Category Archives: Life

Settling In

Per usual fashion, I have about 3 minutes to type until the kids get up from their naps.

We are slowly settling into our new home. We still have a list a mile long of things we need to repair or replace, but we’re taking it at a much slower pace. We do have mold, predominantly in our kitchen area. We know there were leaks under the sink and under the fridge, and there’s still a lot of moisture showing up there under the laminate. We’re guessing that’s where the mold is (which, by the way, is not ultra high levels and also not TOXIC mold, praise God!). So bye-bye laminate flooring – it will need to be pulled up. I’m batting for tile so we can never worry about leaking anything for a long, long time. We have to replace the counter/sink/faucet/garbage disposal (which is leaking at the moment) as well, and so with a rather long list of needed repairs to get rid of mold, I’ve picked up quite a few night shifts at the hospital. I’m thankful for such a great job, which lets me work the spectrum of hours.

I’ve got up Costco’s awesomely massive Christmas wreath on our front door and some decorations on the fireplace mantle (thanks to Target’s $1 aisle). We’re on the fence about putting up the Christmas tree this year. 14 month old Rachel is active, determined, and in no way, shape or form a quitter. She will pull that tree down as fast and as hard as she can make it happen! Even so, I still think we shouldn’t skip out on the tree this year though. We might have to get creative.

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Target’s $1-$3 aisle is all really cute stuff right now.

Life with these two kiddos is so busy. I have no idea how people have 2 toddlers plus older kids at home and don’t lose their minds. Maybe it’s Rachel’s age and stage at the moment- I’m not sure?

Some of Rachel’s most favorite activities include:

  • Getting into Josh’s diaper pail.
  • Trying to get Josh’s dirty diaper away from Mom before she throws it into the diaper pail.
  • Taking wipes away from Mom while she is trying to change Josh’s diaper.
  • Eating Mom’s dirty socks.
  • Eating Mom’s dirty shoes.
  • Throwing food off of high chair tray.
  • Smearing food-laden greasy hands through hair (as many times as possible to complete the “look”).
  • Sucking on shampoo bottle.
  • Playing with toilet lid.
  • Bursting into brother’s room while he’s napping, or at least screeching loudly outside his door.
  • Snuggling with Mom.
  • Giggling and laughing while ANYONE pays attention to her.
  • Eating “special treats” after dinner (this girl loves M&M’s).

So you see, this girl keeps us on our toes (but also keeps a smile on our faces). Her big brother Josh, who will be 3 in March, puts up with his sister’s shenanigans fairly well for the time being. Occasionally he is provoked a little too much and he snaps back at her. He loves her though and is a good helper. I really love the times I get to spend just with Josh. He is learning and growing so much and it is really fun to discover a little bit of how his brain works (ahem.. a lot like his father’s.)

Well, the timer’s going off, and if I don’t get Josh up he’ll take forever to fall asleep tonight.

Hope you have a great rest of your week!

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Don’t be fooled, that headband lasted about 3 seconds.

Isn't this the cutest little bench?

Isn’t this the cutest little bench?

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Saying Goodbye

It’s time to say goodbye once again. In under two weeks, my sister and her family will be leaving us to live in another country for three years. They have lived state-side for twelve months, and we have done much of life together during that time. But just as we quickly adapted to incorporate them into every area of our lives upon their arrival, so we will just as rapidly have to adapt to their absence.

It’s a process I love and hate. I love having them be near us. I love having my nephews over for sleepovers, my husband being able to grab lunch with my brother in law during his lunch break, and my sister nearby to tackle life with me. I love being able to call or text my sister in order to coordinate plans for the next day or following week (it’s very expensive to call where they live overseas). I love how we cooperate together so that between the two of us we can get our grocery shopping done, our kids napped and fed, and whatever pressing need that may be on the agenda that day. Life–especially when you have kids, is work, and it’s great when you can share it with a friend.

As much as I love them coming, I hate that it also means having to say goodbye. Although 99% of me knows that life will soon find a purposeful cadence after they leave, I struggle. We weren’t meant for goodbyes, for separation. Living in community with others is hard work, but it’s also satisfying because it’s a little snippet of what life might have been like before the fall. Communing freely with God. Living in grace and peace with one another. Sadly, some live in turmoil and drama their whole lives, never experiencing this. Sin so easily entangles, but through His Spirit we can extend grace and love to one another. We can speak truth in love. We can focus on the log in our own eye instead of the speck in the eyes of our brother or sister. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

The following verses have been pressing on my heart these past few days. Maybe it’ll be my mantra for the next few weeks or months.

