30 January 2015

Life is Picking Up

Wow -- is it really Friday already? At least the week went by fast, given that it's a long work week/weekend for M. Which means we have to find our own entertainment while all our friends are spending time together as a family.

We spent most of the week just ... living. Preschool. Dance class. Church. S's "social" schedule these days seems to make up the majority of my time spent out and about, and with summer {somewhat slowly} approaching, it will probably just get busier. With hopeful swimming lessons, and either t-ball or soccer for both kids, it should be plenty of fun, and keep us busy.

M and I also spent some time mattress hunting. We've decided that after almost 7 years of sharing a "full size" bed, its time for an upgrade. Given that our bed is a hand-me-down many times over, and is who knows how old, its long overdue. We have our eyes on a king sized bed ... and are now just patiently waiting until its sitting pretty in our bedroom.

Today should be a good kickoff to the weekend. We're watching a friend's little girl this morning, so the kids will have an extra playmate to keep them company. Running a few errands with 3 kids shouldn't be too difficult. I hope! And then maybe I'll take them to an indoor playground to run off some energy before dropping the little girl off, and sending my little ones to their rooms for some quiet time.

Here's to hoping your week was easy-paced, and relatively stress-free. And that the weekend ahead holds fun times, friends and family, and a relaxing wind-down. Here's to another week ahead!

28 January 2015

2015 Reading List: Half the Sky

Its seems like every year, I start off in a good reading groove. As the months go on, I slack off a bit ... or a lot. Summer comes, and I pick it back up again. But then in the Fall, its just gone. Completely. I don't pick up anything until Christmas time, or later. But this year? It's going to be different. {I think.} And so far, so good. I just finished my second book of the year, and we're on a roll.

Half the Sky is an intense read, honestly. If you are interested in social science, women's freedoms around the world, or just want to be downright SHOCKED by how some societies treat their females, pick up this book, now. Or even better, watch the documentary by the same name, on Netflix. You will be amazed. Saddened. And quite possibly driven to do something yourself.

Kristoff and WuDunn, the authors of the book, have spent much of their adult life traveling around the world, living in China, and other developing, or third-world nations, exposing whats really going on that doesn't typically make the news. Everything from sexual slavery, genital mutilation, raping, abusing, and mis-educating women are covered in the chapters of this book.

The greatest part though? The chapters aren't just filled with statistics and information. They actually put a name and a face to their stories. You are introduced to women who have been to Hell and back, seen the darkness that you can only imagine in the horror stories, and lived to tell about it. And many of these women have turned their lives around and are now successful. Its incredibly inspiring.

By far, my favorite stories are those about micro-financing. Organizations that give women tiny loans, educate them on different issues, as well as teach them skills that will help them build their business, and then watch as they go out into their own worlds and utilize these new skills. They farm, harvest and sell crops at market. They create embroidery and other handiworks, sell them at market, and take the profit to pay back loans, invest in their childrens' educations, and save money, becoming self-sufficient.

Its a great message that not only are women capable, they can come back from nothing, and rise to the top!

As heavy as this story was, you can bet my next read will be something light and easy. But I don't doubt that this one will stick with me for a long while.

21 January 2015

He Knew I Needed Her, More Than I Needed The Quiet

{Bonding with my wee-babe, circa 2010}

I was looking forward to the time alone; I was counting down the hours.

Ever since the night before, when I heard those magical words, "I think I'll take the kids and Dad to breakfast in the morning, that okay?!" I was elated. I can't tell you how infrequently time absolutely alone in the house happens. Early mornings and naptimes are no longer my own -- since my kids don't sleep. By evening time, I am exhausted, and can barely sit on the couch and stare into space without falling fast asleep.

To say I was over the moon is an understatement.

So when he told me that there was a change in plans, and instead he would bring them a little breakfast treat, and pick up just our son, leaving me at home with our daughter, my heart sank. I had it all dreamed out in my head: I was going to read, in the silence. Maybe have a mug of cocoa. I wasn't going to clean. I wasn't going to shower uninterrupted {although that would be nice, too!} ... I was just going to enjoy some me-time.

He came home, gave the kids their treat, and bundled our son up to go crow-hunting. The boys were off -- and I was left at home, alone, and with my daughter. Suddenly, I felt myself getting emotional, and excused myself to the bathroom to cry.

One of those emotional, ugly cries. I felt so convicted. Here I was, given the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with my first born, and I was sad about it? What was wrong with me? And that's exactly what I asked God in that moment: "What is wrong with me? I have this time with my sweet girl ... and I'm crying?! Why?!" Not only "Why am I crying?" but also "Why didn't I deserve that alone time? That precious me-time I never seem to get anymore?"

