I keep trying. Really. It’s like I’m new to blogging or something. Every time I get on here to try to write, something goes wrong. Every.Single.Time. So today I shall write with no pictures.
This spring, this time of new beginnings, sees several changes at our house. Mostly within me. We had planned to move soon to a house and yard that is bigger (this was always meant to be temporary) but we learned this is not the time. So, though we’ve been working diligently to pay off debt and get control of our money, we realized that paying cash for everything has hurt our credit in the long run. So we’ll save money, take out loans, pay consistently and build our credit so that we can have more to show than just no debt. Then once we have a house we’ll go back to paying down things to a zero balance. It’s all good, we were praying for His timing and His will in a possible move and this just isn’t it yet. But we have a plan and that’s good.
I also had a mini breakdown in a dressing room recently because I’m not the size I want to be. And it has very little to do with having just had a baby. It has more to do with my lack of self-control. I was sitting in a dressing room in the first place because I had decided at the beginning of the year that I would make clothing a priority in our lives. Because until now they have only been a covering for us. And there is good in that, but I want to just make it a priority now. After my meltdown over how I look in clothes I got a very unfortunate stomach virus. (are there really fortunate ones?) In those 2 awful days I lost a surprising 6-9 pounds. What?! So on the tail of that I figured what better time than to kickstart my controlled eating. I’m about a week and a half out from that and I’ve lost about 11 pounds. I want to lose about another 10 pounds to get to where I was when I lost all that weight before. I’m using the same method I used before. Once again, it’s possible it’s just a matter of making up mind, taking the first steps, and relying on God in the weak times.
Speaking of big changes, I’ve been thinking about school and training and a career. Hold onto your hats, it’s not like I’m forsaking staying home, I just have to figure out how to balance both. Staying home, homeschooling, and my marriage will remain my priorities, but I’ve dreamt for a while of being a lactation consultant. I want to help mamas succeed at something so dear to me. I want to be for others what my lactation consultant was for me once upon a time. And since I already have friends who ask frequently for advice and help and I seem to always be scrambling to have the proper answers I realized I want to know the answers. I want to be properly trained. I want to go back to school. So, I asked around, I’ll be taking the first steps soon. I will attend my first La Leche League meeting within the week. I’m scared. I’m excited. I have no idea how it will turn out. But I’ll take it slowly and see it how it goes.
And finally, in all of these changes I’ve begun a really big challenge. I’m fighting back the yelling. I’ve taken a 365 day challenge to not yell. This is big. So big that it deserves its very own post. Stay tuned.
From left to right, top to bottom:
1. We decorated the tree on the traditional day after Thanksgiving. Much less stress this year. It just seemed to flow. I gave up perfection and got peace.
2. We went to the Little Rock Big Jingle Christmas parade. We caught “parade air” in our empty cotton candy bags on the windy day.
3. Our tree, our stockings hung, and the “Joy” painted on our wall. I was sitting in my favorite rocking chair on the front porch while the kids played in the mild weather at night.
4. We make ornaments each year for friends and family. This year we used Matt’s mamaw’s old tearing up quilt. The kids helped stitch and pick the buttons for each tree. Pinterest idea.
5. Since my parents are in the midst of a divorce and my dad moved to an old little undecorated house my sister suggested we go decorated a tree for him with my niece.
6. My dad and MyGirl sitting outside chatting on his new porch.
7. My sister with my sweet BabyGirl.
8. Our new church had a kids Christmas choir. Our 4 oldest participated.
9. Our homeschool group had a Christmas party.
10. Pinterest came through again and we made a few button Christmas trees. I loved these.
11. We banned all “screens” and allowed only family screen time after some initial complaints from the kiddos we adjusted. We were much more choosy with our holiday shows. I loved it.
12. Another Pinterest craft. Our neighbor threw away gallon ziplocks of wine corks earlier this year. I did a Pinterest search for wine cork crafts and it turned up these cute trees.
13. One of my favorite pics from the holiday season. LittleBuddy watching out the window as Matt drove off to work. Just sweet to me.
14. Snow ice cream Matt made when we got the unbelievable snow this year.
15. The Jesse Tree book we borrowed from the library and read through the season. We loved this little book. We didn’t read it every day, we would read a few chapters and then miss a few days. It was much more enjoyable when we let go of the legalism of this tradition.
16. Our BabyGirl smiled through the season. What a peaceable baby. Thank you, Father.
17. Starbucks Peppermint Mochas were the indulgence of the year for me. I got them more than I should have and enjoyed them more than I would’ve thought.
18. Elf! One of our favorite Christmas movies. We laugh every time.
19. TheMiddlest sporting my old LOTR t-shirt (“Whatchu Tolkien about?” it says) on The Hobbit opening day. The 2 older boys loved it and I took the three youngest plus our neighbor friend to see Wreck It Ralph. It was a hit!
20. Five year old BigMan lost his first (and second!) tooth this holiday season. After being so scared he was then so excited!
