Monday, November 4, 2013

Thankful For's

So, I'm getting really great at blogging consistently. Once every..8 months? Goodness. Oh well, that just means I'm soaking up these days with my little ones, I hope!

Anyway...About a year ago, I read through Ann Voskamp's amazing book, One Thousand Gifts. It was life-changing for me. Perspective-changing, thought-changing, spirit-changing. I loved every page, and have since read through much of it a 2nd time. The premise of the book is that we should alter our perspective so that we see life through God-glorifying, thankful eyes, instead of the selfish, "more"-wanting eyes we so naturally wear. Ann encourages her readers to keep a list, as she did, of the things around them that they are thankful for. She mentions things from soapy bubbles in the kitchen sink, even though it's full of dirty dishes, to the glow of the full moon.

While I haven't done a perfect job of {anything} keeping a gratitude journal with pen and paper, my perspective has changed dramatically.

One little way that I have implemented teaching gratitude to my little ones is in our "Thankful For's".

Every night, at bed time, I sit on the edge of my beautiful 3-year-old daughter's bed. (Almost 4, now, but I'd rather not think about all of the growing and changing she's doing.) She knows our routine. "Mommy, let's do prayers, and 3 Thankful For's, and 2 Love's before bed." While her little list of things she is thankful for started months ago with things like "all my toys", "my room", and "my princesses", it has started to graduate to more meaningful things the past few weeks. "I'm fankful for Saturday when Daddy gets to stay with us aaaaaalllll day long", "I'm fankful that we got to go to church and see our friends today". She's starting to get it. It's starting to sink in. The big things. The little things. She's becoming thankful for all of them! Me? I'm just so thankful God is teaching me how to cultivate a heart of gratitude in both myself and my family.

{And for those of you wondering, our "loves" are phrases that begin with "I love you more than..." and end with whatever clever thing we can come up with... "all the polka dots on my pajamas", "all the crayons in the crayon box", or Allie's personal favorite, "all the toilet paper." It's a fun little game!}

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Highlight Reel

I've seen many blog posts recently about how we mamas need to be careful about how closely we pay attention to all of the Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds, and Instagram posts we follow. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing your "negatives" to others' "highlight reel". I mean, let's be real. Very few people are posting pictures on Instagram of their toddler laying in the floor at Target throwing a fit to buy a new princess dress, or of their laundry that has overflowed out of the hamper because they've been too busy with said toddler to actually move the dirty clothes to the washer, let alone finish a wash cycle and put them away. No one posts pictures of crying babies waking at all hours of the night, or kids being talked to, lectured, spanked, put into time-out, for being disrespectful. Again. We don't see that the same mama who posted her beautiful baby eating breakfast at a pristine table with vintage linens has a mess of toys and mis-matched socks strewn all over her living room, and another child running around the room in his underwear refusing to get dressed.

But we do see the highlight reel. And yes, it is very important to keep a good perspective while looking at all of these posts and notes from friends and online acquaintances. Don't think they aren't having a day just like yours, because with little ones in the house, unless they have a team of nannies, they most likely are. There is food being refused by picky eaters, there are tantrums being thrown, arms being crossed, and kids being sent to their rooms.


There is also laughter. Dancing and pretending to push the baby stroller to the park, purse-in-hand, as if it's the most important thing in life (and one might argue - it is). There are peaceful moments, even if they only seem to come when the 3-year-old's favorite cartoon is on. There are little cuddles, and hugs and kisses for boo-boo's. There are unprompted "I love you mama"'s. Time spent listening to little ones learn how to pray. Meals during which your baby just wants to be held, and you have to eat a cold meal once again.

I'd like to argue that you won't remember the cold meal, but you will remember and relish the baby-holding.

I've recently gotten into the habit of scrolling through my iPhone's camera roll before I fall asleep at night. I take pictures of my kids most days, and it's just fun to do a little re-cap before I go to sleep. I'm learning that this is cultivating such gratefulness in me. Even in the photos of screaming children I've sent to my husband at work. (Yes. Real life. I've done this. "Help, he won't stop crying. See?")

It's my highlight reel. It's real life. It's blurry smiles and perfectly posed Instagram posts, but every single picture is evidence of goodness and grace God has poured into my life that day. Time with my kids. Time with my husband. Screenshots of texts between friends and siblings. Things I want to hold on to from my "normal" days during this season.

What if we really chose to view our days as highlight reels? We will in a few years. My babies are still so little, and we hope to add to our family, but I know one day, we will have grown-up babies, and I will long for days that I could pull them into my lap and love on them, even in a dirty, toy-filled living room. The highlight reels are what we will remember. Not the craziness. Not the tantrums (well, maybe some), not the fight to eat just two bites of peas. We'll remember the cuddles. The kisses goodnight. The pajama parties before bed. The highlights.

Whatever season of life you are in, strive to see in it the things you will miss 5 years from now, 10 years from now. Practice hindsight in the present. Cultivate thankfulness for God's graces in your life today.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Mommy, can I play wif him?"

At this point in my life, I think few things could thrill me more than watching my kids enjoy each other. Over the past few weeks, they have really become great friends! They love to play together, and Allie is just such a sweet, encouraging big sister (and a great look-out for things going into his little mouth). I love watching their friendship grow!

The other night, after bath time, Wyatt was just SO wiggly that Adam and I gave up on trying to put his jammie's on. We just let him play in his diaper for awhile. A rarity at our house! :) Allie wanted in on the fun, too.

She "read" him some books.

My poor boy totally looks like he's not wearing anything, haha!

Probably the most true-to-life shot I took that evening. Her climbing all over him,  and him happily playing along, just glad to have his big sister giving him attention.

From the time they wake up in the morning, they're each other's little buddy.

It just blesses me so much to see the ways she takes care of him!

I mean, really. Get out the tissues.

Allie begs all the time to play in Wyatt's bed with him. Hey, if it keeps both of my kids contained
AND happy, I'm all for it!