A Clean Mouth + a No Phone Challenge

A few weeks ago, inspired by Beth Moore in her book Believing God, I tied a blue piece of string around my wrist as a reminder that I am trying to give up swearing. The string never comes off, I wear it in the shower, doing dishes, everything.  (She suggests giving the reminder string six weeks to work its magic & help you change your habit.)

Well as time has passed, the string has been slowly rinsed of its color. It's now nearly white.  I was noticing how light it is this morning and it struck me as ironic that as I try to cleanse my mouth of foul, unnecessary words, the bracelet I wear as a reminder of this promise, is also getting cleansed. 

Last week I was the most proud of myself on this journey thus far.  Logan had broken his glasses in anger and they were the FOURTH pair he has broken since June. (That's a pair of glasses every two months!!!)  I will admit I did yell... "Logan!!! That's the fourth pair you've broken since June!!! And you have TESTING next week! Now what are you going to do? Go.to.your.room." Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. 

But! But I didn't swear! I didn't even want to. 

Sometimes (since giving up bad words) my yelling sounds like its been censored. I'll be saying that I'm upset about something and then there will be a blank space where normally the curse word would have been.  But this time, I spoke my heart (that I was frustrated) and sent him to his room without uttering a single bad word (or pausing to omit one)!!!

It feels good to be setting an example for the boys (and Carly!) that I would be proud for them to follow.  

Funny enough, just as I'm starting to feel real good about the example I'm setting, Logan challenged me to go the whole day Monday without my phone.  At first I laughed at him, but then he upped the ante and said that if I used my phone, then he and his brothers should get screens cause it's not really fair that they don't get screens all week, but I do. (They only get screen times on the weekends. No TV, no computer, no tablets Monday through Friday... except on Snow Days because #momrules and #survival. #nojudgment! Ha!)

So I rolled that little thought around in my head and eventually agreed to it. I told him I would go the whole day Monday without TV or my phone (no Facebook, no Instagram) and would only answer phone calls or texts, not start any myself. 

And so it was that Monday was the most productive day of 2017. Ha!!!  But for real, I got so much done. The best part was that Wyatt (the kid is a genius) had the idea of putting Logan's lenses in Jack's frames (they have one pair that is the same glasses just in different colors) so I took the pairs in Monday morning to see if it could be done and voila! Logan has a pair of glasses to wear for testing and our "no glasses for our kid who needs them most" dilemma is solved. Hooray! Shout out to Super Wy for being so brilliant!

What habits are you working on creating or eliminating in 2017? How do you keep yourself on track? I've been wanting to do bullet journaling and keep track of my new years resolutions that way, but so far the only thing I've done is make a bookshelf drawing to add "Books I've Read" to.   Maybe with the upcoming addition of February Goals, I will get something figured out in my journal!



Why I Cried in the Car Pick Up Line

The other day as I was pulling up to the school like every morning with a van full of kids & backpacks, my eyes welled up and I felt overcome with emotion. Namely gratitude.

This, (this mom in a minivan, shooing the kids out the door, gloves on, shoes tied, coats zipped) is what I've always wanted. What I've always dreamed of. There is nothing spectacular or "of note" in my life right now.  I don't live in rural Alaska anymore, thousands of miles from home, multiple plane rides away from civilization.  I don't help my husband butcher moose in my bathtub or take my kids over to the school in -30 blizzard conditions. That's not my life anymore.  And I'm okay with that.

Our Alaskan adventure was magical.  It had highs and lows.  It was a beautiful couple of chapters in our book, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  They are what's made me so grateful for things that beforehand I took for granted. (ie family, the grocery store & the hospital being nearby.)  But. But I am also okay that those chapters have closed.

I am so happy to be living in a house with a yard in a school district where my kids can go get a great education. I am so happy to be living my boring life in my boring town. (Except to me, it's anything but boring.)

I don't mind being cliche.

For example, every time I pull Carly out of her carseat, about 25 Cheerios fall out as well.  At the grocery store, I'm the mom with three kids orbiting around a moving cart, dabbing as I ask them to get olives or granola bars.  In the mornings I'm the mom feeding the baby in her high chair while hollering to her brothers to "Get your boots on! Make your lunch! Do your hair!"

It's a simpler life we're living now, compared to an isolated village,
but I couldn't be more grateful for it.

I wake up every morning next to a man I have loved since I was a girl, and usually nestled between us from her early morning wake up is the daughter we made after two back-to-back losses.  We wake up with hope literally between us.  As we begin to stir, the boys come in, one after the other after the other, pajamas askew, bed hair flattened to their still warm, sweet heads, and that's how my days begin.  Surrounded by love.  The love of a man who takes better care of us than I ever imagined, and the manifestation of that love, our children.

Sure, most days the four kids get the better of me. I am overwhelmed with chores & to-do's, struggling to fit it all in.  But those moments when God lets me see, really see, all the blessings around me, boy.  They take my breath away.

"I wake to the discontent of life in my skin.  I wake to self-hatred.  To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing.  Always, the failing.  I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets.  I live tired.  Afraid. Anxious. Weary.  Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes.  Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? 

But this morning I wake wildly wanting to live... I throw back the covers, take another breath and begin.  I get to.  I get to live."

-Ann Voskamp



Around Here: Week 4

Finishing... the KonMari method in all the bedrooms of the house. I am now left with paperwork and memorabilia, which is both exciting and daunting.  I think the biggest difference by far is in our master bedroom (pictured above). 

