Monday, July 31, 2017

Vaycayshun*

Welp, Kauai is awesome.  We departed a little over a week ago for 8 days of sun, sand and fun and we got all that and more besides.  This was my first time to this island and I honestly didn’t want to leave.  Not just because of the island and all her treasures, but because there’s something about vacationing that is such a special treat.  But before I get into that, here’s some of my favorite things about this magical place:

The humidity, once you submit to it, keeps you literally at ease.  If you try to hustle or get annoyed, it gets annoyed back.  Relax, and it’s a nice, warm sauna.  Try to fight it and it’s like you’re living in a cat’s mouth.  There were short bursts of rain showers  just about every day we were there, but honestly once you got used to the fact that you were always going to be sticky and sweaty - a little rain wasn’t the worst thing. 

The beaches are beautiful.  Where we were staying you couldn’t play in the shore, but up at the top of the island we visited Anini Beach (I’ll take the $34 million beach house that’s for sale on that road please), down south we went to Poipu Beach (the boogie boarders had all of the adults delightfully entertained) and right near us we had Lydgate Beach (full on rock wall built so that the babes can wade out on their own AND snorkel in a man-made lagoon).  I felt like every time I glanced anywhere the exact image could be taken and put on the front of a postcard.  Absolutely surreal.

Ryan, Iz, Chris and Rally building rock towers at Anini Beach


The garden island - fo real.  If you consider Oregon to be a green place, then Kauai basically makes it seem like a desert.  It’s like 90 shades of green there.  Driving north or south on the highway takes you through coverings of trees that look like they were models for the movie Ferngully.   Fat, wide, leaves that are the size of a skateboard, and then right after that banzai trees that look like God needed to adjust their ego by squashing them down with His hand.  It’s lush upon jungle upon majestic greenery that’s so beautiful it seems fake.  I fully understand why they filmed Jurassic Park and so many other movies there (sidenote: fully hummed the theme song when we were flying in over the island to land).  

The food - okay, this is always one thing that I like to center any vacation or short getaway around.  I love food and I love trying new restaurants.  Down on the south end we went to a fish restaurant called Merriman’s and there was some kind of macadamia nut crusted fish that was honestly one of the best dinner dishes I’ve ever had.  And their white chocolate filled malasadas rolled in cinnamon sugar with a coffee caramel dipping sauce weren’t bad either.  The first couple days there I was pretty good with my food choices, ordering black americanos, eating salads and chicken, etc.  But then I was introduced to the Thai Coffee.  The town we stayed in has a coffeehouse called Java Kai and it was legit.  The Thai Coffee is a whole milk latte (nom nom nom) that has a little sweetened condensed milk added. 😳 Umm, hi.  Welcome.  Get in my belly.  But the highlight of the trip as far as food goes was the shaved ice.  It’s like icy feathers.  There was an old Winnebago fixed up that sold shaved ice with few flavors, but all were native to the island - coconut, pineapple, lilikoi, strawberry, guava - it was beyond.  Thank you, Wailea Shaved Ice, for existing.  Xoxo

But my favorite thing about this trip was what it did to my mind.  I don’t have a paying job outside of my home, but my days aren’t exactly calm.  There’s activities, sports, playdates, worship meetings, band practices, friends, working out, church commitments, family time - it’s crazy how much get-up-and-go is the norm.  And on our first day there I found myself feeling anxious sitting on the beach and later on laying down in our hotel room thinking that I needed to wrap up what I was doing and move on to the next thing.  But I didn’t.  I calmed myself down, reminded my mind that there was zero rush, and allowed myself to sit and be.  And I swear, vacations in a place like that welcome you to do and be just that - exactly you, exactly now.  Yes, there are a bunch of things to do at home, but there, you can go everywhere as is.  I love that in all the restaurants and shops we went into every single person was in flip-flops.  I didn’t wear makeup or do my hair for a week straight and it was a damn delight.  I left my phone in the hotel room and instead had conversations about stopping the glorification of being busy and how to forge your own path as a family.  It was a breath of fresh air - okay, fresh, thick, warm air.  

