Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding "Me" in the Midst of Being Mommy

I've had a lot of roles in the past...from daughter to student to employee. From crafter to blogger to decorator to thrifter. From friend to wife to mom. As I've moved from stage to stage in life, no transition was as different as becoming a mother.

Don't get me wrong...it's what I've always dreamed of becoming. From an early age, I'd play with dolls and pretend to be a mommy. I really love every minute that I am able to spend investing in our children. But at times, it feels as if the old me is gone forever.

After I had Hudson, it took me a while to switch roles. Babies take up so much time - they are constantly in need of something. After a few months, I realized it was OK to have some time for myself. I figured out how to get a few things done around the house. I got back to being creative, decorating, cooking and doing the things I love. I found ways to incorporate my creative desires into Hudson's day. Even color-coordinating his books made me feel like "me."

Sure, he may drag half of them out into the floor from time to time, but keeping them organized this way brought me too much joy to change how they are stored.

I had pretty much found myself again...and then baby Nora arrived. I quickly forgot the necessity of making time for myself. The transition was not the same as when I brought that first baby home, but I still had those helpless feelings sometimes. "Will I ever have time to paint my nails or do my hair again?" "Will I ever sleep again?" "Will I have time for Hudson?" "Will the house ever be clean again?"

Luckily, I sort of knew this strange transition was coming this time. I knew that I would want to decorate for fall, but not have the time or energy to do so. I put up some pumpkins the week before Nora was born.

I pulled out my kid-friendly fabric pumpkins that I made last year and put them in places that Hudson could reach.

If he can "get into" a few things in the living room, he seems to leave other "no no" items alone.

What makes other moms feel like themselves may not involve organization or decorating with pumpkins...but regardless of the activity, it is important to not lose sight of who you are. It's so easy for me to get bogged down by dirty dishes and dirty diapers. But when I take time to incorporate "me" times into my day, those dishes and diapers aren't so daunting.

I've also started trying to do "me" things with Hudson. I love to read - so I read Hudson lots of books. I love crafts - so Hudson and I color a lot. I love having pictures of the kids - so I dress them in cute clothes each day and always keep the camera ready...I never know when a picture moment might show up! (And all mothers of newborns know, if you want a picture of the baby in a certain outfit...you had better snap the photo as soon as you get them dressed. Because they always seem to spit up on the cutest clothes!)

And having to sit still to feed Nora isn't all bad...I had forgotten how it was an excellent time to do my devotions each evening. Once Hudson is in bed and the house is quiet, I know I will be sitting still for a certain length of time. I am able to get into the Word without feeling hurried or rushed to move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I have to sit still...

I've been working my way through a One Year Bible - Right now, as I read through Isaiah, I have to admit that the passages sometimes seem a little long. But I have found great encouragement in some of those verses. When I feel discouraged, tired or alone, I have been able to draw great strength from the following passages.

Isaiah 43:2-4
"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. 
When you go through rivers of difficulty,you will not drown. 
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your god, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Others were given in exchange for you. 
I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me.
You are honored and I love you. "

Isaiah 49:14-16 reminds me that I am in the "palm of His hand." 
Isaiah 60:1 says, "...for the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you." 

I've found that the quickest way to find myself is to remember who God says I am...I am His. I am loved. I am not alone. I am precious to Him. I am His child. 

As I reviewed this book by Joni Eareckson Tada, (a great read in the midst of times of discouragement) I was encouraged by this quote.

"As I meditate on Scripture, it occurs to me that the glory of the Lord is upon me whether I feel it or not. It rises with me on each new day."

It doesn't matter how I "feel" that day...God still feels the same towards me. 

I love being a mommy...but when I feel out of sorts or overwhelmed, I am learning it's OK to have time for myself. It's OK for me to decorate the house or do a craft. It's OK. Sure, some may say I don't have time for that...but it's who I am and it makes me happy. Jeremiah is always telling me to take time for myself. Although I can't neglect my calling and duty as a home-maker, I am trying to find ways to make what I HAVE to get done seem less like a chore and more like a privilege.

After all, a wife and a mom is exactly who I want to be. And when I take the time to get in the Word- I am reminded of who I am in Christ.

I look at our children and I know that I am doing exactly what God wants for me to do. I love investing in them - and I love to see them influenced by the time I spend with them. And I love knowing that God invests in me in similar ways. I don't have to become some other person in order to be a good mom...I just need to be me and point my kids towards the Lord. I am happier and they are too! 

So, to the other mommies out there...find what makes you, "you" and take time to do it! I think we will all be better mommies! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Read with Me (and Hudson)

Lately, I've been selecting kid's books to review. It is a great way to build Hudson and Nora's library, and Hudson loves for us to read to him.

