Spring Break Just Got a Whole Lot Better!

New York in the fall has nothing on DC in the spring!

Ah, Spring, that glorious time of year when I want to wear short sleeves, but I can’t find them.  My nose is stuffy, my eyes itch, and yet for some reason I feel wholly and ridiculously happy.  I want to hug the spring this year–every zyrtec requiring moment of it is pulling me out of the dark-ish zone I’ve been inhabiting for too long to admit!

This spring break started out seriously dull.  The kids were having a blast:  playing with their friends all day, no homework, no school.  “Everything is awesome.  Everything is great.”

Meanwhile, I was drowning in babies, diapers, bottles, breast milk pumping, dishes, cooking, laundry mountains, toys everywhere, and worst of all:  cleaning up under the high chair.  grrrrrrrrr-oss!!!  No matter how hard I work all day, I never put a dent in the work load, and I wasn’t taking the time to just have fun with the boys.

Enter Tuesday.  There’s something about knowing that your mom and dad are on their way to your house that just puts you in a better mood.  Phew!!!  Plus, I suddenly stumbled upon a revelation.

I was praying, something like, “Oh God, how will I ever do all of this? I am so tired.”

When suddenly He reminded me of my New Year’s Resolution:  Chill.

Oh yeah!

I’d forgotten about that.  My revelation:  if I keep making lists of 20 things to do each day, and not even including the morning chores and baby feedings on the to-do list, I will never get past ‘overwhelmed.’  I don’t want to live overwhelmed!

Why is it that I have to keep learning these same lessons over and over again?  Isn’t that the definition of a fool?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  the to do list should have the 6 most important things to do that day.  I am going back to that.  My list looked something like this for Wednesday:

1. Get everyone ready for the day. (an accomplishment in itself)

2. Dishes

3. Laundry:  Just do your best.  ; )

4. Feed everyone:  three meals, 2 snacks

5. Target trip

6. De-clutter for 1 hour.

Now this is a list I can handle!!  In addition to giving myself attainable goals, I also set myself up for success by taking my prescribed medication:  iron with vitamin C.  These aren’t intellectual breakthroughs, but when you’re going through a time in life that is just difficult, for one reason or another, clinging back on to these simple truths means a lot.

God has set my feet back on the rock.  This song is in my head!!!

“Jesus, lover of my soul
Jesus, I will never let You go
You’ve taken me from the miry clay
You’ve set my feet upon the rock
And now, I know

I love You, I need You
Though my world may fall
I’ll never let You go
My Saviour, my closest friend
I will worship You until the very end”
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/hillsong/jesus-lover-of-my-soul-lyrics

Actually, I just listened to Hillsong’s version of that song, and I wasn’t so impressed. That’s not really my style. I remember it as sung by about 100 college students, every Wednesday night, at Campus Crusade for Christ, back when I was a college student. It was much prettier, the way we did it!

That song comes from Psalm 40:2.

Life has just been getting better and better for me this week!  My parents arrived late Wednesday night, and today we had such a good time.  Mom, Caleb, JD, and I all headed to Old Town Alexandria.  Mom had never been!  Now I feel like we need to go again so Dad can go too.  We found this little restaurant that I highly recommend for tourists and locals when you want a fairly quick lunch buffet in old town.  VERY kid friendly.  Caleb said, “I gotta tell my brother about this place.”

All you can eat pizza buffet:  Need I say more?

We had a good time in Old Town.  There was a moment where I told my mom, “I wish I’d plugged in my GPS…….but don’t worry!”  I am notorious for getting lost, but believe it or not, we made it home free of incident.

Guess what!!  I even bought myself a DC cherry blossom tourist t-shirt!  : )  I will so be wearing that this week!

We’re so excited to have Grandaddy and Nana here. The boys and I are trying to make this trip as fun as possible in hopes that we can convince them to stay extra long.

Oh!  Good news/bad news: We were sitting in the living room today when suddenly we realized JD was in the hallway, all the way around the corner. Time to hang the gates.

 

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Alan and me, at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, last year.  I was 7 months pregnant.

