5 Lessons I Learned Through Peer Pressure at 32…

It has been a LONG TIME since I posted on my blog.  What a year!

As we drove home from Tennessee for Thanksgiving 2016, Jason declared that he had decided I should go back to school.  I knew he was right… but yet… I was not convinced.  The next thing I knew, I was applying…enrolling…and registering.  I still wasn’t convinced.  The day came in January of this year… classes were starting and all I felt was fear.  Oh and anxiety.  Oh and also total panic.  Jason had peer pressured me and I didn’t know if I liked it.

At basically the same time, I was given an awesome opportunity to increase the hours I was working.  I was excited about the job so I went with it.  Between school hours and work hours, I basically added a full-time 40 hour work week.  Again… I was full of fear, anxiety, panic, and a bit of excitement.

The last year has been a major learning curve.  There have been constant adjustments.  Life is different.  This year has been full of lessons.  It has also been one of the most rewarding of my adult life.

I did it.  I am a two full-time semesters in and we have all survived.  I would go as far as to say we have even thrived.  I am even adding two classes and now do an online training group.

I wanted to share a few of the lessons I learned in the last year…

  1. Perspective matters.  Everything is hard when you are doing it.  Just wife-ing and mommy-ing is hard.  Adding work to the mix… hard.  Adding school to the mix… hard.  It isn’t exponentially harder.  It is all just hard.  Don’t have the perspective things should be easy.  A retired pastor told Jason and I recently, “Nothing worth doing is easy.”  Rise to the challenge.  Don’t be afraid of hard.  It won’t be as hard as you are telling yourself.  The hardness is worth it in the end.  Go for it!
  2. Saying no or I can’t is wise not weak.  That is right… For years, I have been that mom that bought into the lie that not being able to do everything is weak… shameful… and wrong.  Guess what.  NO is a wise word.  It is an important word.  Often… it’s the only right word.  I have learned in the last year that it is ok to not do somethings.. even if they are good things.  Every good thing wasn’t made for me.  I have scaled back volunteering to what I am really passionate about.  I am making an effort to teach my kids that we say yes to the right things and not yes to every good thing that comes along.  I try to keep our family schedule as chill as possible and leave margin for rest.  We are all benefiting.  Not being at every class party is ok.  Not volunteering for every slot is ok.  Not jumping through a thousand hoops to be everything for everyone is fine.  I am teaching my kids something important when I teach them to prioritize.  I am teaching my kids something important when I ask for help.  I am teaching my kids something important when I show them that time with them is more important than cutting out a thousand things for a party craft.  I also refuse to feel guilt when I see someone else buying into the no is weak line and try to impress it on me.
  3. It is ok to enjoy work outside my home and school even if it is just for me.  I have been a stay at home mom for a long time and I LOVE IT!  I plan to be home with my kids in some form as long as I have kids at home.  That being said, I LOVE WORKING!  I kind of felt guilty about this at first.  No one told me to feel that way, but somewhere along the way I began to feel like my enjoyment was made to be rooted in my family only.  Reality is my enjoyment is to be rooted in God and what He has created me for.  I thought I was supposed to be completely satisfied in motherhood and wife life and I am EXTREMELY satisfied by that role, but I am pretty good at my job and I find satisfaction in it.  I love helping other ladies work to be healthier and I get a huge amount of enjoyment out of that.  It’s ok to enjoy both!!  Also… I have a 4.0 GPA.  It is mine.  It is my effort.  My work.  My grades.  (By God’s grace.)  Those grades don’t belong to anyone else… they are mine.  As a mom of four there is very little sacred space.  My body, energy, and thoughts are always on someone else.  It has been very rewarding to have an accomplishment that is not tied to any of my kids.. or my spouse.  That is ok!  God mad ME to be created in His image.  He has good works for ME.  He has a plan and a purpose for ME that is yes tied into my family, but not exclusive to my family.  Work and school have been an outlet to me remembering this because for a few years I was in this cloud of being a mom of infants… like a million infants.
  4. The second most important lesson is that my husband is amazing.  I already knew this, but man has he proven it over and over again this year.  Jason has been my biggest support and cheerleader in the last year.  He peer pressured me and he was right to do so.  He knew I could do this and his belief in me has meant more than he will ever understand.  He has listened to me cry as I relearned math that I hadn’t seen in nearly 15 years.  He has reminded me that I am capable of more than I ever realized.  He has dreamed dreams with me that I didn’t even know I had.  He has done laundry and dishes and driven kids to school.  He has grocery shopped and done yard work.  He has championed me and celebrated with me.  He has had a lot on his plate as work has been in an 18 month transitional period for him and yet he has been rock steady for me.  He has taken every frantic phone call to grab Jesse from the preschool hall and meet me in his office because I am running 5 minutes late due to finishing and assignment.  He encouraged me to put Jesse into preschool five days a week instead of two and he was so right.   He has allowed me to share his office between my teaching so I can work on school work.  He has sent me out for runs so I can clear my head.  He  has loved me fiercely and patiently.  I am a blessed girl for sure!
  5. Lastly, and most importantly… God has been so gracious to me.  I knew that God was calling me to these new roles and He has met me at every turn.  He is faithful.  Period.  He is faithful.

