We were FaceTiming with Anthony, watching a BeatBugs countdown on Netflix. (If you haven’t checked out BeatBugs yet, do it – cartoon bugs singing Beatles songs. What’s not to like?) The kids were super excited. Noah was holding the phone, and unbeknownst to me, blocking the majority of the camera with his finger so poor Anthony saw pretty much nothing. We all screamed out, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
And then I twisted the Confetti Popper. The incredibly loud noise it made scared Annabelle to death, who by the way is terrified of firecrackers. Confetti went everywhere. Noah laughed hysterically in delight. Annabelle sobbed. Anthony and I laughed at the kids’ reactions.
My living room was covered in confetti.
Best part? Once the children calmed down they spent two minutes cleaning up all the paper into a pile to jump into.
We have no trees in our yard, and the kids have been dying to jump into a pile of leaves, so they’ve got to make do.
10/10. Next year I’m buying the 2 ft tube.
Happy New Year, everyone! May God show you His face this year.
Quote from my favorite movie aside (it’s from Mean Girls. If you didn’t know that, you need to go watch it as soon as possible or we can no longer be friends), tonight is going to be fun.
Hubby is working tonight, but the kids and I went to my parents’ house for dinner and fun time with my nephew Max. We played games, ate pizza, and set off teeny fireworks.
Now we are back at home, about to do a Netflix New Year’s Eve countdown. Seriously though, parents salute you, Netflix. These countdowns are genius. One minute of fun and then we can get those kiddos off to bed at a decent hour.
We are going to FaceTime with Daddy. And when the countdown is over, we will shout, “Happy New Year!” And then. We will use our confetti popper.
I found this bad boy for under $2 at Walmart. I’m a little terrified of it. It cautions that there may be recoil. It warns not to point it at animals or people. It prohibits use by anyone under 16 years of age. I’m probably going to regret this.
Pictures of the aftermath to come. At least my kids will always know I tried to be fun.
Annabelle has become obsessed with having a baby wipe with her when she lays down for her nap. In case her nose runs. (Can you tell we live in coastal Georgia, the allergy capital of the world?)
Today while I was getting her ready for nap time, she predictably asked for a wipe.
So I checked in her room. The wipes weren’t there.
Next I checked the bathroom. No wipes.
I checked the living room and the dining room and the kitchen. I checked my room and my son’s room. No sign of them.
I checked her bookbag. Sans wipes.
Finally I called my husband since he was the last person I saw with the missing wipes. He told me Noah was the last one to have them.
At which point my children gleefully informed me the wipes were in the fridge.
Sure enough, there they were.
Because that makes perfect sense in a house with two little kids.
There’s always a lot of joking about why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In case you don’t know me that well, I’m totally in love with food. I adore the comfort food of Thanksgiving day. I adore the idea of eating multiple pieces of pie and it not being frowned upon. I adore turkey and ham and casseroles.
More than that, though, I love the conversation and laughter around the table. I love the hospitality of good people who open their home to me. I love the noise and the chaos and the mess. There’s such beauty in it.
Far above all the little treasures of Thanksgiving day, I love Jesus. I love his grace. I love the gospel. I love his adoption of me and my brothers and sisters in the faith. I love that he doesn’t change with my circumstance. I love that he meets me right in the middle of my circumstance. I love his purpose and the fact that his ways are so much higher than mine and that his thoughts are not mine. I love that all things hold together in him and that he’s able to do all I can ask and far more than I can imagine. I love that he is my hope.
My prayer is that when Jesus finds me in any moment, whether it’s in joy or sorrow or hardship or uncertainty or that moment when he finally comes for me, that he will find me grateful and thankful. That I will stay humble and bow to his majesty and his will with thankfulness in my heart, even when that is not an easy thing.
Friends, I love Thanksgiving because I can’t ever thank him enough. I want to live every day like it’s Thanksgiving day.
This is my sassy, sneaky, bright-eyed, social butterfly of a daughter.
