed something for our little Peachie. I just couldn’t help myself. I had seen a Rockford Peach costume on Pinterest months earlier and I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was perfect for her, really. And, A League of Their Own had always been one of my favorite movies. SOOO… Gram to the rescue once more! She found an adorable little dress pattern, some peachie pink fabric and she created the sweetest little dress for A. I found Rockford Peach patches on Etsy and a tiny red hat on Amazon, and Ta-Da…. a costume was born!!

Here she is in all of her Rockford Peach baseball glory! My Little Miss Peachie!

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Hope y’all enjoy our costumes as much as we did! Happy Halloween!