Thursday, January 19, 2017

JANUARY HAPPENINGS

What have we been up to?  Mostly, we've just been doing our normal life - though thankfully, January is less crazy than December so "normal life" is only "normal" exhausting as opposed to holiday exhausting. 😂  I'm grateful for any decrease in the exhaustion level, and as we are implementing REST this year, hopefully, we will see our overall level of tiredness drop at least a little.  (Unfortunately, there's been some sleep regression with a certain three year old that is not helping the cause at this moment. 😬😴)

We had a family fun day a couple of weeks ago where we took in the Museum of Discovery and a tasty late lunch at Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro downtown.  The cheese dip really is as good as it claims to be.

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(Creepy mirror mash up of Bella and I)
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(William loved dancing with his skeleton.)
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(Local weather brought to you by these knowledgeable folks.)

Something I've realized this month is that whenever we go out to eat, I usually end up next to William who wants to have physical contact through the entire meal.  I'm trying to relish this instead of putting his hands off of my arm, because my son will not always want to grip my arm with one hand whilst shoveling food into his mouth with the other.  These are fleeting moments, and I can surely give up my desire for personal space to enjoy them.  Right?

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We went and saw Cinderella with friends and enjoyed a delightful night out.

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The next night at the UALR men's basketball game was slightly less relaxing, but we did have fun.

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I did Violet's hair, which actually went better than it ever has, much to my shock.  Some things are getting better, and though this pic is blurry and badly lit, I still wanted to document the sweet smile on her face, because it feels good to make progress.

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The girls, but not the twins, were out of school for MLKJR Day, so we headed to a fun antique store to shop for things to redecorate our living room.  I've got the itch to redecorate most of the main areas of our home, and that will be a project that I plan to work steadily on this year.  Right now, I'm restyling the shelves in my living room and having a blast!  Lily and Bella were fun to shop with, we picked up a few treasures, and we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the Marketplace in Conway.  All while listening to the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe while driving.  Pretty much a fantastic day all around.

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(This whole booth was organized by color. 😍😍😍)
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Last year, I wrote a post about how I think about MLK Day now.  This year, I made cookies.

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I'm gearing up for Valentine cookie season and trying to manage it in such a way that it does not take over our lives. 😬  Hope your 2017 is off to a good start!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

COMMITTING TO REST

I'm so out of my blogging habit, but honestly - it's been a nice break.  Not having my computer prompted it, and in 2017, I've been trying to push myself a little less.  I can not do all of the things, all of the time, and that is for the best.  No one needs me to, especially me.

Which leads me to our big new family commitment this year - we are committing to taking a true sabbath every week this year.  We rounded out 2016 feeling fairly exhausted.  Our pace of life is pretty intense, and we have four young children, so time around our home is usually less than relaxing.  But still, we have usually looked for ways to maximize all of the moments and squeeze more things in.  There are ALWAYS more things that we can do or want to do.  ALWAYS.

John's job is demanding, and though the children are now all in school, I've found that still my time fills to overflowing quite quickly.  We both serve on boards, we serve at church, we work hard, and we come home and continue to work hard.  Almost all the time.  We've very much gotten out of the practice of resting, to the point where we have become disobedient to what God has asked of us.

The first week of 2017, John and I had a pow wow to reassess life and plan for the new year.  As we prayed and talked, it became clear what needed to be the biggest change for us.  We need to schedule and plan for and practice resting.  It has to be non-negotiable.  We have to make some boundaries for ourselves that are consistent with what God asks of us.

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(Exodus 33:14)

We are still fleshing this out a bit, but our loose structure is to make sure that we do not "work" from dinner to dinner one day a week - usually from Saturday night to Sunday night.  We will have to change this around some weeks to accommodate work/scheduling issues, but, that is what the norm will look like.  I'm also stepping away from social media during these times, and we are doing our best to not engage with email.  We need less input and stimulus overall, and we do get a say in it.

Having already done this twice at the time of writing this blog post, I can report that we have had mixed results.  We are so out of practice that our resting skills are rusty, bordering on non-existent.  We are so used to filling our time with things we need to get done that it is truly a shift to come at a day from a totally different angle.  It also means planning ahead so that we can take that time off.  It means adjusting our expectations, because we still have four children with us, so it doesn't exactly feel as "relaxing" as one might hope.

