Today started later than I was hoping, my little morning routine immediately squashed. It’s Monday after all, yet I woke up with a little more jump in my step than usual.  Yesterday I put more of an effort into the day being restful for me.  Andy was just back from a work trip, and I was ready to put my feet up.  Rest is not something that comes easy for me. I am a do person, a get-up-and-go person, I like to move-it-move-it… I get energy from being on my feet.  Ask my kids how many times I fall asleep during family movies.  The idea of allowing my body time to recover, rejuvenate and refresh doesn’t sound interesting to me. So, most of my life I’ve opposed all of it. Until now… I am finding how important it is for me (and for my family) to find the type of rest I need.  It is a different thing for every individual, and one I am working on discovering.  No conclusions as to what works well for me, as of yet, but I’m sure I’ll keep on sharing as I keep on learning.

I am convinced, however, that today, on this Monday, I have much more grace with myself and my family. All the messes, and piles, and untidiness that is our life(!!) isn’t bothering me like it often can.  My empty day-planner hasn’t even been written in for the week yet, and it’s a-okay! I am not a type-A personality so planning and organizing are things that I have to work at. Nonetheless, I am trying to become more… responsible, should I say? Writing things down and crossing them off is helping me stay focused and on track with some goals. But today, I have a renewed sense of everything… it’s Monday, a day to be free and run outside, drink loads of coffee, eat cookies, and catch up on laundry. To let the kids wear short-sleeves and pretend it’s still warm weekend weather… while we do school work through it all.  One of the greatest pieces of homeschooling is this – life happening all around us in the midst of our learning.

I’m not certain why today feels different to me.  Is it because I deliberately tried to allow some refreshment for my soul? Is it because it’s Monday and well.. it’s Monday! Whatever it is, I am positively sure of one thing… this is how we will do Monday’s from now on.  Because it is a good day to start a great week. Don’t ya think?! If not, why don’t you make it? Happy Monday to you!

 

 

 

 

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Andy was gone for much of last week, traveling for both work and a family gathering to celebrate the life of his beautiful grandmother.  While he was away it snowed once again, early in the week and stayed around for a couple of days, causing school closures for three days in a row here in Nashville. Although we homeschool, we do take our days a bit more easy when there is snow outside, something that is a rarity and one that we celebrate inside and out. Our weekend was spent doing housework and relaxing which was the perfect way to spend days welcoming our love back home.  And now onto a new week, and February ticking away… Hope you have a good one!

+ A typical morning watching these two eating and chatting and having such adult-like conversations. Just listening to them makes my heart feel like it’s actually growing.  I love them so!
+ Axel’s go-to breakfast: chocolate granola (no milk!), and biscotti… every day.
+ The light in this room was so bright and beautiful as the snow fell outside.
+ Performing her version of a puppet show at the library.
+ Greek yogurt cake with fresh raspberry curd and eggs, one of Ezra’s favorites.
+ Designing their usual welcome home sign for daddy coming home. He used to travel so often so over the years we make sure that he gets celebrated well with banners, colored chalkboards, and homemade treats… as well as gobs of hugs and kisses.
+ One of her new favorite gadgets in the kitchen, the peeler! Helping me peel those big carrots for snacking.
+ Morning glimpse of the snow, which almost tripled in accumulation over the course of the day.
+ Homemade soft pretzels… the perfect afternoon snack for a snowday.
+ A clean slate…. early morning planning out the week.  My favorite way to start the day.

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As a mom, do you get into a funk every so often where something, you can’t figure out what it is, is bothering you and you just want to sulk? Well, that’s been me the past twenty-four hours. It is not that I am unhappy, or anxious about anything, but just in a lull; one that I am certain will be over and done with by the time I publish these thoughts.

I find myself in these odd moods every two or three months.  And, then I snap out of them and often find the true reasoning to why I was grumpy to begin with.  But, I do think it’s normal, and I don’t feel like it’s something that we should hide as mothers.  We have so much on our plates, everyone’s different, and every mother has her own personal capacity when it comes to how much they take on.  I have shared before about how I could feel crazy when I look at our home, our family life, how we’ve chosen to spend our days and the loud, constant, wild that surrounds us on a daily basis.  But, right now in this moment, and forever, I would choose this life, this husband, these kids, over and over again.

