Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas 2012! We wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday!
Don't forget why we celebrate...Jesus was born with the purpose of saving us all from our sins so we can join God in Heaven one day and be close to Him. Wow, right???!!! He died for ALL of us...the righteous, the weak, the sick, the lost...
Happy Birthday, Jesus...Thank You for the blessings and the glory you bring us, not matter what we have done.

merryxmas

Sunday, December 23, 2012

11 Months Old

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Dear Little N,

Oh, my sweet boy. How I love you. I admit, this post is just over a week late. I'm so sorry. On the day you turned 11 months old there was a terrible tragedy less than 2 hours away in Newtown, CT. We have friends from there and it didn't feel right to do anything but pray for those families who lost their precious babies. They are with Jesus now; living the most beautiful eternal life...free from pain or sin. I've cried so many tears for their families who must press on without their most cherished.
Noah, I want you to know that I love you every moment of every single day and night. I treasure every snuggle, every giggle, every tear, every smile, every wiggle that comes from you. You are my gift from God and I'm so thankful He's entrusted you to me; to be your Mom is a blessed calling.
You will be a whole year old soon; the sands of time have slipped through my fingers once again. It's always bittersweet knowing you are growing and flourishing while I mourn your babyhood.

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This past month you have learned to pull yourself up to stand and cruise around on your wobbly legs. You LOVE pushing the walker-wagon. You've also finally figured out how to crouch down after standing...no more crying while standing up! Ha! You still only have 2 little bottom teeth, but you eat anything and everything that comes your way.
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Sadly, you are weaning off the bottle all on your own. You just don't have any interest in it. I'm already missing our close warmth when you drink your milk peacefully as I nuzzle your fuzzy hair. That was one of my very favorite things. I'm sure there will be one or two more chances for it and I'll try to freeze time and take a mental picture as I always do. Every little thing matters Noah. The littlest things are what make up a wonderful life. We must always stop and notice what is happening around us and drink it all in. It's the elixer of Life. The most seemingly mundane moments are where the treasure is hidden. The diaper changes where I get to tickle your tummy and make you laugh. Or the times you are under my feet while I clear out the dishwasher...you take such joy in the silverware! And I get to hear your happy squeals of delight. Even the times you are crying and I get to hold you and wipe the tears away and calm you. You soften in my arms and I teach you that everything can be alright again.
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Noah, I want you to know I will always love you and be here for you. You can always talk to me and I will honor you and accept you for who you are. I will always do my best to support you, help you, listen to you, and show you that you matter. I will always expect you to do your best and help give you a self-esteem that will take you far in life. I will make sure you work hard, love hard, play hard, and give generously to others. That is my commitment to you and to God.
Please know that my love for you (as it is for your sister) is eternal and as you embark on the last month of your infancy, know that I am proud of you. You are a wonderful person and I'm lucky to be by your side.
I love you always and forever,
Mama
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deliberate Motherhood

It's cold out there today!

Hi friends!

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about Mothering. I capitalize it because it's more than just an occupation or career. It's a way of life and a sacred calling for serving God.
I'll be honest, it doesn't always feel sacred or special. It's muddy work. It's sloppy work. Most of the time, I feel frustrated (how many freakin' spills can I CLEAN in one mealtime??), angry (shut the hell up and go to sleep Noah!!!!), tired (7 wake-ups in the night for the binky or the bottle or for who-knows-what), and spent (give-give-give-give-giiiiiiive). Don't even talk to me about all the guilt. (yes, I yelled "shut the hell up!" to my 10 month old when he wouldn't stop fussing constantly during the night.)

