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Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Baby Andi, Fashion, Girly Things | 2 comments

Preppy in Polka Dots

Atlas has been fighting his nap every single day this week. Our week is flying by, but I’m struggling to keep up with some things since I’m spending a good portion of nap time putting Atlas back in his bed. Right about the time he finally gives in and falls asleep, Andi Rose is waking up from her nap, so he doesn’t nap that long, which is good and bad. It’s good because by then, it is later in the day so I don’t want him napping long because it messes up his nighttime sleep. It is bad because it makes him a cranky bear the rest of the evening though. He is really such a great kid and I feel fortunate that in a lot of ways he is so incredibly ‘easy’ lately, but he goes through these spurts where he gets super stubborn and as a result it can feel like some days are just a series of battles. Luckily, that isn’t our norm and I’m pretty sure his stubborn streaks are age-related and he’s just testing his limits, which I have to remind myself daily is completely healthy. Anyways, his thing this week is getting out of his bed 56 times at nap time and bed time. Just keeping it real.

In other news, my matching obsession with Andi Rose is still going strong.

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I fell in love with this polka dot sweater on Boden’s website the minute I saw it and then when I saw this dress at Baby Gap for Andi Rose, I just knew it was meant to be.

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The sweaters on Boden’s website right now are so adorable. If you haven’t shopped there, I recommend checking them out. There shipping is super fast too, which is great. I totally fell in love with this sweater online, but my love was solidified when it arrived and I tried it on. It is so ridiculously comfortable! It’s the perfect mom sweatshirt and I absolutely love that I feel like I’m wearing a sweatshirt, but I still can look a little preppy and put together.

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Polka Dot Sweater // White Pants // Pink Hunter Boots //

On Andi Rose: Dress is Baby Gap, but I can’t find it online (similar here & here) // Red Boots // Pink Bow by Little Lady Shop

Other Boden Sweaters that I think are super cute are linked here, here & here! And check out their kid’s clothes too, if you’re a mama! Gah! Seriously – SO cute!

And on that note, I’m off to read books with Atlas. He isn’t napping today so I’m just rolling with it. His punishment for not napping is that he can’t play right now – he has to sit and read books with me. *Insert evil laugh here* #momster

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Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Marriage, Motherhood, Serious Stuff | 0 comments

Living with Purpose when the Pages of Your Planner are Full

I love a good to-do list. I’m task-oriented and I love checking things off the pages of my planner as I go throughout my day. But sometimes my to-do list actually keeps me from doing the things that really matter.

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Last week in my Bible Study lecture, the speaker said this…

“When we forget our identity, our life becomes all about tasks and fails to be about purpose.” 

Those words really convicted me because all too often, I find myself preoccupied with tasks and as a result, distracted from my purpose. Let me paint you a little picture of what this looks like for me:

Atlas will come ask me if I will play ball with him and I’ll tell him I can’t right now because I’m folding the laundry. Then later he will ask me again, and I’ll say, “In a minute, I’m prepping dinner.” And then that night I tell him we can play tomorrow and I go to bed feeling like I accomplished a lot on my to-do list, but I missed so many God-given opportunities in the process.

Sometimes, my identity can get lost while I’m switching out all the different hats I wear everyday. Since I serve as the mom, the chef, the maid, the dog walker and the doer-of-all-the-laundry I like to refer to myself as the COO of our family. It is my job to ensure things in our house run smoothly. But that’s my job…not my purpose.

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The reality is, anybody could do my job. Sometimes I actually think a monkey could probably do the job better than me. But my purpose is unique, and consequently far more important. I feel like my purpose is to point my children to Jesus. While I can try my hardest to ensure things in our house run smoothly, there’s no way I can ensure life will run smoothly for Atlas & Andi Rose. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee them the opposite. Life is filled with bumps, accidents and pitfalls and while my job today is to protect my children, my purpose is to prepare them for the sometimes bumpy rollercoaster that is called ‘life.’ If I teach my kids to look both ways before walking out into the street, I’ve done a part of my job. However, if I teach them to walk in truth, I’m fulfilling part of my purpose. But if I’m going to teach my kids those kind of lessons then I’ve got to be connected with them and I’m realizing that those connections take root when I slow down long enough to spend time with my children. But time spent playing ball with Atlas isn’t something I typically pencil in the calendar, which is absurd because shouldn’t I be strategic about making time for the things that align with my purpose?

When I think about the culture we live in, I would venture to say most of us are blinded by busyness. Between the pages of our crazy calendars and being saturated with social media, we rarely get a free minute to think about our purpose. Time isn’t free anymore. I’m never going to be given a free minute. I must intentionally carve out free time if I wish to have it. But it is in that free time where I find I’m more empathetic to my children and to the needs of other people around me – because that’s when I have time to consider my purpose.

