Showing posts with label Thankfulness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thankfulness. Show all posts

The Balance Between Memory-Keeping And Memory-Making



We got another skiff of snow this morning, and Derek is home today, though he ran out to the grocery store a little while ago for milk and diapers.  The house is relatively quiet right now.  He left while I was still in bed, so the kids are upstairs watching some cartoon or another on TV.  Aside from some footsteps running across the floorboards above my head occasionally, it is peaceful and quiet.

I have no big plans for the day, aside from homeschool and working on my Christmas card list (Christmas time and this baby's arrival are looming).  I will probably do something a bit more elaborate for dinner, and by that I mean I'll spend the 45 minutes it takes to cut up potatoes for potato soup.  It's a potato soup kind of day.

But for now, it's quiet, and I'm hunkering down in my room, trying to figure out what to write today.  I was going to write about more frivolous things, but there are a few deeper thoughts left in the month after all.  Snow always puts me in a reflective mood, and this morning I'm reflecting on keeping a good balance between memory-keeping and memory-making.

Much has been said about how obsessed we all are with getting the perfect picture to share on social media, and viewing our lives through the lens of our phone instead of the lenses of our eyes.  I'm not sure I'm going to go that route with this post, because I've written this month already about how it's hard for me to even remember certain events without some documentation.  I am not gifted with an impeccable memory for times and places and events, so writing something down or snapping a picture keeps these things from being lost to me forever.  I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to document the past, and indeed I think it's important.  It's most important I think so we don't forget what God has done.  How far He has brought us, and how He has worked in our lives and  grown our character up to the present moment.

However, I think there is a certain danger in getting too caught up in the past.  How we've "always" done things.  How things "used to be".  

Because the more years behind you the more you realize that things never stay exactly the same.

And that statement sounds wistful and sad somehow, but I don't really think it has to be.  Because would we really even want things to stay the same forever?  Would we want to never move to the next stage of life, to never watch our babies get bigger and develop their personalities, to never develop new traditions, try something new, grow?

There is room for a bit of sentimentality about the past I think, as long as we don't get stuck in our reminiscing about "the good ole days".  Because these days that we're in right now, these very present moments, are good too.  They drift on by, and tomorrow will be a memory before we even realize it.  And I think it's good to embrace the way things change, to hold on to our memories while making fresh, different ones in the present moment, and not to resent the fact that things aren't always "the same".  Because really, how boring would things get if they always were?

My goal I think, in all this memory-keeping, is to remember all that God has done for me this far, but not so I can wish for the way things used to be.  I want to remember His faithfulness and gifts in the past so my eyes are wide open for His faithfulness and gifts that are still in the future.  And when I keep that balance between the memory-keeping and the memory-making yet to be done, I think it's easier to live fully in the blessings of right now, and to be grateful for them.



It Was A Good Year


Each year on this little blog I finish off the calendar year with a year end post.  I love that I have eight years of these posts to look back on now (and it comes in handy when I forget when we went on that vacation, etc).  This year, my year end post might include some personal life details that I never got around to sharing through my apparent blogging mid-life crisis this year.  I want all that to change in 2017, because those life details are the things I want to remember when I look back on this blog someday.  I think they are the reason my kids will read it.

I give you our year in bullet points!

January



-January was a hard month for me this last year.  Looking back (no, even in the middle of it), I realize that after having Clarice I dipped into some mild postpartum depression (my 2016 word hinted at this).  It was never serious or scary or anything like that, but it did make it hard for me to enjoy my life for a while.  Unfortunately I have few pictures from January, except a few I shot at the end when I realized Clarice was going to turn four months old and I had barely photographed that month in her life.

-We took a lot of trips to Starbucks.  At least once or twice a week, when I was feeling overwhelmed by life, I'd pack up the kids and drive to Starbucks, and splurge on an iced coffee.  Is it really splurging if you do it twice a week?  I shudder to consider my Starbucks bill those months, but if a car drive and coffee helped me make it through hard days, I think it was money well spent.

-Gwen had a little trip to the ER! I woke up one morning, thinking the kids had let me sleep in a little, and came upstairs the find an empty bottle of children's Tylenol.  I wasn't sure if they had drank it, or how full it was or anything, so I called poison control and they determined that if the bottle had indeed been full and Gwen drank it by herself, that would not be good.  So off to the ER we went to determine what happened.  Thankfully she actually only had a tiny bit in her system.  Needless to say, I put the medicine further out of reach.  In my defense, they dragged chairs over and climbed up the shelve sin the closet to get it.  I didn't know they were capable of that!  We had a good talk about not touching medicine ever again in their entire lives, or something like that.

