Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Word for 2017

So many words were swirling around in my head as I thought about what I wanted my word of 2017 to be. I have chosen a word on the crest of each new year for the past 4 years and each word has played a powerful part in shaping my year. Last year I chose courage and my year brought about many trials where I had to choose to be courageous. So I know the word I choose has the ability to shape my whole year.

I already know this year will bring changes as we welcome Alder in just a few weeks and become a family of 4. I know it will be a joy, but also a struggle as I learn to juggle everything while also being a Mama to two little people. I am also in a new position at work where there are things I just don't know yet. So while I contemplated my word this year simply being survive, that just didn't seem right because I want to do more than that.

So my word for 2017 is FIGHT.

Fight for joy in the everyday moments of motherhood

Fight against my fear of inadequacy

Fight my desire to compare with others

Fight my urge to spend money on things I don't need (part time status=budget time people)

Fight to strengthen my marriage

Fight to put God first and make time in a crazy season to spend in His word

See this article for more reasons I felt this word was perfect for me this year.

My word for 2016 was  COURAGE
My word for 2015 was DWELL
My word for 2014 was HOPE
My word for 2013 was THANKFUL

Monday, January 16, 2017

"But I'm Not Wearing the Right Shoes for that" {And Other Phrases Toddlers Don't Care About}

The other day my two year old and I went to the library for what I thought was a quick outing. When we were walking out to the parking lot he spotted the park across the street and looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "Park please, Mama." It was cold out and I had on gray suede flats with no socks. I also did not have gloves or a hat. When the words, "But I'm not wearing the right shoes for that..." came out of my mouth I realized that those words meant absolutely nothing to my toddler. To him he saw the park right across the street and probably thought to himself, Mom and I can walk over there and play right now. Easy peasy. So I chose to take him to the park despite that I was freezing and ended up getting mud all over my suede shoes. It was totally worth it to see him smiling and laughing as we played.  

But this made me think of some other phrases I say to my toddler that mean absolutely nothing to him...

But you ate that yesterday and loved it.

I didn't have time to go the grocery and get more _________.

Your favorite shirt/toy is dirty and in the wash.

We already watched that movie 1,000 times. 

I'm too tired to __________.

But you're not dressed to do that.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant, I can't sit like that.

But we don't have time to ___________.

You haven't taken a bath in 3 days, you need one now.

What phrases do you find yourself saying to the toddler in your life and then realizing, wait, this means absolutely nothing to them!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pregnancy Files 2 {The Bump Week 37}

I'm officially full term! I still can't believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone (I say that now, but by the end of this week I'll probably be asking myself whyyyy is this pregnancy dragging out so long. Haha.) It has been an extra crazy season and so I'm hoping to just soak up these next few weeks or days or however long I have to be pregnant. I have been nesting like a crazy mama bird and have all the tiny baby clothes washed and all the bottles sterilized. We are ready for you Alder (at least as much as we can be...)

Best Moment this Month: My sweet coworkers threw me a baby shower. I got lots of diapers per my request and each of them wrote a blessing for Alder and prayed it over him. Cue the waterworks. I was a hot mess by the end, but felt so incredibly blessed by their words for Alder.

We have also been busy celebrating birthdays. My husband turned 33 this week and it was fun to imagine how different things will look for his birthday next year with a 3 year old and an almost 1 year old!

Food cravings: Thanks to the holidays I am still craving sweets...mostly my Mom's sugar cookies. I've made several batches of sugar cookies since Christmas...Aiden has requested them too so it isn't just me, just sayin'.

Movement: Although I know Alder has to be running out of room in there, he is still a busy little guy and is almost always moving. His favorite spot to kick is right under my ribcage, thanks little guy.

Symptoms: This month has been a little tougher on me physically. I'm tired all the time and sitting is just not comfortable anymore. I still feel good overall and people are always commenting how small I look for being so close to my due date, but I'm definitely feeling ready to have this baby!

