Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Little Things

Every time I feel like I am in a rut or feel like I've been yelling at my kids all day, I read this short passage from a book called Heart Of My Heart: 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood by Kristin Armstrong. It helps bring me back to a place where I can see the broad picture of motherhood instead of just the menial tasks I face day in and day out. It does make you realize how hard your job is as a mother. I especially love how she says we are "constantly in the trenches", because that's exactly how I feel most days. Enjoy.

  Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. Luke 16:10

There is nothing glamorous about mothering. With tasks like diaper changing, laundry folding, grocery shopping, errand running, lunch packing, dish washing, meal planning, homework checking, teacher conferencing, and carpool driving, we are constantly in the trenches. We wipe snotty noses, kiss teary faces, clean dirty hands, and hug away tantrums. We chase bad dreams, mark moments, and make memories. We are the historian, the nurse, the chef, the masseuse, the teacher's aide, and the therapist. Often all in the same day. We endure toddler meltdowns, adolescent angst, and teenage eye rolls. We are often exhausted and unappreciated.

But ladies, God sees us and knows our work. If we ever feel a sense of futility or frustration as we do the tiny tasks that make a home and grow a family, knowing all too well that they will soon be undone or need to be redone, we can find hope in the promise that out God is a God of details. The small things matter to Him. He is not simply entrusting to us the menial task of changing a diaper or filling a lunchbox; He has entrusted to us His most precious possessions. We are raising God's children.

When we can learn to consecrate our daily tasks, making them holy offerings to our Father in heaven, everything changes. We infuse love and meaning into each part of our day. We become more grateful and Spirit-filled. God will recognize the shift in the intention of our hearts, and, perhaps, our family will begin to more deeply feel the love behind the little things.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Home Improvement: A Little At A Time

Update: This is another blog post that I started awhile back, so it's somewhat outdated, but I figured I'd still post it so you can see the various stages of our decorating/remodeling projects. I'll post a more updated version of the house soon.

We've lived in this house for approximately 8 months now, and I've been pretty slow in making it our own. You may or may not know that I am really, really, REALLY indecisive. I am so afraid of choosing the wrong color or wasting money on something I don't love, that it makes me freak out sometimes. Which is really frustrating because I end up not doing anything about it. You would think that it would be easy pick a paint color, but here I am, nearing a year in the house and it is still unpainted. I know painting is easy to change if I don't like it, but the actual act of moving furniture, taping, painting and cleaning up afterward makes me reluctant to do it too many times. Let's be honest, I'm lazy. But to my credit, I did paint the kids' rooms, so that was a start.
So here is my report of the house as we moved in and as it is now (which is not very different!), hoping it will inspire and pressure me to get my butt in gear and make this house a home.
First we'll start with the lighting fixtures. When we moved in, I immediately knew I would have to paint all the bright yellow polished brass in the house. Eww!
So after some Oil Rubbed Bronze and Frosted Glass spray paint they went from this:

To this:

I think it's an improvement, and it fit right into my budget of about $10 for paint, versus brand new lighting, that would cost a lot more. And I'd rather spend money on decor or furniture than lighting.

Here's a tour of the rest of the house and some random projects in the works.

Ella's room before:
Ella's room
Ella's room after:

Cute wall art
 Kitchen before:

Kitchen after: (We haven't changed anything in here yet.)
Bathroom before:
So white!

Building and filling wood planter boxes.

Filling the middle of the van with dirt and plants. I did put a tarp down, but I must have looked pretty silly shoveling dirt straight into my open van door. I need a truck.

 This is a little sewing table I scored at a garage sale for $1. I threw a little grey spray paint on her to make her prettier.
The rest of the house: All the "before" pictures on move-in day.
Big, empty room...we desperately need furniture.
I'd love to add a mantel to the fireplace.

Master bedroom
This is one of the most recent "after" pictures we have of the dining room/entry way. Still a long way to go.

Oh, the poor garage. 

Blake organizing all the food storage. 
These storage closets in the garage are so nice.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One year anniversary...

Today I realized that tomorrow marks exactly one year since I last posted anything on out blog. I figure it's time to start keeping up on it more frequently. Yay!

Trying to keep those contractions coming.
During the first half of the year, things were pretty uneventful (in a good way), but the second half has been pretty busy so far. In May, Blake's parents came out to visit and help with the new baby, and they got here just in the nick of time. We met them for lunch as they were driving into town,  and my contractions started as soon as we sat down. They lasted on and off the rest of that day and into the night, and finally at 10am the next morning they were finally strong enough to head into the hospital. I got checked into the hospital at 11am and our little Ruby was born at 2pm. Overall, it was a pretty smooth, natural delivery, except all the screaming going on. Ha ha. I was adamant that I was not going to have an epidural because they hadn't worked with either of my other deliveries (and I'm convinced that I have back pain because of them) and I didn't want to pay for it. And really, the only super hard part for me to handle is transition. However, I transitioned extremely fast and I wasn't quite prepared for the level of pain. So yes, I screamed...a lot...very loudly...I think I scared Blake. Luckily, they gave me the green light to push, I pushed 2 or 3 times and she came shooting out. It is amazing how in the moment when that little baby is placed on your chest, you go from such unimaginable pain to complete serenity.  She weighed 7 pounds even, my biggest baby yet. (Which isn't saying much I realize.) We checked out of the hospital early the next day and headed home to visit with our family.
Ruby Sue
Family of five
I try not to play favorites with my kids, but Ruby is making it really hard for me not to. She is such a sweet, content little girl. She only cries when she is hungry or sleepy and has consistently slept through the night since she was 8 weeks old. She's a girl after my heart. I love my sleep. I think the lack of sleep is the hardest and most frustrating thing about having a newborn.  Now she's almost 4 months old and is still as sweet as ever.

After Blake's parents visit, my parents came out stay for a couple weeks. I enjoyed all the help I was getting and Owen and Ella were spoiled with attention. I am grateful for such a wonderful family.

Grandpa Johnson helping Owen hold Ruby for the first time.

Blake's parents.

Since Ruby's sex was a surprise, she wore some of Owen's old jammies until we bought some more girl clothes.

Grandma Jean and kids at Talking Waters park.

Gotta love when Grandpas hold babies.

Goodbye summer

Well this is a little embarrassing, because I compiled these pictures at the end of last summer and never published it. Oh well, I'm going to post it anyway, for my own benefit. And now that I'm looking at these pictures compared to this year, it makes me realize how much changes in a year.

Playing at the sand and water table.

They ate watermelon until they were pooping red.

Ella in her swimsuit and rainboots, a usual outfit.

One of Ella's favorite snacks.

Love those big chocolate brown eyes!

Smoking some pork shoulder.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Out for the Summer

Sorry we haven't updated our blog lately, but we are out enjoying the summertime!! (At least what's left of it.)
Albany Art and Air Festival

 Linn County Fair

Watermelon...possibly the BEST thing about summer!