-Clarice turned four months old (and I couldn't even get up the motivation to write her a post, so I combined months four and five).



On The Blog: I shared about not ignoring the news in 2016 (still applicable for 2017), and I talked about why I can't quite drop the word "probably" when people ask me if we're done having babies.



February



-In February we decided to take the plunge and do a remodel of our house!  We had been considering moving to a different area in late 2015/early 2016, but we finally decided we'd be pushing our budget in moving, and we'd be better served by refinancing with a lower interest rate and taking out enough for a remodel.  So we started planning.

-I took a bunch of pictures of the kids for Valentine's Day.  I really love Valentine's Day, and every year I find myself wanting to take some pictures of the kids that involve pink hearts.

-Derek got me a museum membership for Valentine's Day.  He knows the way to my heart.


-I went to a women's retreat with my church, and happened upon a booth for a local pregnancy resource center, which was the start of my journey volunteering with them!  This was something I had been praying about on the previous New Year's Eve, and I felt like the Lord answered my prayers by bringing me to that booth.


-It snowed a lot, and the kids loved playing outside in it!



-The Bachelor started back up (which is obviously a highlight).  I shared why I watch the Bachelor.

-The Broncos won the Super Bowl!

-We celebrated Wyatt's fifth birthday!



-Clarice turned five months old!

On The Blog:  I shared some of my love for Valentine's Day here and here (P.S. I really love it), and I shared a friend's Etsy shop (she makes adorable baby shoes!).



March





-House remodel in full swing, and I was just sure we'd be done by summer (ha!).

-My sister surprised me with a pedicure!  For no reason! I pretty much have the best sister ever.


-I repainted practically our entire house.  We ripped the trim off everything.

-We went to a friend's wedding in several inches of snow.

-Our family and my sister's family took a lovely visit out to our friends' ranch!  The snow melted, Springtime showed it's pretty face, and the kids loved seeing all the animals.



-Clarice turned six months old.

On The Blog: I finally shared about how Wyatt asked Jesus to be his Savior (which happened September 2015)!  I wrote a letter to newlyweds who might be scared to have a baby.



April




-A pretty quiet month.  We stayed home a lot and baked cookies.

-My new nephew was born!

-We celebrated Clyde's 2nd birthday!


-I tried out a couple vlogs.

-I finished repainting the entire house!  It was a long project.

-It was an unseasonably warm month, and I may have broken out my summertime music.  I also read on the porch!  In April! This spring was almost good enough to make me like the season.

-I got a head start on Clarice's first birthday party.


-I got my first load of laundry to wash for the pregnancy center.

-Clarice turned seven months old.

-I finally felt like I was pulling out of my postpartum depression.

-We had to leave the house for a few days while Derek finished some remodeling jobs, and one day I did a little rainy springtime photo session with Wyatt while the other kids napped in the car.  He was so cute!



On The Blog: I shared Clarice's first birthday invitations (I got them way early!), and I shared three photo-printing apps I've tried.



May


-We went to a picnic with my whole family on my mom's side.

-I started a blog Instagram account (another way to keep up on blog posts).

-I started getting into audiobooks!  What took me so long?

-We celebrated Mother's Day.


-Took several trips to the zoo, and I drank a lot of iced coffees.

-I started on a lot of yard work around our house - the thistles and dandelions were out of control.  The thing about living in the mountains is that no one really notices or cares about yard work, so it's easy to let things go too far.  This was a particularly terrifying specimen, and made me think about how the Lord cursed the ground with thistles.  This one definitely looked cursed.


-Clarice turned eight months old.




June


-We celebrated my birthday.

-I went to the libraries used book sale for the first time - and I am a fan!  I got so many good ones!

-We celebrated Father's Day.


-Our car broke down right before we left on vacation. We delayed our trip by a day and bought a new car.

-We went on vacation to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole!  We tent-camped in Cody for most of the trip and had a great time. (Though I wouldn't let any of us get out of the car to explore Yellowstone because it FREAKS ME OUT. People die there every year you know, and I just can't really imagine a worse way to go than boiling to death.)


-Clarice turned nine months old.




