The Introverted Mama

Every once in a while, the Myers-Briggs test weaves its way back into my life.  The results have followed me around like an old, faithful dog as well; I have never not received the same result: INFJ.

The way my personality has impacted me, however, has changed in different seasons of life.  Being an introverted, stay at home mama has its own set of unique challenges and virtues.

I’ve talked before about how important it is for me to have order and rhythm to my day and to me, it serves dual purposes. Not only does a rhythm help me feel calm and peaceful during the day but it also protects me from the one o’clock meltdown…. And I’m not talking about the girls.

Right around one o’clock each afternoon, I begin to feel myself start to unravel.

The morning itself starts off as a fat, tightly wound ball of yarn, full of promise, that naturally unwinds as the day progresses.  Through out the morning, it is a leisurely but purposeful roll, that rings of the promise of a beautiful creation. By one o’clock, it is unrolling so fast it’s as if someone has held onto the loose end while the fat ball rolls willy nilly, growing skinnier by the second.  (side note: it should come as no surprise that there’s something very unsettling I find about a wayward ball of yarn)

Right around this time I also find myself getting “touched out”.  I go through the routine of lullabies, kisses, and books before nap (for Bea) and quiet time (for MG).  But I don’t really enjoy them, not like I should, anyway.  I try to slow down and read every single word but sometimes I skip a few words, and then sentences, and sometimes even pages.

And then as soon as this duty is done, I curl myself up in a quiet corner and slowly rewind a portion of the ball.  Sometimes, if it is an especially crazy morning, I will purposely save MG’s “screen time” for the beginning of this quiet hour to ensure that I will get at least an hour of solid, uninterrupted time.  (though to her credit, she handles her quiet time very well, even when no movies are involved. and I have a theory that she needs this alone time as much as I  do)

As the minutes melt into an hour, I slowly find myself coming back into my own.  My thoughts are cohesive and I begin to relax.  Unwinding again, very slowly and purposefully.

Towards the end of Bea’s nap time (she is giving me great, 3 hour naps these days-bless!), MG and I have developed a little bit of a routine.  With my permission, she cleans up her room early and then joins me for whatever project I am working on.  She exclaims, “yes!” when she sees me working in the sewing room.  She retrieves my tiny blue embroidery scissors and pulls scraps of fabric from the trashcan.  She cuts these scraps into miniscule pieces and sometimes fashions bandages or headbands for Stella (secured with a straight pin, of course).

She turns off her princess CD’s and turns on Winnie the Pooh for us to listen to (she somehow got the impression that that one was my favorite!).  And she sings and dances for me while she busily cuts with her hands.  Often we both become engrossed in our projects and she quietly tells stories or shares secret dialogue that is only gifted when you don’t think you have an eavesdropper.

Sometimes I am still not recovered from a crazy morning and I ask her not to ask me any questions so I can fully concentrate on my project.  She obediently says, “okay, I understand.” And she tries very hard, but unknowingly and sweetly limits her questions to every fifteen minutes or so.

If I am instead working downstairs on a drawing or painting, she brings down her special notebook and fills it up with colorful notes for daddy.  Sometimes she will ask me how to spell certain words, other times she will just write in her own secret language and read it to me as the following:

“Dear Daddy, I love you and I miss you and I always miss mommy but I never miss her at Grandma’s house. And I hope Lexi {the dog} doesn’t tear my beautiful dress or Stella’s.  And I always forgive you when you lie to Mommy.  Amen.”

(you just gotta laugh at that one)

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In the sewing room we use the space heater to keep warm on drafty days and she parks herself in front of it.  Downstairs in the kitchen, I make tea to keep us warm with extra almond milk and honey so she finds it very palatable.

Yesterday, she developed a small tear in a notebook page and asked for some tape to repair.  She spent thirty minutes carefully covering the page in masking tape, thrilled with the responsibility of using both real scissors and tape.

I have to admit, I love these late afternoons with my little buddy.  (after I’ve had my own space, of course).  It feels special and set apart and a space in which to grow our own relationship.  Plus there is something that feels very holy about creating with someone.  Of course our creations have very different end results but we both have a deep admiration for the others work.

When they told me I was having a girl, this is exactly what I envisioned.  Quiet afternoons at home, sharing ideas and secrets, materials and songs.  A little blonde friend who I adore, and a pooh bear melody between us.

-smk

Eighteen

Our Queen Bea is flying right through this toddler stage.

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It is crazy to me all of the changes we’ve seen this month.  She is starting to come into her own and become a “real live person”.  I feel like my relationship with her has gone to a new level.  She will follow simple commands “bring me a book”, “throw that away”, she loves to sit in our laps and be read to,

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she’s gotten over her separation anxiety, and she has developed some emotional maturity as well.

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Last week, Sister was upset about something.  Bea walked over to her and timidly waved, “hi”.  Seeing that MG was still upset, she went and retrieved her beloved Stella doll and princess crown and handed them carefully to her. My eyes welled up with tears as we are starting to see this relationship form that we’ve been praying for almost 2 years.

