Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Unbuckled Thanksgiving

We unbuckled our seat belt of rules and rode the Thanksgiving roller coaster as wild as we could. 


First off, the kids and I went all out with our place settings, a little tradition that I especially enjoy. In years past, we have come up with some fun ornate excessive little craft for each person's place. The kids are in charge of choosing the seating arrangement, a task that they take seriously. I love overhearing their reasoning of each person's place, even though they are about the same every year. 


But let's admire the little faux campfires for a moment. They even gave out faux heat. In our hearts. Precious.


This year I did something that I never knew I could do-I ran the 8k Turkey Trot with John and my brothers. It put me in the best mood for the rest of the day, because I was bursting with pride and energy. 


After the race, we headed back to our house. I put out a meat and cheese plate, and the kids filled up there. They couldn't imagine that they could walk by the plate, grab whatever they wanted and eat it while they walked around. Not buckling the seat belt can be fun. Ridge never got an official nap, until after the big meal, we found him asleep. That belly says it all. 


The next day we joined John's family for a buffet lunch. It's very unusual for us to go out to eat, but it was a treat for everyone. A break for the cooks in the family and a brush with fancy for the children, we all enjoyed ourselves. 


Our fun time with our extended family set such a good tone. As soon as Saturday hit, we started with the Christmas decorating and music. More of our current holiday explosion later! 
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Friday, December 1, 2017

7 Years (And Counting) Of Siesta

Recipe for my daily rest time: 
Book (currently reading this)
Good candle (my all time favorite or my new favorite)
Space heater
Closed blinds
Time to myself


For over seven and a half years, I have had a napping baby/toddler/child. Which means, for the same time, I've had an afternoon siesta. I spend the first little bit doing a few minor chores or dinner prep, but mostly I take that time to myself. Napping, watching, reading, writing, staring, snacking-the options are overwhelmingly endless. It's my cross that I have to carry. But it never, ever gets old. Goodnight/day. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The No Texting Update

It's been three weeks and this No Texting/No Social Media thing and it keeps getting better and better. Everyday I enjoy it in different ways. Like a waterfall rushing over the edge, the (major and subtle) lifestyle changes of this new/old way of life are flooding me. 

I'm serious. We are talking about major shifts in the undercurrents of my life. 


Here is the scorecard of the first two weeks. I have: 

1. Written letters.
2. Received notes.
3. Drained two pens of their ink.
4. Journaled semi-regular
5. Finished two books, halfway through my third.
6. Taken daily catnaps. 
7. Had several good meet-ups with friends. 
8. Invited even more friends over.

Things in my life feel so much better than before. Part of me wants to stop and thoroughly take inventory of all the changes, big and small, that I've experienced. The loudest part of me doesn't want to worry about figuring out the changes. This is a novel feeling for me, but I believe it: I don't have to know all the ways it is better to know that it is better. Meaning, I don't have to list out all the pros and cons and see the large list of pros to validate that this has been a good decision for me. Everything feels better. Everything. 

There is a disclaimer: I have mixed reviews from my family. One person is understanding and supportive, two people are outright critical, the rest are indifferent. If I'm being honest, I miss sharing pictures and moments with my family. That has been the biggest sacrifice. It's hard on everyone. 

Nonetheless, I love it and I'm not sure that I will ever go back!


Monday, November 27, 2017

Ridge and Lark Museum Day

It's back to the baby boys again! In many ways, Ridge and Lark are like Burl and Fern 2.0. The age differences and my parenting flavor are the same. With Burl and Fern, I looked at each week and decided 2-4 outings that we would do. With Ridge and Lark, the structure of school and all the naps we have to take has limited our ability to go out and do. While we are limited to one outing a week, we traded them for a buffet of floor time play and inviting friends over (when we are well enough). It's a different speed, but it's still good and rich. 


Last week, we got to go on an outing. I was thrilled! I woke up in the middle of the night with anticipation! I knew that we would spend most of our time playing in the water exhibit of our children's museum, and that's what we did. 




These babies loved playing in the water! I sat there and slightly supervised, but they didn't need me much because they are busy on their own. 



The time passed quickly and we had to head home for naps (always), but I look forward to when we can go back. Until then, we can be found on the floor at home, at the grocery store, or napping. 


Moms of littles, what's your mom speed? Go and do or homebody? 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Remote Control Tickles

Guess who fixed the remote control for her camera? 
This girl did. (One of my favorite gifts ever!)


I am definitely a Tickle Mom. I know just where to go for the laughter that temporarily stops breathing-I love those little laughs. 

