Personal

Finding God in the Busy Seasons of Mothering

sunset in the basin

I was nervous to post this, but it’s been on my heart so much lately what with some conversations with friends I’ve been having and eerily timely podcast episodes and devotional verses that I feel compelled to do so. I’ve always been pretty private about being a Christian; I didn’t grow up in a very religious household, and honestly didn’t really start thinking about religion in any meaningful way until college, so it’s not something that most people I grew up with associate with me, but you know what? It’s good stuff, and it’s part of my daily life that make me a better person. Hiding it is ridiculous.

I have always been a believer, but until I met my husband I didn’t really become a Believer, and that’s only intensified since we’ve been married. I just can’t see how we could have met each other without someone planning it–we certainly couldn’t have planned it, but it was so obviously intentional that I couldn’t ignore it. Things fell so perfectly into place and I’m glad we both picked up what Jesus was laying down.

Fast forward seven years, and here we are with two boys. We’ve had some wonderful times, and some hard ones, but it’s so plain to see that our lives have been guided by someone with a program. We’ve learned so much together, and everything is a step forward, even if it’s hard, because it’s teaching us lessons we need to learn to be better people and the best parents we possibly can.

We’re in a funky season right now. In addition to some more private things that are constantly on our minds, we have a new baby, the toddler has become a capital T Two Year Old, and we’re in a busy season on the ranch with breeding and branding and springtime, so we’re both doing a little more with a little (sometimes a lot) less. It’s not a bad season by any stretch, but it is one where we’re both feeling the effects of More with Less sprinkled with some uncertainty. In my younger years, this would have really stressed me out. I would have gone into full-on Control Freak mode (just ask my roomie/best friend in college. It’s not pretty), and tried to force change where I could to make the situation more within my command. Now, I’m learning to see the lesson and the grace where the stress used to be, and lean on God to help manage the worry and uncertainty. This has been especially true since becoming a mother–it would be easy to let worry swallow me whole, because there are now tiny humans completely dependent upon me and their daddy to take care of them. Instead of that, I’ve been talking to God. He’s helping me learn to give the worry to Him.

In busy seasons, though, particularly those with young children, it can be hard to find structured, devoted time to lean in, or even make it to church. This is doubly true when you live in a rural area and churches or bible studies may require driving time that is hard when you’re in the season of naptimes, messy babies, and active toddlers. I was listening to the most recent episode of the Coffee + Crumbs podcast on our walk this morning, and it really got me thinking about ways to lean in when everything seems so busy. It helps me so much to do so, because it makes it easier for me to find the blessing in whatever it is that we’re dealing with, and it makes the stress seem so much more manageable. I also don’t want the boys to have a constantly worried mama, and since worry is my default, I have to actively try and give it away.

For me, it’s all about fitting things in with whatever we’re doing. We spend a lot of time in the car or stroller, so having music to listen to when I need an uplift is helpful. I’m not a fan of most modern worship music, but I love gospel and hymns. I have a playlist on my phone that has Randy Travis’ gospel music, some bluegrass renditions of traditional songs like “I’ll Fly Away” (Willie Nelson has a killer live version), some recordings of gospel choirs, and some Hank Williams and Josh Turner, among other things. I also listen to sermons via podcast pretty often (Antioch Waco is my favorite, I really enjoy Carl Gulley’s sermons and his It’s Complicated series), and I love that I can find them based on topics because sometimes I really need a lesson on something specific. I also pray a lot. We pray in the car, I try and pray before bed, and if I get up in the night with Buster, I try and pray a little then, too.

If I get a quiet few minutes–most often while pumping in the evening, moms can’t do just one thing at a time, you know–I devotional it up. I have a few that I rotate depending on which style I’m feeling at the time, and lately I’ve really been into my Lara Casey Write the Word journal. I bought it over a year ago, and at the time the verses that were in there just didn’t speak to me or seem super relevant to that season, so I put it down and didn’t really think about it until this spring, when I randomly picked it up again. And you know what? The verses now are speaking to exactly what I’m struggling with, exactly what we’re going through, and are perfect for this season. It’s not a coincidence, y’all.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been spending time in the book of Matthew, which is teaching me how not to punch people in the face when they are awful. So far, it’s worked. Pray for me, though, because some days it’s real hard.