So, if you’re a mama and have little struggles here and there and feel crazy, or confused, or maybe in a lull, don’t you worry because you’re perfectly normal.  Sometimes writing things down, getting out a journal and pouring out your thoughts helps; I know for me it is a huge part of my routine. Or share with another mama friend because chances are she’s been through the same thing. Us girls are emotional creatures that need a little encouragement every now and then, and I hope you find that wherever you are today. xo

 

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Recently, Ottie received a collection of stationery passed onto her from her great-grandmother. While it may seem like a trivial thing to any of us, for her it is like a treasury box.  She has been practicing the art of correspondence daily… writing notes, drawing pictures for family members, and those that pop in to visit.

What I love about watching her with these adorned cards and papers is her mind and heart beginning to grasp that people love receiving little gifts, or words that are loving and encouraging. She asks to walk one out to the mailbox, daily. As she narrates very specific words for me to write down, I draw out dotted letters for her to trace. Things like Ottilie Joy Swanson wrote this. It is the cutest thing!

Through the past few days of her writing away, it has sparked a desire in me to once again begin writing letters to those I love, or have on my mind. I used to practice correspondence much more, and while it really doesn’t take much time, it’s the act of stopping to spend five minutes and pop a card in the mailbox.  Maybe you’ll get a note from me soon because I truly think it is a wonderful way of communicating that I hope never dies.

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We’ve had a teenager in the house for three plus years now; and even though Ez turned thirteen just this past Fall, he had all the mannerisms of a teen at the age of twelve. So, we’ve felt as though life with teens has been just a natural part of our world for a few years now, and I thought I’d share a bit about just how much fun we are having raising teens.

My sweet sister-in-law was the first of us girls to have a baby, and therefore she lived through the teen years before any of us. Her comments on life with a teen were always so positive and encouraging, and even now I look back at her as the one who paved the way for the rest of us; reminding us that these years can and should be really great! And now that we are fully in the beginning stages I couldn’t agree more.

For me, these years that the kids are growing, changing, and becoming his/her own unique individual are ones that I remember going through myself.  An important piece to parenting during the middle and high school aged years is realizing that for myself, these were some very formative years. Recognizing that I went through some very similar emotions and behaviors is imperative for me in how I relate to them and some of their ways of thinking. I remember dreaming, and doodling, and dancing in my room with my ghetto blaster on, and (rotary!) phone calls with friends, and hanging out after church nights, or football games. There were crushes, and good conversations, and time to just be with others in my life. Of course the times have changed so much with the digital age that we live in… Snapchat, and Instagram, and Facebook, and texting… and most can be done in the comfort of one’s own home and not necessarily needing to be present with people. That is what I don’t quite know how to relate to, from a teen perspective, but I can certainly try my hardest. I mean how cool would some of these mediums have been when we were younger?!

Andy and I have chosen to approach parenting with this in mind… we are raising adults. Even at a young age, we try to teach them independence and self-care, and with each year we expect more and more from them in return.  I love that our kids can cook a meal, and clean up, do laundry, yard work, house maintenance, change diapers, understand the value of a dollar, and are well-educated.  However, one of the most valuable attributes of our children is how they interact with, and love others. Over the years, we have had amazing friends and people in our lives and in our home.  These people, more times than I can count, have become family to us, and our children.  It has been so wonderful for friendships like this when our immediate family are on the other side of the country. Our kids have loved, cared about and opened up to these individuals in the most beautiful ways.  From early ages, they have spent so much time around adults, learned how to communicate, to be patient, to have a good attitude, and to have a great sense of humor;  but mostly, how to love well.

As I watch our teenagers interact with older kids, and their authorities I love that they have a genuine respect for them as individuals. They are kind, and think of the needs of those they are with.  They know how to have fun, to play games, explore outdoors, and how to sit and talk for hours in a room with their friends, no television, just kids in a room talking.  (Who does that anymore?!) Zoe and Ezra help me around the house, offer to teach and watch over Ottie, and have lately been helping me with catering events (which is my very favorite!). They are just pure enjoyment to be with every single day, so much so that we miss them greatly just when they go to friends’ homes to hangout or sleepover. These teenage years are going to go by just as quickly as the toddler and elementary years did for us. In just a few short years we will have another adult in our family, and frankly that just breaks my heart to think that is coming so soon. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that parenting phase will be even better than I can imagine, with its most wonderful qualities, but for now and today, I am choosing to cherish each little moment with these crazy, awesome teenagers.

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