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I never knew how rich and full my life with feel with two little girls in it; pink, glittery, and princess poor….but this is the best kind of way I could ever think to spend my life.

-smk

Nominated

My blog was nominated for the Liebster award which is pretty much as awesome as it sounds:

“The Liebster is a blogger-to-blogger award designed to encourage and direct deserved attention to smaller blogs.  “Liebster” is German for “beloved, liked very much” and a bunch of other similarly wonderful words.  You could even say, “lovely”.”

Thank you so much, Sara, for nominating me; I truly am honored! (Sara writes a beautiful blog called Find the Lovely and we found each other through MOPS)

The rules are simple:

1. Post the award on your blog

2. Give a shout out and link-back to the nominating blogger

3. List 5 random facts about yourself

4. Answer the 5 questions the nominating blogger gives you.

5. Nominate 5 other bloggers who deserve some blog love and have less than 200 followers.  Then ask them to answer 5 questions.  Participation is optional :)

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OK, here are my 5 (completely) random facts

1) I am an onomast, which basically means I am a name enthusiast.  I’ve talked about my love for baby names before and it still holds true.  Sometimes I dream of having a dozen children just so I can name them

2) I have synesthesia, which basically means I often have two senses overlap each other at the same time.  For example, my brain has linked certain “tastes” to different words and certain “images” to others.  This started  when I was very little but I only discovered that it was an actual “thing” in recent years.  To give you a tangible example, whenever I hear or say a day of the week, I immediately picture an object in my mind.  I’m not going to tell you what object because they are all silly and nonsensical, and probably have something to do with my limited brain synapses at age 4 when I was learning these words.  Remember how I have a thing for baby names?  Well there are many names that have a “taste” for me.  Mindy = white chocolate frozen yogurt, Pam =pancakes, George = sharp and silvery, Lucy = slippery and oily.  Some of these make sense (Pam sounds similar to pancakes) and probably have to do with whatever object I associated them with the first time I heard them.

3) I have moved every six years of my life.  There was no intention to adhere to this 6 year rule, it just sort of worked out for me.  I was born in NC, moved to MS at age six, STL at age 12, college at age 18, and then we lived in our house for 6 years before moving to our schoolhouse.  Not surprisingly, I start to get the itch to do something drastic as we near each 6 year mark.

4) I missed being a Leap Day baby by this much and I’m kind of sentimental about it

5) I did not inherit any sort of “jewelry gene”.  I am terrible about remembering to put on jewelry every morning.  In fact, if it’s not something I can sleep, shower, and work out in, I just plain don’t wear it…unless it is a fancy occasion like a wedding or a date.  People that change their earrings everyday to match their outfits or coordinate their necklace to their three bracelets I am in awe of.  I honestly never even think about adding jewelry to my outfit.

And here are the questions Sara has asked of me:

1. What super power would you have and why? In all fairness, I’ve thought about this question a lot.  Probably more than most people.  Why?  Well that’s what us introverts do when we stare off into space. :)

My first answer that always comes is “to read people’s minds”.  But then I think I’m already pretty good at it, being an intuitive introvert and all, and maybe I really don’t want to know what I’m missing out on. 

My second answer would be that I could re-live moments of my life.  I am terribly sentimental and often will mourn something ending before it is even over.  But I have an inkling that I will be able to do some of that in Heaven.  So I’m going to save that hope for then.

So my final answer is, “to be able to portal travel”.  I actually think about this quite a bit too.  How nice would it be to snap your fingers and be instantly transported to the place you were thinking of.  I HATE to travel.  HATE to drive.  I find myself very impatient with the process of packing (think about it, you’d never have to pack if you had this ability.  Believe me, I’ve thought about this), getting in and out of the car, etc.  But I love to be places.  I would love to have the ability to go here and there without having to put any effort into it otherwise.  To be able to travel yet still sleep in your bed every night?  Oh the possibilities…

2. If you could relive one year of your life, which year would it be and why? Actually, I’ve thought about this question quite a bit too.  As of late, I’ve almost obsessed over it.  How I wish I could go back to my days, pre-baby and open up my Etsy store and also begin writing then.  How I frittered away my free time then and have very little to show for it.   If I had to choose only one of those pre-baby years, I suppose I would go with the year that we found out we were expecting MG.  That was one of the sweetest times in my life, and one that is hard to capture on an emotional level again.  Something about knowing your life is going to change and all of the new emotions you find filling up your heart. 

Plus, I would write my heart out during night insomnia. 

And sew.  Sew to my heart’s content during all of those days of summer break….

3. What is God teaching you through your blog?  I care way too much about how people perceive me.  (I suppose that’s why I want to read minds so I can manipulate that!)   Writing a blog has forced me to let go of that…a little bit.  I put my best foot out there, but knowing that my writing isn’t always up to its best.  And I put my heart on my virtual sleeve knowing that others may completely reject it.  I’m learning to be okay with that and it has changed me in “real life” as well.