In a recent blog post, Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman fame made mention that many people in agriculture are people of faith, because their whole livelihood is at the mercy of things that are completely out of control. This is so true, and really resonated with me both on a rancher level and a mama level. I feel lucky to have finally found my faith because I don’t know what I would do without it.

Probably punch someone in the face, and you know that’s not good.

 

 

Celebrate · Family · Personal

Mother’s Day

buster snugglephoto credit: Elizabeth Jane Photography

Today, of course, is Mother’s Day. So far, my third Mother’s Day as a mama has been glorious. My morning looked like throwing on some comfortable athleisure-wear (that’s a thing, right?) (You’ve all tried Old Navy’s workout gear, right?) and going to have some coffee alone. I also picked up (chocolate cake with sprinkles) donuts for the boys, ravioli for dinner tonight (#notcookinganythingcomplicated), and literally seven boxes of blackberries because they were on sale and Wacey is obsessed and since one of my duties as a mother is to prevent my offspring from contracting scurvy, I can get reeeeaaaallll hip to that fruit-obsession-on-sale jive.

breakfast

I sat, enjoyed my Vente Espresso Frappucino Light and Butter Croissant and with Two Napkins while beginning Wacey’s Prompted Journal (hey mamas–go get you some of these journals for your babies) and subsequently getting teary while writing the birth story and early days of the boy who made me a mama.

I then checked a big to-do off my list (the best feeling) by vacuuming the car (no kids+time to kill+enough crackers in the backseat to feed a small, pro-gluten country=two rounds with the industrial vacuum at the car wash and a burden off my soul and the axles of the car) and getting the top layer of dirt off the car so now we aren’t slovenly country-dwellers, we’re just sort of dirty people who live on a dirt road.

shirts

Then, Bert called and asked if I’d be okay running to the farm store to order some chainsaw things, and I said of course because I was alone and like putzing around sans bebes. While I was there, I of course had to check out the kids’ clearance section and I hit the jackpot with clothes for the boys. Five button-downs (two matching sets) and two onesies for Buster for $50 WHAT. Sorry boys, but you’re going to have to dress alike.

selfie

Lunch, a long walk, an easy but delicious dinner, and an ice-cream-and-movie-night with Bert (strawberry and Passengers and now I want my own Arthur and clean-up bots) and I feel like a new woman. It’s the simple things, folks.

Mother’s Day is kind of a weird holiday. You grow up celebrating it, but then once you have children you become celebrated yourself and it’s lovely and also a little strange, or maybe surreal is a better word. My family never subscribed to the Mother’s Day Brunch tradition (which I’m convinced is only nice if everyone is going to be well-behaved so we won’t be testing that one out any time soon), opting instead to go to the nursery together so my mom could pick out new flowers, so we’re trying to build our own Mother’s Day traditions. So far, I like this year’s the best: a quiet, leisurely solo jaunt to Starbucks filled with lots of reflection and motherhood goal-making, followed by a non-hustling walk and plenty of post-nap horsing around with the babies and a delicious, easy dinner, and very little in the chores and cleaning departments.

Today has been such a gift. Every mom is different, but for me, the gift of leisurely time to myself to recharge my batteries is wonderful. It makes me a better mama and a better human!

Motherhood is hard, guys. Hats off to all of the mothers out there (or maybe hats on if they’re going to have to pick up the aforementioned hats off the floor). Being a mother has definitely increased my appreciation for my own mother, and for the mothers in my village. We literally wouldn’t be here without our mothers, or their mothers, or their mothers (how’s that for existential?) so, you go moms.

On this First Mother’s Day Being a Mother of More Than One Child, I am so grateful. I love being a mom–I’m shocked at how much I love it, actually. I never thought I would have two boy, and I never thought I would have two kids two and under and still want another one. These boys keep me on my toes, keep me honest, and keep me moving forward and trying to be the best I can be. We have our tough moments (I’m looking at you, yesterday’s two hour nonstop whine/cry jag), but most of our moments are glorious and hilarious and probably kind of gross.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms–the moms to babies on earth and in heaven, and those who are hoping to be mamas someday.

