Love Yourself

A photo by Azrul Aziz. unsplash.com/photos/_14v_Fbk4SQ

I notice moms everywhere…passing by me at Target and at gymnastics – 2 kids in tow, 1 on the way. The stressed look on her face. Trying to juggle it all. Feeling all alone. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? Isn’t this what she looked forward to her whole life? Getting married and having babies? Why did no one tell her how hard it would be? Why did no one tell her to stay young just a little while longer. Little did she know how many sleepless nights were ahead of her. How many fevers she would tend to. How many days the laundry would pile up around her while she felt anything but joy. Continue reading “Love Yourself”

Love, Actually

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As we celebrated Valentine’s Day last weekend, it made me think about the cliche many married couples profess – that they love their spouse more today than on the day they married them.  Now I totally see why.  When you enter into a marriage, you’ve likely experienced mostly bliss.  Once you get going and add a kid or two to the mix is when things are really tested.  Along the way, your path somehow turned into peaks and valleys and as you look back to see all  you’ve weathered, you realize it’s the lows and how you came out of them that make you love the other person even more.  How they carried you through the rough times and came out stronger on the other end is what matters the most.

Continue reading “Love, Actually”

It’s Christmastime…

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(Nest of Posies printable available here)

Christmastime is more than upon us.  My absolute favorite time of year and I hate that it’s already going so fast…even though the season really just began!  We have now been three times to the carousel and train at the mall…let me clarify – three times in five days.  I just can’t get enough of the kids and their excitement over holiday fun.  This is something I always looked forward to – seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children.  It really is a priceless experience.  As I saw those smiles light up their faces on the carousel, thoughts of the entire year flashed by in an instant.  Thoughts of three months ago spending time in the hospital with them both – I’m just so thankful for health.  So, so thankful.

I have been enjoying seeing my son soak in the moments as his first “real” Christmas where he knows what is going on.  His curiosity in why we are decorating a tree in our living room.   And his excitement at the polar express choo choo we have by our tree.  He enjoys pointing out “Sana” and “No-Men” and relishes in the reindeer feet of his Christmas PJs.  As I said, I love their excitement.  I also enjoy the holiday parties, the lights everywhere, the peppermint mochas.  The Michael Buble Christmas music, the cards in the mail each day, candy canes and other holiday treats.

And then I let my mind think about early January and the letdown I will inevitably feel as the holiday season comes to an end.  I hate that my mind goes there!  Live in the moment and stop thinking about what is ahead.

I guess as they say, all good things must come to an end.  We wouldn’t know the downs without the ups, right?  Coming off of a hard season of sickness and challenges that felt never-ending, I am feeling a sense of newness and anticipation of what’s around the corner.  The New Year always brings a clean slate and with it, loads of optimism.  The kids are getting older, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  With that comes a little more freedom and maybe, just maybe, less exhaustion?  I can dream, right!?

As the year comes to a close, I am in awe of the wonderful friends and support system I have in my community and the closeness and love of my husband and other family members.  I’m grateful to God for not only this season, but for this life.

I pray that your holiday season is merry and bright, filled with joy and hope.  I’ll leave you with this beautiful Christmas version of Hallelujah – I have been listening to it nonstop.

Merry, merry Christmastime.

Eat, Play, Love

It’s official.  I now have a four-year-old.  I’m not sure if that means life’s about to get easier or it’s about to get much harder.  I’ve heard mixed reviews about this age.  One thing’s for sure – a 4-year-old is not hard to please when it comes to birthday parties.  The shape I cut her sandwich into?  Yes.  But birthday parties?  Nope.  Super low maintenance.

My daughter’s party with her little friends was this past Sunday.  Two mothers told me recently that a good rule of thumb is to invite the number of kids as the age they’re turning.  Which was perfect because that was exactly what I had already done in order to keep things simple.

Throw in some pizza, some cupcakes, a little dress-up time, some art, and a bit of jewelry making and you have a recipe for one happy birthday girl.  The afternoon was all about eating, playing and lots of laughter.  A pumpkin cocktail added to the mix for the moms didn’t hurt either, let’s be honest.