So… I could tell you 1,000 more lessons, but you are sick of reading.  I leave you with this thought.  What hard thing are you shying away from because of fear?  What good thing do you need to say no to?  Are you feeling selfish for enjoying something that doesn’t involve your family?  What cheerleader do you need to thank?  How has God been faithful to you this year?

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Lilli’s 5 steps to having a cleaner home

In response to reading up on how to keep a clean house on Pinterest.  I would like to add my own version.

5 steps to have a cleaner home:

  1. Don’t have a husband.
  2. Don’t have kids.
  3. Don’t change your clothes.
  4. Don’t eat.
  5. Don’t breathe.

Ever feel that way?  That’s how I feel today (and most other days).  2 of the 3 levels of my house are fairly clean, but that 3rd one… have mercy.  It is a disaster zone. I am in a constant state of playing catch up.  As soon as I have caught up either something else is terribly behind OR my family undoes my caught-up-ness.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I remember a friend once told me.. someday.. your kids won’t remember how clean your house or car were.. they will remember all the time you spent with them.  I believe that is mostly true, but I do remember that my mom’s house was all clean for the most part.  So… don’t you think they will remember at least a little that ours is crazytown?

Let me give you an example.. Ada was furious last night because she couldn’t find any clean basketball socks.. you know.. in the bin of clean socks that are never folded so everyone has to dig through them to find two somewhat matching ones.  I was furious because she didn’t look in her sock drawer. I had just paired up the socks and put them away yesterday.  “BUT MOM, how do I know to look in my sock drawer… I NEVER have socks in there!” Knife to the heart.  Truth.  She is speaking truth. It was the first time in WEEKS that there were socks actually in the sock drawers.

Mom fail.

I guess if the worst thing she had to be mad at me about was where her socks were located then it isn’t toooo bad. Right?

Yesterday, I bought new cups for the kids.  Not because anything was wrong with theirs, but because we needed more.  My kids all drink out of those plastic character cups that Walmart and Target sale on the party aisle.  I threw away the old ones just after the move because they were old, gross, and losing their pictures.  I figured we were ingesting said pictures as they came off the cups.  Anyway, I bought each kid 2.  Jason said it wasn’t enough.  I disagreed.  They use the same cup all day.  It’s PLENTY.  One will be clean and one will be dirty. It’s not enough.  We always have dirty dishes.  We need more cups.

Mom fail.

I guess there are worse things than needed a few cups per kid because we always have dirty dishes in the sink. Right?

I lost a pumpkin in my bedroom.  Yep. It was a fairly decent sized, bright orange pumpkin.  I don’t know why I took it up there.  I can’t remember past this morning. I DO remember it being there.  It’s lost now.  Somewhere… in my bedroom… hopefully not rotting yet.

Mom fail.

I guess there are worse things than losing a pumpkin in your bedroom. Right?  Nope. Nope, that’s pretty bad. It’s a pumpkin… lost in my bedroom.

How do you stay on top of things? I am going with child labor. That’s usually always my plan… the problem is… my child labor is always busy because our lives are as crazytown as our 3rd floor.  What works to help keep you on top of the house work?  (Also welcome is comments about how you aren’t on top of the house work and I am not alone. haha.. No really!)