Also: preview of tomorrow’s post. Do you see what I see?

preview

On The Ranch · Personal

It’s Spring and it’s Springing

barn

Usually on Sunday afternoons when Bert is home, I can sneak out during the boys’ nap to go on a walk by myself. I love walking with the boys, but it’s nice to go alone without a stroller, snacks, and having to stop every so often to distribute or collect said snacks or adjust a sock or have an existential conversation about the crick or airplanes or the cows.

This past Sunday we were all pleasantly surprised that the blizzard that looked like it would continue into the afternoon quit in the morning, and the snow started melting in a fast fast hurry, hallelujah! So I threw on my muck boots, gathered up Gaucho, and put on a podcast (the Pica episode of Sawbones) and went a-walkin’.

selfie

Gaucho

road

We strolled past the neighbor’s little crew of Mini Herefords and said hello. They crack me up, they’re so funny and small!

mini herefords

While jaunting around in muck boots isn’t the most ideal of situations, the muck boots are necessary for the several reasons, the most important of which is that they enable me to actually jaunt (rather jauntily, if you want to know), the next important of which is that the slush and mud is six inches deep in some spots and soggy running shoes are a real buzzkill, particularly when learning about the widespread occurrence of pica throughout the centuries proving that it’s a medical thing, not a cultural thing.

In other news, don’t eat too much clay. You could die. A little is okay though, as long as it isn’t toxic.

slush

We continued on to say hi to the girls, who obligingly stood still before running away in pretend fear of the fearsome canine that is my right-hand man, whose full name is in fact Gauchito Burrito Lorenzo Sergio Eduardo Juanston.

And if you pick up on the Gauchito-Burrito Three Caballeros reference, then we are already best friends

girls

cows panorama

cuchara

April showers might bring May flowers, but you know what else they bring? Mud, and spontaneous crick action, and flooded everything. However, we’re not complaining in the slightest!

creek

Happy Tuesday! I hope wherever you are that spring is springing, and maybe it’s a little warmer than here, and also maybe it’s sunny and maybe you’re going to Starbucks or having a smoothie or playing with glitter or confetti or horses or something.

Buster · Family · Personal · Wacey

Takeaways from Life with Two

brothersWe have two boys! Two. Bert and I look at each other in disbelief sometimes that we have kids, as in plural, as in more than one child. I can officially say I’m Married with Children, although thankfully Bert’s not Al Bundy (sorry, Al), and it’s weird and great all at the same time.

We’re about five weeks in, and because I know you all are waiting to hear how it’s been going (no? Oh) I’m going to share with you some nuggets of wisdom that I have learned:

If your room and your toddler’s room share a wall, get two sound machines. That way you will avoid the fun merry-go-round that was our Friday night involving one kid waking up, settling back down, and then the other kid waking up and then waking the other up , and then both waking up again because they’re so restless and making too much noise, and then you waking up (read: not waking up because you we already awake) and deciding that hell, Starbucks is only 17 minutes away so everyone get in the car but wait one second while I Amazon Prime this new sound machine.

Diapers. I don’t mind changing diapers, but it gets comical when you have a contest about who changed the most poopy ones in one day, or when you have both boys laying down to get diaper changes at the same time and the smell is overpowering and hilarious.

Wacey looks enormous.

Buster looks squishy and floppy.

Being exhausted and having a screaming toddler is a new kind of hell, but one that I’ve thankfully not visited much since apparently we can function much better on much less sleep than we used to. I guess that’s good?

“Gentle touch please” only goes so far, and then your toddler on purpose steps on his brother’s face.

Buy the big diaper bag.

Get prepared for your always-adorable, usually-the-center-of-attention toddler to really up his game at the grocery store since everyone immediately wants to coo over the baby. Be prepared to have conflicting feelings about this. Is it adorable, or mostly adorable with a side of slightly weird? Also be ready for that toddler to turn into a demon sometimes. Can you blame him though?