And you know what happened?

Suddenly, things became so clear.

I got up from my porcelain throne, wiped the tears off my face, and went to join my girl. I took her in my arms, and hugged her, silently. Rocking her back and forth, I told her over and over how much I love her, "even when I'm not the nicest mom ... or the most fun mom. I love you then, too." She told me she knew that, and she loved me too -- "now can we do something fun?"

You see, God knows. He knows what we want ... and he knows exactly what we need. He knows the things deep in our heart, and the things we'd rather not face, as well. And when we need it the most, he gives us a swift {albeit gentle} kick in the pants, getting us to man up, and giving us exactly what we NEED most.

I wanted time alone. But what I really needed was time alone with my girl. A chance to laugh and cuddle and bond some more.

We painted our nails, drank some hot cocoa, watched a movie, and played a few games. We even got out a Melissa and Doug sticker book and decorated the pages of Fairies having tea parties and dancing in the rain. And that little girl of mine smiled. And laughed. And loved.

I sure am glad that I have a God who knows the insides of my heart, my wants and desires, and chooses instead to give me what I need most of all.

I am so glad he gave me that time alone with her.

19 January 2015

Gearing Up For the Week Ahead

Good Morning!

Monday has rolled around again -- not that I mind. It's one of M's short weeks, so he's home today. {Of course, the trade off is that he worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ... so while others were enjoying the weekend, we were hanging solo.} We have a few things we need to take care of today --and then plan to relax for the rest of the afternoon! But all that can wait -- because right now, I have the house to myself, and M has the kids out to breakfast!

Silence ... it's golden!

Our weekend was pretty good for a work weekend. I took the kids to play at McDonalds. I bought one of those fabric-sling bookcases for only $2 {and have plans to DIY it to what I want soon ...}. I worked my first weekend in the nursery at church -- and absolutely fell in love with those babies! Seriously -- I could spend all my time in there and no grow tired of it. One little boy curled up on me and snuggled, before falling asleep. Safe to say -- I didn't put him down!

We also visited with the kids' Pappy -- and went for a golf-cart ride. The kids loved it, and I'm looking forward to more of them, myself, once the weather warms up in a couple months.

We are still dealing with sleep craziness around here -- and true to form, L fell asleep in the living room last night around 545, didn't eat any dinner, and only stirred once I put his pajamas on him. As soon as I laid him back in S's bed, his eyes shut, and I didn't hear a peep out of him. Not really sure how long its going to take him to adjust to no naps ... but this interim? Its rough on all of us!

This week is shaping up to be a fun one: no school all week for S, which means a playdate with her friend at some point. Mops. Church. Dance. And I might even convince M to take me out to a movie!

How is your week looking? Any fun stuff ahead?! 

16 January 2015

You Can't Plan It All

This week did not go as planned.

Thanks to Mother Nature, school was cancelled one day, we stayed at the house all day for two days, more or less, and managed to catch up on laundry and some cleaning, but otherwise, we all wound up with a good case of cabin fever. By Thursday afternoon, we were all sick of looking at each other, and the walls inside our house.

Safe to say, I have a few things planned for this weekend to get us out and about -- and hopefully they will quell that discontent.

The roads didn't really ice over, like was called for. It got cold, and rained, but otherwise, it was just another winter day in North Carolina. Blink and it will change, I was told. {As if I didn't already know ... I've been here almost 7 years.}

We are still dealing with some early morning risers -- but I'm getting used to the company. Would I rather have some quiet alone time to read or clear my head before the day? Sure. But its been going on like this long enough now, that if its 545am and they aren't awake yet, I'm starting to wonder where they are.

And L is having a hard time adjusting to the whole "no nap" thing, too. He still really needs a nap of some sort, but refuses unless a.} we are driving in the car or b.} its way past the time he should be sleeping. Most nights, as I'm cooking dinner, I turn around and find him curled up in the recliner with a movie, sound asleep. Waking him up from that is quite the task -- and he usually winds up a bear.

A bear who refuses to eat dinner, at that.

Next week is looking to be a bit of the same: S doesn't have school at all -- between a holiday Monday and a teacher workday on Wednesday, all of her preschool is cancelled. Thankfully, its a short work week for M, a MOPS week, and we will still have dance as planned. If the weather keeps up, we're going to be spending a lot of time either inside, driving each other nuts, or invading the nearest indoor playground.

Anyone want to place a bet on how quickly I lose my sanity?!