Thursday, April 17, 2014

It'd be easier to skip the death part.

Easter is on Sunday. You probably knew this.
And Good Friday is on Friday. You probably knew this too.

You can't really have Easter without Good Friday. 

I mean, you could. But what's the point?

Because on Easter, we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead.
[Don't let that just pass by you. Rose from the dead. The turning point in history. The event on which my eternity depends. Oh, that those words we hear so often would not just go in one ear and out the other...]

But He has to die before he can rise.
And He has to bear the weight of all my sin before He can conquer sin once and for all.
Before I can be forgiven.
And He has to be betrayed by Judas, rejected by God, and crucified... before we celebrate Easter.

How easy it would be to just skip Good Friday.
It'd be so much more pleasant, really... straight to the "Alleluias," the "He is risens," the ham and potato casserole and chocolate and egg hunts, right past the day Jesus died.
Isn't this often true in life? It feels easier to skip the hard part.
But we can't be "successful" without the hard work.
We can't have well behaved kids without the discipline.
You can't be a great musician without practicing.
You can't be a great athlete without training.

And you can't have an Easter where Jesus rose from the dead without a Good Friday, where Jesus died. 

In fact, I would go as far as saying, there's really no point in doing anything "Eastery" if we're just going to skip Good Friday.

So, whether you find a service or just take some time in your living room, stop. think. pray. reflect.
The blood, the shame, the torture.
He endured and He finished. for you. and for me.

p.s. This is a website I've been using to help me reflect this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WMFW no.2 - Dinner in the morning

This is my second WFMW [works for me wednesday]. I probably won't keep up with it. Series-blogging isn't really my thing. But it 'works' for me now. :)

Lately, I'm tired. I mean, TIRREEEDDD by the end of the day.
It hit me a couple weeks ago - the physical exhaustion of 15 month old + third trimester. And for a few days, we just scrounged for dinner or ate takeout. Because every day I would have a meal planned (usually something easy) and get ready to make it around 4:30 or 5, but just not be able to. Too tired. And once I talked myself out of cooking and into Potbelly's, that was that. [I have craved good sandwiches both pregnancies. Mm. I want one right now.]

Anyway, after a few days of this, I decided to start making dinner in the morning. After breakfast. When I wasn't tired.
And, it works for me.
Then, when 5:00 rolls around, and I'm tired, I sit on the couch and read books to Addie.
When Ben gets home, we warm it up, and voila. Our tummies and food budget are happy.

A couple things about this strategy...

1.) It eliminates some meal options. Some things are meant to be cooked and eaten immediately. Like paninis. Well, I wanted to try this portabello pesto panini [did I mention I love sandwiches?]... so, I did the pesto ahead of time and laid out all ingredients that could be out. Then when it came time to eat, I was forced to make dinner because it was half started and it only took 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

2.) Sometimes I just do the prep work early. Fruit or veggie chopping, recipe reading, sauce making, meat cooking, etc... Things can be thrown together at the last minute.

3.) I usually make 2 days worth of salad when we have that as a side. Which is almost every night. (With feta and croutons, obviously.)

4.) If there are too many leftovers in the fridge, we eat that. Easier and less wasteful.

5.) Sometimes we order pizza.

6.) There is a once-a-day-pep talk that sounds like this: "you will not be pregnant forever. you will not be pregnant forever. drink water, sit down and rest. then keep going. you will not be pregnant forever."

Got anything that 'works for you' to share? :)

works for me wednesday at we are that family


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

+worlds toughest job

Motherhood is on my mind a lot lately.
15 month old + 32 1/2 weeks pregnant (but who's counting).
85% of my friends are pregnant.
Mother's day coming up.
My mom is coming to visit soon.
And quite frankly, it's my job.

Anyway, I saw this video on facebook & I knew where they were going with it, but it still made me pretty teary. Chances are it's shown up on your news feed already, but if not, take a minute to watch :)

I'm not sure why this video got to me so much. I laughed out loud when he said the demands go up at Christmas & Thanksgiving, and then was crying by the end.

Maybe it's because we're in a new "season" with our first... figuring out toddlerhood. How to train, discipline, teach, love. All the while anticipating jumping back into newborn mode with number 2 - the sleep deprivation, the wondering what they need, the nursing around the clock.
Now, I know this is nothing new. Many of you have done this several times over & are old pros.
And I also know it's not going to last forever.

But right now, this is our day in and day out.
Learning to say 'no thank you' instead of 'nooooo.'
Learning to pick up the toys & be gentle with the paper books.
Learning to color on paper, not walls.
Learning to hold mommy's hand in the parking lot and be careful going down the stairs.
Learning to wait patiently when we want something.
Learning that it's okay to be disappointed when we don't get what we want, but it's part of life & tantrums aren't acceptable. (Let's be honest - we're all working on this one.) :)
Lots of falls and bumps and bruises & tears.
Lots of tickles and hiding games and giggles.
Physical exhaustion.
Learning to rest & slow & prioritize.
Learning to accept help.