 

Holy Cow is this my life…???

Ok…honest mom post coming your way.

Have you ever had on of those “Holy cow! Is this really my life moments?”

I just had one. I was trying to eat my lunch (finally at 1:15). Jesse was attempting to climb over the baby gate via a wobbly chair. JD jeeps turning up Ninja Turtles up louder to try to drown out the noise of his sisters who are roller scaring in the house.

Is this really my life? Are these kids really all mine? Roller skates in the living room? Is this actually happening?

Yes. It is. It still is. The tv is deafening. The girls are still skating. Jesse is currently scouring for something to get into. I am sitting in the floor watching it all happen.

Why? If I stop them….someone will need something. Right now…I am blissfully unneeded.

I had four kids in 5.5 years. My life is crazy. It is exhausting.

Holy cow! When did this happen?

After the 2.9 seconds of overwhelmed passed…..

I saw something beautiful… I saw JD who weighed 30 pounds today! I told God thank you that he is growing!

I heard something beautiful… My girls giggles are sweeter than any music I have ever heard. I told God thank you for their sweet love for each other.

I felt something beautiful… Jesse William ran over to hug me and kids me totally randomly. I told God thank you for affection and snuggles.

My holy cow is this my life overwhelmed moment melted away to a holy cow…. How is this my life moment!

Yes…… It’s hard.

Yes…… It’s busy.

Yes…… It’s exhausting.

AND

YES…… It’s awesome!

My house is a mess. My hampers are full. My sink is full. My car is full. My heart is fuller.

Holy cow! I am blessed!

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Motherhood is the class that never stops teaching

Motherhood is crazy. I feel like I am always in this pattern of learning. Just when I think “I’ve got this” my kids enter some new season that turns our little house on its head OR more often my kids decide to completely reject some pattern that had previously been working for us. Truth is..I guess “I’ve got this” is wrong on so many levels. (BUT we won’t go into the spiritual pride of that one.)

Here are a few things I have learned this week (some funny and some serious):

1) If you put Jesse William in overalls you can add 30% to the amount of minutes he will stay in his high chair WITHOUT food. Apparently, overall straps are yummy.

2) Bedtime with two toddlers in one room is a fluid situation. By fluid I mean impossible. Pray, hold your breath, plug your ears, and tell your spouse “at least they are playing and not fighting”…it’s at least a glass half full response on the outside.

3) It’s ok to celebrate literal obedience even when common sense is ignored. 4 kids that are 7 and under don’t have the capability of common sense and rarely have the capacity to obey. Therefore celebrate the little wins. Example: Today we missed the bus. I yelled for everyone to hurry and get on easy shoes bc we had to drive Ada. Izzy was in the middle of getting dressed. She stopped and ran to put on her shoes leaving her dress behind on the bench. She was the first one shoed and at the door. The problem was in her obedience…she was wearing panties and flip flops. I praised her for doing what was asked and sent her to put on her dress. A little win is a win. Example 2: I told JD and Izzy to put on their shoes to go to the church. They both got in the shoe closet, sat on the bottom step, and lined up at the door. After getting outside and almost to the van, I realized that JD only had on ONE shoe. I asked why and he said, ” You said put on shoes. I could only find one shoe. SO I put on the shoe I finded.” My first reaction was “Why didn’t you tell Mama?” My next reaction was “at least he partially obeyed”. A win is a win…. Even if it is a small win.

4) Bravery makes me beam. I am that mom….That uber proud mom. I adore my kids and I always am proud of my kids, but Ada facing her fear and participating in swim team practice WHEN SHE DOESNT KNOW HOW TO SWIM has me literally over the moon proud. It probably sounds silly, but I am so excited to see her grow as she stretches herself. It’s exciting.

5) Ada had her feelings hurt at school for the first time. My heart ached. Like deeply…really…terribly. This part of mommying stinks.

6) My kids will fight about eating simple things, but the weirder the food the more they love it.

