Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day #68: Preparation

We are leaving on our family vacation in two days!  This will be our first LONG road trip and we are excited and a bit nervous.  Today is my last whole day to prep and I am feeling pretty good about the progress I've made.  I am super Type A and thrive on having a plan.  This may be one of those times where this is a good thing.  For the past month I've been making my lists and checking them twice!  They are coming in handy in these final few days and I am confident we will be all ready to go when the time comes.  If there's one lesson I've learned, it takes a lot of preparation to get a family of six ready to hit the road for 11 days!  We are all so excited!!!!!

Day #67: Childhood Memories

Today we spent the afternoon with our friends and neighbors for a Memorial Day BBQ.  It was so fun to see all of the kids running around (and by all, I mean over 20!).  Our kids were less than thrilled to leave because they were having so much fun!  These are the days to cherish.  Our kids are in that care-free phase of childhood where they just love to get together with their friends and play.  It made me stop and think about how much I enjoyed the same types of get-togethers when I was a child.  It is fun to watch this evolve with my own children and see how much they value the friendships they have made.  Making memories...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day #66: Impromptu Fun

I've read several pieces about letting go of the need to have everything planned.  As a self-proclaimed planner, that is easier said than done, but in some aspects of my life I have gotten better about this.  My husband is very laid-back and this comes naturally to him, but for me, most times I find this to be a challenge and feel out of my comfort zone if there isn't a plan.

Today we had an impromptu cookout with our neighbors.  Nothing fancy, but fun just the same. Soon a few more families joined us in the backyard and with that there were ten kiddos playing and a bunch of adults having the opportunity to just sit and talk for a bit.  It was great and one of the reasons I love living where we do.  We are surrounded by great people and many of us have young children who love to play together.

The moral of the story?  You don't need detailed dinner plans to invite your friends and neighbors over to enjoy a meal together.  Sometimes the best moments come when you least expect them. As my son put it, "I just didn't want it to end Mom.  It was so fun."

 I'll say it again:  it's the little things in life!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day #65: The Songs We Treasure

Tonight my sweet baby girl was fussy.  She was tired, but having a difficult time calming down until I began to sing.  I sang my favorite lullaby, "You Are My Sunshine."  I followed it up with my other top three songs:  "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Jesus Loves Me," and "Skinnamarinkadinkadink."

I don't know how these four songs came to be the go-to songs we sing to our children, but over time we have spent countless hours singing these tunes.  To this day they find their way into the bedtime routines of our oldest children and now we are beginning again with your youngest. They are sweet songs of love and I hope our children realize how loved they are.

It's the small routine parts of their lives they will remember the most.  I hope when they have children of their own these songs will sneak into their homes.  I'm sure when I'm rocking my grandchildren someday I'll sing these songs to them thinking of the days when their mom or dad were little.  (Ooh, that made me tear up just thinking about it!).

It's amazing how calming a song can be.  Especially a song sung by the ones entrusted to take care of you.  I need to remember to try this more often.  The immediate silence followed by sleep was just the sign I needed to remind me how powerful a mother's love can be.

Day #64: Rest

Today I went to the doctor.  I usually try to push through when I don't feel the best, but this time I figured I better head in.  After a quick visit and receiving the diagnosis I had expected, I was told to get some rest.  Followed up with a stern look from the doctor and an "I mean it.  Tell your spouse you need rest."

Resting is not something that comes easy when you have four young children.  There are no sick days, because regardless of how you're feeling there are people counting on you to tend to their needs.  I almost laughed out loud when I was asked if I had a sitter I could call so I could rest. The answer was no, but even if I did, my kids would still find their mama.

I figure someday I'll have the opportunity to rest again.  Until then, I'll just keep forging ahead and count my five minute catnap as rest.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day #63: Asking for Help

Why is it we find asking for help to be so difficult?  Whether it be help around the house from our spouse, from friends and neighbors to help you out in a pinch, or to seek out professional help when you feel you've lost your way.  As a mother, why is it so difficult to speak up, to put our own needs first for a change?  We do a phenomenal job noticing when our kids or spouse may need some help and are usually quick to jump in to try to make everything right.  Why do we wait hours, days, months, years to finally speak up on our own behalf; to take notice and realize that perhaps we simply need some help?