Nursery: So much progress! My sister in law completed a mountain accent wall and it is amazzzzzing! Drew spent his entire Christmas break slaving away in the nursery God bless him. He assembled the crib and dresser along with an entire IKEA storage unit in the closet. The curtains, crib sheets and changing pad are all out and I'm finally feeling like I can go into Alder's nursery and just sit.

Letter for Baby:
Dear Alder,
You will be making your debut soon and I am getting so anxious for you to just be there. I'm looking forward to holding you for the first time and staring into your eyes adoringly. I can't wait to smell your baby smell, kiss your little toes and cry tears of joy at how perfect you are. You are so loved already and I know you will fit in perfectly to our family. I love thinking about how in these final weeks, God is finishing up His little touches on you and preparing you to physically enter this world. I know you will arrive at the perfect time and that we will be ready with open arms and hearts to welcome you into the world.
Your Mama

Week 16 Bumpdate
                Week 22 Bumpdate
                                                                                                                                            Week 30 Bumpdate

See my 37 week post with Aiden here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Holding On, Letting Go {Honest thoughts on preparing to have TWO kids}

It's January, which means this is the month that we will most likely become a family of FOUR! I know every Mama battles many different emotions as she is on the verge of welcoming her second born and I am no exception.

I am feeling every range of emotion as I prepare to make room in my heart and in my mind for another child. I have absolutely no doubt that I will love Alder immensely and that I will adore watching him and Aiden become buddies, but when I look into my firstborns eyes I can only help feel I am betraying him a little.

For 2 years, he has been my focus. His every need has been put before mine.

My face is the first one he sees when he wakes up and the last one he sees before he falls asleep.

I know exactly what to do to help him feel better when he is sad and know what to say to make him laugh one of his big belly laughs.

I can decipher his funny little phrases and I know what he wants before he asks for it.

Right now, I can drop what I'm doing and bake cookies when he requests it.

I can pick him up and hold him for a nap when he isn't feeling well.

I can bring him in to bed with me to snuggle for a few extra minutes when we are both not quite ready to start the day yet.

I can hold him on my lap and read book after book as he requests them.

And his little world is about to be rocked. Just typing that I feel guilty and my eyes fill with tears.

But I know I'm not the first Mom to go through this and Aiden is not the first child who has to learn to share his parents. I know that this will be a hard season of learning to balance, but I also know it will have many joy filled moments. There will be a day when Aiden won't remember life before Alder. I also pray that there will be a day that he will thank me for giving him his best friend.

So for now I am praying for Aiden's heart. That he will continue to feel so very loved and that he will embrace his role as big brother. That we will learn what works for us and that I will be able to both hold on tightly to this sweet time and let it go.

And now I'm going to go hold Aiden and rock in the corner as I cry...haha. 
But really, that's where I'll be. 
Mom life at it's finest.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dear 2016 {Year in Review}

Dear 2016,
I know many people can't wait to see you go, but you really were good to us. We learned so much about the strength of our family unit, which is a beautiful thing. It was a year of team work as Drew was in classes and also working full time and I was doing the job of two people after my boss was let go. It was chaotic and at times very stressful as we still wanted to create fun family memories and also be productive, but we learned more about balance and about sacrificing for one another.

Despite the crazy, we managed to squeeze in a few family vacations and learned to support one another in the midst of chaos. In the last month, Drew has finished school and I went part time at work so things are finally settling down just in time to gear up again in January as we become a family of 4! That has to be my favorite post of 2016...announcing our growing family!

We watched Aiden go from baby to toddler and hit more and more milestones. It's crazy that this very time last year, Aiden took his first steps and now the kid doesn't stop. This year we said goodbye to Wubbanubs and multiple naps in a day. We said goodbye to one word phrases and babble and hello to a tiny man who is now talking up a storm and who always has a plan! I was able to blog a few "day in the life" posts here and here and I blogged about a few of my favorite things about Aiden at age 2 in this post. We have loved seeing his personality grow and evolve.