And it wasn’t all sunshine and smiles.  If you want to know the worst possible sentence you can hear as you’re guesting at the lazy river, salt water lagoon, waterslide laden, 2 acre large water park of the swankiest 5 star resort on the island it’s: “Charlie pooped in the pool”.  😑 Yep.  That happened.  And having a 9 month old with such crazy FOMO on 5 hour flights is not awesome.  And now back on the mainland my black coffee tastes like hot garbage.  However, the good far outweighed the difficult.  

Gigi and Charlie Kate before Poopgate

So thank you, Kauai.  You treated this lady really well, and I can’t wait to return.   

Charlie, Magnolia and Iz checking out the waves at Poipu Beach

*The credit for this particular spelling of vacation goes to my friend, Amber Salhus.  I remember reading it on a blog of hers once and it stuck with me. 😉

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Seasons

I love mornings.  If I had to choose between sitting and watching a sunrise or sunset I’d opt for sunrise 9 times out of 10.  Maybe because in the morning I’m drinking my first mug of coffee (btw is there anything better than that first sip of your first cup), and my mind, while awake, is slow-moving, so it’s easy to just observe rather than fight off sleepiness or thoughts of the day that just ended.  

Early today in Maggie’s room I gazed out the window to happily see that the darkness was giving way to that lighter blue haze.  Daylight savings time takes away the pre-dawn light for a little bit, but I swear already I see the natural flow of daytime starting to stretch it’s way into the wee hours of morning.  

Seasons are interesting.  They’re constant.  And who doesn’t love spring?  Actually, I know some people don’t.  My buddy Dana and a couple of her boys get gnarly allergies once the season shifts warmer and it’s wretched.  But allergies aside!  I feel like spring practically buzzes with life and promise.  Each season has overwhelming sensations that accompany it: summer has warmth, relaxation and everyone starts listening to country music (or at least they should).  Fall has lists, excitement with school and the unbeatable feeling of comfort with nights that call for jackets, chili and football.  Winter has a joy that’s unmatched as holiday anticipation starts to wind-up and the love that you embody for family and friends reaches it’s peak.  

But spring.  There’s nothing like it.  To me it brings about the most welcome notion of any of the seasons - a sense of hope.  

Change is a part of life.  It’s inevitable.  And there are times I forget about it because it feels like it’s never going to happen (which isn’t the case) or fear it because it’s happening too quickly (usually not the case either).  

I saw one of my favorite young couples together at church last Sunday.  They dated a couple years ago for a few months but broke up due to distance and choices that seemed necessary at the time.  But now they are together and stronger, both focused on a future together because they allowed themselves to wait for the right season to make their relationship what it needed to be.  I was so excited to see them next to each other I almost stopped singing…on stage.  “Praise Him and OHMIGOSH YOU GUYS ARE BACK TOGETHER!!!!!!”  It was close. 

Some seasons are longer than others.  I’m in the space right now where normal pants don’t happen, make-up is rarely applied and I don’t leave my house very often - all of which can be frustrating.  My middle child was born almost six years ago, and I had gotten to a point where my life and body felt like my own again.  And now I’m back at square one looking down at a stomach that kind of folds over onto itself, circles under my eyes that seem to be tattooed on and an infant that’s bound and determined to be held 99% of the time she’s awake.  It’s hard to imagine even a year or so ago to where I would pick up the kids from school in a button-down shirt, jeans and high heeled boots.  BOOTS, PEOPLE!!  

What life has sweetly taught me though, is that in any given season I have a choice.  To grimace at the current and strive too quickly to change to the betterment of the future?  To look longingly back and wish that different decisions had been made so that the situation now was something else?  Or to allow myself to exist in what is happening so fully and completely that when the change and hope of a new season strikes, I find myself not fearful, nor exhausted, just blissfully saying - ahhhh, yes.  

Cause here’s what’s awesome - comfy pants help me move around and wrestle with my kids easily, plus there’s no amount of spit-up or poop that can ruin them.  No make-up means I can put my face all over my baby’s and I don't need to worry about whatever oils, chemicals or colors are there to rub off on her perfect skin.  And not leaving my house a bunch means I get to get her naps down pat.  Can I get a fist raised in solidarity from all the mamas for that feeling when you lay them down, slide the bedroom door shut and listen closely to hear…silence? Yaaaaaaaaas.     