4. What is the last brave thing you did, big or small?   This year has tested the throes of my bravery.  In the past calender year, I’ve moved twice, tried to nurture a  house I really didn’t care for all that much, had to deal with a lot of things going wrong in that house, taken my girls in the middle of the night to live in a different state for 8 weeks (this is what I call bravery motivated by fear), moved again, weathered some scary health changes with my eldest daughter,  rode the waves of a volatile job with my husband, and opened up a shop to sell handmade things.  Any one of these things placed in a different year could have broken me…I really do believe that.  But though I felt at times very afraid during these trials, I also felt confident in the LORD’s will that I was doing the right thing.  So I guess that can be considered bravery.

5. The biggie: PC or Mac?  Defend your answer.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of either.  Technology is just a means to an end for me.  Really I guess I would choose both because I use them both for different reasons.  Both infuriate me at times and make me want to throw them through a window.  It’s all love hate and I really don’t think I could side with either. 

That was fun (and hopefully not to boring to be on the receiving end).  Thanks for nominating me, Sara!

Now I would like to nominate:

-Abby Clark at To Form a More Perfect Union (a mama of four who writes about life, recipes, and her muses…I’m always inspired)

-Holly Brown at The Brown Tribe   ( a fellow MOPS mama adding her beautiful voice to the Internet)

-Lisa Brown at Me Too Moments for Mom (another MOPS mama who wrote about fear recently)

-Tricia at Going Homemade (I just featured this very talented mama recently)

Ladies, here are your questions:

1) What is your earliest childhood memory?

2) What person/place do you miss most?

3) What is the best book you’ve read this year?

4) What is your favorite source of inspiration?

5) How did you decide on the names of your children (<<had to :))?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

-smk

 

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Tricia

This post is written by a dear friend and nearly-next-door neighbor whom I terribly miss. Tricia and I met when MG was just Bea’s age and she had two girls at the time (now three, Emaline joined last year around Christmas).  The oldest (Liesel) is MG’s senior by 6 months and the youngest (Moira) was just a little over a year younger.  What a blessing it was to meet her at this exact time in my life!

Tricia is one of those people that you just can’t help but love.  She is the kind of neighbor you definitely want in your proximity because she will do ANYTHING for you (including go to the drugstore for you to fill an Rx  for Zofran because you are keeling under morning sickness…or take your daughter to the library for story time so you can go to the doctor solo, etc. etc..).

She is also a very inspiring hands-on mama.  She creates these elaborate “Liesel school” lesson plans that are so wonderful and so much fun.  I have totally stolen some of her ideas before (you can find quite a few on her blog, like this fun “germs” one)

On top of that, she is very, very talented in the kitchen.  All of her food has that homemade quality to it that you just can’t make without putting lots of time, energy and love into.  She writes a wonderful blog called Going Homemade where she catalogs some of her tried and true recipes. I’ve never had one fail me…go check it out!

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My day decided to begin at 5:45 am when I heard Moira yell, “Momma, Mommy!”  Racing in to see what was wrong she sleepily said, ” I have to go potty.”  I realized, at that moment, my day was starting.  We have a strict rule of not going downstairs until 7.  Usually if the girls wake before then, we let them play or talk in their room. This morning, because of the time, and the fact that Liesel was still asleep, I decided to bring MJ in bed with us.  Amazingly, she fell back to sleep.  I, however, did not.  I laid there thinking of the day ahead-my do to list- until Eric got up to get ready.  It was then I heard Emaline stirring and I went to nurse and change her.  Eric had to leave early so he quietly came and kissed me goodbye. At 7:30 Moira woke for good and the three of us made our way downstairs.  Liesel joined us around 8 and the day officially began!

For breakfast the girls requested ” The Grandpa Special” a staple these days: oatmeal with berries, almonds, cashews, applesauce and cinnamon.  While they ate, I unloaded the dishwasher and began the espresso machine.  Today was a caffeine morning.

The girls went upstairs to pick out outfits and play.  Emaline stayed down with me, enjoying some Cheerios and I wiped the counters and vacuumed the floor.

Although not a dyson, this little vacuum is amazing for life with littles!

Emaline and I then make our way upstairs.  After teeth are brushed and clothes are on, we have our devotional time.  I love the days we can fit this in!

Em soon begins rubbing her eyes, signaling morning naptime. While she is napping Liesel and Moira are busy playing in their room.  This is my time to complete morning tasks.  Sometimes they play nicely for 10 minutes other mornings it can be for over an hour!  I just do as much as I can until I am needed.  Today the girls played wonderfully.  Here is Moira singing Liesel to sleep :) and apparently we are undressed-again.