{Growing up, my mom was the Armpit Birdie and my dad was the Tickle Monster. I have some ancient memories of them putting us to bed taking turns tickling Joseph and me.}  


Once I fixed the remote, I set it up o the tripod and got to work tickling my two little buddies. While we miss Burl and Fern when they're at school, we do our best to have a good time playing, usually on the floor and always together.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fern is 6!




Before we had children, John and I would play this fun game called, "Where would the baby be?" We would ask that question at different times and day dream where the baby would be in any given situation. During one fun round of that game, I said, "I want a red headed girl named Fern," and a few years later, I got one. I got a great one. 


We overdid it again with the celebrations, but we can't not celebrate. EVERYTHING turns into a party. Here's what we did:

1. Grandparents over for doughnuts
2. Friends over for rainbow party
3. Cookies to school on her ACTUAL birthday
4. John, Ridge, Lark and I took Wendy's to eat with her at school
5. My personal favorite: take the birthday child out for dinner alone with Mom and Dad



The friend party was sweet because she is in a really good season of having fun friends from school, church, and life. She LOVES friends. Her rainbow party was really a playdate with decorations and good snacks. There were no games or tasks. Play-eat-play. 


It should be remembered that her precious teacher asked me if she could come to Fern's birthday party, which she did. She was the star of the party. Fern loved her card and flowers, "I'm going to treasure this card forever."




For her fancy dinner out with John and me, she chose Jimmy John's (and we threw in Clumpies for fun). The nights with the one child is as much for us as it is for them. We VALUE this time with them. We've found that the kids don't stop talking and everything is noteworthy. Throughout the night, John and I exchange knowing glances at each other. 


We both know that this time with Fern, this meal, this day, this season, this life, is our treasure. We love and adore her and she feels that. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Halloween 2017


Fern from Charlotte's Web.
Pikachu from Pokemon
$9 Monster's Inc costume that we called Baby Dragon to fit Ridge's alter ego.

It was another great night of neighborhood chaos and tired legs after trick or treating.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Reading The Bible

Two years ago Burl asked me, "Mom, have you finished reading the Bible yet?" The answer was multifold of "I never stop reading the Bible" and "actually I haven't read every word but I've read several parts multiple times." That conversation stuck with me, because I want my children to know that I believe so strongly in the Bible that I have read every word, so I launched into a read-through-the-Bible schedule with the goal of reading it within three years.


It has been the best, richest, favoritest way that I've experienced the Bible. BY FAR. I think that I will always have this schedule as my basis for my personal devotions. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it and I'll say two things about it:

1. The Bible makes more sense to me and is way better than I've ever realized. 
It is my lifeline. 
2. There's some weird stuff in there and I have more questions than ever before. 

If you're at all interested in Christianity or are a Christian yourself, then I would highly encourage trying this schedule. (The reading takes about 20 minutes each day.)

Also, I would love to talk/email with anyone who wants to discuss it. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Mom, The Community Helper

Fern had to choose a community helper to be, and she chose "mom" because she wants to be just like me. Her words, not mine. (Birthday presents were doubled when she told me this.)


For her tools, she said that she needed a pots, pans, purse, wallet, and a baby doll. (There was no mention of a phone-winning!)


When asked what would happen if there were no moms, the two moms said, "all the children would die."  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Too Much & Not Enough


I can't slow down time or add days to this sweet short season of my life. However, I can slow the pace by which I live them. For the next year, I've given up social media (blog excluded) and texting.  I've taken major strides on getting myself off of my phone over the year and it's helped, but the changes have not been enough. I want for more of life and less of phone. 



The main reason that I'm doing this is that I have a disdain for keeping up with and managing my phone. It's another thing to get out the door, another thing that I have to make sure is with me, another thing to check, and another thing to speed up my life. I was fed up.


Growing up in the 80s and 90s, cell phones didn't enter the scene until I was in college. In many ways I hold a deep nostalgia for that pace of life. The only interruptions were a knock on the door or a ringing phone. I was either with people or I wasn't with people. My time alone was alone and my time with people was fun and great. There were no blurred lines of socializing. When I was by myself I watched TV, listened to music, wrote in my journal, (I didn't become a reader until adulthood,) daydreamed, moped, doodled, and my ultimate favorite thing to do: wondered about stuff. 


Texting and Instagram helped living my life like this for a little bit. Texting helped coordinate my calendar and Instagram gave me a fuller view into the lives of my friends. These were helpful tools until they weren't. The scales tipped along the way and socializing happened on my phone instead of in person-a watered down version of friendship. 


Sure, I love a good banter in my girlfriend text thread or sharing cute videos of the the kids with my extended family. It became too much and not enough. I was shoving my phone camera in my kids faces to share whatever cute thing they were doing at the moment. I missed hanging out and letting loose and not worrying about a picture. 