And wouldn’t you know it, slowly, but surely…metamorphosis.  Sit-ups can happen now because my stomach muscles are strengthening, the husband’s reaction when we go out and I exit our room dressed and with hair and make-up done is like “hey, girl...what are you doing later?”, and taking excursions here and there beyond just the grocery store has me all kinds of pumped for adult conversation.  In that vein, if I have run into you around town and talked your ear off for ten minutes - sorry.    

So as spring gets sprung, may you breathe deep the anticipation of this season.  Real refinement is absolute, but it takes time.  Am I the only person who thinks God created seasons to LITERALLY remind us of that?  Change is always coming, some good and some bad, so enjoy the good, persist through the difficult and always, always hope.  Because just when you think you’re stuck and things aren’t ever going to evolve, you find yourself wearing actual pants instead of sweats again.  



Friday, February 24, 2017

Why I'm newly obsessed with Bullet Journaling and you could be too...

Let me start by saying “You’re welcome”.  If you have yet to look into the wonderful world of the Bullet Journal and this is your first time hearing about it, again, you are welcome.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my girl Amber Salhus, for it is solely because of her that I discovered my BuJo (yah, that’s the abbreviation, NOT bj…that is something else).  

If you have heard of Bullet Journaling and looked into it on Pinterest or Instagram or just the plain ol’ internet you probably became slightly overwhelmed at ALL OF THE BUJO THINGS.  There are videos, blogs and countless pictures and examples of how you can set up your very own Bullet Journal.  

To start at the beginning though, let me say that a Bullet Journal is basically a calendar / planner / journal that you customize completely for your own life.  I always liked the idea of using a planner, but I have never found one that had room for all the things I needed without a bunch of extra crap I didn’t want to use.  So for the last however long I’ve put kiddos sports practice info, birthdays and important events on a wall calendar and set up all the day to day appointments I need to remember in my phone…with multiple reminders.  It’s a system that’s worked, and if it’s similar to what you do then you might be thinking “I need not this Bujo crap”, but that’s where you might be wrong, friend. 

Just answer these following questions and if any of your responses are “yes” then I’m just saying…bullet journaling might be your jam.
  1. Was your second favorite day growing up (Christmas is always the favorite) the day you went school supply shopping?
  2. When you go on a trip of any sort do you make a list of all the things you want to make sure you pack?
  3. Do you have random flyers from your work / church / kids’ school listing when certain party supplies are due, when baseball signups are and what code you need to put into the website in order to get it done, or birthday party invites with the necessary address, etc?
  4. Do you have any kind of project that needs to be worked on, cleaned out or organized, but for whatever reason still remains unfinished?
  5. Do you have random notes stored in your phone of favorite songs you want to remember to put on a playlist, books you want to read, places you want to vacay or products you wanna buy?  
Okay, if ANY of these have you nodding your head up and down, then do yourself a solid and buy a Leuchtturm 1917 (my choice of notebook) and a set of super fine tip pens (Staedtler 0.3mm fineliners) and get a-going.  

I could show examples of my BuJo, but honestly there are a ton of layout options all perfectly explained online (check Pinterest, it was the most helpful for me).  Instead, I want to give the three favorite realizations I’ve had since starting a bullet journal and why I think it’s something that’s gonna stick for a while:
  1. It marries my creative and practical side.  I’m not super artistic.  People that can set up amazing parties for their kids, write in calligraphy and sew basically anything, I’m in awe of.  The cool thing with bullet journals is that if creativity IS your niche, then you can make a beautiful art project out of the whole thing.  And for us semi-artsy folk, it’s just fun to make simple banners and borders for pages, making the various spreads look like an uber-cute planner.  Love.  Oh, did I mention all the list making?  
  2. It has made me more efficient.  There are a couple around-the-house tasks that I’ve been meaning to get to, but they constantly get ignored because, well, life.  In the two weeks that I’ve started this BuJo though, I’ve been able to X off at least 4 different random jobs that were always bugging me, but not to the point that I’d take time to actually do something.  But seeing the outline of my day / week / month, how much time I really do have and then listing the things that I'd like to do in any given day / week / month has pushed me.  In a good way.  Since I’m not overly spontaneous, my go-to with empty time is chill.  With this I’ve been surprised that I still have time to chill, but it’s with a cleaner conscious knowing that I accomplished above and beyond my normal. Good stuff.
  3. It’s detached me from what doesn’t matter.  I heard somewhere recently that we touch our phones around an average of 150 times a day.  I go through seasons with and without technology, shut out TV for a time, go without checking social media, etc.  It’s always refreshing, but I find myself back at it before too long.  And not that it’s bad, goodness, I love myself a good panda frolicking in the snow video or multiple clips of people falling off boats while fishing.  And seriously, I can’t get enough of all the Tasty videos that show how to make some delicious dessert or dinner in what looks like 5 easy steps.  But if I were to tally up the time spent on devices every day, I really don’t want it to be a significant piece of a 24-hour pie chart.  I want it to be minuscule.  And I’ve been shocked at how well my brain has worked with keeping all the events, practices, and appointments just by putting pen to paper.  I still have alarms set in my phone, but now when they go off I’m already headed to where I need to be going.  Dare I say I might be able to go without using my phone for that soon?  Maybe.   