That same toddler will be amazingly tender and sweet to his brother, giving him kisses and begging to hold him, staring at his face and holding his little hands, and then do a complete 180 wherein you’d better move fast, lady, or your kid’s about to put an Crayola-colored, frustration-induced Uruk-hai handprint on his little brother’s face. Or step on it, as mentioned above. That’s only happened once, as I now know the warning signs.

Going out with only one kid is like a vacation. Going out with just the baby means you might forget he’s there. Not literally, though. Just figuratively? Going out with two kids requires planning and snacks, and not being in a hurry, but I highly recommend it.

Fed is best, fed is best, fed is best. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and if you’re the person doing the telling, stop it before I slap you upside the head.

When you go visit a friend and you’re early, driving around with sleeping baby in the backseat listening to podcasts (S-Town did NOT disappoint, someone please tell me they’ve finished it because I want to know their opinion re: mercury poisoning) is glorious. Add a smoothie onto that and man oh man, you’re living large.

Wearing the same sweatpants every day for a week is somehow more acceptable when you have two kids. I’m okay with this, because I have been. Week=three months, ps.

You’ll get a lot of questions about who looks more like who, and if you think the babies look alike. I think all newborns look like potatoes, but Buster looks like a potato that could be Wacey’s brother, so the answer to all those questions is yes.

Pumping becomes a whole new adventure once you get a car adapter, and your toddler yells “PUMP!” every two seconds while it’s on. I have to make sure I’m off the ranch before I get ‘er started, though, because I would rather be the Weird Anonymous Lady Pumping While Driving than Weird Anonymous Lady Pumping—Wait, That’s Cassidy, What’s Going on There?, while praying the blanket staying intact over the general frontal region of myself. I have no problem talking about pumping/nursing/breastfeeding/etc., and no shame, but you have to admit that a Human Milking Machine is a little weird, much less a mobile one.

It’s easier the second time around. I know it might not be the same way for everyone, but for me, it’s been vastly, extremely, outlandishly, scarily easier this time around. So much so that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. My recovery was much faster, and I somehow avoided becoming a completely psychotic hormonal mess. I don’t mean to say it’s been easy, though. Just easier. I know a little  more what to expect, what to do, what’s normal. Buster only woke up once last night, though, and gosh that was a fluke but it was a glorious fluke that made me long for real sleep soon.

On that note, if you have a fitbit, don’t look at the sleep tracking part.

While we’re on sleep: you forget HOW LOUD NEWBORNS ARE AT NIGHT. THEY TURN INTO GREMLINS. Between the snarfing, heavy breathing, gagging, snorting, wiggling and the geriatric goat noise that is apparently the trademark of my Johnston Boys, it’s amazing those little babes get any sleep at all.

Your heart will get very, very full. Even when you’re exhausted and begging the baby to sleep, your heart will be so full. You may not know it, at that moment, but it is.

When both kids are crying, you and your husband will look at each other and try not to laugh at the zoo that is now your life.

You need Jesus. Lean in.

Your house that you kept reasonably clean with one baby will now resemble a barnyard that had a visit with a tornado that just went though a toy store. Go with it. Your kid’s eating off that dirty floor? You see that, I see immunities. 

Good books are clutch for late-night feeding/pumping/nursing/holding baby sessions, points for being able to immediately download them on devices with dimmable screens. I’ve legit read 20+ books this month, let me know if you need recommendations. I got you.

Buying an outfit that makes you feel like a million dollars in your in-between body stage is worth it. Do it. Especially if you have a social engagement or any event that you’re nervous to attend! Here’s mine.

It’s harder with two to slow down and enjoy your babies, especially on their own. But try, it’s so worth it. Also, get those two babies in your bed in the morning, because there’s nothing sweeter than brother snuggles. Until the hangry sets in and it’s breakfast all around, but for five minutes it’s so great.

We keep finding ourselves looking at Wacey’s pictures when he’s Buster’s age and just a little older, feeling nostalgic and excited for what’s next all at once.

Mostly, life with two means get ready for all the feels.

 

Family · Home · On The Ranch · Personal

We’re Back!