21. We made Christmas cookies with my other sister.
22. That same sister holding my BabyGirl. Love this picture.
23. I printed our Christmas cards this year again. And once again didn’t print enough initially. I ordered new ones. And promptly realized I had nearly cut off TheMiddles from the edge. Good grief. I sent them anyway. Of course I did.
24. We made most of our Christmas gifts for our friends this year. TheMiddlest made this awesome stuffed animal for one of his best friends. I was so proud.
25. Our Christmas card wreath on the wall that I put up each year. And our Jesse Tree we started, but didn’t finish. I just dropped doing it and didn’t worry about not finishing. We did other things and finished the book so we were fine with not finishing.
26. The family candlelight service at our church the Sunday before Christmas. Again, I loved this.
27. MyMiddlest got into a maze making frenzy for his friends inspired by Wendy.
28. Christmas party with our awesome friends (who also happened to be my midwife!) The kids had all made things for one another. So very sweet and fun time.
29. The crazy light house in our city. It was unbelievable. You could even walk through it.
30. Matt built us a fire pit and we had an impromptu Christmas Eve marshmallow roasting. Christmas Eve was sunny and 65 degrees. The next day the ice storm and snow craziness began.
31. Christmas Eve gift! They each got new jammies (or shirts for the oldest 2 boys). Even BabyGirl who isn’t pictured here.
32. The look of our living room with the stockings all stuffed and ready for the kids in the morning. Earliest, easiest, most peaceful Christmas Eve we’d ever had.
33. Matt got me a One Direction t-shirt. That was 3 sizes too small, but oh too funny. I kinda like their music. That’s right.
34. The look of our front yard Christmas night after nearly a foot of snow had fallen. We didn’t lose electricity until nearly 11pm that night.
35. The kids all looking out at the falling snow Christmas night. It was hard to let go of the magic of that day. First white Christmas here in more than 80 years.
36. We spent Christmas day and the next day and night with Matt’s parents and his brother’s family who had come down from Wisconsin because we had lost our electricity and after awhile 52 degrees in the house with falling temps at night is just too much. It turned into an amazing snowy family adventure. One with no sleep and lots of candy highs, but you know. I had to get my attitude right.
37. I ate WAY too much pecan pie this holiday season. Including the day after I had puked all day with a stomach virus. Because pie is just irresistible to me.
38. We played on the grounds of the lit up capitol again this year. The kids love this. It’s too cold for me and Baby, but their joy overrides the cold.
39. The wrapping paper devastation at the end of Christmas morning fun.
40. BigMan striking a pose in his new Christmas Eve jammies. I loved how it just worked in front of the paint command to “Smile”!
We also read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the first time this year and adored it! We went to our first children’s play as a family and saw Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Christmas House. Santa was never once missed in all the Advent fun we had. What a great year!
Matt with LittleBuddy, BigMan, and MyGirl at church the other day.
I miss blogging. I miss coming here and pouring my thoughts onto a fresh white page. I miss working out all of my issues through the written word. I miss interacting with y’all. So many times I sit down and begin to write, but the words don’t come. I type. I delete. I stare blankly. I thumb through the sparse pictures I’ve taken and nothing speaks words to me. There are lots of reasons. All the usual suspects you would guess. Yes, I have a 3 month old baby. Yes, I have 5 other smallish people. That I happen to be homeschooling. And really, that has a ton to do with it because being interrupted 15 times in the course of writing out one sentence drives me batty and makes me angry and leaves me clueless as to what it was that I was trying to say in the first place. I could wait until they are all in bed, but then my brain is just mush and it’s pointless, I’ve spoken all the words I could possibly have said in the previous 13 hours. I do sometimes have blog posts in mind. A couple in particular I’ve wanted to write for nearly a year now, but just haven’t put here. I have hardly picked up my real camera since moving to the city over a year ago. I realized just how sad that is to me when I considered making some photo books for Christmas and realized I didn’t have enough high quality pictures to include in one. As we reviewed our year with the kids Matt scanned through my blog to remind the kids of what all we had done in the year and once again came up short. This is not quite the scrapbook it used to be. Part of that is sheer neglect, part of it is feeling like I’m bragging too much on our goings on. But not having the visual diary saddens me. Part of the absence is that this has been one of the hardest years of my life. Though my own family flourished and thrived and grew by one special tiny little girl, my closest friendships shattered and my parents are in process of divorcing. Oh how I would love to work through all of those feelings with words, but it is largely not my story to tell, it is theirs. My part of the story is overlapping with theirs and it’s hard to paint a picture of my life without detailing their parts in it. And so I’ve left the canvas mostly blank. But I’ve also realized that by being away from here, I’m not shushing my kids as much, I’m less in my laptop. I’m more here, well there, with them. Yes, I’m totally engaged in Facebook and Instagram all the time, but I can look at those in the brief snippets I have here and there, I can look, and attend my children and look back. Without the need for a full train of thought. And though that’s good, I also miss documenting our lives here. So once again, there’s a balance. That must be found. So today, I picked up the laptop, I shushed my kids, and I did what my 8th grade GT teacher taught me to do. Write. Just start writing. About anything, everything, and nothing. And she was right, it feels good to just write.