Looking on the Bright Side

Time for a post of happy things…

Last Friday, I got a day all to myself.  Well…  With Ruby, the 8 month old.  Same thing, really.  I decided with the boys gone, I would use that day to start sleep training her for naps and bedtime.  Well…  Little Noodle was way ahead of me, apparently.  She fully cooperated – and has been sleeping like a champ ever since!  It’s currently 8:21pm and she’s been asleep, in her crib, for over an hour.  Success!!!

In addition to getting the little one to sleep well, I managed to clean, organize, do three loads of laundry, and read.  Like…a book.  And write.  And daydream.  Outside.  On the porch.  It felt like I was being incredibly irresponsible, sloughing off my responsibilities.  In other words, it felt wonderful.

On Saturday, our family went to one of my favorite places to pick blueberries.  An amazingly beautiful farm, tucked up in the hills of Wisconsin, near the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.  It’s one of my happy places.  And much to my delight, I discovered my son is an awesome blueberry picker!  (And I think he had as much fun as I did – and has already asked to go back.)

Sunday, I snuck out for a bit.  We have lived in our new house for over a year, and still have nothing hung on our living room walls.  I visited a few shops to try to rectify that situation.    I found a couple of things…  On sale, too!  Gotta love it.

That evening, we grilled kabobs for dinner!  And grilled some fresh pineapple, too.  Deeeelish!  We don’t grill near as often as we used to (too many mini-people running around with tight schedules to stick to).  So this tasted even better than usual.  AND, we had blueberry cobbler for dessert.  Perfection.  Summer meals make everything seem brighter.

Have to admit, I had a rough morning with my boy…  Thought my good vibes had already come to an end.  BUT…  This afternoon, after his nap, he and I cuddled up and watched videos of the Okee Dokee Brothers on Youtube for an hour.  (Not something I normally would do…)  He is fascinated with bluegrass instruments – guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, harmonica, drums…  And has been pretending to play them all day.  We have a coffee can that we have turned into a drum (that is actually pretty cool).  It’s cardboard, with a plastic lid, and a metal bottom – so lots of different noises are possible, depending what you use to play it!  He was experimenting with it all afternoon.  I’m in awe of how his brain works.  (And need to find someone to start teaching him some instruments!)

 

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A piano outside an antique store in Stockholm, WI.  A street performer in the making!

Another high point today was simply getting the mail.  Besides receiving my fun new hairbands from amazon, I got the sweetest note in the mail from a lovely friend (and former youth group kid).  Her card simply said that she appreciated the “honest, authentic” perspective that I share about life in general.  I’ve been afraid, beginning to blog again, that people would take my writing the wrong way….  Some of it may seem really negative or like I’m complaining about being a parent…  But really, it’s just my perspective from the now.  If I wrote about these things years from now, I’m sure I’d look back with rose-tinted glasses.  But right now is hard.  And that is ok.  It’s real.  And for other moms going through the same things – we need to hear it from each other.  Because it’s a lonely road when most people say, “it gets better;” “you’ll miss it someday;” “you’re just lucky to have kids;” “you’re so blessed.”  And yes, while I agree with all these things with a whole heart, sometimes it’s nice to hear, “you too?!  Ugh…”

So, yes.  I loved this quote, sent from my friend (it’s now hanging on the wall right next to my computer):

 

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Life is what we make it.  But it gets knocked around a lot by influences outside our control…  So it’s important to look on the bright side!  What’s your bright side today?

 

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Happy Fourth of July!

Gotta say…  My heart is full this weekend.

Hubby took a four-day weekend.  I got to spend time with friends and family.  I got some time to myself.  The weather was perfect.  The kids were mostly great.

Life was good.

And now, as the munchkins are sleeping and the fireworks are popping all over our neighborhood, it’s a gift to sit down and simply “be.”

So grateful for this life.  For the freedom to live it as we see fit.  For the grace of “do-overs” and second chances.  For the sunshine and cool breezes.  For the beautiful man I have the honor to call “hubby.”  For kids who sleep through fireworks.  For cold watermelon and sweet tea pie.  For stunning sunsets and orioles at our bird feeder.

Life is good.

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Made It Monday – Photo Collage

Finally!  This project took a year to complete…

First, I found out I was pregnant…

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Then, six months later, I was ready to pop!

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Finally…  Six months after “popping,” this little human has taken over!

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I just ordered the photo collage to frame and hang in our bedroom…  I can’t wait!

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**The idea came from Pinterest, of course.  Too cute to pass up!

 

Any projects in the works at your house?

Thankful Thursday

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It’s that time again…  Time to focus on the good in life!