I think this concept also applies to my role as a wife. My job is to care for my husband and the home he provides us. My purpose is to love him well, bring him good, cherish his heart and build a legacy with him for our children. But I can get so preoccupied with doing his laundry and washing his dishes that I forget my bigger purpose requires me to leave dirty dishes in the sink sometimes and just sit with him and lend him my ear after he’s had a long day.

I hope this post encourages you, just like the lecture in my Bible Study last week encouraged me. My OCD heart is so satisfied going to bed at night when I feel like I’ve accomplished all the things, but my soul is satisfied only when I feel like I’ve accomplished the most important things…and I have to remind myself daily that those ‘things’ aren’t always written in the pages of my planner.

***

Outfit Details

This is for those of you who are like, “Um, I don’t even have kids and who the heck still writes in a planner when you have an i-phone…I just wanted to know where your scarf was from.” I got you too, girl. 😉

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Sweater via Shop Dress Up// Blanket Scarf (mine is from last year, but the one I linked looks almost identical) // White Pants (can’t stop wearing these because they are SO comfy) // Booties are old, but similar ones are here and here //Clutch

Happy Hump Day, Friends!

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Posted by on Oct 5, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 6 comments

Happy Birthday, Atlas

I’m sitting here thinking, ‘How can it be?’

How is my baby boy already three?

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I’ll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on you,

It was love at first sight (kind of like you and Boo Boo).

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With each passing day, my love for you grew and grew,

I’ll always cherish those memories we made on 5th avenue.

It was with you that I had the biggest adventure in NYC,

But then it was time to head south so you could taste sweet tea.

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You take every change we throw at you with such great stride,

Watching the little man you are makes me beam with pride.

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There’s nothing you love more than Boo Boo the Bear,

If Andi Rose even thinks of touching him, you give her the death glare.

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When you’re not holding Boo Boo, you’re playing some kind of ball,

I’m pretty sure this makes your dad the happiest man of all.

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Recently you tried to use one my fancy glasses as a golf tee,

Your dad thought this was hilarious – but not me.

If you don’t make it as a golfer, you could definitely be an actor,

Or perhaps you’ll be a farmer and ride a green tractor.

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No matter what you decide, just know I’ll be proud.

I’ll embarrass you at whatever you do by cheering too loud.

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You’re {slowly} becoming the best big brother to baby Andi Rose,

(We won’t mention that time you made blood come out of her nose.)

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You are Ob’s favorite playmate and friend,

Even though ya’ll fight in ways I can’t comprehend.

Because of you, Marley gets a lot more food,

No doubt about it – you’re his favorite dude.

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You are your daddy’s joy and answer to prayer,

At the end of his workday, you are his breath of fresh air.

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Every night before bed, you tell me “I love you more.”

It is one of the many things you do that I absolutely adore.

But when you say that, you have no idea that it isn’t true.

You don’t know that 100 hearts couldn’t hold all the love I have for you.

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You are the sunshine in each of my days,

I wish I could keep you this age for always.

I don’t know why God gave you to me, but I’m so glad He did.

I lucked out because you are the most wonderful little kid.

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I think my favorite thing about you is your tender heart,

You are sensitive to others and incredibly smart.

This world needed an Atlas and I did too,

Up until 3 years ago, what I was missing was you.

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So with that, I guess there’s just 1 thing left to say,

Atlas, I hope you have the happiest birthday!

And remember, whether you’re 3, 10 or 32,

You’ll always be my Atlas and my buddy-roo!

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Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Motherhood, Serious Stuff | 1 comment

Pep Talks from Atlas + A Random Funny Story

 

Dave has been out of town this week, so it’s been harder than usual to find time to blog. I’ve also had a few things weighing heavy on my heart this week and to be 100% transparent, I sat down to blog several times over the course of the week and each time the tears just started flowing and I opted out of writing.

I’m feeling better today, thanks to a pep talk from Atlas. Yesterday, I was crying and Atlas saw me and hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you’re sad, Mommy. You are Atlas Andrews and Andrews choose to be happy and Andrews are good to people.” I think it is funny that he repeated what I say to him so many times a day when he is crying or throwing a fit or refusing to share with Andi Rose and I think it is even funnier that he didn’t swap out his name for my name. He’s so great.