That night as my daughter and I laid in her bed talking before I tucked her in, she asked “Mom, do you ever wish you were a little girl?”  Those questions – sometimes it’s like she just knows.  It feels like we’re on the same wavelength so often, which I can only attribute to God speaking to me through my children.

I had just been thinking that I sometimes wish I was little or I could revisit parts of my childhood.  Thoughts I don’t think hardly ever.

I responded to her, “Yes…sometimes I do wish I could be a little girl like you again.”  When she asked why, I said that it would be nice to play all day and I love watching her brother and her learn about the world together.  I miss that childlike wonder of life and seeing things for the first time.  I can get so wrapped up in bills, doctor appointments, and the house that I don’t often take time to just ‘play.’

Lately I’ve been having dreams that let me know I’m neglecting my inner child.  So my dreams coupled with my daughter’s pondering confirmed that I needed to revisit that ‘little girl’ inside of me.  What this typically means is being a little more carefree and not so adult-like at times. It might be taking my daughter to the park and swinging with her side by side.  There is something so freeing about the act of swinging.  When do adults get to just let go and feel free like this?  Kids love to play.  They love to swing.  I think this is my number one way to check in and love on my little girl inside.

Nurturing my inner child also might mean playing in the sand with my little ones without making mental lists or picking up my phone.  Not just engaging with my children, but also with myself and my little girl on the inside.  Feeling the sand between my fingers, molding it into whatever shape I feel like making.  The release of knocking it down and rebuilding.  It’s in this place where I can reclaim that childlike wonder and just enjoy simple moments that might have become mundane to me as an adult.

As parents, it can feel like a double-edged sword because in some senses, it’s not always that ‘fun’ to sit and play with our children.  But to really get into the moment and on their level and enjoy it maybe even more than your little ones – that’s when you know you’re caring for your little child inside.

There are certain smells from childhood that can also take me back – cookies baking at holiday time, the smell of chlorine and sun-kissed skin and the feeling of air condition in the summer.  A certain sandwich I enjoyed as a kid.  When these moments come, I feel a wave of nostalgia wash over me and a certain lightness in the air.  Those freeing, fleeting days – how I miss them.

So I’ll make the sandwich, eat the freshly baked cookie, and read a book next to the A/C.  When I soak in those moments, taste the comforting morsels that take me back – I know it does my heart and soul good.  Nurturing the child I once was has become a powerful tool to be more present in my days and to take care of ‘adult’ me too.  After all, we are one in the same, right?

Eat, play, love, little girl.

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What my children have taught me about life…so far

Seeing life through the eyes of your children can be a beautiful and refreshing perspective in many ways.  Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from them.

  • Enjoy the simple things.  Whether it is a walk outside to look at trees or collect sticks, there truly is joy to be found in even the most mundane aspects of life.

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  • And on the flip side of that coin, there is raw emotion, sadness and disappointment to be felt, too.  And that is equally okay.  Kids are great at getting their feelings out – adults, not as much.  I’m learning to feel what I need to feel in the present.
  • Persistence.  Babies and children are the epitome of persistence.  If only adults tried and kept trying as children do.  Whether it’s my son’s walking, falling and doing it again and again until he has it down or my daughter showing me she can get that door open if I only let her try – it is really a lesson to be learned for us adults.  Oh, to have that kind of perseverance and stamina.  It makes me want to try harder.
  • A zest for learning.  My daughter’s constant question asking is her way of figuring the world out and how it works.  I wish I had such a hunger for learning anything and everything like that kid!
  • Be an individual – and don’t care what other people think.  My daughter’s outfits are a prime example.  She wants to express herself creatively and I love her for that.
  • We all need a break to recharge.  Children almost always need to take a rest, whether it’s a nap or some downtime, in order to refuel.  Us adults are guilty of not taking breaks seriously.  We can all use them or we will surely burn out.
  • The sweet gesture of holding a friend’s hand or giving a hug is natural and loving – I feel like it isn’t as easy for me to do this, but children don’t overthink it when showing affection…they just do it.IMG_1837

I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from my little ones in just a few short years.  We teach them and they teach us right back.