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Ha!  I saw a pregnant woman earlier today, and all I could think was, “Oh, man, so thankful this year it isn’t me!”  Been there, done that, stretched out a few t-shirts!

May you all have a WONDERFUL WEEKEND.  I hope you make all of your goals, smile all the live long day, and have no need for a jacket!!

Getting Organized in 2014

daninbox

I’ve written gobs of blog posts since January 1, 2014, but I’m really bad about never going back and letting you know how that all turned out.  This is my goal for tonight:  lots of updates!!

Update #1:  The Great Clean Out

inspired by reading Money Saving Mom‘s book:

Buy it. Read it. You’re welcome. No, you can’t borrow mine. I read a chapter, set it down for a month, read the next chapter….I’m on chapter 5. You will want your own copy. ; )

It’s sort of an odd time to suddenly be all about organizing my house:  we are moving in JUNE.  However, we are drowning in TMS–too much stuff–so I have been plugging away at “The Great Clean Out”.  I decided to combine it with “Getting Organized in 2014”, one of my goals for the year.  I’ve been a rubbermaid boxing, label makin’ fool.

Okay, really I’ve only managed to organize three rooms and a few closets, but I’m going to whip out that “4 small boys” excuse again.  It works well for me.  Progress is progress.  Go me.

Here are my Organization tips:

1.  stackable boxes.  There’s nothing worse than avalanches of stuff. You know, like a giant pile of purses that falls on your head if you move the wrong way.  It looks bad.  It creates confusion, and it just doesn’t work.  Put all that same junk in stackable boxes, and suddenly BOOM, you look–and are indeed–organized.

2.  Label it!  If it’s in the box, it needs to be on the label.  “Office stuff” is not a label.  A proper label should read:  “paper clips, folders, notebooks, paper”.  You get the idea.  Specify!!!!

3.  Toss, toss, toss!!!!  If you don’t remember the last time you used it, you don’t need it.  If you’re keeping it for that day, two years from now, when you will most certainly need it, but you don’t need it now–chances are you won’t know where it is then, so unless it’s extremely expensive–toss it.  Even if it is costly, it may not work anymore by the time you finally need it.  You get the idea.  Go watch that t.v. show Hoarders for some inspiration.  This could be you!

I am almost done with our coat closet:

organizing

 

Sometimes I find myself with literally only 20 minutes before I have to leave the house, and that’s when I work in mini-projects like this.  All you need is 10 minutes to organize one drawer–one shelf–one cabinet.  You get the idea.  But first, go to your favorite “everything” store (Target), and get some of these awesome clear, square boxes.

Update #2:  Keeping Dan Busy

danknex

Remember all the hilarious Dan photos?  Dan covered in pudding, Dan and the powder- bedroom- blizzard, Dan and the baby cereal, etc. etc.???  I’m constantly on a mission to keep this little booger busy.  My friend Patti gave us these Knex blocks for him.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND.  Check out the house he built.  After I took this photo, he stuck a propeller on top of it all and called it a helicopter.  Then it flew away with Daniel, and I’m not sure where it is now.

lookwhosthree

He has been much better lately.  Your birthday gifts to him also have helped him to stay busy.  THANK YOU!  He is obsessed with airplanes.

 

Update #3

We have snow everywhere, every week or so.  The good news is that it melts more quickly now.  The bad news is black snow:  GROSS.  Alabama friends, you would die.  Piles of plowed snow everywhere, and the street pollution turns them black.  Makes you wonder about what we’re breathing.

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It’s a thing of wonder and beauty when it’s freshly fallen.  I will never really dislike snow.  It’s just that I don’t want to be cold anymore.

snowshots14 snowtrampoline14 snowtrees14 snowyard14

 

Last update:  #4  My Friday night dilemma from my last post

We ended up dividing up the kiddos.  Alan took Joshua and Dan to the buffet dinner.  I stayed home with Caleb and John David, which has actually been an extremely relaxing evening for me.

See, I kept JD out and about all day.  We volunteered at the school–don’t worry, we made and sorted copies and didn’t disrupt any classes.  Then we went to lunch with my friend Margret. JD ATE QUESADILLAS!!!  I was so proud!

