Friday, November 29, 2019

how a recovering perfectionist takes on Christmas.

alternately titled a sentimentalist realizes traditions come and go.

sometimes i sit and wonder how we got to where we are.

i used to place each ornament carefully on the tree.

make sure everything was just right.

obsess over details on things that most people wouldn't notice.

now i look at the Christmas tree that has ornaments tossed haphazardly and my heart is full.

i guess the easy answer is i had a child.

and another.

and another.

and another.

little by little they pecked away at those ocd tendencies that i thought were rooted deep.

another thought is that i and my dreams were uprooted.

from indiana, from georgia, from korea, from indiana, and finally to western nebraska.

with that went some ideas and traditions that we had, that we just couldn't keep.

in georgia, it was spending Christmas morning at our home.

in korea we had to settle for an artificial tree.

in indiana i thought we had it all figured out. our little home we built. our church. our Christmas tree farm. family close and able to stay in jammies on Christmas day.

then we were uprooted again and landed here.

i cried over the tree that first Christmas here.

broke down in the garage to my poor husband.

it was hard to lose some of our precious traditions. instead of Robert's Christmas Tree Farm, we settled for menards or bomgaars.

instead of being surrounded by family, we had each other.

but little by little we began our own new traditions. in this place, with these people.

this year, we didn't even pick up a tree together. i called james and he shoved one in his tiny toyota and brought it home.

and it was ok.

Eliza helped with the garland.

and it was ok.

i handed the kids most of the ornaments, and only adjusted a few.

and it was ok.

it was more than ok! i got to to sit back with my love and watch our children flit around excitedly.

there were no arguments when setting up the tree stand. no grumpiness. no annoyed spouses or whiny kids.

they even almost had me convinced to leave it in the middle of the room, "so we can see every side!"

i'm not there yet, but it sure is fun letting them take the lead!

i hope they remember the fun we have together, and the traditions are just an added bonus.

we got this...because we have each other.

side note - james will probably laugh at this, because i am still crazy about certain things, and he is currently building a table for my mom's Christmas village i inherited. this was after he hung the classic c9 glass bulbs on our house, complaining about each one that was burned out. sorry dude! ;)  i'm trying!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

just enough...or why i am thankful i married an army boy.

let me preface this by saying by no means do i think i have my life together. there are many days that i struggle with depression, my kids are monsters, my house is trashed, i am throwing scraps for lunch, and overall feeling like i can barely keep my head above water. i do however feel like i have learned a few tricks over the years to make my life as a stay at home mama easier, and i was compelled to share.

james and i grew up very differently. he is the oldest, i am the youngest. his mom had to work, mine stayed home. he had many responsibilities, mine didn't come until i left the house. (i remember him teaching me how to do laundry at my dorm. dude even knew to hang up bras!) he joined the army and i lived on my own, but still had to call my parents for the occasional loan for rent.

then we got married, and moved to georgia. i happily took on the housewife role, but i was still learning. did you know there are proper ways to fold t-shirts? and garbage can lids need to always be clean? that you must wipe down surfaces that are above your head? no, really...his years with his mom, and then in the army, made him a bit particular about certain things. then here i was, this organized chaos lover. over the years i feel like we have balanced each other well. he relaxed where he needed to, and i tightened up in the important things. kids will help that happen too!

kids, man, they can change your world and fill it with junk. some necessary, but some just to make your life a little easier, but not required. when we registered for our first baby i knew i wanted to keep that in mind. no diaper genie or wipes warmer on our list. just the basics. we have adopted the "just enough" attitude in many ways, and i really feel it has kept me sane.

we don't have a cabinet full of tupperware with missing lids. just a few glass storage containers. ball jars for the rest.

we used the same 3 glass bottles for all 3 kids. granted, i breastfed so bottles were rare, but we never did the bottle search. one kind and if they didn't like it, well, i guess they'd eat when they were hungry, or i came home and could nurse.

same with sippy cups, oh how i hated sippy cups. we kept it simple with just a handful, and they were used on multiple kids. no lost cups in the car if we only used one a day. the day we recycled our last kid dishes was a very happy one. now everyone drinks out of ball jars and they get corelle bowls and plates.

ditto on pacis, ours didn't use them often, but we never bought more.

the big one i have learned after an abundance of girl clothes is to simplify. i am doing enough laundry as it is. they don't need 20 outfits. (even though they are so cute!) if we pack for a week away, there is not much left in anyone's drawers. if we leave for two, we better have access to a washer and dryer.

same with socks and underwear, i don't know if i just got lucky, but i honestly do not understand the whole missing sock thing. feel free to punch me for that. ha!

shoes, baby shoes are adorable, but unnecessary. our kids have a pair of boots, church shoes (for the girls) sneakers, sandals and one pair of flip flops. i choose quality over quanity. buy bigger, and they can wear for two years.

minimal character toys...because they will just move on to the next and we'd be left with junk they don't care about. actually minimal toys too, because we've found ours just love a stack of paper and something to write with.

we bought each kid a kite for one of their first easters. a nice nylon one from target. after each flight we wrap it up and put it back in the sleeve. our oldest's kite is going on 8 years.

speaking of easter, we've also used the same grass and eggs every year for 10 years now!

i am also super crazy about keeping the fridge clean. the thought of mold makes me sick, so things get tossed out regularly and it usually looks like a bachelor's fridge when it's time to grocery shop again.

holiday decorations are reserved to just a few totes. we keep it simple all around. i would love to have a fancy house all decked out, but i also enjoy pulling out the same few decorations that we had our first Christmas together.

