Keeper of the calendar

For various reasons the past few weeks have seemed extra busy. I constantly just feel like I’m a step behind and can’t quite catch up. Whenever I feel this way I like to pause for a minute and make sure I’m saying “no” to the things I can be. My time on earth is too short and sweet to let busyness invade my life and rob me of special moments and joy!

I need down time to recharge and feel refreshed. Time to be still and  focus my thoughts. When the days go flying by and we are here and there, I feel overwhelmed, behind, frustrated and worn down. My kids are still little so they are dependent on momma for a lot of things. I have to be conscious of not wearing myself too thin. I have found that I like 2-3 days during the week with no set plans. I’ll go out with the kids to do errands or fun things, but we go at our own pace. When my weeks become too full I feel like I’m just herding my little pack around, always rushing everyone around leaving me feeling like a scatter brained drill sargent. Its hard for me to stay up on laundry, housework, our garden, and my quiet time. When the busyness creeps in I feel like I miss out on special little moments with my kids, and those moments can be so important! I am to nurture my children, and nurturing calls for those teachable and lovable moments.

As I reflect on the busyness of the past few weeks, and the upcoming weeks, I realize there’s not much I can do about it. There always seems to be seasons where the calendar is full and there is really no way around it. So what do I need to do during this time? I need to adjust for this season based on how I know I function. I need to make sure I squeeze in a few minutes of down time daily. I need to be conscious of saying “no” to all the things I can. If there happens to be a free day, I need to work at keeping it that way. I need to aim at having a good attitude if the laundry is piled higher than normal and the house isn’t as clean as I want. Its a busy season and something has to give! I also need to make sure this season doesn’t go on for too long and our family doesn’t reach burnout!

As wives and/or mothers it is our job to set boundaries and protect busyness from invading. We are the keeper of the calendar.

I realize everyone is different, some thrive with being on the go, where others like myself may need a little more down time. I encourage you to take a step back though and assess where you are and where you want to be. Figure out ways you can adjust. What do you need and what does your family need?  Are you burnt out? Do you need to be saying “no” more? Time is valuable and life is short. Let’s make sure we are being good keepers of the calendar and stewards of our time!

 

My “3 Design Musts” (giving life to our homes)

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Hi friends! An interior designer recently asked me what my “3 Musts” were in design. My initial thought was, “Uh, no clue”, and I was slightly intimidated on how to answer the question (partly because he has 31 thousand instagram followers and partly because it sounded so formal). I thought about it long and hard…well, a day, and came to my conclusion. Just to clarify, I have zero design background or knowledge, so these aren’t educated “musts” but things I realize I try to do in every space and why.

My 3 musts:

  1. Sentiment– Something that is special or sentimental to me. Perhaps something I made, my husband made, a photo of those near and dear to me, a quote or reminder that I need on a daily basis, etc. I don’t just want my home to have nice things, I want memories and items that are unique to our family. Things that make it ours.
  2. Balance– This is purely for aesthetic sake! There is “formal balance”, when sides are symmetrical (matching), and “informal balance”, when sides are not exactly the same or symmetrical, however there is still balance created. I like to attempt informal balance.
  3. Tranquility- I want our home to be a place that feels peaceful, calming, and refreshing. One way this is done is by color. I try to explain to my husband that color can create a tone for the home…he’s still try to understand 🙂 My colors are gray and white with accents of wood and black. Those colors just work for me.

Perhaps you want your home to be bright and cheery with a lot of fun colors, or maybe dark and cool! There is not a right or wrong…it is just what fits our personality and interests. There are so many styles and colors I enjoy, but I try to stick with one…which is hard to do sometimes. The fun part about all being different is we can enjoy one anothers styles!

I want to share a paragraph from the book I’m reading, “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way” by Sarah Mae. This paragraph was so encouraging to me and really explains the why behind making our houses, homes.

You can give life to your home by making it warm and inviting, fresh and invigorating! You can give life to you home by making sure there are clean dishes to eat off of and clear spaces to walk in and organized papers that are easy to find when you need them. You can give life to your home by filling it with loving, true, and good words! You can give life to your home by building up the souls in your care and the souls who enter it. Your home can be a place where weary bones rest and burdens are lifted and laughter ripples through every room. All of these things make a home. You are a creator of beauty and peace and safe spaces. You are a homemaker. (pg. 19)

Don’t you feel as though this gives us a little perspective on why we do what we do? Or how important it is for us to maintain our homes?! Our homes are a place where our family can find peace, love, and comfort. There are so many aspects that go into giving our homes life. What we have on the walls isn’t the most important part, but it does help in making it “warm and inviting, fresh and invigorating” and “a place where weary bones rest and burdens are lifted”!