About a month ago, I became tired of feeling, well…tired. I was sad that I wasn't feeling a sense of fulfillment and purpose I'd always imagined I'd feel once I'd become a mother. I was sad I was feeling frustrated and yelling most of the time. I was sad I wasn't finding the joy as much as I'd wanted. I fretted that time was passing me by; these little moments with my babies was going to pass too quickly and I worried I'd miss out on the chance to truly soak up every second with my precious ones.
Do you ever feel like this? Like you need the answer for HOW to be quiet, enjoy Motherhood, savor every messy moment, and thrive in all? It's so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the everyday…wake up (before you want to), go about your same routine (whatever that looks like for you), battle the same battles, cleaning, preparing, laundering, and so forth just to hit the bed to prepare for it all again the next day. In all of this busyness and SAMENESS, it's so easy to forget to look around and notice the little things that make each day a wonderful part of the journey of Motherhood. We race, we scurry, we plot and plan for the next events all to get through the day, longing for a moment of peace and relaxation ALONE. I don't want to wake up one day (with my surly teenage kids who want nothing to do with me) and wish I'd paid more attention to the little things and focused less on my frustration and challenges back when they were little and wanted to be near me.
Spiritual Sidenote: I'm currently working through these issues with a good friend of mine who is now a pastor in Montreal. He is helping me to realize there is support from a higher place and that my purpose is a great one. I'm working to find my identity through Jesus and discovering my faith in a new way…that everything I do (yes, even scrubbing the dishes) is a way to show love and serve God because I love Him and am grateful for all He did for me. What once seemed like drudgery is simply another way I can show my love to my family. Being a Mother is easy; doing all the WORK a stay-at-home mom entails can be laborious--physically, and emotionally demanding. I can find some peace knowing that everything I do can be done with a smile because it means something special.

That being said, I also needed some inspiration and advice from other mothers. How do the other women do it? The ones who have a bunch of kids, volunteer, work, AND find time for friends, creative pursuits, etc.? I found my answers in the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of  Peace, Purpose, Order, and Joy." It is filled with essays from seasoned Mothers who have been there. Essays I feel like I could have written! There are suggestions on how to deal with different struggles (hooray!). I read the book in 2 days and filled the margins with notes. I can't recommend this book enough if you are struggling with the daily challenges from behind the scenes or want a realistic view of what Motherhood looks like. I can say strongly that it has changed the way I view my role as a Mother and the way I handle each day. I've been feeling so much more calm, purposeful, and joyous.

The book is set up in chapters that correspond with each month of the year. January focuses on the power of Acceptance. I've decided to follow along with the book and ponder each topic through this next year. (I've already read the whole book, but I want to explore each topic in detail) I'll write about that topic throughout the month and think about how it can apply in my own life. Do you want to join me? You can grab the book and play along on your own blog, or leave your thoughts in my comments. I think it's a great chance for us all to help each other gain strength and wisdom to better ourselves and refresh our views in our roles as Mothers (or Mothers to be).

Please don't misunderstand; I LOVE my kids. I love being a Mom. I'm honored to be a Mom.  I signed up for this, didn't I? I don't want to just go through the motions. I want to be GREAT for my kids. I want to FEEL GREAT for my kids. I want to look back and know I enjoyed as much as I possibly could…even the diaper changes and endless sink of dishes! (How grateful I am to have dishes from those I love to wash and diapers to change!) Once upon a time, my identity was found in my ambitions outside of the home. Now that I am home with my kids all day I need to find and gain satisfaction in a new way. It's been a bumpy road so far! So, I hope you'll follow along starting in January as I explore the topic of "Acceptance" throughout the month. Accepting that Motherhood is tough and isn't going to get any easier is the first step. I can accept the bitter stuff and embrace the awesome stuff. If you decide to read the book, let me know what you think of it!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog!

Silhouette on Wood

Hi friends!
I've been cooking up some ideas over here during these holiday preparations. What do you think of this silhouette? It's hand-painted on a piece of red oak wood (7.25 x 7.25 inches square) and stained in red cherry. I'm going to carve out the back so it can hang flush against the wall. I plan to make one of Paige and one of Noah. It's fun because you could do one of a pet, woodland animal, or one for each member of the family. They are very giftable not only for Christmas, but for Valentine's Day, Anniversaries, and Birthdays.
I just made this...hand painted silo on red oak stained to red cherry. Do you think I should sell custom versions?

I'm considering offering these for sale...custom options for painting whoever you want on there. I would do this red cherry option and perhaps others. Below is another version in a "sunwashed" stain color (gives the wood a gray look).

Washed out or red cherry options

I'm also thinking about doing versions in colored wood stains...blue, green and yellow options with the white silhouette hand-painted on top.

Survey...is this something you'd like? I still haven't fully decided on whether or not to offer them. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Laughing Baby is the Best Medicine

I think a dose of this little movie (Noah being himself) will heal any ailment. It does for me.


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