She loves everything pink. Butterflies and skirts and dresses make her world go round. She constantly prays and thanks God for her hair.
She’s also rough and tumble. She’s been known to bite her brother to make him leave her alone. Annabelle is a climber and a jumper. She used to do crazy physical stunts with her daddy until she got Nursemaid’s elbow and we had to put an end to it.
Everyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with Annabelle comments on how sweet she is. Which is true. But I warn everyone that she can be sneaky. Turn your back for two seconds and she will draw all over your walls. She used to strip naked in seconds flat and go streaking around the house. And dear Jesus in heaven, thank you so much that she has outgrown the playing with poop stage.
I made up a song about Annabelle and she makes me sing it to her every night before she goes to sleep. This child loves to be loved on. And she loves to pour out love on others. She adores baby dolls and babies. In fact, if you’re in the grocery store with her and she gets cranky, hand her a bag of chips and tell her it’s a baby. She’ll immediately cheer up, say, “Aww baby. So cute,” and sing the chips to sleep.
This child has been the source of so many hilarious stories and so many sweet moments. I am so thankful for our Annabelle Grace.
Yes, I adore the food. More than I can explain, actually. But the idea of an entire day completely set apart to live in a posture of thankfulness for all God has given? It makes my heart sing.
Taking the time to stop and give thanks for the blessings, and even the hardships, in our lives brings us to a place of humbleness. It keeps things in perspective, reminding us of what is most important. Living in thankfulness is a way to stop consuming, stop desiring, stop coveting. To be content with what we are given.
Every night, each member of our family says three things we are thankful for. Sometimes they are big things – financial provision we were desperate for, answered prayers of deep and sincere friendships, body parts saved and reattached by skilled surgeons. Sometimes they are small – a moment of laughter, discovering an unopened box of dryer sheets stashed back on a shelf in the laundry room when we ran out and had a really small grocery budget, a favorite food for dinner. My daughter’s favorite thing to be thankful for is her hair.
But I think all of these things – significant and insignificant – become big, important things when we recognize them and say thank you.
I’ve been so very humbled and challenged by a question I heard at church this past Sunday – “If I woke up tomorrow with only the things I thanked God for today, what would I have?”
So, God, thank you.
Thank you for the solid roof over our heads. For the food in our bellies. For the dryer sheets. For peanut butter cookies and the dog who ate half the batter. For my husband and my babies. For my church family and my dear, precious friends. For my blood family and my opportunity to serve beautiful women through MOPS. For air conditioning and a working car. For the hardships that have refined me to look more like you. For the joys in my life that have reminded me of your goodness. For my salvation and my dishwasher and music and my daughter’s beautiful hair. For all of these things, I am thankful.
Today is the day. Today is our first meeting of the year. Today you will join us in this holy, set-apart, safe space and our lives will begin to be woven together.
Some of you will come in with joy and familiarity because you’ve been here before and you know the hope this year holds for you.
Some of you will be scared to death as you walk in this room – because meeting people is scary. And trying to make friends as a mom who worries that she’s lost her identity and her personality to the beautiful, energy sucking world of laying your life down to raise children is, quite honestly, terrifying. (Will they like me? Will I be able to string together a coherent sentence after my kid kept me up all night? What if I unknowingly have poop or spit up on my shirt? What if they ask me what my hobbies are and my mind completely goes blank other than “showering alone” and “drinking a hot cup of coffee that didn’t have to be reheated five times”?) You may be so focused on your anxiety that you can’t even bear to hope that the relationships you gain in this place will change your life. And that’s okay. We know you will be surprised by that grace.
We have prayed for you, prepared for you. We have been neck deep in spreadsheets and documents and lists and planning. We have figured out logistics that would make your head spin. We have decorated and brainstormed and poured over your names and information. We have loved you before we have met you.