So.  If you feel led, do check out this awesome, creative, freeing idea.  It might just be the thing you didn't know you always needed. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

36

36.  Basically 40.  Every 40 and 50 something will read that last sentence and roll their eyes.  It’s the same reaction I have when anyone in their 20s says they are basically 30.  But still, I’m on that slant towards the end of this decade and it’s a mixture of feelings: excitement, hesitance, relaxation - all rolled into one.  

I love having a January birthday because it means combining whatever New Year’s Resolutions I have with ideas and wants for my upcoming birth year.  So with that in mind 36 is a lot of goals, so I just settled for 6.  Here they are: 
  1. Wash my face at night.  This might seem super obvious or gross depending on what your current personal hygiene ritual consists of.  There are way too many nights where I get into bed without washing my face EVEN THOUGH I KNOW all the things.  Left on make-up makes you age, what is getting on your pillowcase, etc.  I am starting to get some slight wrinkle lines in my forehead and even though I’m not thinking about Botox (no judgment to peeps already doing it) or fillers, I do need to take a little bit better care of my face.  So washing it every night - goal number one.  Along with that I need to floss more.  And if we’re talking just body maintenance some stretching before and after work outs would be a good idea.  I don’t consider myself old by any means, but I’m not as flexible or able to shrug off aches and pains anymore.  Let’s get it together, Baker.    
  2. Teach my kids some basic responsibilities.  I read the “Little House in the Big Woods” series when I was a little girl and then reread them when I was pregnant with Charlie.  They may have damaged my outlook on kids in this day and age and what they should / can be responsible for.  Laura and Mary were out every day doing the wash, helping Ma with cooking, doing dishes, collecting maple syrup from the freaking maple trees, knitting their own clothes for their dolls - these girls were legit.  My children can’t seem to get their towels into the laundry hamper.  Apparently the floor directly to the left of the hamper is as close as they are capable. *sigh* Kids.  But this year they’re turning 7 and 6 on their respective birthdays and I am pretty much done allowing them to get away with being slobs.  Don’t get me wrong, they are great at certain chores.  They can help me unload the dishwasher, they put their laundry away…ish, they CAN clean their rooms even though that usually means all things shoved under the bed, in a closet or drawer - so this is the year.  We’re gonna figure out how to take care of our basic space, and take care of it well.  I’m realizing that it’s not as simple as telling / yelling at them to do something repeatedly.  I need to teach them.  So taking time to show them, probably time after time, how to clean their room, make their beds, keep the bathroom tidy, put toys away, sweep, mop, detail my car…too much?  We’ll get going on the basics.  And I’m going to read them those books for good measure.  
  3. Speaking of reading, I want to listen to more music and read more books.  Watching TV is my ultimate relaxation activity because it turns off every single working part of my body.  I’m sitting or laying down, I’m not talking, I’m not having to use my brain in any capacity.  But I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best.  My word of the year is “Be” and part of that idea is to be more present in whatever is happening.  Reading is just as calming as watching the tube, but I’m using more of my imagination.  And listening to music is the same.  When is the last time I sat down and just listened to music?  Ummm…it’s been awhile.  And doing that will invite the ability to still engage with what is around me without being completely mindless.   
  4. Learn how to…now there’s lots of things that could finish this sentence, so I’ll just list a few that I’m determined to conquer this year: bake a pie.  One where the crust is buttery and flaky and the filling isn’t a gloppy mess.  Also, I wanna learn how to bake bread.  I can do cakes and cupcakes no sweat, but when you get yeast and proofing involved I’m like what the…how…hmm…so this year - gonna get it.  Also, I want to learn some new songs on the piano.  Classical songs.  I haven’t taken piano lessons since I was 17, but I want to re-learn some of the songs I used to know and master a few new ones while I’m at it.  Yes, that means playing on my daughter’s plug-in keyboard up in the playroom, but whatever, I’m into it.  And finally, I wanna learn to garden.  A little bit.  I’m talking herb garden.  I don’t have a green thumb unlike basically every other woman in my family, but I want to try.  Besides, I like basil on pretty much everything, so win win.  
  5. Be spontaneous.  This is so hard for me.  I’m type A, organized, logical, planning things are my jam and lists literally get me slightly aroused.  It doesn’t mean that I’m always on time or have all my ducks in a row, ha.  No.  But for the most part I’m usually pretty in control of what’s happening.  I want to not be so much.  A friend of mine wrote a blog entry and in it said “Art is hard, but logic is boring”.  Now I don’t entirely agree with that, because to me logic is sexy as all get out.  But I agree that there is difficulty in being artistic.  It’s being vulnerable to our feelings, allowing creativity to take over and moving forward into the unknown.  But that to me perfectly describes spontaneity and THAT is what I want to venture into.    
  6. Dare I say - dream.  Usually when talking to someone about their goals or thoughts on life, when they say the word “dream” I’m rolling my eyes.  Inwardly if not on the outside.  I think it’s a word that is used WAY too often in our culture as this blanket of reason that allows us to shove aside convention as if it’s pointless and beneath the calling of what we deem worthy of our current and future selves.  But cynicism aside, there IS something to the idea of dreaming.  I watched La La Land the other day and the main characters were so sweetly supportive and genuinely excited for each other to go after what they really wanted to do and be.  I have a hesitancy in me that links up with a martyr-type mentality, that only will we experience Christ-likeness when and if we suffer as He did.  And while I think it’s so important to be thinking of our dreams in a “What have you given and placed inside me, God, that I can use to further Your kingdom here on earth” mentality versus just a “God, what do You have for me” way - we have been given this big, beautiful opportunity called LIFE and I want to be less pessimistic about infinite possibilities and more open to what it is He would have for me to do.  So basically I want to start more sentences with “You know what would be cool?…”. 