It’s been kind of a rough week, so today I’m even more excited to remember what I’m thankful for!  Here goes:

  • A husband and kid that like a little adventure.

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  • Thunderstorms.
  • Having a pool in our neighborhood…  So fun.

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  • A couple more pounds lost!  Woohoo!
  • A little visit to the fabulous ladies I used to work with…  So fun.
  • Making progress on a big project at our church.
  • Being part of honoring a police officer that was shot in our community.  A special experience.
  • Continuing to tackle projects around the house…  The never ending process…
  • Our 10 year old poodle, still playing like a puppy.
  • This coolish summer.  Loving it!
  • Hee hee…  Sawyer had his first poop in the tub – and my husband was giving him his bath (thing to be thankful for #1).  I was downstairs cooking dinner, listening to the giggles and clean-up.  Thankful #2 – a husband who is grateful for the funny moments, too.
  • Bedtime stories and prayers.
  • A kid who is willing to try any food – and likes most of them!
  • A husband who eats whatever I cook – even when I’m on a diet.
  • We’re all consistently sleeping through the night.  Hallelujah!

What are you thankful for today?  Feel free to comment or share your blog link in the comment section!

Remembering Today

“What do you want to remember about today?”

The fact that it is an ordinary, everyday kind of day.  Nothing extraordinary is happening.  Nothing spectacular.  Nothing over the top crazy fun.  It’s just a day.

And it’s worth remembering.

Remembering…

…Sawyer’s big smile and giggle when I went in to get him this morning – sitting up in his crib, gripping his monkey, bouncing up and down with excitement as Mommy wished him “Good morning!”

…Toys and blankets scattered all over the floor in the loft.  Giraffes, mooses, books, balls, rattles, a “minky” blanket, the star that plays classical music when shaken…  All kinds of fun to be had!

…His first glimpse of Elmo.  A big smile.  Suddenly interested in what it is happening on the TV.

…The drool-y, messy, open-mouthed kisses that have begun.

…Walking away to change the laundry, and peeking back to see Sawyer crawling towards things that are off-limits – with a grin on his face.  Oh boy!

…Watching the dog sprawl on the blankets, til the little boy make a beeline for her.

…The hubby coming home for a quick lunch break – with kisses for both of us.

…Sawyer giggling with black beans, sweet potatoes, and cereal in his mouth – and oozing out…  What a mess!

…The fragrance of clean laundry.

…The warm taste of fresh coffee in the morning.

…Catching a glimpse of this:

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…The feeling that life is good.  I’m where I’m supposed to be.  I’m loved – and have so much to love in return.

 

What is worth remembering about your day?

Thankful Thursday

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It’s that time again!  Quick, what are you thankful for today?

Here’s mine:

  • Days at the zoo!
  • Friends who make time to meet the little one and I at the zoo – of all places!
  • Trying more new recipes.
  • Routine.
  • Missing the little man after he goes to bed…  That’s a good thing, right?
  • Fresh picked blueberries.  Yum!
  • Picnics.
  • Celebrating Dad’s birthday!

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  • Doggy cuddles.
  • Blue skies.
  • Seeing two eagles in one day!
  • Six month old giggles.
  • Fresh peaches.
  • Breezes through the windows at night.
  • “Sleeping in” til 7am!
  • Being missed.
  • Baby milestones…
  • That “I can DO this” feeling.
  • The smell of fresh, damp air early in the morning…
  • A hubby that can’t wait for “boys’ night” with the baby, while I go out with friends.
  • Faith.  In God.  In myself.  In others.
  • A great week!

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Thankful Thursday

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In the midst of all of life’s uncertainties and frustrations, I truly believe there is always something to be thankful for…

So, once a week, I will be making a list of what is making me smile. I’ll start with 10… But no need to limit if they just keep flowing!

I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for, too! Leave a comment. Or if you write a blog, post what you’re thankful for and share your link in the comment section!  I’d love to visit…

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Here’s mine:

  • Bananas.
  • A cleaned out fridge.
  • Homemade baby food – that I made!

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  • A new recipe that was delicious last night!  (Jamie Oliver’s Beef Hash – Yum!)
  • A new shower curtain that makes me smile.
  • My desk is finally cleared off and ready for creativity!
  • The little man is army crawling… and fast!

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  • Plans with a girlfriend this afternoon… and they include chocolate!
  • Quiet.
  • So many new blog followers – Thank you!  You all make me smile!
  • Little red wagons – and little boys’ obsession with them.

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  • A visit last weekend from a good friend.