If I had to suggest a theory, I would say it's because we're parenting in a competitive, self-sufficient, image-conscious era.  We want everyone to believe we have it together, that we can manage whatever is thrown our direction and manage it well.  We may feel if we ask our friends and neighbors for help, they may view us as a mother who is in over her head.  If we ask our spouse to help unbury us from the pile of household tasks we may fear being viewed as incapable of caring for the kids and managing the house, or worse, just lazy.  If we seek counseling from a professional, we may fear being viewed as weak.  As mothers, we try to steer clear of feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, and shame.  If we are trying to avoid these feelings, asking for help is certainly out of the question, right?

Wrong.  At least it shouldn't be.  I struggle to seek out help, but lately I've tried to accept those invitations from others who have offered!  As a person who likes to feel independent and self-sufficient this is difficult.  I like to believe I can manage everything on my own and will be just fine, but truth be told I can't.  The sooner I embrace this, the better.  The sooner we as mothers let go of our need to appear to have it all together, to be Pinterest-perfect, the better off we will all be.

Being a mother is the toughest job we'll ever have.  It is an exhausting, exhilarating, emotional roller coaster ride.  Our "work" is to raise a part of the next generation and ensure we are providing a laundry list of important life experiences, values, and plenty of guidance.  This is a pretty big undertaking and to think we can do it only in conjunction with their other parent, with little help from others, is absurd.  There is a reason why it takes a village.  Let's make sure we are accepting the help the village is willing to provide.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day #62: The Power of Words

The other day I read a post from one of my new favorite blogs, The Hands Free Revolution.  It was a very real, touching piece about breaking a child's spirit.  It made me cry and I immediately forwarded the link to my husband.  We all do our best to be great parents, but in those moments of stress, chaos, exhaustion, and grumpiness we can sometimes be ugly.  I could see some of us in her examples and it made me sad.  We walk such a tight rope between teaching our children and breaking their spirit with our criticism, correction, and tone.  We'll never be perfect parents, but we can do our best to me mindful of our words and actions.  I certainly don't want my children to grow up feeling like they aren't enough.  It was certainly a wake-up call to be mindful of how powerful our words truly are.

If you haven't read the piece, here it is:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day #61: A Gentle Reminder

Our faith is important to us and we do our best to attend church every Sunday.  This is no easy feat with our four kiddos, but we have tried to make the best of it.  Our church does not have a nursery, but even if it did, we have strong feelings about attending mass together as a family.   We often joke about our reasons for attending, since some Sundays it is hard to focus at all on what's being taught.  A few years ago we may have taken some "time off," but now we just forge ahead.

At times we may question how much any of us are getting out of mass, but there are moments I find myself completely amazed at how much our children are absorbing.  Today my youngest son came up the stairs holding a bright yellow plastic golf club raised up high.  When I asked what he was doing he replied, "This is my cross!  I am walking it up."

This was followed up with chairs being turned over so the legs could be candles, a blue stacking cup being used as a cup with "the drink" and then serving as the holder for "the chips."  I was instructed to walk up and get a chip and a drink, scolded for not saying, "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in time with him, and informed he was "God" (until I asked if he was pretending to be Father Joe, which he was, so we talked about him being a priest, not God!).

Church would not be complete without playing the piano and singing at the top of his lungs, an animated story about Jesus Christ, and of course, putting out the candles once he was done with mass.  Clearly this was my sign:  our kids, though they may not appear to be, are paying attention. It was a gentle reminder:  our children are watching.  This isn't just about church, but life in general. Our kids may not appear to be attentive, but they are watching with open eyes and listening with open ears.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day #60: Time Management 101

Pre-kids I would have considered myself to be a wonderful manager of my time.  Even one or two kids into parenthood I would have given myself an above-average rating.  Fast-forward to four and I am struggling...big time!  I am great about meeting the everyday needs around the house each week:  laundry, bathroom cleaning, bathing my kids, and cooking meals, but finding slots to fit in the extras is a challenge.

The biggest problem?  Exercise.  I NEED to exercise.  I just can't figure out a plan to fit this into the schedule.  The gym has not worked out, the weather has been inconsistent for runs in the morning, and my desire to do some yoga at home is thwarted by the sweet little faces that want to participate, too.  Trust me, I would let them if they could, but there is just not enough space in my living room to accommodate three bodies attempting yoga poses!

Once we return from vacation I am going to do my best to come up with a plan to fit this into my schedule.  Today I considered running laps around my backyard.  My neighbors may give me some crazy looks, but it just might happen soon!