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I throw a load in the laundry, make beds,  get myself ready and even have time to start on the ironing I am extremely behind on-

 

sorry hubs

After about the 10th time the girls ask, if it is snack yet?? I decide “alone playtime” is over. Only three shirts were completed. It is 10:05 and an adequate time for a snack.  Since we have been learning about spiders this week, the girls make their own spiders out of apples and marshmallows.

Emaline wakes around 10:30 and after a quick feeding we head out for a few errands.  This morning we have three: post office (actually needing to go in), library and a TJ Maxx return.  I am doubtful we will accomplish all since it is 11 when we actually pull out of the house. Darn you jacket season for lengthening our getting out of the house time.

The girls are rock stars at the post office, smiling and staying near, even though the line is somewhat long.  Once back in the car and on our way to stop #2 Moira points, “look Hobby Lobby!” Tempted to stop, I know this cannot be on the to do list today.

Walking hand in hand the girls and I make our way in to the library

This stop takes longer as we run into some old storytime friends.  The girls enjoy playing and looking at books while I catch up with a friend. I glance at the time and it’s past noon!  We quickly checkout our  books and DVDs (paying one small fine) then head out.  I realize three stops was a stretch and I put TJ Maxx on hold for another day.

For lunch we have egg salad- so glad my girls love this as much as I do!

After lunch it’s time to pick up and take naps.  The two little ones go in around 1:30 and Liesel sets up camp in our room for quiet time.  She spends this time looking at books and working on her workbook while I finish up a few chores.   Around 2:45 I allow Liesel some iPad time and I lay down next to her. This is my time to rest.  I complete my bible study homework for a woman’s study at church. Currently doing Beth Moore’s study on 1&2 Thessolonians, my first woman’s bible study since kids! I then give myself time to mindlessly scroll through FB and Instagram.

A little after 3pm, Liesel and I head downstairs for reading time.  This time is precious.  Time alone with my big 4 year old is rare especially since L goes to preschool three days a week. We get through one book and Em wakes.  She joins us for our second book.  Liesel loves reading to her sisters and sometimes Emaline is her best audience!

It’s now 3:30 and MJ is still asleep!  Liesel helps me get our afternoon smoothie together: Spinach, banana, frozen berries, homemade yogurt and almond milk. Bonus points for days our smoothie turns out PINK

The blender wakes Moira (success) and we all head up to get sister!   While the girls are having their smoothies, I set up our afternoon activity.  I make a web for the girls to work on balance and also letter sounds, f for “fly”.

 

Eric calls to check in and says he’ll be home for dinner tonight by 6.  Looking outside, it’s gorgeous.  So the girls and I head to our neighborhood park.

I’m starting to get sad thinking about how our days where walks and parks are included are fading.  Trying to enjoy every beautiful day!  The girls have the park to themselves.  They spend most of the time at the swings (makes it much easier on me)!

 

At 5:05 we head home.  Dinner is going to be leftovers and we still have time before Eric gets home, so I decide it’s a bath before dinner night!  The girls love the idea. Bath nights are crazy, since all three go in together.  In the midst of giggling, the girls get a surprise when daddy walks in! Squeals and hugs abound! And kisses for me! Then it’s cuddles with a towel baby, while the bigs go crazy behind the curtain.

Eric stays up with L and MJ.  Emaline and I head down to heat up dinner.  Chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans for all! I call up to the bigs and we eat dinner a little after 6. I glance at the clock and its 6:20.  The girls help me clear the table and I clean up the best I can.  Tonight I have a meeting at Starbucks about Sunday School at our church.  I give Emaline a good nursing session and then hand her off.  Quick kisses for the girls and I am out the door!

Once in the car, I exhale.  A quiet car, is there anything more enjoyable to a parent? I drive for about 10 minutes in silence.  I don’t think I was even really thinking of anything in particular, just enjoying my time alone.  After a great meeting with some fabulous people (and a complimentary PSL to boot), I make the trek home. It’s a little after 8. Eric and I chat on the drive.  Girls went in perfectly, slight cry from emaline, but not a peep from the older two. We talk briefly about my meeting and within minutes I’m home.

Before allowing myself to completely  unwind, I always clean downstairs.  It’s the way I keep sane.  Floors are cleaned, counters wiped, dishwasher on, toys and books out of sight.  It is then, and only then that I can relax.  This is my favorite time of day.  Tonight is especially great because it is Thursday.  Which means Eric went to Trader Joes!  Wine, a baguette and their, to die for, harvarti cheese!  Need I say more? Oh and Eric decided to make one of our first fires of the season.  This, friends, is my slice of heaven on earth.

Snuggling we watch two Madmen episodes and head upstairs. It’s 11.  We climb into bed and talk until one or both of us drifts, who knows which. It’s late and I’m next to the man I love.  This is real life, this is my life, and I love it!

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Thank you so much, Tricia, for sharing your day with us!  Reading this definitely makes me excited for what life will look like in just a few short months with MG & Bea…morning play time, reading alone time, girls getting dressed all by themselves, and going for walks without chasing someone down-haha!