Enjoying... how Ramona (our girl kitty) pays attention when Carly is down for her nap. As soon as I sit down with my lap top on the couch, she seeks me out and curls up with me.

Loving... the "embrace" sign that Josh's sister Julie made for me.  Embrace is my word of the year for 2017, and having it hang in my dining room will be just the reminder I need when life gets chaotic, crazy & loud.

Feeling good... about not swearing. I have been successful most days the last week.  I am on my way to being a better example for my kids and that feels really good.

Helping... Logan adjust to life after a second seizure. Just like after the first seizure, he has been complaining pretty consistently of headaches, and his teacher and I are working together to be sure that Logan feels safe and heard (especially at school) but also that he not come home every time he doesn't feel 100%.  I feel like I am making everything up as I go, but so far Logan seems comfortable, so I'll call that a win.  We're still waiting to hear back on follow up appointments for him with the neurologist. I promise to keep you posted.

Celebrating... Carly's first birthday this week.  The little sweetheart is just beautiful and brings us all so much joy.

Buying... a baby pen (not sure what else to call it???) for Carly after I caught her with two small legos in her mouth the other morning.  Life with three older brothers is rife with danger, and I think that little play area will be a great safe place for her to exist when I am otherwise occupied cooking, cleaning, or caring for her siblings.

Working hard... to meet Wyatt's needs right now.  The transition from three weeks of snow days (off and on) to school again everyday has been hard for him, but not in the morning.  Oddly, he's been struggling in the afternoon.  He gets home from school, where he has had good behavior and lots of fun, and just starts melting down over the tiniest little thing. Last night when he complained that he couldn't have cake when he wanted I just held him, sympathized and didn't let go as he sobbed into my chest. He cried for so long, but I could tell he felt better, lighter, afterward. Poor guy. It's been a crazy weird month for me, and I'm a grown up. I can't imagine how strange it's felt for him.

Snapping pictures... of the kids' first snow men. The twins wanted to be in the picture with theirs so they tromped back out in the snow in their basketball shorts to pose. Ha! The snowmen were very cute and the boys were proud. They built them on Monday, when we had no school (again! waaah!) because of black ice. At this point the number of missed days in January is getting ridiculous!

Taking... Carly to her one year check up and asking them to split up her shots. She was due for five (!) so we opted to get them a bit staggered.  Luckily she hasn't been extra cranky or anything after the ones she got yesterday. She is teething two teeth, however, and those are causing her to be very drooly and to wake up in the night. Mama is ready for more than two hours' sleep at a time!

And taking... Wyatt to the eye doctor where I found out that his prescription is getting less (smaller?) and there is a real possibility he could even outgrow his need for glasses altogether. That makes this mama (of three boys in glasses) nearly jump for joy!

Contemplating... a truth my friend Tabitha pointed out on her Instagram account earlier this week, which is that we are RIGHT NOW the youngest we will EVER BE.  Which makes RIGHT NOW the time to do ALL THE THINGS you ever wanted to do. It's a thought that never crossed my mind and now I can't stop thinking about it!

Prepping... for a big and meaningful February.  I have big goals for the shortest month of the year and I can't wait to share them with you.



For Those Weary Mom Days

Today I woke up tired, grouchy, weary.  As I moved through my morning like molasses, I found myself frustrated after giving the same direction time and time again to any of the three boys trying to get ready for school.  Then I opened the freezer to find it had been open all night and everything was covered in frost like the North Pole, only to then watch as Wyatt stopped short, bowl of cereal & milk in hand, and pour sticky, sugary milk & mini wheats all over the floor by the sink.


And so it was that I found myself with a case of the Mondays... on Thursday. 

Day to day I work really hard to get my chores done.  Cooking, dishes, laundry & getting those boys out the door has to happen everyday.  But I want to get more done around here that stays done.  So that means pushing myself even harder to accomplish not only my regular chores, but also some of my bigger goals, like organizing the filing cabinet or sorting through the boys' toys or clothes.  

And so, even though I woke up weary, and spent half of Carly's morning nap defrosting the freezer, I am going to push through and get done not only my regular chores, but also some of the things that will stay done.  

Then I'm going to eat some of the cookies Josh made last night.
Because the surest cure for a case of the Mondays, is chocolate.

And the surest cure for those weary mom days, is accomplishing things that make me feel like an amazing homemaker & mom. 



Our Hearts in Rockaway

We love love love Rockaway Beach where my grandparents live, 
and we love love love spending time with them.
We had hoped to go visit over Christmas, but they were sick,
so we had to cancel.
Our next plan is to get there over Spring Break.
I can hardly wait!!!


Happy Birthday Carly May

You are the sparkle in our lives...

You are the little sister we all dreamed of...

You are the apple of our eyes...

You are sweet...

You are demanding...

{favorite new food: lasagna}
You are messy...

{signing "more"}
You are smart...

{You walk, walk, walk... until I try to video.
Then you stand still as a stone.}
You are stubborn...

 You are hilarious...
(and can I say here how much I love your little teeth?)

 You are adored...

You are precious...

You are our beautiful rainbow baby who brought us joy after so much heartache.  
Carly, the last year has been so beautiful because of you.
Happy Birthday baby girl.



Slip N Slide


In an effort to clear out my queue of Draft posts, I've been going through them and posting as time allows.  Hopefully I'll be all caught up soon!