July


-We celebrated the 4th of July on the road!  It didn't stop us from dressing the kids up and breaking out the sparklers.

-We spent a lot of lazy days at home with our kiddie pool and makeshift water table (wheel barrow with water and bath toys).


-Lots of trips to Home Depot and the science museum while Derek worked almost every weekend on the house!  We wanted to get it done before Clarice's birthday, so the countdown was on.

-Gwen seriously informed me that she wanted to believe in Jesus, and prayed to ask Him into her heart!  She'll understand more and more as she grows, but this was a sweet moment and big day!  She was so excited about the "big girl Bible" I gave her the next day and I often catch her in her room "reading" it.


-Clarice turned ten months old.

On The Blog: I shared my homeschool mom reading list, and I wrote about how I explain the gospel to my kids.



August


-Frantic weekends trying to finish up the last details on the house! I helped Derek put new white wood planks on our ceiling during a couple of these weekends.  Talk about back-breaking work.

-The kids and I explored some new parks while Derek worked on house stuff during the weekends.  We also ate a lot of watermelon.


-We finally took a break from our house project and went on a trip to our local (five hours away) peach festival! Derek's mom came with us and it was a fun road trip!  We're hoping to get back into this as a yearly tradition (we missed 2015 since I was nine months pregnant). We learned that Clarice loves peaches.


-Clarice turned 11 months old.

On The Blog: I shared all my plans for Clarice's birthday party, and someone asked me how I "do it all", so I wrote a response to the "how do you do it" questions.



September



-We took several gorgeous fall hikes.  Despite being such a busy month, I think this year was one of my favorite Septembers.

-Start of football season, and we kicked it off with going to a college football game!

-We started homeschool Kindergarten with Wyatt, and I wrote about our homeschool philosophy.


-More house projects.

-Debate season! (I am a politics nerd and actually enjoy these.)

-We repainted our house, one of the last projects before Clarice's party.  I helped Derek with this as well.


-Clarice turned one year old, and we celebrated Clarice's first birthday!!  I took her first birthday pictures (planning on sharing them ASAP on the blog).  On her actual birthday we went to the Children's museum as a family.  You can read my birthday letter to her here.

-We had a woodland themed birthday party for Clarice (it turned out even better than I had pictured!)


On The Blog: I watched part of a show that made me question what kind of things we as viewers are allowing on TV, and I wrote a guest post on Save The Storks about what you need to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center.



October



-We decompressed from all the house projects and birthday party prep to go on a late anniversary weekend trip.  The main event was going to an amusement park!  It's been forever since Derek and I were on a roller coaster!  It made me feel like a teenager again (when I wasn't sitting on a bench with my head in my hands waiting for the nausea to dissipate).

-Luke's Diner day! In which coffee shops all over the country turned into Luke's Diner from Gilmore Girls.  It was so fun!

-I started my Christmas prep, because I was determined to finish everything early this year!

(This snow only lasted one morning.  But it was pretty.)

-Clarice started standing and even taking a few tentative steps.

On The Blog: I shared 18 ways I would style mustard yellow leggings, wrote about preparing kids for Thanksgiving, and I shared about my literary society (and how to start one) - we are still going strong!



November



-I got a new iPhone!  An iPhone 7 Plus, and I am quite impressed with the camera on it.

-I took the kids out to drop off our ballots on Election Day!  I know it wouldn't be fun to stand in line with four young kids, but I kind of wish we weren't forced into only doing mail-in ballots.  I had to hunt down my "I Voted" sticker.  I stayed up far too late watching Election coverage and giving (in my own head) keen political analysis to any of my family members who cared to listen as the (surprising) results came in.  It was a good day.

-We finally got some more snow!  We went to MOPS in the morning and built a blanket fort at home in the afternoon.


-We set up our Christmas tree right before Thanksgiving!

-I got to try out a great photography program, and I still highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn their DSLR.  Read more here.

-Celebrated Thanksgiving with breakfast with Derek's parents and dinner at my parent's house.





December


-We started advent! I made an advent playlist.

-All my Christmas prep was pretty much done before Thanksgiving, and it was a good thing because we hit December running!  Three different Christmas parties in the first week, with other events scattered in, including a trip to a Christmas parade that we do almost every year!


-We went to a magnificent walk-through light show with my family!  They have this huge tree (like fifty feet tall) completely covered in lights!

-We went to see "cowboy Santa"in our little town.  Clarice was not a fan.