Reading this also makes me a little sad that we aren’t neighbors anymore–but–it does inspire me to be a better neighbor to those around me right now.  Thanks, Tricia!

-smk

Striving

Welcome to my new blog!  I’ve made some exciting (for me) changes as of late.  The address is still the same (sweetmamak.com) but if you have my website bookmarked, you’ll probably need to re-do that with this address. 

If you want to receive all of my writings delivered to your email, enter it on the right sidebar.  (If you’ve already done so, check your email to make sure the move didn’t take that subscription away-sorry!)

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Life lately has been, well, hard to describe.

(disclaimer: I’m going to attempt to honestly lay out my current feelings below. No need to be concerned.  Just want to share in case others can relate)

Things have been hard.  It has felt like work.  There has been a cycle of good news and bad news that we just can’t seem to escape from (or has life always like this?  Sometimes I wonder if the mellow life I remember prior to becoming a mom actually existed.)  Good news for our family immediately preceded by bad news for our friends.  Excellent news for our friends immediately followed by a crushing blow for us. 

There has been a lot of rejoicing amidst mourning.

I’ve been scared a lot lately this year.  Like sick to my stomach, heavy cloak around me, scared.

There’s a special kind of fear that surrounds your children being sick.  I’ve become well-acquainted with that fear this year.

I’ve caught myself holding my breath, anxious for this week to be over, that news to be delivered, those situations to resolve.  And just when I exhale, it seems, a new sucker punch leaves me once again breathless.

I feel very unsettled.  Despite the work we’ve accomplished on the house, there is something about living amongst “projects” that messes with your psyche.  It is hard to find rest in something that constantly screaming you, “paint me!  decorate me!  finish me!”

My heart has been pushed closer to Heaven’s presence.  While I once looked around at the life I had amassed on earth and thought, “I am really going to miss this someday!”.  Now I find myself aching for the day when I no longer have to fear a stomach bug, when I won’t sleep restlessly over the fear of the unknown, where all of our relationships will be completely restored and we will never miss another’s presence.

As the days grow shorter and the cold seeps in, I dread the darkness.  The time change always comes unexpectedly and leaves me reeling for a bit. The trees and bushes look sad and shameful; their former glory amassed in piles around their feet.

Winter always carries a foreboding and melancholy feeling for me.  Will it be bitter and sick and long?  Will it close in on us and imprison us in our homes?  Will we crawl out from hibernation in April starved, blinking, and weary?

Today I found myself falling into a dark cycle after yet another round of illness.  I rallied my instincts and took the girls outside for an hour of play when the sun was still bright.  MG drew suns and skies with smiley faces.  I gulped the oxygen that had just a hint of winter in it and I’m going to try to make it last until April.

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And if it doesn’t?  Well you know where to find me.

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Nicole

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Today I have another guest post for you in our Daily Rhythms series.  This one comes from Nicole who harkens back to my Taylor days.  She just had an adorable baby boy a few months ago and I was anxious to hear what it was like.  I find it so interesting that each mom’s experience and remembrance of the early days is so different from mom to mom.  Enjoy!

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Hi everyone! I want to thank Kate for inviting me to share on her Thursday series. Kate and I know each other from Taylor where we lived together with 10 other women our senior year – yes we are still all friends and it actually worked out pretty greatJ I have loved getting to read Kate’s blog and feel a bit inadequate to share during this series as I am a first time mom but here goes.

My husband and I live in Portland, Oregon and moved here from the Midwest over 4 years ago. We had our son, Cameron, in July and it has been an adventure. Lets just say we were prepared but not prepared and this kid has rocked our world in an amazingly awesome way. The day I am going to share will change soon as I go back to work as a high school teacher in a couple of weeks but we won’t dwell on that sad news.

wake up

I would love to tell you that as a 4 month old that Cameron had slept through the night and that our wake –up at 7am was the first time he was up but that is not the truth. For some reason Cameron got up 3 times which is very unusual. Babies.  Every time I try and predict them my type A self is gently reminded. We get up, he greets me with a smile, we change his diaper, and we are off to take my husband to work. We live in the city so having 1 car and good public transit is awesome. We rush back home to do another one of our favorite activities – pumping.

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Cameron was a bottle refuser but due to two of my best friends having the same problem I was able to figure out he likes them warm and he has a bottle preference. Of course it’s not my glass Dr. Browns – kids they keep you guessing. We pump and he takes the bottle and we are off for a jog. Running is hands down one of my favorite activities and while it looks a lot different than before I had a kid, gone are my marathon runs, I am still getting out there which is awesome.

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We get back and Cameron goes down for a nap while I finally eat breakfast and sit down after a crazy busy morning.

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Amazingly I am able to eat breakfast and then get ready while Cameron chills in his bouncer seat. Yes it’s pink – that’s all they had at the children’s consignment shop. You will notice his cute outfit and then this is where our day goes a little haywire.