We’re back! Baby Buster was born almost three weeks ago, and it’s time for this mama to get back into the blogging game.

mirror selfie

I’m planning on sharing a little more about Buster’s birth soon, but long story short: he was born on the morning of Wednesday, March 15, less than four hours after we arrived at the hospital! He was a whopping 8 lbs, 7.5 oz (Wacey was 7 lbs, 1 oz so Buster was just a liiiiittle bigger) and 20 inches long. He’s already surpassed nine pounds, which is crazy, and he’s a pretty mellow little squish.

hospital

sleeping

neck rolls

mohawk

blanket

Our last few weeks have been full of movies, snacks, books, snuggling, Amazon Prime, odd sleeping patterns, and we’re pretty smitten with both of these little boys! So far, Wace is all about being a big brother, and although it hasn’t been 100% smooth sailing (is it ever with a toddler?!), I think he likes Buster quite a lot. I’m excited for when B is a little less fragile because Wace really wants to hold him and carry him and play with him.

Wace holding Buster

We’ve done a couple of trips to the store (okay, one real trip, the other one was an excuse for Starbucks), and of course to the pediatrician for checkups, and while it’s a little harder to get us all out of the house–newborns need so much stuff, I think Buster’s just going to roll right on in with our crazy selves. I think he’ll fit in, though–he isn’t fazed by much so far, and loves being worn in the wrap which is to his benefit because he’ll be there all spring! Wacey’s been appreciating the extra time with Bert, too. They just left in their matching hats and jean jackets to go put up some fence, and you’d think it was Christmas Wacey is so glad.

park day

mama wace wrap

little cowboy

As lovely as playing a pseudo hermit has been, it’s time to get back to real life. I feel really good–the recovery has been vastly different this time, for which I am so, so grateful. I’m chalking it up to a much faster labor and less than a half an hour of pushing vs. over three hours, and staying in better all-around shape this time, and also God. We got lucky with the timing of Buster’s arrival and we’ve been able to take it pretty easy, and have Bert home more than usual. But, it’s springtime on the ranch, and that business waits for no one!

So, what’s coming up? Bert is done calving his heifers (yay!) but we have about 400 calves left to be born elsewhere on the ranch, so I’ll be busy getting calves entered into the database for a long while. I have 125 waiting on calving sheets to be entered this week already! We’ve set up our first group of cattle to breed (post coming!) and will breed them this coming Sunday, I’m counting that as my official return to work (even though I’ll put in a lot of hours this week at home!) and the end of being a hermit, haha. We have eight groups of cattle to breed, plus over a thousand calves to brand. All of this needs to get done before the middle of June, so our calendars are full. We were supposed to have branded calves already, but we’ve been getting snow and rain for over a week, praise the Lord! While it sucks to feel behind already, we really, really needed the moisture so we’re singing lots of hallelujahs over here regardless.

I won’t lie, though, I’m ready for sunshine–it’s hard for Wace to be cooped up all day, and it’s hard for me because he’s a toddler who’s been cooped up all day. Plus I can’t wait to take the Bob Duallie for a spin.

The next few months will be a mixture of baby things, family things, and ranch things, with some real Mom life thrown in. I decided that this space is going to be as honest as possible about everything we deal with because I don’t want to add to the fake noise on the internet, and well, it’s just life.

Real life side note: I’ve been reading tons of books since I’m pumping so much (I’m pumping + supplementing with Buster, more on that in the future), and have stumbled across some great reads. The Hidden Figures book was so interesting, I learned so many new things, and now I’m fully prepared to see the movie (anyone else refuse to see the movie before they read the book?). I would recommend Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance to anyone and everyone; it’s well-written, and so appropriate for our current political climate. It provides insight and nuance into some pretty big, important issues.

For lighter reading, the Sunday Philosophy Club and its sequel, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (he wrote the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, if you haven’t go read allll those) are both really good, I can’t wait for the third installment to come available at my library! I finally read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and devoured it–I’ve got the sequel on hold and I’m so excited for my turn. I checked out the movie last week, so I need to watch that, too, now that the book is read, duh.

Next up while I wait for my holds to come available: The Nightengale, and maybe the Martian? I can’t decide. I also have another Emily Giffin waiting in my Kindle–she’s one of my favorites (like Liane Moriarty) for lighter, fun reads. On hold: the audio version of Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is FatAfter You, and Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild. I’ll report back!