Sometimes it's beautiful, rewarding, and full of laughter. And sometimes it's hard and full of tears.

Yes, motherhood is for life.
But also, for everything there is a season.
Right now, my season is young children & they won't be young forever.
I have been given, no, entrusted with, these tiny hearts to mold and shape and teach. Maybe you have too.
So, amidst the diaper changes and tantrums, amidst the peanut butter in the hair [anyone else's kids!?!?] and trying to sweep up rice and peas, let's cherish it. Because while it may be the world's toughest job, it might also be the world's best job.

p.s. this post was encouraging to me & good for a laugh.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grand Opening!!

I recently wrote about tackling 4 major life events in 3 weeks.
A more appropriate title would have been either:
"5 major life events in 3 weeks"
"4 major life events & 1 extra ''side'' project that is really awesome in 3 weeks."

So, it's official. Today's the day. April 12. Grand opening of The Tune My Heart Shop.

A few reasons I'm super excited about the shop:
1.) I love sewing & creating & now I get to share what I make with you. And have an 'excuse' to create mass amounts of fun products.
2.) I love running a business. Spreadsheets, lists, packaging, and all. Seriously.
3.) I love fun momma-kid stuff. Right now, the selection includes burp cloths, bibs, and blankets. But I have a bajillion fun other baby prodcuts & momma-gifts in my mind too. Sew much to create, sew little time :)

So, check it out. What's your favorite? If you had a gift card, what would you buy and who would you buy it for? By leaving a comment either on this blog post or on Facebook, you will be entered to win a $26.00 credit to my shop. You can leave as many comments as you'd like, but there will only be one entry per person.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Works for Me Wednesday: Night Time Clean-Up

One blog I read pretty frequently is We are THAT Family.
Her tagline is "you know the ones..." I gotta say, I can totally relate. That should maybe be another blog post in and of itself. Anyway, I appreciate her insight into life - it's practical stuff for every day... from a Christian perspective. God is real and he cares about the little things. And I like reading blogs that assume that to be true.

ANYWAY, she does something called "works for me wednesday," aka: WFMW.
And people 'link up' on her blog to their blogs with posts about what... works for them. (Shocking!)

Here is the original post with all the rules and guidelines (and the code for inserting the button below into your blog if you want to join).

Here is her most recent WFMW post.

And here's one thing that works for me that I wanted to share with you today.

Night Time Clean Up
There is probably not much explanation needed here, but at the end of the day, no matter how clean my house was at one point, it seems like there are things. Clutter.
Ugh. I hate clutter.
Clutter is inevitable. If you love clutter, or it doesn't bother you, I don't judge you for it. But it's hard for me to relax in clutter.
So, we've developed this habit... half of it was on purpose, and half kinda just happened.

Here's the deal. I used to do a 5-minute clean up. I'd just walk around while Ben put Addie to bed and put stuff where it goes - toys, books, clorox wipes, dirty towels from the kitchen, mail, etc... That is the part that kinda just happened. Ben was putting her to bed and I couldn't relax until I could see the floor, so I picked up stuff for a few minutes.

Well, Addie got old enough to learn how to pick up after herself. Our 800 square feet apartment doesn't include a playroom with a door to close, which is totally fine, then our living room often looks like this.

Since I can't go to bed with the house looking like that [OCD] & we didn't want her to think she just gets to take every toy out of every bin and throw them all over the house and the magic clean up elves pick it up every night, we started having her help. I don't really remember when or why or how it occurred to us that we should teach her to clean up. Maybe around when she was 11 or 12 months? Ben really is the one who taught her. She didn't get it at first, but we just started for the habit. Before bath time, he and Addie would go in her room and pick up the toys and clothes one at a time. It used to make me giggle, just standing outside the door and watching him help her learn to clean up the mess.

"Adelyn, put the blocks in the bucket."
"Good, now put this block in the bucket."
"Put all the blocks in the bucket."

And then on to the clothes.
"Adelyn, put the clothes in the drawer."

At first, there were lots of reminders and she maybe did 10% and we did 90%.
And there were some time-outs for not obeying. [Once she clearly understood what we were telling her - "put that book on the shelf" but looked up, smiled, and read it instead... as if to say "do you mean it?" then it becomes disobedience. More on that another time... maybe.]
But, it didn't take that long for her to 'get it.' Not that she cleans perfectly or always obeys when I say "put this away." But, she has learned what it means to "clean up the _______." And we all clean up for about 5 minutes at night. It's just part of the routine now. Honestly, I'm so glad we stumbled on this idea. I was so surprised that she could learn to pick up the toys so young, but hey, it works for us.

So, are you going to link up and join? What works for you?? If you want to (and I hope you do), click HERE for the original post and to grab a button like the one below & write your own WFMW post.

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Saturday, March 29, 2014

15 months

It dawned on me recently that I have a toddler.
An almost 15-month-old toddler.
I can't believe she was ever a teeny tiny baby.

Anyway, this is what 15 months looks like around here.

