Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Commitment to Making Memories & Having Fun

There are seasons in my life when I have been able to be ridiculously spontaneous. Like taking last-minute weekend getaways with the hubby to the beach, the mountains, or the city for a day or two or three just because we could. Or choosing to binge-watch my favorite show until 2am on a Friday night because no alarm was going to go off on Saturday morning (and by alarm I mean child yelling "Good Morning mama!!! Can I watch Daniel Tiger now, can I?! I'm hungry, can I have candy for breakfast?! Get up mama! Let's play!!!"). In college my spontaneity involved heading out for a hike last minute and being able to stay out all day with just a few snack bars and a bottle of water...and no worries as to whether anybody might need me (and by "me" I really mean my boobs...because us cows nursing mamas are in high demand to be milked to feed tiny hungry tummies that, at times, WILL NOT BE SATISFIED with anything but our boobs.) How about heading out AT ALL without all the baggage that gets tacked on when you have little kids. Seriously, I feel like a pack mule when we go out for longer than an hour! Jacket? Sunscreen? Shoes? Snacks? Drinks? Distractions (aka toys)? Nursing blanket? Teether? Diapers? Wipes? Baggies to put the inevitable whopper of a dirty diaper in when you are not near any opportune place to throw the thing away? Change of clothes that you won't need unless you don't bring it (and if you don't, heaven help you because somebody WILL have a blowout!) The list goes on, my friend...and if you are a parent of young ones you know that it doesn't matter how big your diaper bag is, IT IS NOT BIG ENOUGH! *Deep breath* Anyway, ahem, my point is that "going out" when you are not a parent is an exhilarating opportunity to toss your cares away. "Going out" when you're a parent is a dirty word. If it's not probably isn't happening. We will think of a reason to not "go out" if we have young kids and are not personally related to Super Nanny.

All that to say, being intentional is an important part of parenting, I believe. Especially in the younger years. Both with our conversations and actions on a daily basis with our kids, and with the more specific ways we want to engage them in their world. The more intentional we are, the more natural it becomes, and the more "spontaneous" we can be with it. The more often I let my toddler "help" me make dinner, the more natural it becomes to accept that the process will take longer, be more messy, and that this is all part of the joy and fun in the tradition. It becomes easier and more fluid for me to want to invite her to help me the more times I actually do it. The same can be said of leaving the house to go on an "adventure", making time to read books together, or pulling out the paint for craft time.

So my solution to the problem of the summer doldrums is two-fold. One: Just say yes. It might not be something you really want to do, it might sound like too much work...but when your kiddo asks to go to the park or get an ice cream cone don't let 'no' be your automated response. Say yes more than you say no, and if you say no to something reasonable (like going to the park some morning) think of a time that you can follow-through with that activity. Then do it. Two: Initate. Come up with a handful of activities you want to do with your kids or family this summer. Then plan them out. Pencil them in. Talk about them and get the family revved up about them so that even if they are small things (like going to the community pool or going out for ice cream sundaes) they become an event to be excited about. Spontaneity may not look the same when we have young kids. It takes more planning and there is an edge of uncertainty because there's always the chance that somebody could be grumpy or refuse to nap beforehand. That doesn't mean it's an impossibility. We can still make memories and have fun with our kiddos in big and small ways if we do so intentionally.

 Let's Make Some Memories!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Whimsically Rustic Fenceboard Sign

So I recently threw a bridal shower for a friend of mine, and I wanted to share a project that I made for the shower. I was going for the Rustic Chic look, and I was trying to find something on pinterest that fit the vision for what I wanted, and I couldn't find it. So I made it myself and figured I'd share it with ya'all so that if you like it you can make one too! ;)

My friend is a photographer and it was important to me to incorporate photography into this project, and she also loves the somewhat rustic look so I took a chance and went pretty rustic. I am so happy with how it turned out and (bonus!) so is she!