Happy Monday, sorry about the word vomit, I’ll try to be more eloquent in the future but I have a newborn. Don’t get your hopes up.

 

 

Family · Personal · pregnancy

Pregnancy Loves and a Bumpdate

Hey and happy Friday! We’re on day three of some pretty cold weather, but that’s okay because we don’t have any calves born yet and also I don’t have to go outside much–perk of being very pregnant and having tons of office stuff to do, I suppose!

I’m firmly in the Third Trimester (aka the S**t’s About to Get Real Trimester) and I’m happy and nervous and excited and scared all at once. I’m really starting to feel pregnant and pretty darn uncomfortable which is no fun, but I know it’s temporary. That being said, I’m in survival mode over here, and thought I’d share a few things that are getting me through.

second-tri-faves-collage

Zantac: Oh hey, heartburn. Didn’t see you there. So glad you’re here. Really. This boy must be as hairy as his brother!
PiYo: Oh hey, hips hurting all the time. Didn’t see you there. So glad you’re here. Really. My go-to workout is long walks with Wacey in the jogger, but lately the hills have proved a little much for my preggo self. So, for now, it’s walks on a flat treadmill with these workouts a few times a week. They’re easily modified for basketball bellies, and I always feel like I worked hard without having to jump around. I got my full set on eBay for less than $30 brand new, PS.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter: I love this for an itchy belly. Bert put it in my stocking and I am ever so grateful he did–it lasts much longer than lotion but isn’t as expensive is lots of other butters and balms. I find that lots of things labeled as being for “baby” or “mama” are more expensive because they’re labeled that way, but you can get the exact same thing for a lot less if you’re okay with forgoing all that cute packaging.
Bobbi Brown Concealer: It’s hard for me to feel pretty when I’m pregnant, and I so appreciate makeup that helps. I wear this every day, pregnant or not, but I appreciate it even more right now!
Joggers: These pants. These pants! I love them. So. Much. They’re even more comfortable than leggings, and I’m thinking about ordering more. So soft, so comfortable under the belly, and I haven’t taken them off in three days except to wash them.
Dry Volume Blast: Big bump, big hair. My aunt and uncle gifted me with hair and makeup supplies for Christmas, and I love it. Big hair makes me feel less like a bowling pin when I’m pregnant, and for that, you need this!
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: This goes along with the Zantac, because the only thing that calms my heartburn before the Zantac kicks in is milk and ice cream. I like to have some good ole Vanilla Bean with strawberries in the evening after dinner and it’s lovely.
BumpStart long-sleeve tees: I love these. My mom got me a black one and a white one, and I wear them constantly–like right now! They’re thick enough that you don’t need a cami underneath, and fit really, really well. Bonus, they’re super affordable so you can buy several.
Sports Bra: Another mom gift, and I LOVE this one. Again, will likely buy more. It’s so much more comfortable than a regular bra (TMI? Probably not, since it’s pretty simple physics that an underwire has no where to go but digging into your ribs, and that’s uncomfortable).
Flannel Sheets: Ohhhhh, these sheets. We were gifted this exact set (by my mom, who obviously knows precisely what I need) and they are so wonderful. It makes crawling into bed an absolute dream. They are thick, wash really well, and just keep getting softer.
Essie Chinchilly: Bert slipped this into my stocking this year as I was having a hard time finding it at our local Walmarts (but of course he walks in and finds it immediately) and I love it. Essie wears so well, and adds just a little more pretty to my large self. This dries more grey than taupe, just FYI.
Starbucks cup: I know I’ve talked about this cup specifically and my Starbucks cup addiction in general, but it really does help me to remember to drink my water to have a pretty straw cup to drink out of!

Bumpdate:

bump-selfie-with-waceBoth my boys! We like bedhead, no-makeup, jammies-and-sweats selfies around here.

Bub is growing, growing! We have one more ultrasound in about a month and I’m excited to see him again–my last OB didn’t offer another ultrasound after the anatomy scan, so this is a change for us.