Mamas, you matter. You are worth it. You sacrifice yourself so that your children can gain. So often what you do is thankless and invisible. You are in the hard years of never getting a quiet moment or a solitary trip to the bathroom and while you are never alone, these years can be so very lonely. We get you. We know where you are. We see you.
This is a place of rest. Of grace. Of restoration and hope. It’s a place to be safe and let others in and encourage each other.
So come and share your beautiful selves. Bring your funny stories, your hardships, your dark moments, your worries, your victories. Come and share yourselves with each other and leave as better mamas who are filled up and ready to pour out on your kids again. Come and be filled.
This is Noah. My first born. He’s a bundle of energy and emotion. From the beginning, he has done things his way, in his time. His heart is so very big, and so are his temper tantrums. His strong will drives us crazy now, but is going to be such a strength and blessing when he is an adult. This kid is going to do big things.
Noah says the same prayer every night before dinner. He made it up himself. “Dear God and Jesus, I’m aware that you give everybody food and everything and everything else. And that and that and that and noses. Amen amen amen amen amen amen.”
Noah’s favorite color has always been green. His favorite shape has always been the triangle. He has always wanted to be a chef. He has never wavered in these things.
This child is all in, all the time.
Ironically, his name means rest.
And while he hasn’t exactly given us rest in his short little lifetime, he has taught us how important it is to rest in God’s strength as we parent this child.
Noah has taught me how to be selfless. And he’s shown me just how selfish I tend to be when left to my own devices. He’s taught me the power of grace and the power of a good laugh. He’s taught me to cherish the good times and have faith in the hard times.
What a good teacher this little boy has been to me.
While watching Olympic swimming – “Mommy, one day I’m going to swim in just my underwear, too. When I’m a grownup.”
While watching an Olympic cycling race when they showed the motorcycle at the front of the pack – “I think those bikes are trying to catch that motorcycle!”
Anthony and I were discussing foreign languages with Noah. We told him some basic words in both languages and then asked if there were any other words he would like us to translate. “Yes! Goat people! And pizza pony!”
I adore the way this child sees the world.
Tonight I completed the 30 Day Workout Challenge I’ve been doing. While I was disappointed to take a few days off when I got sick, I’m so proud of myself for starting it up again. It may have taken me 35 days to finish a 30 day challenge, but the point is that I finished.
It sounds cliche, but what a journey it has been.
In the past 35 days, I have gotten stronger. There are moves I had to heavily modify when I started that I can now do with no modifications. I’ve noticed my clothes fit better. I’ve felt healthier, both physically and mentally. I haven’t set foot on a scale. For the first time in a long time, I’m not nervous about what a scale would tell me. I’m still overweight and have a long way to go but I am more focused on being healthy and taking care of my body than on what the numbers would tell me.
In the past 35 days, my hubby has joined me on the journey and I’ve been so thankful for his support and accountability.
In the past 35 days, my kids have been much more encouraging and positive, because they’ve seen Anthony and I encouraging each other constantly. I can’t count how many times they have said, “You’re a super awesome rock star!” I’ve heard my son saying positive things to everyone in the family – “You’re the best mom/dad/sister ever! You are awesome! You’re doing a great job!”
Both of my kids have also been asking to exercise. They’ve been randomly breaking out into yoga moves to impress each other. Last night I started my workout after getting the kids in bed. When Noah heard it, he started crying because he didn’t want to miss out on exercising with me.
I am happy that in such a short time, my kids are learning that it’s important to take care of your body. What a challenging, sobering, and joyous thing to help me stay accountable and consistent.
In the past 35 days, I have reached a new level of commitment to myself. Even when I was discouraged, exhausted, or just simply in a bad mood, I didn’t allow myself to give up. I chose to believe in myself. I learned I can trust myself to be capable.
My only goal when starting this challenge was to begin a habit of consistency with taking care of my body through exercise. And I did it. I freaking did it.
Here’s to many more 35 day periods of growing, learning, and becoming stronger!
**Note – if you are interested in the Make Fat Cry Challenge, sign up here.