now all this said, i myself still struggle with certain things. mostly memory keeping. i have piles and piles of cards, and newspapers, and kid art. my hope chest is stuffed with photographs, journals, notebooks, letters, certificates. i am definitely a hoarder in that respect. the thing that has helped is moving often. first in the army, and now as a pastors wife, that is always a reality. with each move i realize more and more what i can toss and what i feel is worth holding on to.

after a few conversations, and a good post Christmas house clean, on top of the new year, i thought i would share a few of our minimalist ideas. something that works for us, in this season of our life. it is freeing and peaceful at the end of the day to have just a bit of cleaning to do. and if i ever need to keep myself in check i just think to myself...what would laura ingalls wilder have. it's a good rule!

enjoying the simple life, with 3 kids i need all the peace i can find!

now anyone have an extra hope chest or two?

p.s. we are now the proud owners of a litter genie. had to laugh that we survived 3 kids, but not 1 cat without a system like that!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

all the company of heaven.

it goes without saying that i have no idea what heaven is actually like...

but i like to think that with each loss to our story here...delia's story grows.

she has a grandma to rock her.

a baby cousin to love on and play with.

her daddy's parishioner's to entertain, like her siblings have.

and now an uncle to sit with, to hear stories from, to chat and catch up with, to love her.

a week ago i sat at my uncle's funeral and it just did not seem real. it felt incomplete. all our family gathered together, but he was missing. there was a noticeable hole. so i take comfort that our loss, is heaven's gain.

and what a place to be.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

abner at 3 1/2...

4th kid. dead blog. he doesn't have a whole lot documented. so i figured it was time for an update on our favorite boy.

he is very much in love with our cat, winston. they love to bug each other. when we first got winston and he would snuggle on abner, abner would say "he yike my body." :)

hattie and abner are also pretty inseparable. i was bummed for a little bit after we decided to home school the girls, that abner wouldn't get any one on one time with me. he is absolutely miserable to be around when hattie isn't home though. he is lost without her!
speaking of home school, hattie is in junior kindergarten now. abner sits in most days, so he has picked up on a great deal. he can count pretty high, write his name, recognizes most letters. it's pretty cool to watch! except when i realized he is learning everything upside down because he sits across from hattie. i think he has it figured out though!
this is what he does when he says something he shouldn't. he has been testing his limits a lot lately. if you discipline him he turns on you real quick. you could be his favorite one minute, and the next he is yelling "i don't yike you anymore! only daddy...and hattie...and ziza." it both frustrates me and makes me laugh.
he loves his cowboy boots, and was pretty proud when he got a cowboy hat. he doesn't realize just how much it sticks out though. when he first got it he ran into hattie with a "ohp! mine hat!"
he is gaining independence...finally. he will venture away from me. he goes to sunday school without me. he will play at the park without being stuck to me. he still has his moments and shadows me everywhere. so much that one day i told him he was no longer abner lee, he was now abner leech.
he is very much our shy guy, but i am able to encourage him a bit. this pic was after he carried his library books up to check out and say "may i haff these pease." i was super proud! many times he hides from people, not just unfamiliar ones, but everyone.
he's my little artist. constantly impressing me with paintings, drawings, creations. i hope his love for it continues to grow.
next to daddy, the ranch is high on his favorites list. especially if roger and colby are there. he talks about the cows and the 4 wheeler a lot. i love that they have a place to run, because we are definitely country people and not town dwellers.
he loves me a lot...when daddy is not around. he goes back and forth on who is his favorite, but he is such a lover. the best snuggle bug. thankfully he is still peanut sized, so he's easy to hold.
 he loves his sleep, and i love him for it. many days we hear "i tired" and he enjoys naps still.
his dork status is reaching new levels. ones that would make uncle luke proud. but he is the cutest dork around.
we found out a year and a half ago that he has a subaortic membrane. he has to see the cardiologist every 6 months to get an echo cardiogram. he is a rock star patient. this time as soon as the doctor walked in the room he lifted his shirt up. he also has to see an ear, nose and throat doctor soon. his tonsils are rather large. i wish he didn't have to deal with any of this, but his attitude makes it easier.
and two random things, that i don't want to forget.

he created a card game. basically, you take turns drawing cards, but you hold them facing out. from what i gathered it's called "you have a pair!" ha!

and today he wanted a chance to bat with hattie's new t-ball bat and squishy ball. he lived up to his name, and hit it on the first try. i have high hopes for his baseball career. ;)

he is definitely the best thing that ever happened to us. God knew what he was doing when he surprised us with abner. his sisters love him like crazy, and he completes our family perfectly. our little caboose.

Friday, March 9, 2018

spoiling hattie.

just wanted to remember this conversation with eliza...

after another hattie whine at bedtime, i was saying good night to eliza.

eliza - i just don't understand why she does that. it makes me mad.

me - i know. i don't understand either, but she is learning. you just need to keep showing her how to act, and hopefully she will figure the world out. do you know why daddy thinks she acts like that?

eliza - why?

me - because i spoiled her when she was a baby.

eliza - MAMA!

me - what?! sorry, i did.

eliza - how? why?

me - well, a lot of moms are nervous with their first kid. they fuss and worry, but i wasn't like that with you. i learned a lot from watching aunt tammy, and it was just fun. i was never nervous. then we lost delia, and you know what? when we had hattie, i was scared. i was nervous and i worried a lot. and she liked to be held, so i held her, because you didn't like to be. i gave her what she wanted, and spoiled her. but guess what else?

eliza - what?

me - you spoil her too.

eliza - errrgggh...i know, but i like to be nice!

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