Shower Time

Oh and this is also in my bathroom because while I have started showering before 3, some days, I never get to shower alone or go to the bathroom or do anything…what they don’t tell you when you have a kid. This is also the time that Cameron decided to not only have a blowout on his cute outfit but also all over me while I was feeding him and after I had showered. On to outfit number two for both of us. I quickly eat lunch and we go off to the doctors. We stop for a few errands and Cameron decides that he needs to eat now – while we are driving.

cam crying before eating

Why is it that when the baby is crying and you finally know why that nothing is quick enough i.e. I can’t find a parking spot and then I can’t check in quickly. Thankfully he finally got his food and the appointment goes mostly smooth aside from me having to change him during the appointment. BabiesJ We come home and I enjoy a nice cup of chai tea while I think Cameron is sleeping but he’s not.

chai tea

He does though surprise me and sleeps the whole time we are gone when we pick up my husband and stop at the grocery store, which is a rarity because everything is amazing to look at for him.

sleep

We come home and Cameron plays with his dad while I rush to make parsnip and leek soup while all is calm. Some nights dinner goes great other nights, well you know.

dinner

Cameron starts to get sleepy and we read a book together. We make it through one page in our children’s bible and he eats and goes to sleep. Thankfully this night was much better with only two quick wake ups.

I will say our days have some predictability but other days they are not which is something I am slowly embracing. Overall being a mom is one of the most challenging yet most amazing thing I have ever done. It has also stretched me to depend on God more than I ever have which to be honest I wasn’t really expecting. I also knew I would be filled with joy with having him but never to the amount I am experiencing. He literally is one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to my husband and myself.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Nickie

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Thanks so much for sharing your day with us, Nickie! Oh how I remember those early newborn days.  It is so hard to be type A when you have a…well…Baby :). So glad you are finding some normalcy throughout it all :)

-smk

Crappy Halloween

What could be better to a nearly four year old than free candy?IMG_2707  Wearing a princess “dress-up” out of the house!

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Halloween actually meant something to MG this year. She doesn’t remember much from our life in our old neighborhood, but the flower costumes definitely made an impact on her.  This year, she finally figured out that she got to choose her costume and of course she was all over that.  “I want to be a Princess!” (without hesitation).  Well, which princess?  “I want to be Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, and Elsa, and Snow White!  Can I do that, mommy?”

Ultimately she chose to be Elsa for our church’s harvest party and then selected Sleeping Beauty for Halloween night.  (funny side note:  she’s actually still not seen Frozen, but those darn princesses are EVERYWHERE and by now MG knows their names and the names of all the characters in the movie.  But when people would say catchphrases to her about the movie, she would have no idea what they were talking about!)

The Harvest Party/Nursing Home party both landed on Wednesday evening.  Unfortunately, Bea was running a slight fever that day which grew worse as the evening wore on.  I could tell she wasn’t feeling well when all she wanted to do was be held at the party.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the costume either.

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When we told MG that the party was at church she kept talking about her friends in her little Sunday school class. There are only two other friends in the class and she kept mentioning them by name saying, “I hope they like my dress” <batting eyes and all>.  She did run into one of those friends, who did indeed, like her dress :)

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The next day, the same viral sickness that was making Bea miserable hit N like a ton of bricks.  So much so that he came home from work early (I think he’s done that once?) and slept the entire afternoon.  MG and I took turns tending to our sick patients.

Finally, it was Friday.  Bea seemed to be feeling a bit better and so did Daddy.  We did have plans to go hang out and do some trick or treating with friends (who live in a neighborhood, because we don’t live in a neighborhood anymore—weird!  And we didn’t have a single trick or treater this year—weird!!).  But due to the ongoing fever we decided to bow out, knowing I could just take MG to some local festivities.  I took Bea to the doctor in the morning just to rule out anything serious.  I let MG wear her costume to the office and for errands later since it was Halloween and all.  She was over the moon!

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Later that day, during her quiet time she told me she was going to take a nap (which she rarely does and it is NEVER announced) so I thought, “great, she’ll be well rested for our fun tonight!”  I was so excited to wake her up and help her get into her costume which she had picked out hours before.  Only, she woke up with a fever and feeling terrible.  Shaky, achey muscles, no appetite, and all she wanted to do was lay down.  She even said, “I don’t think I want to trick or treat tonight!”.  How pitiful is that?

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At least she got some candy from the previous parties and our neighbors said they would save her some treats too.

Admittedly, I’m starting to get frustrated at how sick we’ve been this year (and really in just the past three months) and how many fun things we’ve had to sacrifice because of it.