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door was such a fun read! While learning to be a cowboy, Conrad also is faced with an opportunity to learn forgiveness. Written and illustrated in an entertaining way, I read through this book twice as soon as I received it. The pictures are adorable. The story is relate-able. The Biblical truth of forgiveness is understandable. (And I loved that he had a "Mega Ultimate Extreme First Aid Kit" ready for any emergency).

The last page of the book includes a message to parents. In that letter, you will find several Bible verses to further teach this valuable lesson of forgiveness to your kids. I look forward to using this story in family devotions in the future.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of God Gave Us Angels. A book on angels can either be quirky and mystic or show a Biblical view. I am happy to say this book by Lisa Tawn Bergren depicts angels in a theologically correct way. I even had Jeremiah read it, and he agreed.

A little bear asks his dad questions about angels - the daddy bear answers these questions in a way that the little bear can easily understand. By the end of the book, the little cub is hoping that he might have a chance to see an angel one day.

It reminded me of my angel experience as a child - you can read my dad's account of that day here. This would be a great way to answer questions that your little one might have.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Life at Home

We are adjusting to being a family of four. What an adventure!

At first, Hudson just kind of ignored any reference to Nora. When we would ask him where the baby was, he would just look off into the distance, pretending he didn't hear us.

But eventually, he decided she came with some cool accessories.

I assume he understands Woody from Toy Story a little better - in fact, I could play "Strange Things are Happening" as his theme song.

Now, he lets us know when the baby is crying. He calls her "baaaa-beee" (with a thick Southern accent) and likes to give her kisses. He notices when she kicks off a sock, pointing out her toes. He has also told us to just put her in her swing if we are holding her. ha.

Luckily, in the midst of his transitional days, a big box of diapers arrived. That box provided lots of playtime.

Once he tired of just sitting in the box, I let him color on it with crayons.

We have had so many friends stop by to say hello or bring a meal. Both have been a huge encouragement and help to us.

Hudson, of course, thinks they are coming just for him.

He has recently become quite fond of stickers. I've started saving those random sheets of stickers that are in pieces of junk mail. Free entertainment!

Nora is a super laid back baby. She sleeps and eats right on schedule.

Although getting up in the middle of the night to feed her leaves me a little tired, she is making is so much easier on me - She goes right back to sleep!

It has been great to have had family here to help out.

Even though they have all gone home now, Hudson is still calling out for different family members, thinking that maybe they are just hiding out in another room.

As we took our first "family of four walk" last night, I couldn't help but think how blessed we are.

We are loving every minute of being a family of four! Nora Lynn, you have stolen our hearts. We love you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Read with Me

I could not wait to receive my copy of A Beautiful Mess' Happy Handmade Home. Being an avid reader of Elsie and Emma's blog, I was excited to see what creative projects these sisters would showcase in their DIY book. Filled with fun, easy, step-by-step projects, you can easily achieve the look of the decor and crafts that these bloggers show. Lots of pictures and detailed instructions make this an excellent resource for even the most novice crafter.

I am excited to try out some of these ideas - although these girl's style sometimes doesn't match my own, the projects are easily adaptable. By changing some colors or patterns, the techniques are presented in a way that I am able to make the project reflect my home. Afterall, that's what the book is all about - painting, crafting, and decorating a cheerful more inspiring space. These little projects can help you make your home a place you love.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 Beside Bethesda Beside Bethesda was a refreshing read for this tired mom of a newborn. During my nightly feedings, it was so encouraging to read the Scripture and ideas that Joni Eareckson Tada presents in this 31 day devotional. Like the man in the New Testament waiting beside the pool of Bethesda for healing, Joni revealed how she has found she must go to the Lord for emotional healing.

I look forward to passing this book on to someone else going through a difficult or weary time. Scripture pumps me up - and Joni fills her book with Scriptures that have encouraged and uplifted her during her 40 plus years as a quadriplegic.

Each day has a personal devotional, a few verses of Scripture and a challenge. I have written down many of the verses mentioned for the next time I feel down or alone.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Since most of the kids books that I have been reading lately have just a few words on each page, it was fun to read a kids book for an older child- or at least one with a longer attention span than my son. I've always loved Berenstain Bears books, and so, I was excited to review Blessed are the Peacemakers. If you are looking for a cute story dealing with bullies, little disputes kids have and getting along, this would be an excellent book for you. Filled with colorful illustrations this story tells of the Berenstain Bears working through the problems that come from cubs not getting along.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.