So there they are.  Six goals for my 36th year.  Cheers to another year and another round of pushing myself to be exactly who He created me to be.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Be

From the time I was about 10 our family spent an extended weekend every summer with three other families at a cabin up at Lake of the Woods.  Lakes are my favorite body of water.  For some it’s rivers, most people love the ocean, but for me there is nothing like the calm quiet of a beautiful lake.  My favorite moments weren’t when we would go inter tubing or swimming because obviously there are creatures in the depths of lakes waiting to eat me.  Bonfires at night were special cause you could always see a beautiful sunset followed by an explosion of stars that popped out against the blueish-black sky - but again, not my favorite times.  The time that brought the most contentment to my young soul was the morning.  

Lake mornings are almost surreal.  If you get out of the cabin and down on a dock before the morning water-skiers try to take advantage of the glassy surface, it’s a palpable sense of calm.  You can hear everything and nothing simultaneously.  I felt so small in comparison to the vast stretch of water before me and the huge forest covered mountains stretching up behind.  It was just me and nature, Him and I, existing in our solitude of togetherness.  Magic.

Fast forward 25 years and life doesn’t have those moments as often.  Yes, there are times of pause and reflection, but they are few and far between.  As time goes by, kids are added to the family, life becomes a flurry of multi-tasking.  Taking the kids to school, doing homework with them when they’re home, going to this practice and that playdate, nursing a newborn and holding her when she’s grumpy, grocery shopping, sweeping, doing dishes, taking out trash, working out - and in the midst finding time to connect with those that we love in a real way.  It’s hard.  