I did not blog many new recipes or manage to post about any of the DIY projects that I did, but I did manage to read almost 30 books, take Aiden on lots of adventures and host a few fun parties that I am proud of.

Here is a look back at a few of my favorite posts, events, recipes and discoveries of 2016...
It's no surprise that all of my favorite posts this past year have to do with motherhood. 2016 taught me a lot about balancing work, my marriage and my role as Aiden's mom. I know 2017 will only have more lessons to teach me as I become a Mom of two little ones! My biggest take aways as a Mom from this past year...just embrace the mess and soak up every single snuggle.

We got to take several family trips this year. We went to South Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana and had lots of fun adventures exploring around our hometown. We also celebrated Aiden turning 2 and finding out the gender of baby 2!

This year I focused my energy on trying to make Aiden healthy food that he would actually eat. I mostly failed, but found a few things he liked most days. This is something I am still working on for 2017...operation don't be a Sous chef and get Aiden to eat what we eat! Here are a few recipes he liked for at least a day. Haha. Oh toddler life...

This year I was more active in a Mom's playgroup and discovered all kinds of toddler friendly places to take Aiden. (My favorite local Fall festivities for kids are below). One of Aiden's favorite things to do this summer was go to the splash pad so my husband created his own version of a splash pad for our backyard. It was a hit! I also discovered a few new companies and continued to shop small for all my Mom gear.

Thank you 2016 for all the adventures and the many unexpected gifts. I can't wait to meet the newest addition to our family in 2017 (Alder Jacob) and watch Aiden as a Big Brother. We are already expecting big things from 2017.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our Christmas in Numbers

15- Christmases celebrated together as a couple. This year marked Drew and I's 15th Christmas together! This one was definitely one of my favorites. Aiden fully understood the concept of opening gifts and loved being with family to celebrate. He made the lights on the tree more magical, the giving of gifts sweeter and the joy so much greater.

14- New vehicles unwrapped. Aiden asked Santa for cars this year and Santa delivered. We now have more cars, trucks and trains than we could ever possible account for and this kid was excited about each one. After he opened a vehicle he immediately found the nearest chair to test out his vehicle on. So funny.

13-Handprints represented on his Grandma's Christmas gifts. It was so fun to surprise Grandparents with homemade gifts that Aiden helped with this year. We spent quite a bit of time making items to give and it was so sweet seeing Aiden give his gifts that he we worked so hard on.

12- Eggs in our favorite Christmas breakfast. Every year since we have been married, Drew and I have made Blueberry Maple French Toast. It's so good and is something we tend to only make Christmas morning. It is also tradition to eat it while still in our pjs and while watching Mickey's Christmas Carol.

11- Pez in Aiden's new Christmas Pez dispenser from Papa Bear.  Those lasted a whole 5 minutes. He definitely has a sweet tooth.

10- Whole minutes to myself. I think I maybe had 10 minutes to myself on Christmas and that was in the shower, but how can I complain about being surrounded by so many people that love us?! It may take my 35 week pregnant self a week to recover, but it is a wonderful feeling to be needed and wanted.

9- Sugar cookies consumed by Aiden and I. The number of homemade sugar cookies I consumed was a little excessive, but oh so worth it. I hadn't made my Mom's recipe since I have been married and I have missed them. I had some making up to do...

8- Sets of matching Christmas jammies. Every Christmas Eve we get to open a present at my Mother in law's house. It's always Christmas jammies and that always calls for a group picture!

7- The Shoe size of my new Hunter boots from my parents! Other favorite gifts: My Mom Life sweatpants from Ezra + Eli, Naptime is my Happy Hour shirt from Declan + Crew and money to buy a chair for Alder's nursery.

6- Consecutive times listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. I think we just might have to listen to this cd year round. Aiden loves it that much.