How far along: almost 30 weeks
Gender: Boy
Weight gain: 15+ pounds (I’m not actually sure–this is pretty terrible, but I don’t remember what my starting weight was!)
Maternity clothes: I have been wearing a lot more regular clothes this pregnancy than with Wacey, it’s kind of weird, but I think it’s because Bub is sitting transverse and super low so nothing is comfortable. Out of necessity I’m wearing more and more maternity tees, but I’ve been living in joggers and leggings. If I do have to wear jeans, I have a couple pairs from when I was pregnant with Wacey that are good for a couple of hours, or a pair or regular jeans a little bigger than my normal size hairtied waaaaay below the belly haha.
Sleep: It’s on and off–putting a pillow between my knees and changing the sleep number on my side of the bed has helped a lot. Mostly, I have to make sure that I don’t drink too much before bed because if Bub kicks me in a full bladder at 2am it hurts and I have a hard time getting back to sleep.
Best moment this month: We’ll go with month as “the last four weeks” since it’s the first week of January. Christmas, obviously, was amazing, and getting out for our first movie date in years was so wonderful. I also mucked out some major stress-inducing areas of our house and things are starting to feel so fresh and so clean clean. Or as fresh and clean as they can get when you live on a ranch, haha.
Worst moment this month: The recurrence of the dreaded pregnancy hip pain. It’s a bear, and I’m figuring out ways to manage it, but man oh man, 9-10 more weeks of this business is going to be no fun. Ah, well. And, I had my glucose test last week, and my results were just a little on the high side, so I have to go back for the three-hour test next week, ick.
Miss anything: Being able to bend over or do anything without being out of breath. But mostly, my normal jeans. This was about the point with Wacey when I really missed regular jeans and just being able to throw on clothes without the production of having to rest in between haha.
Movement: OH YES. Right in the bladder. I think he might be migrating upwards, though!!!! Just keep swimming, Little Brother!
Cravings:  Fresh food like fruit and salad, and oddly? Chicken and waffles. And a burger from this great place in Boulder that has a pretzel bun and the best cheese buuuuuuuut it’s a little excessive to drive almost 200 miles round-trip for a burger.
Queasy or sick: Feeling good, minus being so full after 5pm I can hardly eat and some wicked heartburn starting at about ten in the morning every day. But, nope, none of that junk from the first trimester! You take whatever you can get at this point.
Looking forward to: Short term, this month has so many exciting things–a concert and the Stock Show this weekend, a visit from one of my favorite people (my aunt) later this month, and elf-ing for Wacey’s birthday in a month. Longer term, meeting little brother! I’ve been pretty nervous about being a mom of two, I kind of just want to get started with it already. Also my old jeans. I miss them so!
Hope your Friday is spectacular and your weekend is sunny, both literally and figuratively!
Celebrate · Home · Personal

New Year’s Non-Resolutions

2017-planning

Spoiler Alert: I’m not making any.

I do love to see how other people structure their goal setting/wish wishing for the year, and so I’m sharing what’s in my goal/hope/wish headspace heading into this new year. Plus, maybe it will keep me accountable!

I have hopes, and some goals, but I am not making any out-and-out resolutions because I’m setting low expectations. Not “low expectations” like “I don’t expect much from this year,” but “low expectations” like “I’m having another baby, giving me two very young children, and I have no idea what to expect.” This doesn’t mean that I’m going to let 2017 laze by, but that if I need to rest and just be a little more than usual, that’s okay. I’m also trying to be okay with uncertainty, because there is so much that I just can’t know about this year. We’re having a baby and other changes and events are going on that are completely out of my control, and I need to be okay with that.

I am choosing a word for the year, though, and it’s grace.  Grace to trust in the Lord that everything will be okay, grace to rest, grace to give to others and to myself, grace to ask for help when I need it, and grace to extend in situations where, in the past, my reaction might have been less than graceful. Ahem.

Hopes and Goals and Some Things That Must Happen Come Hell or High Water:

1. I would like to de-clutter and organize our entire house, because I know come, oh the middle of March, I will appreciate simplicity and having everything in its place. So far, I’ve tackled the master bath, the downstairs, and most of the kitchen, and it feels so good. Bert and I also organized the root cellar where we store decorations and things we don’t often use, and that was great since we can actually see what’s down there now!