Anyways, I have to share a funny story with you: While at our Bible study this week, I was talking with one of the girls there about Dave being out of town & we were discussing how we actually keep it together just fine while the men are away & she said, “I always feel like things go smoothly & then 4 hours before my husband arrives home everything falls apart.” THAT totally happened to me. I juggled both kids & both dogs fine (I mean, I say ‘fine’ – I washed my hair once while he was gone & Atlas went to bed at midnight one night, so…you know…), but as Dave was pulling into our neighborhood Andi had a blowout diaper & was suddenly covered in a diaper rash (happens every time she gets a new tooth) & Atlas was mad because we had to go inside to clean Andi Rose up, so I told him he could wait on the porch, which I think concerned one of our neighbors when he walked by & saw Atlas swinging alone on the porch swing (I could see/hear the whole thing from the window inside as I was cleaning Andi up). Meanwhile, I’m rushing to change Andi so I can get back to Atlas & Andi is screaming & then Dave gets home right at that minute & I’ve got poop all over my shirt & I’m sweating & the neighbor is looking at Dave like, “Thank God you’re home because your toddler was outside unattended” and all I could think was, “Daaang. I totally had this until about 6 minutes ago.” Ugh.

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Motherhood | 0 comments

Why I Refuse to Count

Before I ever had kids, I had a lot of opinions about how to properly raise well-behaved and civilized children. Since giving birth to 2 babies in less than 2 years, I’ve let go of a lot of those opinions and now I tend to subscribe to the, “There’s more than 1 way to skin a cat” theory. There’s a million different ways to parent and I don’t think we can label most techniques as ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ For the most part, I believe we are all doing the best we can and we are all trying to find what works for us and our little people.

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Most of the things I said I would ‘never’ (ever ever ever) do, I do (Raising my voice at my kids and letting them ‘cry it out’ are just 2 things that come to mind). And so many of the things that I said I would ‘always‘ do, I actually only do sometimes, now that I’m living in the reality of motherhood and not in the world of  “This is what I would do if I were a mother.”

However, there is 1 thing I said I would never do and much to my surprise, I’ve stuck to it thus far in my parenting journey. I remember talking to one of my good friends about how I would never count to 3 for my kids. We were discussing the fact that so many parents today count for their kids and how our parents never counted for us. They told us to do something, we did it or we didn’t, and we either got rewarded or reprimanded immediately. Wham, bam, Thank you, M’am style.

This is what I’m talking about…

Mother: “Hey, give that toy to your brother.”

Child: clutches toy tighter and delivers death glare…

Mother: “You better give that toy to him right.now.”

Child: Takes a step back and prepares for a stand-off.

Mother: “One….twwwwo….twwwwo and a quarter…two and a haaaalf…you better not let me say 3 or you’re getting a spankin'”

Child: Throws toy at sibling and runs away crying.

You’ve seen this happen, right? Maybe you are a counter. I’m not judging you. You do what works for you and your child, but here’s why I won’t count.

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My child doesn’t need to be conditioned to wait until the count of 3 to obey me. They need to be trained to obey immediately. It is my personal belief, that delayed obedience is a form of disobedience. I want Atlas & Andi Rose to respect authority and not live life pushing the limits, because they won’t be happy with that lifestyle. It also isn’t safe. If I see that they are in a dangerous situation and I need them to come to me right now, I don’t want to have to count to 3 before they know I’m serious. I don’t want them to be the kind of people who grow up and when their college professor says, “The paper is due on Monday at midnight” they interpret that as, “Well, that probably means Wednesday by noon.” Dave is a college professor and he is continually met with students who don’t abide by deadlines. I believe their parents my have been habitual counters.

I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t been tempted to count before because in the moment, it sometimes seems like the easier thing to do. Counting takes less effort than disciplining if the child will come before the count of 3. But I realize that on the times I’ve been tempted to count for Atlas, it hasn’t been because I wish to extend 3 seconds of grace to him but because I’m hoping he will save me the ‘trouble’ of stopping what I’m doing to discipline him for his disobedience. It’s really just laziness on my part. But that laziness on my part, would only be making more work for me later. I would be sacrificing long term goals on the altar of immediate gratification. I discipline him now, so that *hopefully* one day in the future he knows when I say “come here” I mean it and when I say “stop” that means right.this.second.

I’m by no means saying if you count for your kids, you’re a bad parent and you’re doing it all wrong. It may work for you and your child. You may genuinely be extending grace to them because you have a heart of gold. There are many days where I, personally, feel like I’m doing it all wrong so I’m certainly not judging anybody. However, I have stuck to my guns on my ‘no counting’ rule – if anything because I don’t have the energy to count that many times a day – and I just thought it would make for an interesting blog topic.

I also really just wanted to share this photo of Atlas shooting a bird….

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While I don’t count, Atlas is obsessed with counting everything and whenever he uses his fingers to count, he will use his middle finger to represent the number 1. I always crack up because he has no idea what that finger represents and he is so innocent when he holds it up and says, “I just want 1 more M&M & then that be it.” Kids are so great.