7) I need to stop limiting Izzy. Izzy is very creative and imaginative. That is the world she lives in and I totally relate, but sometimes imaginative and creative is messy and a hassle. When I limit Izzy’s ability to feel free in this area so is easily frustrated and has a temper. When I allow her to be her with no limits she thrives in every area of her life.

8) 20 hours out of the day JD is actually a “Ninja Tultul”. For real. The other 4 he is a self proclaimed “Scarrrdee Cat”. 24 hours a day he is the funniest 3 year old on the planet.

9) If I just let Jesse climb everything in sight he will only get hurt 89/100 times a day that he climbs something. Therefore just let him climb.

10) Mom’s like me need routine and busy. (By moms like me I mean moms whom have kids in their pjs at lunch, live under a pile of laundry half the day and under a sink full if dishes the other, have like a zillion kids, and still have groceries that were purchased yesterday on the counter to put away.) If you fit into the moms like me category then volunteer like ALOT, chair events, sign up for swim team that meets everyday, have lots of play dates, etc BECAUSE you will be home less to live in your mess AND you will be too busy to think about it BUT when you get home you will be embarrassed for yourself to see your mess. It’s still worth it. Busy and routine are WAY more fun than house work.

There are a few of my motherhood lessons from this week. What are yours?

Happy Birthday, Ada!

Ada Tada,

I cannot believe that I am looking across the room at a 7 year old.

I am so proud of the young lady that you are growing to be. You are a very special girl! You love others and always want to see your friends and siblings happy and having fun.

You love Jesus. I love how much you love Jesus. On Sunday morning in worship, my heart was full of joy watching you worship. Your hands were raised, you had a huge smile, and you were so genuine as you sang out. You have also been reading your Bible every night since January 1st. So far, you have read John, Genesis, Exodus, Easter, Ruth, and now Mark. This was your idea and a goal that you are so dedicated to. It has been so amazing to watch you underline and talk it through. You have also memorized 14 Bible verses. I love your heart. It is eager to learn and follow after Christ. I cannot wait to see how HE uses you later, BUT I love watching how he is also is also using you NOW!

You are really growing up. You are getting to make more choices now and I love to watch as you think things through and reason things out. I am so proud of you!

I had no idea 7 years ago the gift that God was giving me. I had no idea what a delight you would be. I had no idea how much you would teach and challenge me. I had no idea how much my heart could love you. You, sweet Ada, have taught me how to be a mom and you are a wonderful, loving, patient, kind, and grace-giving teacher.

I am so glad that God gave me you!

I love you to the moon and back
my big girl!

XOXO,
Mama

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Ultimate Surviver NOVA: Flight Trampoline Park

We went to Flight Trampoline Park last Monday night for family night. For big families this is definitely the most cost effective option. It was great! All 6 of us enjoyed ourselves. It is brand new and just opened here in Springfield. If you haven’t checked it out yet….you should.

We also ate at El Paso in Springfield. The food was pretty good and so was the service. It wasn’t the best Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten, but they do 99 cent kids meals on Monday nights and I am sure we will go back for that offer again.

Get out there and enjoy where you live….if you live in NOVA then pass along your families favorite spots.

Just realized I got no stills of Ada. She was off bouncing in the big kid side.

I will share a quick Ada story instead. So they have these big bags you can jump on and one of them is under a big platform. Ada and I made several trips to the platform and she was too afraid to jump. I am a face your fears kinda mom so I kept taking her back over and jumping off to show her that she wouldn’t get hurt. Our hour of jump time was over and we had to go and she still hadn’t taken the plunge. We raced over and I tried to bribe her to jump with a lollipop. (Half of parenting is bribery.) She wanted to jump, but she froze. So….like any good mom….I pushed her off. Once she stopped crying she was elated that “she” had done it. It still counts as a lesson in bravery…right? (Don’t worry….I already took myself out of the 2014 running of Mom of the Year months ago.)

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#momlife, the true story…

Actual conversation with Jeremiah David this morning:

Me walking down the stairs to the playroom: Clomp, clomp, clomp.

Me: Ummm… JD, what are you doing?

JD: I’m just standin’ around.

Me: JD, do you think standing that high is a good decision or a bad decision?

JD: Oh. It’s a very bad decision. That’s why I put on my helmet.

He was higher than eye level with me.

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