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  • A walk on Tuesday with my mom and the grandkid.
  • Peek-a-boo.
  • A cool week…  I’ve loved it!
  • The hubby got up with Sawyer at 3:30am – and I got to sleep.  Thank the Lord!
  • Lotion that smells so, so good!
  • Music – loving the new Jason Mraz song “Love Someone.”

What’s on your list today?

 

So Thankful

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So, I’m big into the whole idea of “gratefulness.”  Anybody who knows me, knows I’m a pro at finding the good in almost any situation; and when things seem hopeless, dreary, frustrating, or I’m just darn right cranky – I make myself think of 10 things to be thankful for.

Because even when life just plain sucks…  There’s always something good.  Always blessings lurking, daring to help us through the dark days.

So, once a week, I will be making a list of what I’m thankful for.  I’ll start with 10…  But no need to limit if they just keep flowing!

I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for, too!  Leave a comment.  Or if you write a blog, post what you’re thankful for and link up!

I think too often in this world we complain and join in others’ complaints…  Why not start a shift?  Why not encourage each other in being thankful and seeing the good, instead?  And sometimes, I believe, we inspire each other to see situations and things in new ways…!

So what are you thankful for today?  Here’s mine:

  • Cool mornings
  • Beginning healthy habits again
  • Giggles in the jumperoo
  • My squash flowers in full bloom
  • Developing routines
  • Coffee
  • Dinner plans tonight
  • Reading books with the kiddo
  • Kiddo’s naptimes
  • My parents’ visit yesterday
  • A friend coming to visit this weekend
  • Puppy cuddles
  • Pictures that make me smile
  • Finishing this season of Game of Thrones (Ugh)
  • Brandi Carlile’s music
  • A hubby that does the grocery shopping
  • …and cleans the bathrooms!
  • Sunshine
  • Not traveling this weekend (I’ve had enough for awhile)
  • Friends who make me giggle

Ok – You’re turn!  Comment or link up – What are you thankful for today?

Blessings

I think that the best way to discover what pronouncing blessings is all about is to pronounce a few. The practice itself will teach you what you need to know.
–Barbra Brown Taylor, from the book “An Altar in the World”

For years, as I’ve worked as a Youth Director in a variety of churches, I’ve loved studying ways to bring faith into the life of children. I can’t even count how many books I’ve read, speakers I’ve seen, and conferences I’ve been to about raising kids with faith… And even now, when I look in my son’s eyes – the task seems daunting.
So many things I want my little boy to know and feel. To believe and trust. Things to open his world wide open… and things that will give him hope and gratefulness for the little things.

He’s too little to get any of that for now… But I do one thing that I hope will begin his journey.

I bless him. Every night before bed.

Cheesy? Maybe. But a couple of years ago, at yet another conference, I heard a story that stuck in my heart (even when I thought I wouldn’t be having kids). So, now that the little guy is here… I’m taking that story and applying it to our little life. It went something like this:

 

A family was taking their first born daughter off to college. Lots of nerves and excitement! They spent the day driving to the University – a quiet car trip. Once there, the whole family helped with unpacking, setting up furniture, making the bed, locating campus maps, etc. Pretty typical story, right?

Then, as the rest of the family prepared to leave, the girl kissed and hugged her parents good-bye. And that was it. They were off.

The family began the walk out to the car… The Dad feeling like something was missing. He forgot to do something, but couldn’t quite figure out what.

Until his daughter yelled out the window for them to Wait!

They did. And as she ran up to her Daddy, she said, “Dad! You forgot to bless me!”

Turns out, he had blessed her before bed every night of her life. The same blessing each night. And now she couldn’t possibly start her new life without hearing that blessing one more time…

I heard that story and knew, if I was ever blessed to have a child, I would be blessing them every night. And I do. These are the things I bless him with:

 

That he knows he is loved – by Mommy and Daddy, all our family, all our friends; and by God. I pray that he knows God’s love in the deepest part of his heart.

That he knows he is valued – for the little person he is today; and the big, strong, brave man he will become. For his gifts and strengths, and all the ways he will offer joy in this world.

That he knows he is never alone. No matter how near or far he may go – we will always be there for him. And through those days of sadness AND those days of joy – God will be walking with him through the midst of it all.

I pray for him to have a long happy life – full of love, laughter, adventure, and generosity. That he knows love and joy abundantly – and shares them abundantly, too.

And I remind him what a blessing he is – a long awaited blessing, so loved.

 

At this point, the prayer is engrained on my heart and rolls off my tongue… And I hope one day, it will be the same for him so that these blessings are part of who he is – and when life gets hard, he can remember that this is part of who he is.

This is only the first step in raising him with a life full of faith… What was your first step?