So, now it’s your turn to chime in on the conversation. Did your parents count for you? Are you a counter? What are some things you said you would never ever do as a mom that you totally do now? #safezone up in here so everyone play nice! 😉

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Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Motherhood, Serious Stuff | 4 comments

The Miracle is in the Monotonous

A few weeks ago, I was in the gym working out and I just got this feeling of complete boredom. I was going through some upper body exercises and I thought, “This isn’t actually fun. I just did these same exercises a few days ago and I’m over this repetition.” I laid on my mat for a couple of minutes thinking about what I wanted to do next when I got hit with this thought…

Sometimes the miracle is in the monotonous.

I had been doing those same exercises for several weeks, and as a result I had gotten a lot better at doing them. When I first started going those particular exercises I felt physically ill because they were so hard for me. Laying on my mat in the gym that day though, I realized I had grown stronger. Somewhere along the way, I stopped doing push-ups on my knees and moved to push-ups on my toes and I traded in my 8 pound weights for 15 pound weights.

But none of that progression would have happened if I would have bailed on my routine of working out, as unexciting as the routine is somedays. (Most days it isn’t unexciting at all though because it’s my only time-out from motherhood.)

I heard someone say one time that the miracle can sometimes be found in the mundane (I can’t remember for the life of me where I heard that, but it stuck with me) and I think that is absolutely true – especially as it relates to working out and motherhood.

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Some of these training runs I’m doing for my half marathon in November are definitely wearisome, but in doing these dull runs now I’m setting myself up for crossing that finish line later, which will feel like a miracle…but the miracle is actually happening now with every practice run I cross off my calendar.

I know a lot of my friends have asked me if I get bored as a stay at home mom. I’ll go on the record stating that I never get bored. Boredom sounds like a luxury because it alludes to the fact that I have free time. Quite frankly, my children don’t allow me the time to be bored. There is always something to do – laundry to fold, a mess to clean, a bathroom to scrub, a meal to make, a dish to wash, a boo boo to kiss, a book to read, a train set to build, a discipline to be doled out, a toddler’s question to answer, a plant to water, a lego to fish out of someone’s mouth, etc. You get the picture. I’m never bored. However, somedays I do find the whole routine incredibly monotonous and I grow tired of it.

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But then I think that in the midst of all the tedious tasks, a miracle could be happening. Like our bedtime routine, for example. It’s a long one with Atlas. We read a book, we point out different letters in the book, we ask him what his favorite part of the day was, we ask him what he wants to talk to Jesus about, we pray together, we act silly for a little bit, we go over the family rules and we say “I love you” back and forth 12 times. It’s a process, ya’ll and usually it is a process that I love and I try to savor because it is such a sweeeet time with my baby boy. But some nights I’m just so dang tired that I want to skip the whole thing and just say, “Peace out! I love you! See you in the morning!”* But I think I would be robbing myself of a miracle if I did that night after night. I’m hoping all that time we spend with Atlas (& eventually Andi Rose too) before bed will lay a solid foundation for communication that will stay with us through the (scary) teenage years. I want my kids to be used to talking through things at night in their rooms with Dave & me so when they are teenagers who are facing difficulties at school they know that they can trust us with their issues because we are invested in them. But in order for them to one day realize that I’m invested in them, I’ve got to actually invest in them now and sometimes that investment looks (& even feels) tedious.

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To Atlas, I’m just being ‘mom’ when I do his bedtime routine, but I pray that one day he realizes I’m on his side in life and I’m his biggest ally and fan…but I’ve got to lay that groundwork now to experience that miraculous relationship that’s rooted in love & trust with him later…and sometimes laying that groundwork is…well….work.

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So, if you’re feeling over the monotony of your routine – whatever your routine is – I encourage you to think about what you’re doing now as it relates to the bigger things in life you want to accomplish. Maybe the tedious work you’re doing now will pay off big in the future if you stick with it. Or maybe you do need to switch things up – there’s nothing wrong with that either! We all need a change of pace sometimes! That’s why I signed up for my half marathon – I knew I had achieved the fitness goals I set for myself earlier in the year and it was time for a new goal. If you’re bored because you’ve already reached your goal and now you’re stagnant in life, then definitely reevaluate where you are and where you want to be! Just don’t bail on the boring stuff now if it is what’s going to get you to the good stuff later! 🙂

*Full disclosure: For my sanity’s sake there are nights every once in a while where I shower while Dave does the bedtime routine with Atlas and I just come in to kiss him goodnight. This isn’t the norm, but it does happen because sometimes we all need a break in life. So, if you’re a mom, don’t beat yourself up because you sat something out – it doesn’t mean you’re not a key player in the game – you just needed a water break so you could play better later. 😉

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 

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