So this year, I’m hopefully expectant with my Word of the Year: be.  Not be more content, not be stronger, not be more kind, no - just be.  

My relationship with the Lord is always something that is at the forefront of my thoughts.  And I’ve come to realize that I do more studying, more praying and more worshipping than I do just spending time with Him.  Allowing His words, His actual voice, to move through me and stir my heart, mind and soul.  It’s an impossible thing to do with the TV on.  I can’t attempt it with kids jumping on my bed, or while rallying up on what the day holds with my husband.  I don’t want to do it with anyone else, I want to go back to that feeling of overwhelming quiet.  The lake effect.  

So I’m going to take time to just be with Jesus every day.  Twenty minutes.  Outside.  Rain or shine.  No Bible, no music, no talking.  Just being.  And I look forward to what He will speak and form and do.  

//

Luke 10:38-42 “Now as they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village.  A woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what He was saying.  But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left to do the work all by myself, don’t you?  Then tell her to help me.”  The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things.  But there’s only one thing you need.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

//



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ahhhh...

As I sit typing this I have a mug of coffee steaming to my left, my littlest little is napping in her bassinet in our bedroom, the two elder kids are at school, Ryan is out on the deck working on a project that involves a buzzsaw and wood, Christmas carols are playing - all really IS merry and bright. 

This last 6 months have been anything but what I’m experiencing right now though.  They’ve been cramped, uncomfortable, dirty, frustrating, loud, intrusive - and all by choice!  

About a year ago, Ryan and I made the decision that our little bungalow was where we wanted to live for as long as possible.  Being married nine years we’ve moved into about that many rentals, then three years ago we bought our first home and have lived and loved in it happily since.  But the 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom layout wasn’t going to work in the long run, so we were faced with two options: sell and move into something bigger or add on.  

“We can add on!  We just need another bedroom and bathroom, so how much time and money could that really be?”

Answer: a lot and all of it.  All the money and all the time.  

Our simple plans just kept getting more and more complex.  “Well, if we’re gonna go into the house and add on, then maybe we should make our kitchen a little bit bigger”.  “Yah…and if we’re gonna do that, then we should probably put on a little deck”.  “Yeah, yeah, that would be nice.  It’d be cool if it was covered too so we could be out there year round”.  “That WOULD be nice”.  “You know what would also be nice?  What if we did kind of a bigger bathroom, you know with a walk in shower and walk in closet with stackable washer and dryer…that’d be cool”.  “That WOULD be cool.  You know what else would be cool?  One of those big hot tubs so we could relax in it with the kids”.  “Oooh, that sounds really nice”…etc.  

So fast forward to May and the ground started getting broken in, and then in July demo to the existing house happened.  

Oh, I forgot to mention that I got pregnant in January, so I was ripe with child when it was time to go from having a stove, sink, dishwasher and garbage disposal to using just a microwave and hand washing every dish in the basement sink.  Once the kitchen went away all things became more difficult.  Not just because I was getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the day, but because everything involving food now took additional steps.  No garbage disposal meant every single dish had to be wiped out BEFORE I actually washed it.  No kitchen counter meant that any meal prep was done on a small cutting board smashed between the coffee maker and toaster on a bar table in our dining room.  That dining room was also playing host to our refrigerator, dining room table and chairs and for the months of August and September, stacks and stacks of hardwood for the floor that had yet to be laid in the addition.  

Because Ryan was so involved in the remodel I was rocking parenting pretty much solo.  My kids are sweet and amazing, but they’re also 5 and 6, so they can be wretched.  And because of the magnetic force that apparently exudes from me, they were usually within 2 feet of my swollen, sweaty body.  And with me being so whale-like going out and about was difficult, plus with the summer heat I didn’t like being outside.  So inside it was.  For months.  With kids that don’t yet know how to read on their own or play board games without cheating or do chores really well or be together without vexing each other to the point that they yell the other’s name so loud or opt for their favorite way to fix any problem -  “MOOOOOM!!!!”.  