All that, plus three hours of stroller riding to get the boys from school and an hour and a half at the park left JD wiped out. He was completely sleep deprived, so he went to bed at 6pm.  Yes, I will have to be up with him a little tonight to pay for that, but oh well.

Right now it’s just Caleb and me–oh the glory–the two people who love to sit here and play computer the most, and that is exactly what we are doing.   I love you, Caleb!!!!

newborncalebCaleb and me, 6 years ago

Why I LOVE the Proverbs 31 Woman

~sweet moments~
  Have you ever noticed that when you vow to do something or to not do something, it suddenly becomes harder than ever to do/not do that thing??
  It reminds me of a Bible passage that we discussed in our Sunday School class last week:
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
 For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work. Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sinat work within me.24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:15-25
 

  That’s Paul talking, and isn’t it reassuring to know that even such a great man as Paul struggled?  

You know, this year my main goal was “to chill”.  I just want to be this calm person that doesn’t get all stressed out.  I want to be the mom that never beats herself up and never raises her voice.

I will say this.  Yes, I lose it with my kids sometime, but whether I raise my voice or not, you can ask any one of them and they will tell you.  None of them are scared of me, and every single one of them can be secure with me and know how much I love them.  They know.  I adore them.

It warms my heart when I’m trying to sleep in in the morning and they come and climb into bed with me and talk my ear off.  I love it.  I will gladly sacrifice that sleep.

So yes, I mess up.  Yes, I panic over things that do not warrant panic.

But I get some things right too.

Perhaps part of “calming down in 2014” is just coming to terms with the fact that truly, I will never be as perfect as I’d like to be.  God did not make me to be June Cleaver, and that’s okay.  She was a fictional character.

  But do you know who maybe wasn’t a fictional character?
The Proverbs 31 woman.

I know.  The Bible scholars will tell you that it couldn’t possibly all be talking about one woman.  She’s an example for us to follow.  Proverbs 31:10-31 is an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew…..so it’s really like a poem…..

Well, who knows, maybe it was this one wonderful woman that Solomon knew well.  After all, the man did love the ladies…
I don’t care.  I love her.  I think she’s awesome.  Here’s why:

1.  We focus too much on how perfect she sounds.
Focus on what this passage does NOT say.

2. No where in this passage does it say that she did EVERYTHING all by herself.

3.  Never does it say that she never lost it with her children.

4.  Never does it say that she was a perfect size six.

5.  Never does it say that she never had the second slice of pie.

6.  “She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar,”
….I bet she had fun with cooking!  I love cooking.

7. “She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.”
Did you catch that??  She had to hire help!!!!  Love you, Proverbs 31!

8.  “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms”
I LOVE THIS.  She took the time to take care of her own body, so we shouldn’t feel guilty for devoting time out of our day for exercise either.   It’s not good for us to always give, and give, and give to our families while completely neglecting ourselves.

9. “She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.”
SEE!  She also stayed up too late sometimes.  Is it possible to be a successful woman and never stay up late?

10.  “She extends her hands to the poor.”
You can’t be jealous of someone who is generous with the poor.

11.  “For all her household is clothed with scarlet”
I bet she didn’t do all her shopping at second-hand stores, ya’ll!  It sounds like her family’s clothes were NICE–  not that I don’t love thrift-store shopping–because I do—but we need to FREE ourselves of guilt over buying nice things for our family!!!

12.  “She makes tapestry for herself;  Her clothing is fine linen and purple.”
Sounds like she would have been more of an Ann Taylor shopper than a Family Dollar clothes shopper to me.  Don’t you think?
Wear your pretty clothes, and hold your head up high!  : )

13.  “She makes linen garments and sells them.”
Wait a minute…..she had a job!  Don’t look down on those workin’ mommas!  (Yes, I’m aware that I generate no income whatsoever…some day, some day…)

So my message to all my friends:  embrace this woman.  She’s not there to make you feel bad.  She’s there to encourage you.  I like the last two verses as well:

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31: 30-31


Here’s to being “chill” in 2014….tomorrow is another day….
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