If exercise is important to you, how do you fit it in?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day #59: Taking a Break...To Avoid the Ugly

Throughout this process I have realized how much I struggle.  There are more days than I'd like to admit that just don't go the way I'd like.  As a family, I feel we are in need of a makeover.  We need a fresh start.  We have all developed bad habits and at times our behavior towards each other leaves a lot to be desired.  Once the cycle begins, it is so difficult to back up and break out of this funk we all find ourselves in.

As the responsible adults, this change is going to have to begin with us:  the parents.  It is time to set some goals and change some of our bad habits.  The first I'd like to see go is the yelling.  Let me tell you, there are times when we feel it is the only way our children can hear us in this house. These kids get downright loud (and a bit out of control with the silly antics at times).  We generally start out using our normal voice, but after two or three times of being ignored I think we feel we have no other option but to yell.  I really don't enjoy raising my voice, but I get so frustrated I just don't know what else to do!

It is hard to be the best parent you can be when you are tired and your patience has been tested too many times in a day to count.  One of my goals is to have an hour break each day.  Kids need to be in their rooms for quiet times while the baby sleeps.  I am hoping this will give me the opportunity to close my eyes for a few minutes and simply regroup.  There are times we just all need a break.  Lately I've read about taking a time-out...for yourself!  If your patience is wearing thin and you are feeling like things are going to get ugly, tell your kids you are taking a time-out in your room.  I think I am going to give that a try!  Let's be honest, I think we can all agree there are times we just want to lock the door and pretend we're alone, if only for a bit!

What do you do when you get to the boiling point?  Forge ahead, lash out, or escape for a bit?


Day #58: A Few Hours Away

As parents, we are not overly selfish.  We devote nearly every waking hour of every single day to our family.  I spend very little time away from my brood and I don't necessarily believe it is a good thing.  It has just been so difficult to find a balance and particularly challenging with our youngest babe since she has not taken a bottle nor does she go to sleep and stay down for the night.  There are times when I long for the freedom to just get away and not be on the clock!

We were fortunate to escape for a few hours over the weekend.  We joined several of our neighbors for a night out at a local restaurant.  It was nice to get away for a bit and get to know some of our neighbors a bit better.  Spending time without the children is important.  I just wish it were easier to do.  We have yet to find a sitter other than grandparents, but even when we do, we will have to work a night out into the budget since paying a babysitter to watch our four kids will not be cheap!

A huge part of this process is working to improve our life as a family.  Incorporating time away from the kids is so very, very important.  Are you good about taking time away?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day #57: Hands Free...The Fight Against Distraction

I received an awesome gift in the mail this week...from myself!  I ordered three books I've been wanting to get my hands on and couldn't wait to dive in.  Most likely they will all be read simultaneously, but I first opened Hands Free Mama.  Oh my goodness, it did not take long to get the emotions rolling.

In a world so full of noise, busyness, and distraction it is hard to stay focused.  To be intentional. To follow through with our goals.  I so badly want to feel less overwhelmed.  Less busy.  Less distracted.  There are days when I feel like I do a decent job of this and others where I struggle. With summer approaching, I want to make sure I'm spending quality time with my kids free of the distractions from the phone and computer.  It will be a challenge, because it has become an addiction.

Who would have thought we'd have addictions to phones?  To the internet?  Oh the evolution of technology.  There are often days where I feel those smart phones were the worst invention ever.  Facebook isn't far behind!  It is so difficult to unplug from the world, especially those in the working world who are accessible 24/7.  I find it sad and disturbing that we feel we must sacrifice our time with our families, after work hours and on the weekends, to work and answer emails.  It's just wrong folks!

What's your biggest distraction?  Mine is social media.  Definite pros and cons!  On the bright side, I did not browse the Facebook feed all day!  Tonight I just might since I'm hanging out solo!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Day #56: Taming the Beast

I'm working on taming the beast.  You know, that volcanic eruption that rumbles in your stomach and results in an angry, irritated, frustrated mother monster?  Yeah, that's me.  I try so hard, honestly, I do.  There are times I can just keep on keeping on when my kids are not listening or saying inappropriate words, but there are times when I simply cannot.  When there's a time constraint and I'm left alone to corral all four kiddos, it's just a recipe for disaster.