5- Of the 6 of us in our sibling gift exchange were vying to take home the Squatty Potty. Haha.

4- Christmases in one day. Our Christmas day is always very full. We start out with our own little family Christmas, then we head to my parents house, then my Aunt and Uncle's and then we end with Christmas dinner with Drew's family. It's always a whirlwind of packing up and unpacking. Presents, hugs and lots of food, but we wouldn't have it any other way. It is a blessing to have so many of our family members so close to us!

3- Gifts remain wrapped under our Christmas tree. Our Christmas morning at home went by quickly and we didn't want to rush Aiden so we let him open and enjoy each of his gifts before opening the next one. That means he still has gifts under the tree to open!

2- Copies of Fantastic Beasts. Somehow almost every year, Drew and I buy each other at least one of the same gift. Usually it's a movie, but this year it was JK Rowling's book Fantastic Beasts.

1-  Last Christmas just the 3 of us. I can't believe this time next year we will have an almost one year old as part of our family. This Christmas was a sweet one, but I know there are many more fun Christmases ahead of us as a family of four!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Unexpected Gifts

This has been a season full of unexpected gifts for our little family. God loves to lavish His love on us, but this month in particular, I have felt His love surround me and overflow over us! I feel like often times when something good happens I tend to think, "Oh, it's my lucky day!" But I have been trying to shift my thinking to begin thanking God more frequently for all the gifts that cross my path each day. I like the wording the Message uses in James 1:17 "Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light." I love that imagery of gifts being poured down on us like rivers of light. It just makes me smile.

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I recently transitioned to part time at work. Financially, this is a hit for us, but it is one my husband and I both think is worth the sacrifice so I can be home more with my babies (so crazy to make that word plural!) Going part time right before the holidays and right when we needed to buy a few big nursery items could have been stressful. But I wasn't worried. I knew the decision was right for our family and that with careful planning and God's provision, we would be just fine. But the selfish part of me was a little sad that I couldn't splurge on some items I've been wanting to "buy myself" for Christmas. #truth

Well, I've been completely blown away by some very unexpected gifts this last month and I just have to document them here because God is so faithful. In a season where I was expecting less, He is pouring out more and I want to be able to look back on this season and remember that.

Here are a few unexpected gifts that we have received lately...

+I got an unexpected bonus at work for some extra work I had taken on over the last six months. I was not expecting this at all and was simply doing what I believe God called me to do. We used that money to buy almost all the furniture we needed for Alder's nursery.

+Christmas bonus. I went out and bought paint and paint supplies for the nursery. 

+I won a brand new Chicco bassinet and FawnDesign backpack (that I've been drooling over) in an Instagram Giveaway. This Mama's heart went pitter patter and I'm totally putting them under our Christmas tree for me to "open" Christmas morning. 

+I won another Instagram giveaway (2 within two weeks, whattttt?!) A $50.00 gift card to another shop I have admired, Gathre.

+It started getting ridiculous when I won another Instagram giveaway to WildBird. Allowing me to add another ring sling to my collection that was on my Christmas list.

+Our crib was purchased for us and delivered to our house.

+My husband got offered extra money for a very easy and simple job that he can do at school that won't keep him there any later than normal. This money will come in next month, just in time to help with some diapers and wipes when Alder gets here.

+My boss emailed me and the staff wants to throw me a baby shower at work in a few weeks.

Then there's the unexpected gift of Jesus to the world that has been consuming my thoughts especially these last few weeks leading up to Christmas. I love this quote from the She Reads Truth Advent devotional, "God loves to birth hope from the impossible. This is the Truth that lies in a manger." Even if life is not merry and bright for you right now, I pray that you would seek Him, trust Him and watch for the gifts that He is already pouring out on you.

Do you ever just stop and think about all the good gifts that God has given you in just one day, one week, one month? I know that if we choose to be thankful that we will be more joyful people and will start looking for the gifts in each day instead of the trials.

What unexpected gift have you received lately?