The How:
Pretty simple design concept, really. I started with a piece of fenceboard that I happened upon, and I shortened it up a bit. (I chose to do 5 boards across, at 5' tall). Then I whitewashed the fence by watering down some flat white paint (about 1/2 paint, 1/2 water). I brushed that on and took a rag to some of it to lessen the paint just a bit more. After it dried, I made a stencil of what I wanted on the fence. In this case it happened to be an outline of the state of Idaho, along with a phrase that I felt represented the couple. I used a permanent marker to outline the stencil of Idaho where I wanted it on the wood, then painted over the marker with a small paintbrush and some acrylic paint. Then I placed the word stencils where I wanted them, and painted them with a small brush and the black acrylic paint while I kept them as taut to the board as I could. There was a little bit of bleed, but since I was going for the rustic look I actually kind of liked that. After it was dry I tacked jute rope on the backside of the fence and strung it back and forth over the front in a pattern I liked. I hung pictures of the bride-to-be and her future husband with burlap-fronted clothespins I found at Target. I think if I made a piece like this for my own house or yard, I would probably forgo the jute rope and just stick with the sign, or I would make it smaller so it could hang on a wall and then maybe add pictures to that, but I do LOVE the dimension the photos added for the bridal shower, and if you love to change out pictures it is a nice way to do that! Hope you enjoy! ;)  


May Your Day Be Beautiful! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In Dirt and Glory

 This mama thing is hard work, I tell you. Sweat and blood go into this job. Tears-both the happy kind and the sad-spill over this sacred duty called motherhood, and only God knows the number that has been shed. Thousands of diapers changed, meals prepared, prayers prayed, and questions left unanswered dot our days. Monotony can overtake, can't it? Sometimes our lives feel like groundhog's day...the same thing repeated again and again...and again.

Make no mistake mama, the repetition of your million little acts of love are not falling on barren ground. Your countless kindnesses to your children through dressing them, snuggling with them, smiling at them, reading to them, feeding them, playing with them, laughing with them, and doing life with them are watering the garden of their tender souls. You matter. You are doing an incredible thing--mothering your children--and whatever you may read in magazines or see on pinterest, don't let it fool you. This calling is not easy! But it is a calling--a glorious and incredible and messy calling. There are no clean, straight lines (or clean, tidy least not mine!) or cut-and-dried answers. We will feel we are doing it all wrong at least a million times over the course of this parenting journey and years down the road we may say, "If only I knew...".

But here's the thing, all we have is today. So as messy and dirty and crazy as this motherhood journey is, I want to be all in. I want to dig in the mud with my kids both literally and figuratively. I want to laugh hard and play hard and love hard. I want to give fierce snuggles and one more goodnight kiss. I want to throw off the hindrance of my insecurity and run with reckless abandon this mama race set before me. We won't be perfect--probably not even close. We will make mistakes--likely every single day. So what? I, for one, don't want to let that be an excuse to be half-hearted in my love. I don't want to hold back because I'm afraid...I want to get messy and earn my battle scars!

This life--this mothering thing--it is a mix of dirt and glory. I want to have a little bit of mud on my face. I want to be in the game and not on the sidelines. I even want to fail sometimes (even though I hate it!) because it means I'm giving my all. At the end of the day there is nowhere I would rather be than right here, in this mix of dirt and glory. So for all the sighing and second-guessing and "I can't wait for this faze to be over-ing"...for the endless toy-strewn floors, sticky fingers, and tear-stained cheeks...for the "she started its" to sort out, apologies to make when we screw it up, and moments when we just don't have anything left to give...look for the glory that is showing through the cracks. I promise it is there. In the midst of the chaos and the mess and even the monotony, His glory shines. May we have eyes to see it, and may you--if only for a moment--catch a glimpse of the beauty that surrounds you this very day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June Dinner Menu (#boringbutnecessary)

Okay, it's official. I am annoyed. The past few weeks we have been so off of our normal schedule that we keep planning on eating dinner at home and then something comes up and we end up going out or eating with somebody else. It's great to have this time with family and friends, but I have never had to throw away so much food! I just had to dump two whole, perfectly good chicken breasts because I pulled them out for dinner and then we were gone all day so they defrosted and then sat for hours. I get so hopping mad at myself for letting food go to waste and here it's happening again and again.

All that to say, I have decided to pronounce June the month of easy-to-whip-up, low-cost meals--so maybe I can put an end to this madness and bounce back from my frustration (while still being able to enjoy some spur-of-the-moment get togethers)! Not that you care, but I will share my meal-plan here (in hopes that it helps keep me organized and on-track to follow-through with said plan). Using ingredients I already have on hand, or ones that are inexpensive and easy to purchase we will try to make June dinners budget, waist, and time friendly (and yet still delicious)! :)

June Meals (Week 1)
...To Be Continued...

~Let's Get Cookin'!