And as is the case with any kind of remodeling - there’s the dust.  The white, persistent, filmy layer that coats everything within 10 feet or so of the demo area heavily (which in our case was the dining room / kitchen) and then tapers off BUT STILL REMAINS as you get further away (living room aka our only living space).  I couldn’t escape it or clean it entirely.  Every time I would sweep the edges of the broom would swirl up a new cloud that would settle lightly on the swept lane.  Our area rug in the living room began to feel…coated.  Walking on it barefoot wasn’t an option only because the feeling of the cloth under my feet was grimy.  No vacuum could get it all up.  Shudder. 

As is the case with any cramped space, stuff just seems to surface.  Random stuff.  The kind that you don’t want to throw out, but you don’t use it either, so it’s storage, but not all permanent storage: t-ball equipment that isn’t necessary until spring, clothes that will be taken to Goodwill that need to be put in a bag until there’s enough to make a run down there, car seats that the kids have outgrown but that the baby will use in another year or so - all of those types of things suddenly are everywhere.  So as stacks of different items started appearing in our walkways, closet spaces, and corners the feeling of a comfortable, open home vanished.  It’s like I held my breath under water for almost too long to where vision got hazy and panic started to set in.  

But now.  

I've come up from the deep and had that first huge inhale, and it's filled my lungs and brought life to my body, mind and soul.  

All the things have been done.  The kitchen, new bedroom, new bathroom and new back deck have been completed.  There are no longer tools strewn all over our backyard, no longer stacks of broken wood, empty boxes, paint cans, and trash heaped up in our carport.  Gone are the various workers and their muddy boots tracking dirt and leaves through the front entry way, and gone are the seven different trucks that would occupy our driveway and parking spaces in front of our house.  The living room has stopped being a storage spot for all my kitchen gear, the kids art projects and supplies, Maggie’s stroller and car seat - it’s just a living space now.  The kid’s room has space for them to play now that their toys and books have been moved into the other upstairs bedroom.   

Every cabinet and drawer in the new, white kitchen has clean pots and pans occupying it.  All the dishes have been washed and sanitized in the dishwasher.  The couches and rug in the living room have been deep cleaned.  Clothes have all been moved into the proper closets.  The central air and heat is on and working - and I have to say that the warm air flowing through the vents and wrapping me up in what feels like a cozy cocoon might be my favorite addition of this whole remodel.   

Life can get back to normal.  Last night we were all in the kitchen together: Israel was at the desk doing homework on the computer, Charlie was at the island coloring, Ryan was holding Maggie and I was making dinner.  It was a magical moment.  


Sometimes the ins and outs of any given day can begin to feel monotonous and boring, but how blessed we are to have what we have.  To have family, a roof over our heads, to be able to do something like cook a meal for our kids, and use the convenience of dishwashers and stoves to help us out.  I hope I never again take for granted how wonderful it is to be a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband and to simply provide for them a home that is warm, inviting and safe.  God is so gracious with His perfect timing.  The fact that we are rolling into the most cozy and joyous time of year hasn’t been lost on me.  It’s like He was saying “Oh, Megan, I have a perfect plan for this whole thing.  You’re going to so enjoy all that you have worked for.  You will enjoy it x 1000.”  His Christmas present to me this year was the realization of how much I love what He has called me to do and be: a mom, a wife, a neighbor and a friend.  And for that I am so, so grateful.    

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Two down, one to go

This week marks the beginning of my third trimester this pregnancy.  12 more weeks, 66% done, 2/3 out of the way…that might sound like it’s not too much longer but the end still feels so far.  

Cause truth be told pregnancy, at least for me, is rough.  Maybe because this is my third time around, maybe because I’m older, but whatever, this just isn’t my jam.  Charlie will be 5 at the end of this month, so it’s been exactly 5 years since my last pregnancy, and five years is a long time.  You forget a lot.  

Like food cravings, muscle cramps, endless, endless, endless trips to the bathroom all throughout the day and into the middle of the night and each of those trips involving extra time spent on the pot waiting for aaaaaaaall the pee to come out.  Cause it hides in there.  My bladder has developed reservoirs.  I had forgotten about swollen feet come late afternoon, trying to do dishes with a basketball sized lump under my shirt, carrying things up and down stairs incessantly, squatting over and over to pick up after my children because they they are SYSTEMATICALLY DESTROYING my house with their stuff everywhere, and top all of these off with the constant exhaustion, heartburn and the feeling of an alien moving around inside me.  Also, whatever temperature it is at any given moment, my internal temp feels at least 20 degrees hotter.  Thinking back to last November when I was sitting on my sister-in-law’s couch and we were jokingly talking about how much fun it would be to get pregnant and be able to enjoy each of our third pregnancies together - I step out into the 98 degree heat at 8:30 yesterday morning and say out loud - “yah…whaaaaat were we thinking”.  At night I have a fan pointed directly at me along with our a/c unit on full blast, I’m wearing next to nothing and covered by a sheet.  Poor Ryan’s under our comforter shivering.  