Taking ice cubes out of the ice cube and putting them into cups.

and playing with pasta. [this is one of our go-to activities while i make dinner. she likes to be in the kitchen near me, and this usually keeps her entertained for a while. when she loses interest, i pause and have her help me clean it all up... which sometimes perks her interest again. totally worth the 5 minutes of clean up.]

we tried playdough. she didn't really get it. 

she does get fabric though. i keep a small drawer of fabric scraps she is allowed to open and play with whenever. she LOVES to play with fabric. just like her mommy :) 

she really loves reading lately. she used to only love turning the pages, but now, she'll wait and listen to the whole page... well, at least 50% of the time :) we have such a great collection of board books - most have been gifts. and the more she likes reading, the more i'd like to start collecting some more non-board books. i might start a book of the month budget where we get to get one new book per month. 

we went through a brief transition from two naps to one. i accidentally discovered one day that if i woke her after 30 minutes in the morning, she'd nap for 2 hours or more in the afternoon. bam!! it was hard every day. it breaks the oldest rule in the book, never wake a sleeping baby. but, it worked for us. she's down to one longer afternoon one now. hallelujah! 

she loves going 'bye-bye.' when we come home, she mostly walks on her own from the car (street parking) to the door. she gets very excited to be walking outside. and i'm pretty sure the only thing that prevents a tantrum every time we pass by the swings is that she gets to go up the stairs by herself... fun for all 3 flights. haha. this preggo momma can't carry her as much anymore.

the trash is a 'no' unless i ask her to throw something away for me. while this is somewhat confusing & took a while to learn, she seems to understand the difference now.

sometimes we have friends over to play.

one of her other favorite thing to do lately is put these cylinder blocks (from a different toy) into an old wipes box. seriously, mommas, if you do not have a wipes box to play with, save the next one. she will do this over and over and over. and sometimes i'll pull out something else small (dried pasta, tiny pieces of playdough, alphabet blocks, etc...) and she'll drop those in. 

first she opens it by pressing the button. (when she figured that out, it was open and close open and close for many many many minutes... many times a day.)

then she picks up a cylinder block and pushes it in. then she closes the top and repeats until all 4 or 5 cylinder blocks are in. she then brings the container to me and signs 'please' for me to open it and get all the blocks out. and she does it over again. once she did this for 30 minutes. seriously. 

she realized how fun stickers are. we got a mailer with a small sheet of smiley stickers in it. she peeled each one off and (clearly) stuck it on her jammies. when the sheet was gone, there were tears. disappointment and good things sometimes coming to an end - life lessons learned young. 

occasionally, i'm nostalgic for moments like these. it seems like a distant, fuzzy memory, even though it was only 15 months ago. 

but, my little 15 month old toddler is fun. busy, and sometimes often tiring, but fun. 
i love my sweet Adelyn Joy & i love my [growing] family. 

p.s. here's a flashback to 6 months, 8 months and 10 months

Friday, March 28, 2014

I used to be a public school teacher

Today, it occurred to me that I used to be a public school teacher. I know it seems like a hard thing to forget, and it's not like it was that long ago. But in some ways, I feel like it was a whole different life.

Anyway, as I glanced over my to-do list with this mug in hand, I couldn't help but flashback to some teaching memories that came to mind. I didn't really blog the year I taught elementary school music, at 2 different schools, pregnant the first half of the school year, then on maternity leave, then back to work with a newborn at home. [Gee, I wonder why?]

But, I did write intermittently that year I taught high school. Looking back on some posts I wrote, and thinking back to that 'different life,' I felt nostalgic. Some things I learned then have stuck with me... so whether you're a teacher, or a parent, or have no regular interaction with kids whatsoever, here's 5 things I learned from my first year teaching high school music in a public school: 

1. Teenagers are teenagers. There are a lot of factors that influence a high school student. However, the "teen" part - hormones, facebook, life threatening attachment to cell phone, thinking high school drama is equivalent in importance to war, mood swings - all that stuff is the same across the board. Regardless of where you came from or who your mom is, teenagers are teenagers. 

2. Although teenagers are teenagers, where you come from does make a difference. What happens at your house, who supports you, how many jobs you work, how much money you have, it all makes a difference in your education. Some kids have to overcome a lot more obstacles than others to get that 23 on the ACT. 

3. Don't box kids in - try new things. You might be surprised by what they enjoy. I took 20 students to the opera my first year teaching. They talked about it the rest of the year and begged to go back. When I announced I would not be returning the following year, a few students asked if the new teacher would be taking them to the opera too. 

4. Greet students (and all people) by name. It makes them feel important. It communicates that you care. And if you're a teacher, your smiling face greeting them at the door every day of the week as they walk into your classroom (however slow moving, eye rolling and gloomy they may appear) might be the only consistent thing for them that day. 

5. Pray for your students. I can name 3 instances from that first year where a child's behavior and learning in my classroom took a 180 degree turn for the better after I prayed for them by name. 

And a bonus personal lesson - I learned I wasn't crazy (at least from the kids' perspective.)  

Sometimes it's good to look back. And it's always good to look forward. 
Happy Friday :)