Here’s to hoping for healthy immune systems this winter!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Abby

In case you’re new here, I’m doing a series called Daily Rhythms where I showcase snippets of both myself and others’ lives. You can catch up here.
This Daily Rhythms post comes from a suburban mom, living in a Victorian style mansion (it’s dreamy), in the Midwest.  Abby is another friend I met at Taylor and I have been following closely to her story since then.  She is a gifted writer and curates a blog filled with delicious recipes, artistic snippets, and daily musings.   She is a mom of four, with ages spanning from 1mo to seven years old. Yes, she is well-rounded and inspiring in all the right ways
Abby’s artistic vision extends beyond her blog and she has created many beautiful things with her hands. This fall I purchased one of her handmade cowls and have been so pleased with it;  (Check out her Etsy shop here) These cowls are so affordable and less fussy than a scarf (which I love!).
I was especially interested to hear what Abby’s days entail with 4 little ones, especially with the youngest being a newborn.  It’s rare to find someone that still faithfully blogs after having four children and for her insights I am extremely grateful :)
Follow her story along with me:
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(P.S. When I asked people to participate in this little exchange, I gave them very little boundaries or rules.  I just told them to make it their own.  It’s been fun to see how people took that charge and each added to it their own writing style)
5:30 am finish the last round of night nursing my 3 week old baby girl and fall back asleep with her on my chest.
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7:20 am-Greeted by Isabelle and Vera as they climb into my bed to say good morning. Vera plays with her current collection of “toys”, today they are a baby bottle, red potatoes and a coffee carafe. Isabelle snuggles under the covers next to me to chat while I nurse Eliza.
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8:00am-I roll out of bed and leave the girls talking with Eliza while I get ready. First, I run to the kitchen downstairs and pour myself a cup of coffee. Most nights I prep it all so when Nate gets up for work he brews it and fills up his thermos and leaves the rest for me to enjoy when I wake up. It is a great system! Then upstairs I go to the bathroom to check if my hair needs tweaking (read: spray with water bottle and re-dry) or if I can get away with it as is. I put on some makeup. (yes I do this every day and yes I do have four children one of which is a newborn…it can be done ladies

Updates

{In case you missed it, here some of the previous house updates we’ve done.}

The weather is beautiful here today.  Seventy-five, sunny, and partly breezy.  More early than late fall.  We ran out early this morning and finished our Monday errands and then ate lunch and did schoolwork (sidewalk chalk alphabet of course) outside.

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It was heavenly.  I’m trying really hard not to let my mind believe what my body is telling me…that spring is around the corner.  But I’m not trying too hard, because I am of the opinion that a little ignorance never hurt anybody.

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N was on fall break this past week and we took advantage of his time at home to get some house work accomplished.  One of our awesome sitters (holla for living in a small town in between two Christian universities) came over on Thursday and then Grandma came over on Friday, freeing up even more of our time to work.

And on that note, we put the finishing touches on the powder room!  The first room in the house to be completely d-o-n-e (for now :))!

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(The paint color is Old Navy by Benjamin Moore.  Light fixtures are from Lowe’s.  Mirror is antique.  Shelves are made by Nate.  Illustrations on wall are from artist Mari Kloeppel)

Also, we had our fireplace installed this weekend(!!!!!!!!)  I am so incredibly excited to have a fireplace; I’ve been dreaming about one for the past 8 years.

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It’s about 85% finished so more pics to come.

We’ve moved upstairs and started work in the hallway.  We didn’t have ANY hallways in our last house so I’ve had fun dreaming up possibilities for this little space.

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After the stairs are finished being painted (no they won’t stay both grey and white–just grey–this was just N’s genius way of painting them while we were still able to use them) we will lay down a runner.bDSC_0056 bDSC_0049

We hung a “hometown” gallery wall in the hallway.  You can purchase some art like this for yourself in my shop :)

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(the pink barn and field are well-known landmarks near where we fell in love <3)

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N started tearing up the hallway carpeting and I think we will lay down a herringbone patterned wood floor…ideally made from an old, dead tree we cut down in the yard.  Wouldn’t that be amazing if it worked??

Next up: the wall of books to go in the “library”, painting the upstairs, and a fun little project I am working on for the upstairs hallway.

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Stay tuned!!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Erica

This summer I started a blog series called Daily Rhythms (you can catch up here).  One of these Daily Rhythms posts chronicled 24 hours with me.  A few weeks later I received an invitation to “swap” 24 hours stories and I shared with you my friend Kacey’s account.  The readers loved it.  So I decided I would ask a few ladies (that also blog) if they would be willing to contribute an entire day’s post to my blog.  How interesting is it to read how other people (especially those with different circumstances…ie number of kids, location, life circumstances, etc.) live?  So here is a day in the life of Erica, as seen on The View From Africa Erica

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Erica and I met quite a few years ago at our alma mater, Taylor University.  I met her through some mutual friends and have enjoyed watching her family grow over the past few years.  She is married to Dr. Matt and has two little boys:  Bo who is 3, Max who is 13 months.  (notice that her boys are almost the exact same ages/spreads of my girls)

At the time of her 24 hour writing, Max, who was adopted from Ethiopia, had been home only 5 weeks.  FIVE WEEKS and her life already seems so….normal :)  I followed their journey of first announcing their plans to adopt and then what felt like forever months later they were headed to Africa to first meet him (and pass court) and then a few weeks later a second time (to bring him HOME)

Erica works from home for her husband Matt’s dental anesthesia practice. They live in the south in a beautifully restored older home (holla!).  You have to check out her blog and read about them acquiring it!