And, I was reminded this last week as to why I like to hibernate the last part of my pregnancy.  People’s comments, for the most part, suck.  Seeing a pregnant woman activates a vomit-like reflex in them and they CAN NOT HELP THEMSELVES but to comment, ask questions, touch, etc.  A gal said I looked pretty large for being only six months along and followed up asking if there was a possibility that I had multiples in there.  Where’s my straight eyes, straight mouth line emoji?  

And the emotional ups and downs are a new / familiar sensation.  Did you see that Ellen episode where Kristen Bell talked about the sloths?  She said something along the lines of being between a 4 and a 7 on an emotional scale at all times.  Any lower than a 4 and she’s crying and any higher than a 7 - same.  I’m right there with her.  Anything too sad or too sweet on TV, in a book, or in a newspaper article and I’m crying.  The Olympics are uniquely timed so all the feels happen with any given commercial about an athlete thanking their parents or pushing themselves with an iron type of will to be the best they can be - excuse me, I’ll be on my couch bawling.  Speaking of Olympics, that’s something every woman in their 7th month of pregnancy needs to see - female bodies at their physical peak of perfection.  Good times.     

Now, I really don’t want to sound like a pessimistic, whiny mom, and also don’t want to seem mentally unsteady by vacillating so widely with my emotions, but honestly as much as it’s difficult, and taxing and uncomfortable - it’s all so awesome.  I get to have another baby.  And I feel really, really lucky for that.  And there are some sweet bonuses to being pregnant.  In fact, most of the hard symptoms have a positive side.  Getting up to pee in the middle of the night - good training for feedings once the baby is here.  To step into that cold turkey would be rough.  Swollen feet?  Great excuse to relax on the couch and put them up.  Dishes getting tricky?  Sweet husband swoops in and helps out.  Extra trips up and down the stairs?  Toning those leg muscles…especially since they're the only ones I’m somewhat capable of controlling.  Messy rooms full of kids toys?  Let’s purge.  I’m reading Little House in the Big Woods to the kids and Laura grew up with a doll made out of a corn cob.  My kids have sufficient and could stand to get rid of some stuff.  Exhausted?  Nap.  Heartburn?  Tums.  Baby moving all around?  Marvel at the miracle.  Too hot out?  A/C.  

Also, the aforementioned sis-in-law is just one of my partners in this upcoming season.  Five girls, including her, that I know and love are right along with me, four being due a few weeks before me and one a couple months after.  Hearing and seeing and being on the same page as all of them has brought about a lot of peace.  Another advantage to time having gone by since my last pregnancy are the changes in maternity clothes, did you know they now have nursing tops?  Thank you, Trunk Club and Topshop.  I feel like people give me preference in random situations too.  EVERYONE opens doors for me, lets me go first, gives me kind smiles - I love it.  Those food cravings aren’t all bad, cause food tastes better - peaches last weekend at Saturday Market - YAAAAAAAAAS please.  And Rosie’s Inferno's pizza, thank you for existing.  Orange juice, dill pickles, mac & cheese, chilled watermelon, Honey Nut Cheerios with sliced bananas, the JD and Kung Fu roll at G street bar & grill, anything with lemon flavor, strawberry popsicles, Dr. Pepper, cheez-it crackers - all of the things.  I want all of them.  


And my highest, most wonderful, absolute favorite thing to focus on is the knowledge that with every Pampers commercial I watch, every scroll through old videos and pictures of my kids on my Instagram page, every night putting them down to sleep and feeling that twinge of gratitude and sadness at the same time - ALL these feelings cause me to look at the two that I’ve already ushered through solid foods, first steps, potty training, and learning the alphabet and I stop and praise the Lord that I have one more to go.