“‘Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:14-15

The goodbyes are coming. It’s a sad time for all of us. But we do not live as those who have no hope! So I won’t be foolish and dwell on it too much. I want to make the best use of the time. I’m praying for who the Lord might have me disciple or reach out to. How can I serve or bless? How can I open my home up to others?

May the Lord fill my schedule how He pleases.

In the meantime, goodbye dear sister, brother in law, and precious nephews. I love you guys dearly. You are never far from my thoughts and will never be anywhere other than close to my heart. You are doing a GOOD work and are faithful servants. You are always in my prayers.

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Giving Up

This seems to be a year of giving up things.

January 1st got kicked off by giving up Facebook. What a relief that has been. I’m three months into it, and I haven’t regretted it once.

A month ago the Lord convicted me that I was being frivolous with buying coffee at coffee shops. So that went too. (I still make coffee at home for a fraction of the price.) Again, I don’t regret it. I feel freedom.

And now I think it’s going to be my smartphone. I’ve been cogitating on this one for at least a year. I’ve been a smartphone user for 5 years and ironically I think I’m much dumber for it. More importantly though, I strongly feel the need to be 100% present for my children. I don’t mind if they see me reading a book or looking at a paper map (what’s that?!), but I’m not convinced that screen time for kids can be seen in a positive light. I want our family to be engaged in the present and with the world around us. And I don’t think that can happen when we are reliant on the constant beck and call of smartphones.

Smartphones are pretty magnificent, and everyone has one– so please know that of course I’m not judging you if you have a smartphone! It is probably due to my own lack of discipline that I need to forsake mine. Also, I’m just not sure if they’re a good thing for our family right now.

Speaking of being beckoned — Rachel is calling. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

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A Month of Hazard Lights

Instead of cleaning the kitchen, tonight I’m blogging.

My foggy brain is processing rather slowly after a day like today. And I’m so glad that not every day mirrors this one. We took our weekly trip to my parent’s property this morning. My sister and brother in law and their three kids are living there until they head back overseas in July. They’ll be gone for a long time after they leave (I think three years). We usually arrive mid-morning and my kids take naps (I set up the portable crib for Josh and Rachel sleeps in a swing I’m borrowing from a friend). We eat lunch together and sometime around 3 we pack everything up and head home.

This hour long trip to my parents is fun and there is always a lot going on between my kids and my sister’s kids. My parents usually have various things going on as well. But it is also usually just a really hard day for me. Hence the mention of hazard lights in the title. I think I’ve had to pull over (on the freeway, while traffic was slowly winding along) four times in the last three weeks to deal with screaming Rachel. Josh can take the screaming for about 25 minutes and then he’s done and starts screaming as well.

Today the trip home took 2 hours instead of 1, and Rachel screamed for most of it. I pulled over and changed her poopy diaper in my lap in the driver’s seat on the side of the freeway. She was calm for about 5 minutes (of course Josh screamed those 5 minutes she was quiet), but as soon as she went back into her car seat she went ballistic again.  When Josh started up too (this is well after he’s been given snacks, listening to Psalty music, and watching trains on my phone) I figured the safest thing to do was to put in my headphones and listen to music. Really loud music. I sort of feel bad about tuning out (no pun intended) but then again I don’t really have many options other than to GET HOME ASAP without killing everybody in the process. At the point the earbuds went in, there wasn’t a place to pull over or even exit the freeway due to road construction.

I tend to feel a little desperate during these screaming-saturated car trips. I’m sure it’s good for my character and I’ll be glad for that some day. But it also make me never want to leave my home ever again.

To fight discouragement I have to remind myself of what is true: My nephews will only be here for three more months. The frequency of these trips are temporary, and my kids will not always have the proclivity to scream like they’re being murdered the entire way. Nobody died in the process of traveling to and fro. Screaming for that long only fries my nerves for a few hours. The kids sleep better at night after all that vocal exercise. Chiefly, I’ll remember the good memories with my nephews long after today and long after they’ve returned overseas.

I had a mini meltdown after my hubby got home and we had a quiet moment alone. For all the screaming and needed hazard light use this past month, I still feel like time is quickly slipping by and we’re not getting to see them enough. I have to remember what an incredible blessing it is that my sister and I are so close that I’m sad when we don’t get to do life together as often as I’d like. And that my nephews are always so full of energy and fun topics.

And that they still think we’re cool.

Lord, thank you for my family and for relationships that I have always been blessed by.

My oldest nephew Noah happens to be a rock star when it comes to watching Josh.

My oldest nephew Noah happens to be a rock star when it comes to watching Josh.

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