Now that you have read about my musts, I though it would be fun to do a little “tour” of my house over the rest of the week. For the next few days I’ll be posting pictures of spaces in my home on Instagram and briefly talk about how it fits my “must criteria”. This isn’t because I have mastered it and I think things in my home are perfect. In fact, its been hard for me lately not to compare to all the homes out there that are decorated to perfection. Thankfully though, it isn’t about making our homes perfectly decorated, but loved and comfortable for our own family to rest and make happy memories. And through this little tour you may learn a little about why I have what I do on the walls! 😉 What do you want people to feel when they walk in your home? Think about it! I hope this helps you figure out what you want for your home, how you want to give it life and make it special and unique to your family! Thanks for reading!

–If you don’t have instagram to follow along, I will post the pictures and captions when the week is over!

The “non-pinterest” birthday celebration

 

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I’m just going to do a quick recap of Levi’s 4th birthday. Read here if you missed the post about our firstborn, Levi!

We talked before hand about what he wanted and let him plan out the day! He woke up to 4 super hero’s looking at his morning spot on the couch. Thankfully he slept, because the day before he wasn’t sure if he would be able to since “he was so excited it was going to be his birthday!”  😉

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A few days before his birthday I was at the store with all the kids and that was my chance to grab a few things for his big day. I brought a re-usable shopping bag so I could hide things in the bag when he wasn’t looking. I got a pack of super hero masks, balloons, streamers, and super hero plates. I’m not really into the “character” thing, but it was fast, easy and I knew HE would love it, and thats what matters, right?!

After the rest of the crew woke up we had eggs and fruit….

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…before we headed off to the donut shop for a special treat. He wanted to eat in the car though so “he didn’t have to unbuckle, buckle, unbuckle…”. So we had a donut and milk picnic in the car.

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We then headed off to the store for him to pick out his birthday present. As most kids, he loves the times he is able to pick something out when we go to the store (usually for $1), so we knew he would love being able to pick out a bigger toy! And…he loved it. He was so excited and had a sweet attitude about it 🙂 I don’t want our kids to have a “give me” attitude and expect all these big great things for their birthdays and holidays, but it sure is fun to see their face light up when they get a new toy! There’s a balance in everything.
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This was his choice. I think it was a good one. IMG_2742IMG_2739

Then we came home and swam with some neighborhood friends. He didn’t want a lot of people over, but it was fun to have a few friends over to swim with us! IMG_2758

After swimming we had a picnic lunch in the shade of the tree. IMG_2763

The kids were worn out from playing with friends in the sun so they got a treat and watched part of a movie before nap time!

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After naps we went to Nonna & Vovo’s house (my parents) for a BBQ, per his request. His dinner choice was steak 🙂 We swam, had dinner, and enjoyed an ice cream cookie cake! I guess I was enjoying the evening too much to take more pictures!

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There was nothing fancy about this day. In fact, as his birthday approached I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t having a big party, inspired by all these pinterest ideas. I was worried the day wouldn’t be special. Instead of a pinterest perfect party I bought some cheap decorations last minute and put them up at 10pm the night before. I got a few snacks that he likes and I didn’t even have a gift prepared for him (but that was on purpose)! To my surprise, it was the best birthday we’ve had for one of our kids!!! I loved that I was able to be present with him and enjoy HIM. We had a great time as a family, he felt special, and I wasn’t stressed. It was a win-win and a very special day with our big 4 year old.

Disclaimer: I am not against big parties! I have a few friends that always throw an amazing “Pinterest Party” and I’m always in awe of how great it looks. I will probably have a <smaller> party at the end of next month for our youngest who is turning 1! What we did for Levi was perfect for what he wanted and how busy we are right now. Special doesn’t have to be big 🙂

What do you like to do for birthdays?! Would love to hear your ideas!

 

My Summer 5

 

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I’ve been reading about people setting “Summer Goals” and it seemed a little overwhelming to do that. Well honestly, I’m afraid I’ll end up feeling like a failure at the end if I don’t accomplish them! So I decided to just write out 5 things…that doesn’t seem too daunting! Its nothing crazy, but I think its good to set goals for ourselves, because time goes by so quickly. Setting goals can help us consciously make the time to do things that are important to us or things that will help better ourselves. I’ve written out goals before in how I want to be as a mother, or how to encourage my family & friends, etc., but its been a while so I think its time to set some new ones in all areas of my life!