I understand the triggers, I really do.  I do the best I can to avoid being rushed and scrambling at the last minute, but it seems no matter how far in advance I try to prep everyone for leaving, we still find ourselves in this situation. Yesterday I allowed a whole hour to prepare to leave for my daughter's preschool graduation.  I gave three of my four a quick bath and immediately got them dressed, but two pairs of ripped tights and three children ignoring my requests to go the bathroom and put their shoes on later we were behind schedule...again.  We make it to the van, but I carry my stress and feelings of irritation with me and when my car is filled with children yelling "poop," "butt," and "toot" every five seconds, the beast emerges.  It is ugly.  I am sad.  Feelings of guilt mixed with irritation emerge and I am left to consider how I can put an end to this ugly cycle.

I'm still pondering that one....and trying not to beat myself up too much.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day #55: Decisions, Decisions...on Education

I have a confession:  for quite some time I have been doubting our choice for our children's education.  It is not because of our local school district, as one of the reasons we chose our new home was because of the schools.  I also really do love knowing my kids are just a few blocks away at our neighborhood school.  I just don't love the strict guidelines being put in place by our government officials and I especially dislike our children's ability being determined by their performance on standardized tests.  

As a former public school teacher, I cannot even begin to relate to today's teacher.  I have only been out of the system for 7 years, but to my trained eye it seems like there is little freedom to use creativity and innovative ideas to teach the content required for each grade.  Classes are too full, hands-on exploration seems almost non-existent, and there seems to be little time for anything but literacy and math.  

My interest in homeschooling has gone from zero to sixty in a matter of a few brief years.  Our son is excelling by our school's standards, but there is a big part of me that feels he could be challenged so much more.  I want him to be able to explore his interests, to have more exposure to science and social studies curriculum, and to spend more time learning and less time waiting for others to catch up.  

This is a decision that will not be taken lightly.  We intend to do a lot of research in the upcoming months, spend some time talking to some families we know who have chosen to homeschool their children, and to really evaluate the pros and cons of this choice.  Long ago I had a discussion with a friend before our kids were even old enough to begin their school years and I loved her philosophy on education:  no choice is permanent.  Each year we can evaluate the needs of our children and make an informed decision about their education.  Contrary to what our government appears to believe, education is not one size fits all.  We have the ability to make adjustments if needed.  I truly believe this is an important point for all parents to consider.  

I'd love to hear your thoughts on education!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day #54: Sometimes You Have to Say No

I've come to love the days when we have nowhere to go.  I have time to take care of the necessary housework, the kids have the freedom to play all day, and we get to avoid those stressful transitions out the door.  I am looking forward to school ending and more of our days to have this flow.  It is one of the big reasons we do our best to not over-schedule.

It is hard to say no to the child who is begging to partake in yet another activity.  To say no to the child who says he wants to fit in with all of the boys in his class because they all are involved in the Scouts (whether there is truth to this or not I do not know).  To listen, yet gently remind him he can't do it all.  He must choose what is most important and it is hard at the young age of seven to do that.

While we encourage our children to pursue their interests, we strongly believe in preserving their childhood and our time as a family.  We do not want to be running from this to that each night of the week.  With four children we simply cannot say yes to everything, so our kids have to decide what is most important to them.  It can be difficult and causes some serious drama at times, but in the end we stand by our convictions.  It is okay to set limits.  To say no and not give into the tantrum that may ensue.  While we may feel a twinge of guilt now and then, we truly believe we are doing what's best for our children.  There will be plenty of time left in life to run the race, but little time to simply be kids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day #53: Sometimes You Have to Speak Up

I truly enjoy writing.  It gives me a way to process my thoughts and express myself, which when surrounded by four adorable little children all day is a welcome relief!  Lately I have been struggling with the food my daughter has been eating at preschool.  It seems like all of the snacks she eats are just sugary junk food.  Fun?  Yes!  Any nutritional value at all?  No.  When your children are affected by sugar and food dye like mine are, this really is a problem.

I took the time to write in my other blog about this topic.  I truly feel we are truly forgetting how important it is for our children to be exposed to healthy food choices.  Our country is disease-ridden and overweight and children are no exception.  We need to step up to the plate and do something about this sad epidemic.  What we put in our grocery carts and bring into our home IS important.

You can read my thoughts on this here:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day #52: Doing Away with Mother's Day Expectations

I must admit, for some of my mothering years I had great expectations for Mother's Day and often times felt let down once the day came to an end.  I would vow to not clean a thing, cook, or engage in any other activity requiring effort to keep up the house.  I envisioned my children behaving like angels and an opportunity to relax and have some time to myself.  It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but it's true. This year I have mentally taken a different approach to this day and I must say, it has been a refreshing change.  I set no expectations in my mind and have been so surprised by and appreciative of the sweet gestures of love from my not-so-little family. I've even done a load of laundry...gasp!