We've already had discussions about needing a better game plan of how to "restfully" fill time with the kids in ways that re-fuel our family and provide sweet time together.  We'll be instituting naps for everyone most Sundays, but we are also going to really try our hand at playing some games together and/or having a movie night.  I'm sure I sound whiny, but having three year old twins can sometimes make these things challenging which is just the reality of where we are at.  It likely will not always be this hard, but right now, a lot of things still are a challenge.


Ultimately, we want to repent of trying to control our lives and fill all of our time.  We want to be obedient to the Lord, and we want to teach our children healthy patterns that don't focus on achievement all of the time.  We are asking the Lord for guidance, and we are hoping for the best with this change.  We are looking forward to more rest, while still not knowing exactly what that will look like.  Here's to 2017 and making changes that have been a long time coming. 👊🏻

Thursday, January 12, 2017

LILY IS EIGHT

Stop the presses - my oldest baby is eight years old, and it is just about to blow my mind.  Truly it goes by more quickly than I ever imagined.  And, as I looked back at past birthday posts, I pretty much say the same thing every year.  I am that broken-record mother who can never believe the passage of time.

{3rd Birthday} {4th Birthday} {5th Birthday} {6th Birthday} {7th Birthday}

Our Lily is so precious to our family, and we love her so.  She brings a unique perspective to each situation and is proving to be highly responsible, as a typical first-born might be.  She is ALWAYS listening to John and I, and regularly regurgitates conversations that we had with one another.  Then she reminds us that she is always listening, while she grins slyly.

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Lily is thriving in school and truly adores her siblings.  (Until the moment when she doesn't, but we all have those moments.). She and Bella play well together, and they both look for ways to take care of and engage William and Violet.  Lily is growing in her love and knowledge of the Lord, and I am routinely pleased to hear some way that she is processing the spiritual world and God's place in her life.

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(With Lambie and the stuffed snake that she just purchased with her own money - what a delight and totally what we needed!)

She is developing a wit that sometimes expresses itself even more in written word, and teaching her to text has been one of the funnier experiences of the past several weeks.  I decided to interview her with the same questions that I used last year with these responses.

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Her birthday sneaks up so quickly after Christmas that we are holding off on party fun for several more weeks still.  Instead, we had cookie cake at home and also went out to eat at a restaurant.  She was well celebrated on her actual birthday.

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(These kids can destroy some Pizookies.)

Happy Birthday, Lily!

.......  In other news - I have my computer back!  I hope to be back to blogging more regularly . . . We shall see.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

SNOW DAY

The snow fell softly in the early hours of Friday morning, and with that, our snow day was set in place.  The roads were legitimately slippery at just the wrong time for anyone to try to get anywhere, and schools were canceled and so were all of my plans.

Since only three days had passed since our routine had resumed, this snow day + weekend felt like an extension of our Christmas break which wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it ended up being nice all the same.  I have long lamented snow days as the mother of small children, because honestly, they've been hard.  John usually has to work extra hard on snow days, and then I've been stuck at home with children who are stir crazy and hate the cold.

But not this snow day.  All of my children happily played outdoors for a while.  This has NEVER happened, and I want to celebrate it with happy pictures from this personal landmark - I will title these,

"The First Snow Day that Didn't Suck."

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We had a fun walk in the woods, which I tried to stop while everyone was still having fun.  We came back to the house and had hot chocolate.  No one screamed - though there was still a bunch of laundry and John still had to work.  All in all, I am so grateful for this turn of events and thankful to be at a place where some things are more enjoyable with all four kids.  It's a gift, and I certainly do not take it for granted.

Also, I am so glad I took the big camera out to mark the occasion.

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The other thing that saved this snow day was that the roads cleared off pretty quickly.  We headed to CFA at the mall for lunch and had a blast riding the escalators.

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I have several blog posts that I want to have written, but since our routine has been wild and my computer is still broken, that hasn't yet happened.  Maybe this week . . .

And though I hope we don't have too many more these this winter, for now, I'm celebrating the small joy of having an enjoyable snow day!