Here are my “Summer 5”:

  1. Read Having a Martha Home the Mary Way (Which also involves a cleaning schedule to help simplifying and declutter your home)
  2. Take a family trip to the beach
  3. Invite a family over once a week for a BBQ and swimming (read about hospitality!)
  4. Overnight trip with my hubby
  5. Lots of Berry picking with the kiddos!

I’m thinking next summer I’ll have the kids give their input 🙂 At the end of August I’ll let you know how these goals went. Do you set goals for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it! Also, any ideas or suggestions on summer goals?!

P.S. We WILL be swimming every day, if not twice a day. Thats a given 😉

Social Media- Good or Bad?

 

Social media. I have good and bad feelings when I write or think about those two words. Part of me enjoys the community and the ideas I learn from talented people, and the other part of me feels like it consumes too much of my time, taking me away from my kids, and can give me negative feelings about myself. I recently had a discussion with my girlfriends about this and some were sharing how they have had to ‘take a step back’ from it because they had feelings of jealousy, annoyance, like they have to prove themselves to others, or that they weren’t being present with their family. I have felt all these things and I admire them for realizing what they needed to do to guard themselves from these feelings.

Instagram and Pinterest are the areas I spend most of my “online time”, and I have to consciously use moderation. I love getting ideas from people who are so gifted in what they do! The creative part of my brain is there, but a lot smaller than some, so I get stumped…birthday party ideas, decorating ideas, dinner ideas, etc. While looking though, I have had to remind myself, “You are not a failure because your house isn’t perfect, You are not a failure because you’re not always put together, you’re not a failure because you’re not making gourmet meals”… and the list goes on. The problem is, people are posting the best of their best, the best of their talent. We see an accumulation of all these people posting their talents and we begin to feel like we should be able to have a sense of fashion, while keeping a perfectly clean & well decorated home, while cooking gourmet-organic-clean-food meals, while throwing elaborate birthday parties for our kids, while traveling to fun places, while having adorably dressed children, all while having a side business and writing a book (oh wait, I forgot documenting all these things with perfect pictures!)!! The bottom line is that we can’t do that. We can’t expect ourselves to be or do all those things.

This is what inspired me to start this blog. I feel called to try to share my “normal” life with you, hoping we can learn from each other.  I had to remind myself when starting this blog idea that it doesn’t have to be perfection, and that it shouldn’t be. I want this to be a place where I portray real life, with real feelings, and real messes… because to me, that is much more relatable.

So let’s remember, friends, to not negatively compare ourselves with all that is out there on social media. We can learn things from gifted individuals, but God has given YOU special areas in your life that make you just the way He wants you. Find what those are (don’t be too critical of yourself!) and use them to bless others!

How to start a blog in 100 hours

So, those articles on Pinterest titled, “How to start your own blog in 15 minutes!”… NOT true for me. It’s taken me hours. Part of the reason is that we have older laptops that are slow and they needed some troubleshooting, but there were also setbacks with purchasing the domain, the theme, etc. Not to mention figuring out Word Press. I am not a computer genius, so this has been a good (hard?!) challenge for me. My patience has been tested. I have been so anxious to get this site up and running… and I have been frustrated that it didn’t just take me “15 minutes” like the articles said. I mean, I guess I could have just gone to posts, written something, closed my eyes and clicked publish. I would have had a post up, but been in complete darkness about how to navigate and customize the site.

There have been a few days were I have had to put this project aside because my mind was too consumed. I wasn’t fully present for my family. I ended up taking my kids to the zoo one day so I could have fun with them and not think about blog stuff. 

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I’m so excited and have so many ideas swirling around in my head, but sometimes I have to take a deep breath and realize I have to work at a slower pace than I would like. It’s hard to balance time as a mom. There are some things that I have to get done and the kids need to wait for mommy to finish (cooking, cleaning, caring for a sibling, etc), but there are some areas that are more flexible. When I’m gardening, blogging, getting ready, or decorating and start getting frustrated at them because I’m “in the zone”, I sometimes ask myself, “In 20 years from now will you wish you would have stopped what you were doing to be intentional with them?” Most of the time (sometimes reluctantly), it causes me to stop what I am doing to give them some quality time before finishing my task. When it comes down to it though, when I get past the initial “annoyance”, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being needed and caring for my little family.

So, with all that said, this has taking me longer than I thought, my patience has been tested, and the site is not where I want it yet, but I’m trying to be ok with that! If you’re interested in starting a blog, just contact me and I’ll give you my tips on “How to start a blog in 100 hours”  😉

I’d love to hear ways you try to find balance as a mom!