Today we are honored because we are mothers.  We spend each day doing our best to ensure our family is well taken care of on all fronts.  Each day we wake and serve our families and we do this for two reasons:  out of love for our family and because God has called us to do so.  Our purpose is to teach, guide, and nurture the children we have been blessed with.  It requires a lifetime commitment, an abundance of patience, and the ability to keep moving forward even when we want to curl up and sleep for days due to the pure exhaustion of raising our family.

Let us never forget how lucky we are.  It could be very different.  So many women long to be mothers, but don't get the opportunity.  Some women must leave their families long before they are ready.  Some women mourn the child they have lost.  Some women wonder about the child they gave up for a better life.

On this Mother's Day, let us take the opportunity to be grateful for our blessings, embrace this club we are so privileged to be a part of, and appreciate the gestures of love our families have graced us with today.  I hope you all have had a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day #51: Simple Saturday Fun

Oh, today was pretty awesome.  We did not do anything extravagant, our children did not display their best behavior, but it was still awesome.  We enjoyed being together as a family, spending time outdoors, having lunch out, and the goods at a few local farmer's markets. Overall it was simple, entertaining, and a great way to spend a beautiful, warm, sunny day.

I have come to love the farmer's market.  We spend a lot of time gazing around and are still figuring out what goods we want to purchase on a regular basis, but I find it to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  As an added bonus, we get to support small businesses and most of the food choices fulfill our desire to purchase organic and/or non-GMO products.

Simple, but fun.  Here's to more Saturdays like this one!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Day #50: Friday Tradition

Fridays hold a special tradition in our house:  pizza night.  Nearly every Friday I make homemade pizza and if I don't, we order out.  It is a tradition we have all grown to love and I am so happy we choose to spend our Friday nights at home unwinding from a busy week.  I feel like this is one area of our lives where it is effortless to stay in the slow lane.

Sometimes it's the little traditions that make lasting memories.  We just have to be intentional and slow down enough to create opportunities for these meaningful moments.  It may seem insignificant at the time, but it just might turn out to be one of your family's favorite past times. Tradition is good for the soul of a family.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day #49: Setting a Realistic Goal

Lately I have been bothered by the mess.  There is a difference between the everyday messiness that comes with having four young children and a mess made by us simply not putting things away and decluttering.  While I would love to tackle my whole house in one week, I understand it is completely unrealistic at this point and time in our lives.

Today I decided to be realistic and set a goal I could achieve.  I decided to tackle my kitchen and as I sit here at the end of the day I am thrilled I accomplished my goal.  It may seem like no big deal, but so often I am disappointed that I did not finish what I set out to achieve.  I believe it is fair to say I typically set my expectations way too high and then beat myself up because I feel like I've failed.  It sounds so silly, especially when I'm referring to keeping up my house, but it's true.

Perhaps this is part of the lesson of slowing down.  Realizing you can't do it all is half the battle. Being content with what I did accomplish and not beating myself up about what I didn't achieve on any given day is another piece of the puzzle.  Today I am perfectly content and what a great feeling it is!



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day #48: Today I Was a "Yes" Mom

Overall, today was a good day!  Ah, such a relief to write that.  Was it perfect?  No, it never will be, but at the end of the day I feel pretty good about it and am not filled with regret.  This morning I set out to be a "yes" mom. My youngest son has been begging to paint on our new "weasel" and today I finally agreed.  He had a blast and loved showing off his painting.  Once he was done creating his masterpiece he grabbed the shaving cream off the shelf and asked to do that next.  "Yes" came out of my mouth without a second thought and oh how much fun he had.

Why do I not say yes to these activities more often?  The mess?  The time?  Who knows, but I'm going to be agreeing to messy projects more often.  My kids love art and we need to cultivate their creativity, both in play and in the arts.  I WILL do my best to be a "yes" mom.  Don't get me wrong, there will be times when no will be the answer, but I am going to do my best to not let that "no" slip out before I've really considered their request.  Are you a "yes" mom?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day #48: Distraction

Lately I have read so many blog posts about distraction.  Let's face it:  technology is a huge distraction, especially those darn smart phones.  I am guilty of spending too much time looking at the phone or having my face stuffed in a computer screen reading blogs of interest or online shopping.  While it's not all bad, there is a fine line to walk between balance and too much.  

