Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! ?
Kaitlynn and I did bubbly masks that I got in my FabFitFun box to unbox. These were kind of weird, but fun to do!
We took a hike and picnic to Stillhouse Hollow Falls with friends on Saturday.
This is pretty normal life around here — we’re trying to get a picture of the two of us and we get photobombed. ?
Our family got there around 5:15 p.m. and it was the perfect time because almost everyone was leaving and we pretty much had the entire waterfall to ourselves! Read more about Stillhouse Hollow Falls here.
We had our Community Group over for a Bring Your Own Lunch get together on Sunday after church.
One of the families also brought brownies and ice cream to celebrate the recent birthdays in our group.
We hadn’t been together for a few months (we take a break from regular get-togethers for summer), so it was SO nice to get to hang out again — and it was so fun that everyone could make it!
I just love having older kids! Love it, love it, love it!
Sure, they are moody some days. Sure, they sometimes make wrong choices. And yes, sometimes they drive me batty.
But don’t we all do the same things? None of us are perfect and when I stopped expecting a ridiculous level of perfection from my kids (that *I* can’t even live up to myself!) it opened the door for me to just love them and enjoy them.
I love seeing their unique, crazy, and amazing personalities blossoming. I love that they are so different than me in many ways. I love that they teach me new things and push me outside my comfort zone.
I love learning how to motivate them and when they need me to just get out of the way. I love seeing them grow wings and learn to fly. I love watching them develop close friendships. I love seeing them excel and learn from failure.
I love our deep conversations and our ridiculous jokes. I love their sarcasm. I love making them laugh. I love it when they make me laugh.
I love their hearts for Jesus and others. I love that they know way more about pop culture than me and are always introducing me to new songs that they can’t believe I don’t know.
I love our long talks about their futures. I love listening to their dreams and hopes. And I love seeing them become more and more independent… and I love that they still want to hang out with me.
We’re in such a sweet season right now. I know that things are going to be changing in big ways in our home in the next five years (Kathrynne will be 18 and probably just leaving for college or some other big adventure!), so I’m seeking to just soak up every moment in my mama heart.
Speaking of which, as our kids get older, they have become more and more independent. They don’t need me to help them get dressed or clean their room. They can pack their own lunches and fix a snack when they are hungry.
But they still need their mom. It just looks a lot different than it used to.
I’m learning that the best thing I can do in this new season is to just make myself AVAILABLE to them — whether that’s to help them with a writing project, to take them to run an errand, to look at funny memes on Pinterest with them, to watch their favorite YouTube videos, to play Fortnite with them (this has won me mega cool mom awards!), or to just sit and listen to them.
One big change we’ve made to our schedule this year is book-ending our day with time together. We start our mornings all driving in the car to school drop-offs together (I read a chapter book to them while Jesse drives). When they come home from school, I make sure my schedule is cleared so we can just be together and I am available to them for whatever they need from 4 pm to 5 pm. Then, we sit down and eat dinner together at around 5 pm.
Even if we have things going on in the evenings, it means we’ve started our day with time together and we’ve “ended” our day with time together.
To achieve this…
- I make sure that I don’t over-pack my work day so I can get most everything done from 8 am to 4 pm.
- I make sure that dinner is planned and ready before 4 pm (either in the crockpot or ready to pop into the oven. We often make enough for two nights so that it saves dinner prep time on the second night).
- I communicate with the kids in the morning about what the plan is for the afternoon and evening (if we have plans after dinner, etc.) so that everyone knows what to expect.
- We also plan something fun to look forward to when they get home & have their homework done. (It could be as simple as planning that we’ll play a game of Fortnite before dinner.)
On the nights when we don’t have activities after dinner, I schedule one-on-one time with each child and they get to choose what we do! It’s the BEST!
On My Heart…
It’s so easy for me to feel stressed, worried, or frustrated about situations when things aren’t going like I’d hoped.
Maybe my kids are struggling or there’s tension in our marriage or a blog sponsor is being really difficult and demanding to work with or I’ve gotten a slew of hate mail or our website is having major issues or there’s miscommunication with a friend or that blog partnership we worked so hard to make happen fell through or it’s just one of those weeks when I have a really long to do list with a lot of pressing things…
Your list of things that can make you feel stressed or frustrated or worried might look really different than mine, but I’m sure you could write your own.
I’ve been challenging myself to put the energy that I usually would spend stressing over a situation into praying about it instead.
There’s something really life-impacting and freeing for me to just vent it all out to God. And then to ask Him for whatever it is I need for that situation. Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is that I need.
So I’ll just pray and say, “God, please help me. I feel so frustrated about this. It feels overwhelming and impossible. I need your help because I don’t have what it takes.”
Laying my burdens at the foot of the Cross means I can stop carrying them around and feeling stressed by them. He wants me to give them to Him. He wants to carry them for me and carry me through the very rough patches of my life. But He’s waiting for me to stop trying to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and to instead hold my hands out and say, “I need You. I can’t do this without You.”
2018 Goals Update
1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.
**Progress: 51 books read so far this year
2. Read through the entire Bible.
**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!
3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.
**Progress: 33 notes written so far this year
4. Run 500 miles.
**Progress: 315 miles run so far
5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.
6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.
**Progress: I’ve finished two books so far and we’re almost finished with a third.
7. Take the kids to South Africa.We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!
8. Go on a family road trip.
**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this and are planning to make this happen over Fall Break. Stay tuned!
9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.
**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is getting close to being done!
10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)
11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.
12. Launch 5 new courses.
**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!