This word vomit of thoughts got me to hating my cell phone. I was ready to get rid of it and install a landline. After talks with John and friends, the decision was made to cut down the functions of my iPhone. I'm a little scared about the adjustment, but I'm also looking forward to the reclaimed time and fuller meet ups with friends.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sentimental Yard Work

Ridge gets lit about mowing the yard with John. LIT! He rather mow more than dessert, playground, or a movie. Mowing is his absolute favorite. (He also likes to multitask too and nurse his fox at the same time.)


The last time they mowed together, John and I had a full circle, palm-to-face, struck by lightening moment. Burl (7 1/2) used to be the exact same way. He even wore the clothes and shoes that Ridge wears now. At the very moment we realized that Ridge has the same passion that Burl used to have, we realized that Burl has traded his interest for bike riding with neighbor friends. He was off climbing trees or playing with pocket knives or something boyish like that. Woah. We stood there for a minute and could not take it in. All of the sudden, basic yard work is sentimental. 


We love it. We love this stage with Ridge and we love it with Burl. Sometimes the shift happens so slowly that we don't realize we're moving. Next thing we know, our parenting boat has slipped off one shore and headed to another shore and we're left there in the middle of the open water. We're wondering how it happened, looking at each other knowing full well that we're not made to put our anchor down in one spot of time. We're made to move. The crazy part is that we forget and it hits us that all of the sudden. We look at each other and realize that we've been slowly moving the whole time. Oh yeah, time changes. We live in the moment, and we don't want to change that.  (How's that for a drawn out metaphor.)



For the grandparents and my loyal friend and blog reader, Lauren, click HERE for pictures of Burl around the same age doing the same thing. Mind blown.
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ridge & Lark

Ridge got home from being away and walked into the room where Lark was. Lark saw him, got excited, and crawled right to him. Ridge got down on the floor and hugged him for a minute. Ridge definitely feels possessive over Lark, and sometimes will bear hug him away from us and say, "MY LARKY!" When he puts it that way, we let him have Lark to himself. 


While they don't exactly play WITH each other, they play BY each other. 


Their relationship is slowly developing. With the older two away at school, I'm seeing it more and more. I take a backseat to play director and become spy photographer. 


I wonder what these two will be: co-conspirators, fierce competitors, or best friends. Probably a combination of all three, a season for everything. They are all smiles and love right now. We call them the babies but one thing is for sure about their future: baby won't last long because they are going to be big. 
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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another Farm Birthday Post



Maybe it's the kids, maybe it's my growing love for everything outdoors, maybe it's my camping enthusiasm that's spreading, but this is true: I REALLY, REALLY look forward to going to my dad's farm. For the past nine years, we've been making the pilgrimage to his farm as our birthday and father's day gifts to him. 


The first few visits were rough because of the destitution of his site. He's come such a long way since no indoor plumbing to the trailer to his two room house with a Keurig! Bless it. 


All along, I've been pregnant four times and nursing four babies. (I'm still nursing Lark if anyone is keeping tabs on that.) Ruffin' it on his developing farm has had it challenges for pregnant ole me-even if the visits were one or two days at length. 


Like I said, we've come a long way-bless it. 

For his birthday this year, I took the three big kids a night early to camp. 

Here's the thing about having four kids: anytime I can drop it down to three, things are a breeze. It doesn't matter which three, but having three is like being on my own compared to having four. So, it's nothing for me to pack up the supplies and camp by myself with three kids. Easy peasy. 


I honestly don't know who was more excited: me or the kids. They were looking forward to all things adventure and I was looking forward to the slow pace and the outdoors. It took me a while to see it, but his place really is picturesque. The property is beautiful and there's a great spot on the hill to watch the sky. (This Tennessee mountains girl loves anytime I can see a big stretch of sky.) The road in front of his house is a tree tunnel. WHO DOESN'T LOVE A TREE TUNNEL!?! Plus, the colors were starting to say fall.


The morning we woke up there, Burl and Fern snuck out of the tent and made about 4839530 cups of hot chocolate and drank 1/4 of a cup. Burl never stopped talking, Fern never stopped changing clothes, and Ridge never stopped playing. Burl got to go with my dad and his neighbors to heard cattle down the street from one field to another-it's totally lost on him what a special thing that is for a city boy. 


Eventually, John, Lark, Joseph, and Chloe met us there and we had more of the same. Farm fun and great burgers! A new chapter was open: Burl learned how to drive the four wheeler (and this is NOT lost on him-he's so proud!). 

I look forward to going again because the farm is rich in charm and serenity. Happy Belated Birthday Post, Pops-you've made a special place for us all. Thank you.
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