2. Within my word for the year, I would like to keep exercising and eating healthfully. I know I won’t have a six-pack by June (or ever, probably), and that’s okay. That’s starting with being healthier and moving as much as I can throughout my third trimester, which is no mean feat, but I did a fitness challenge last month that helped me understand how much better my body functions when I’m fueling it properly, and not with, you know, cookies and Christmas candy. This means lots of fruit and veggies, and plenty of water and protein. I also have realized that I have to work out in the morning, or it won’t happen!

3. I would really, really like to keep up with and grow this blog. This means sticking to a pretty regular posting schedule, and planning posts in advance so I’m not scrambling to come up with content.

4. I would also really like to learn more about my camera in general and exposure, specifically. I have an aunt who is a photographer who has agreed to help me with this, bless her, because it all feels so beyond me!

5. I would like to be more efficient with spending and my saving, as I am the primary banker in our family. Put this solidly in the “Things That Must Happen” category. Baby-birthing years are always expensive years, and we are probably going to be working with a tighter budget this year, but I would like to try to keep saving at the level we have been. This goal includes continuing our “Christmas Present/Birthday Fund” at a slightly higher rate, and paying off our pickup. Finances are one of my greatest sources of stress, so if I can alleviate any of that, I will. For me, this means no impulse spending, and spending a little less on groceries, which means less rushed trips to the store and more solo runs with a list and coupons. Also known as sticking to the gosh darn budget. Also known as not my gosh darn forte.

6. Along with #4, I want more pictures of my boys, and more with me in them. If this means setting up my camera on the tripod, so be it. I’m also planning on hiring a photographer (please Thea tell me you can come out this spring!!) to do our first pictures as a family of four. I really am sad I didn’t hire her to come out this fall to do pictures!

7.  This is the most important: I would like to spend more time with the Lord. I think I’ve set myself up for success in this area by gifting myself the Anchored Press Devotional Planner–planner and the word all in one. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day, it helps so much. I like the idea of looking at my plans and calendar for the week with scripture built right in. It helps to keep me grounded instead of overwhelmed!

8. Ask for help, and trust people to help us with our kids. One date night a month is my goal to start–it would be so fun to be able to do this weekly, but it’s not feasible in this season. We’ve gotten into a routine on the weekends where we rent a movie or a put one on hold at the library, and we stay up and watch it and have dessert together. It’s an at-home date night that’s really great.

9. Be more intentional with my time–there’s no way I’m going to be the mama and wife and girl boss that I want to be if I waste time watching TV and mindlessly scrolling through social media on my phone. We’re getting rid of satellite TV this year, so that will help, but gosh I waste so many hours doing absolutely nothing for absolutely no reason! This also means that I’m going to try hard to minimize working on the weekends. Some times of the year this is almost impossible, but I want to be present with my boys when we’re together instead of being distracted by work or my phone. It’s not good for any of us!

10. Self care. When I feel good about myself, and am getting the rest and alone time I need, man oh man I am an exponentially better wife and mother. For me, this looks like finally admitting I need to invest in quality beauty skin, and hair care products, and getting ready (to varying degrees) each day, as well as making sure I’m getting exercise and spending a little time alone each day. And, sticking to my Mama’s Day Out for my birthday (and maybe Mother’s Day?). I look forward to that day all year!

Things that would be nice but aren’t “goal” status include finding a dresser to replace the upstairs TV stand–refinishing is a bonus; finding the perfect blazer and making tooled leather accents for it; finding a new long down coat to replace my falling-apart one; fixing my too-short curtains upstairs, and changing out the knobs on the boys’ dressers.

After finishing this list, it’s clear that I want to make lifestyle changes this year more than accomplish tasks–simplify, take care of myself and my people, keep a handle on our finances, and spend good quality time with my tribe. And, of course, share our life with y’all!

Happy 2017! May your planners be merry and your calendars be bright, and your coffee be strong! PS–if someone wants to bring me Starbucks, that would be great. Love, I’m Having Withdrawals Because We’ve Been In Town So Much Lately.