-Around the middle of December it slowed down and we had some time to bake Christmas cookies!


-My friend Cassidy wrote a post on blogging like the old days, and it served as an epiphany to me. I wrote about old-fashioned blogging, and now that's what I'm doing on Tuesdays.  Old-fashioned, tell-a-story blogging, with blog reading and commenting galore.  I've missed it.

-We made a gingerbread house together!


-We celebrated Christmas!  Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day at home, day after Christmas with Derek's family.

-We celebrated Derek and Gwen's birthdays!

-We went to see Rogue One.  I had opinions.

-We got our act together and had a game night on New Year's Eve!  This has been a slow hosting year for our family since we were remodeling for the first nine months of 2016, so it was fun to have some friends over again!  We are hoping to do more things like this in 2017.

-Our party ended early for kiddo bedtimes, and we rang in the New Year by cuddling on the couch and watching New Year's Eve (one of my favorite movies).  We counted down at midnight with sparkling cider in hand.

On The Blog: I shared our upstairs Christmas decorations and our brand-new downstairs Christmas decor, and I shared three winter outfit ideas (Christmas parade outfit, Christmas cookie exchange outfit, New Year's Eve outfit).

---

That was our 2016!  I know it was a rough year for a lot of people (or is every year just "the worst year ever" for some?), but for us it was a really good year.  I feel finally settled in our home after eight years of living there, the kids grew and thrived, and it ended better than it started.  I don't know what the Lord has planned for us in 2017.  Maybe it will be a straight-forward year, or maybe we'll get a few surprises!  I love recording the years here though, because then I can look back and see everything significant that has happened in each year of my adult life...and how the Lord is working in all of it, the good and the bad.

But if I had to guess now, I feel like 2017 is going to be a good one.









A Thanksgiving Outfit Idea (And Other Musings)



Thanksgiving is tomorrow!

What a weird year it has been for us.  I was about to type that the year seems like it has gone by really fast, but in other ways it has seemed like a long year too.  If you were in my house today, you'd probably see me scrambling around, making pink fluff salad and sweet potato casserole for our family gatherings over the next couple days.  Little ones would be crawling around at my feet, or asking me what I'm doing, or pestering me for a cookie.  

And maybe I'd tell you a little bit about how thankful I am to have these children, how thankful I am to have a hard-working husband, who has the blessing of a good job. I'd be thankful for our house renovation this year, and doubly thankful that it is mostly finished headed into these winter months.  I'd be thankful for a good church to worship the Lord in, and a good country that offers us the freedom to live out our faith, and I'd thank God for both even as I pray for peace and wisdom for our leaders of both.  

Today we bake, and tomorrow we gather with family and friends and give thanks to God for all He has given us - and most of all for the gift of forgiveness of sins and salvation through Jesus. What a sweet time of year this is.

I'd probably have flour on my clothes, and my counters would be a mess, but I'd stick the sweet potato casserole in the oven and sit down and ask you what you are thankful for too.

And then after you shared, we'd probably talk about something frivolous and silly, like what you are going to wear to Thanksgiving dinner (which believe it or not is what I originally sat down to write about).

I weirdly always feel like I need to match my clothes to the season, particularly the outdoor natural colors of the season.  So in Winter I like white, black, navy, and ice blue, in Spring I go with pastel-flowery colors, summer gets all the brights, and in Autumn I go with colors that you might see on a tree.  Thanksgiving is in the fall, and has a lot of colorful foods on the table, so those are the colors I gravitate towards.

Please tell me that's not as weird as I feel like it sounds?

So here you go, a little Thanksgiving outfit idea for you today.  I may or may not be wearing this tomorrow, but it struck me as a Thanksgiving-like outfit.  You know, I can match the cranberries.










Shirt: Forever21 (this year)
Jeans: Forever21
Shoes: JustFab (only $15 right now!)
Sweater: Jane.com
Earrings: Can't remember.

What I like about this outfit for Thanksgiving:

-The aforementioned cranberry color.

-The jeans that don't look like they are made out of stretchy material.

-The flowy shirt, so no one can see the post-dinner pooch.

Our Thanksgiving dinners are pretty casual, but if you wanted to dress up you could switch out the sweater for a blazer or the jeans for faux suede or leather-paneled leggings.  I went with my strappy shoes for warmer days, but with the weather turning cooler I'd probably switch them out with boots instead.

So what ARE you wearing to Thanksgiving dinner?

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