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Daily Rhythms – Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today I struggle awake to the sounds of my husband getting ready for his day.  I’m thankful that he’s up first and I can stay snuggled in darkness for ten more minutes.  As he gets ready to walk out the door, we discuss a decision that is looming. 5:55 AM isn’t an ideal time for these conversations but Matt is a morning person so he humors me, and in this stage of life we have to grab the moments when we can.  He’s out the door, I shower and then I unload the dishwasher as my coffee brews.

 

I take my spot on the couch in the pool of lamplight and pick up the book I’m reading for Bible study. I haven’t always made it a point to wake up early but with two kiddos I need the time more than ever!  As the sky brightens I hear the kids stirring – the baby first, then Bo.  They have started to play a bit in the morning but I never know how long I have. I get breakfast ready for us – a bowl of oatmeal, today with raisins and pumpkin and cinnamon. I dish the kids’ bowls and put them in the fridge to cool.

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When it sounds like Max might need rescuing from his big brother, I enter. Today Bo is actually IN his brother’s crib . . . oh, well, moving on.  I’m grateful that breakfast today is mostly drama-free.  Max eagerly finishes a bowl of oatmeal and then feeds himself for a while and I pause to acknowledge his accomplishments – trying new textures and using a spoon! I make Bo’s lunch, pack it in his Star Wars lunchbox, and get the kids dressed.  Max has done a great job playing on the floor today and letting me get ready. So many times I focus only on the hurdles and I want to practice gratitude and celebrate our achievements!

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We’re out the door around 8:30 to walk Bo to school.  My neighbor-friend is leaving her house at the same time and she does half of the walk with us.  I’m thrilled to have her company. Bo is wearing his rainboots and we stop at every puddle and all the spookiest houses to admire their Halloween decorations.

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At school I kiss my big guy goodbye, and head back home, faster and quieter without my little sidekick, but a bit lonelier.  I love this walk and never tire of the beautiful homes on these streets. Soon we are home and Max is snuggled up with a bottle before his morning nap. I read him a story and place him on his tummy and walk out. He chatters but doesn’t cry – another moment to celebrate! I sit down in our home office to crank out an hour of phone calls and paperwork before I have to wake Max up . . . I hate to do it but he won’t nap well in the afternoon if I don’t. He pops up cheerfully and I encourage him to following me around the house with the walker while I get ready to head out the door.

 

As soon as he sees the car seat, Max starts to cry . . . and keeps at it.  We postpone errands for Barnes and Noble so he can get some time at the train table and a good lunch in.  We go from there to Target to grab diapers and baby food and then to the post office before landing back at home. Max goes down for his nap again and I take my lunch in to the office to deal with the calls I missed while we were out.  When Matt’s case goes long, I ask my sister-in-law to pick up Bo from school for me and I get a double bonus when she takes him to her house for an hour.  I use the time to start dinner and enjoy the quiet as I listen to music and chop veggies for chicken soup. Matt comes home and heads out to the backyard to work on the treehouse he spontaneously started two days before.  At 3:00 my sister-in-law brings Bo home and her three boys. They tumble out of the car and head for the tree fort as the baby wakes up.  I chat with  Courtney and Matt for the next hour as we watch our stairstep boys – ages 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 – climb and slide and swing down the zipline. Soon they are perfect muddy messes from head to toe.

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Bo’s school has reserved the local pumpkin patch for the evening so we head out and bring Bo’s closest-in-age cousin along.  They enjoy the mini maze and Max parks at the corn troughs for some sensory play.  I’m thankful Matt can be there with us, and even though my messy children mean it isn’t a picture perfect pumpkin patch experience, the kids have fun and we enjoy the fall afternoon together.

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We drop my nephew off at his house and race home as the dinnertime hour means meltdowns are on the horizon.  Bo is too dirty to eat so I give him a quick shower and set him down for chicken soup, which is not well received.  Matt heads out for the night to a concert so I keep the baby’s dinner simple and get him bathed while Bo realizes he does like chicken soup after all.  A couple books, a bottle for the baby, and a dozen kisses later, my little men are tucked into their shared room and I coast through our quiet house, picking up toys, unloading Bo’s backpack and admiring the day’s artwork.

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I take my soup to the couch to enjoy with my feet propped up and Hulu cued up on our TV.  I soak up the alone time. I’m dead tired, but content, thankful for the victories and head off for bed.

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It all sounds so deeply familiar, doesn’t it mamas?  Even though…even though it’s boys vs. girls, some biological, some adopted, her south, us north, …. we all share some of our rhythms in common.

Thanks for sharing, Erica!

-smk

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