For me, Facebook is the ultimate time suck.  I've come to realize that scrolling through the news feed simply sucks up too much of my time.  I'm trying a little experiment to reduce my time on there and will let you know if it works!

I am going to commit to abandoning social media on Sundays.  Seems like the logical day to do it!  I may make the occasional post, but I am not going to spend my day scrolling through feeds to see what's going on with everyone else!  I'm going to focus on my family.  I'm sure the world will continue to turn if I miss a few updates.

We have also implemented a no phone policy at the dinner table.  I need to put it out of sight during the day, too.  There is some truth in the theory of being addicted to the phone.  Time to break the cycle!  Who's in??  Can you part with your social media feeds for one day a week?  Do you feel like you spend too much time distracted by technology?

Day #47: Tomorrow is Another Day

Hmmm, today was not great.  There was a lot of crying, screaming, yelling, and all around frustration.  When neither you nor your kiddos are getting enough sleep, life can get pretty ugly. The days are long, but the years are short?  Today felt like a week, but it was just one day.  I think it's safe to say we are in a difficult season.  This too shall pass, but when?!

Tomorrow is another day.

Day #46: Stop, Look, and Listen

Sunday, our day of "rest," turned out to have a lot on the agenda:  church, Sunday school, t-ball, and a dinner gathering with the ladies.  Normally I would have no problem handling a day like this, but getting little sleep and having a migraine headache was just enough to tip the scale into a non-manageable agenda.

Unfortunately, the one item to go was my dinner.  I was disappointed to cancel.  I value my time away with just the ladies, but I had to put my desire to go aside.  It was an important step to realize there was no pushing through this time.  My body just wanted rest.  I listened and though I am still bummed I missed the dinner, Monday morning came and my headache had disappeared.

There are times we just need to slow down and listen to what our mind, body, or soul needs.  It may mean missing an important event or simply leaving the house a mess until another day.  We were not made to go full steam ahead and never rest.  A valuable lesson I am slowly learning!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day #45: Imperfect Progress

I must admit, there are days where I feel pretty good about my parenting and there are days where I feel pretty awful about how our day went.  Some days I can keep it together, keep my voice from raising into that loud, yelling register, and feel as stress-free as a mom of four can.  Other days my voice only knows that loud, yelling register and I could pull my hair out by 8:30 in the morning.

I do my best to celebrate the good days, but it sure seems easier to beat myself up after a bad day. I so badly wish I could consistently keep my cool, especially when under fire (you know, when one or all of your kids are screaming and crying or you're just trying to get out the door to be somewhere fashionably late).  I am making imperfect progress.  There are days I can do this, but there are also days where there are just too many triggers firing off in my brain and I just explode. Not pretty...sigh.

I have begun to recognize some of the triggers that really set me off:  not enough sleep, lack of sunshine, not having any time to myself, and kids not being able to follow simple directions. This is a pretty conservative list, though.  I suppose part of this process is figuring out where my weaknesses lie and to do my best to find a way to cope and diffuse the situation before I lose my patience.

Oh, this journey of motherhood is full of ups and downs.  This season is challenging, but if I can just keep pushing through and recognizing my weaknesses, I hope to continue on this path of imperfect progress.


Day #44: Acceptance

I am working hard to declutter and organize my home.  There are a few truths I have begun to accept on this journey:

- It will take me months!
- My home will never be "show ready" (nor do I want it to be)
-As long as my husband and I are on the same page about how "acceptable" our home's        appearance is, then no one else's opinion matters.

Amen.  :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day #43: Girls' Night Out is Good for the Soul

For the past few months, some of my neighborhood gal pals and I have been discussing a great book about motherhood, Desperate:  Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  I have been enjoying our nights out every other Wednesday.  I feel like each time we meet we're up later and later.  These nights are so good for the soul.

Friendships with other women are so very important, but an area of my life I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.  Don't get me wrong.  I have some wonderful and loyal friends who have been in my life for years and I love them dearly.  On the flip side, I've had many friendships dissolve and been thoroughly confused by their demise.  These experiences have led me to be very cautious when it comes to friendships.  I don't tend to go "all in" for a long time.    

It's been nearly two years since we moved to our new home in a new state and I finally feel like I have found a group of gals who I can trust and they also happen to be in the same season of life.  It's so refreshing to be able to speak truthfully and be authentic.  The added bonus?  They all live within a couple of minutes of my house.  Opportunities to meet at the park, go for a walk, or have an impromptu gathering are priceless.  Mothers are meant to be part of a supportive community and I am so grateful for this group of gals!