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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Make Plans… God Laughs

Wow.  Today on my memory feed on Facebook, a link to this blog appeared.  Honestly, I completely forgot I created this blog!  I started it shortly after I became a stay-at-home-mom with one little guy…

Life sure has changed!

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I’m still a SAHM, but now have a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old.  Life is fuller.  Busier.  More frustrating.  Not as rosy.  A lot more chaos.  A lot more screaming.  A lot more “no.”  A lot less sleep.  A lot less getting done (hence no blogging for two years…).

And I realized today, maybe I’ve allowed myself to fall into a way of life I’m not too keen on living.  I look back at those happier blog entries and wonder, “what happened to her?”  She was so positive, happy, and full of joy….  These days, I just want sleep.  And quiet.  Quiet would be nice…

I read those old blog posts at 6:30 this morning.  It’s 4:30pm now…   The hubby took the kids to play at the neighbor’s house – and I’m taking a moment to myself to put into words what I’ve been thinking all day.

It’s time to start with a clean slate.

I need to find ways to bring joy and gratefulness back into my everyday, every moment…  I need to find ways to incorporate peace and stillness, reading and walking back into the daily grind.  I need to center myself again.

This parenting thing takes it out of you.  Big time.  Toddlers take every last morsel of life and devour it whole…  Leaving crumbs for you to gather in their wake.

Not anymore.  Mama’s taking it back.  (Not sure how, yet, but realizing how far I’ve strayed is a start!)

Maybe we’ll start here.  Let’s re-write that 3rd paragraph:

I’m still a SAHM, but now have a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old. Life is fuller. Messier. More unpredictable. Not as quiet. A lot more giggles. A lot more singing. A lot more snuggles. A lot less nights out. A lot less projects.  But more reading books.  More building blocks and knocking them down.  More pretending.  More trying new things.  More cheering and screaming with delight.  More splashing and spraying.  More garbage trucks, diggers, firetrucks, and lawn mowers.  More “Good morning, Ruby” and “Please and thank yous.”  More dance parties and singing in the shower.  

Life is good.  I just need to pay attention to ALL of it.

So here’s ten things I’m grateful for today, in this moment:

  1. Hubby took the kids for a walk = Quiet.
  2. This blog, and the reminder that it exists.  The reminder of who I was.
  3. Sunshine after a storm.
  4. Sawyer, the 2.5 year old, loving “parfaits.”
  5. Ruby, the 8 month old, trying to pull herself up with such determination.
  6. A four day weekend with the hubby home.
  7. Decorating the house for the 4th of July with Sawyer, and adding decorations to his little kitchen.
  8. Library visits.
  9. Sawyer trying to help me pick out sunglasses.  (He picks up the gaudiest ones there, and says, “Here Mommy, these would look soooo pretty on you!”)
  10. Naps.  Long naps.

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!

A Great Meal

The Daily question for today is…  “What was your last great meal?”

Mmmm…  Anyone who knows me, knows I love food.  I love trying new foods.  I love cooking and baking and trying new recipes. (Which is probably why I’m needing to lose some weight…  Ha!)

But my last great meal?  I didn’t have to think long – it was last weekend!  The epitome of simplicity and “ordinary.”

Kabobs.  Over a campfire.  Oh yum.

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Steak.  Chicken.  Red bell peppers.  Green bell peppers.  Small portabella mushrooms.  A little teriyaki.

Campfire smoke.

Fresh air.

Listening to baby in the tent, giggling with Daddy.  Feeling relaxed and thankful.

Great meal.  (Isn’t it funny?  The food tasted great – but just as important was where I was and what I was feeling.)

What was your last great meal?

Camping Out…

Camping out…  is a lot different than it used to be!

My hubby and I love to camp.  Love it.  And we’re good campers.  Happy campers.  Efficient campers.  We’ve got this down – whether it be car camping or a short backpacking trip.  We’ve got it.

Til baby came along.  Ha!  We’re bound and determined to continue camping…  It’s just that it’s… a little different these days.

We get to camp on a Friday night, around 5pm.  While Mike sets up camp, Sawyer and I play and read books on a picnic blanket.  And he eats dinner – while trying not to make such a mess that the bugs swarm!  It’s tricky, but we do it!  By the time his dinner is gone and cleaned up, it’s “supposedly” time to get ready for bed.  I start the bedtime ritual while my hubby is making the campfire and beginning to cook our dinner.

Bedtime?  Are you kidding?!  We get the jammies on, read a couple of stories, say our prayers, have a bottle, sing a little…  And then?  Well, apparently it’s playtime!

Sawyer loves the tent.  Loves that he’s laying beside us and can roll over and grab our face at any time.  (It gives him the giggles.)  He wants to crawl, to stand, to roll in our sleeping bags and over our pillows.  He stares out the door at the kids walking by.  He hears dogs barking and perks up to see what’s going on.  I gotta say, it is pretty fun laying in the tent with him…

All of a sudden, Daddy comes to play in the tent, and tells me to go eat my dinner.  Seriously?!  He’s made and eaten his dinner already?!  Time goes fast when you’re trying to get a little one to sleep…

So we switch roles.  I go out to the campfire and eat my delicious kabobs.  And in the tent?  It’s not any quieter…  I can hear laughing and giggles.  That kid is not going to sleep anytime soon.

They emerge from the tent at 8:30.  Sawyer’s having the time of his life.  And I’m realizing there will be no “mommy and daddy time” at the campfire tonight.  And that’s ok.  He’s a happy kid.  And this is what it’s all about, right?

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The magic of being outside as the sun sets.  The smell of the campfire.  The flames dancing and hypnotizing anyone who looks at them – including the babe.  The fresh air.  The scent of rain coming.  Hearing thunder in the distance…

Oh wait!  What?  Is that rain I feel?

Yep…  Quick, into the tent!  A downpour!  Thunder!  Lightening!

I was a little nervous.  Sawyer’s eyes were big – yet, he played harder than ever at first…  And then passed out in my arms during the heaviest part of the storm.  Oh dear…

An exciting night.  That’s for sure.  Not what we expected.  Not what we planned.  But I’m so appreciating our ability to enjoy it for what it is.  And loving how well Mike and I work as a team.  We may not get much time together at the campfire…  But we love seeing Sawyer wiggle and giggle and hear each other’s laughing, too.  We’ll figure this out the more we do it.  But for now, it’s not exactly a bad way to spend a Friday night.  We’ll take it!

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.

IMG_0263Gotta love a friend that adores your kid this much!

  • 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?