24 articles Articles posted in Motherhood

Realities of RV Living

We are 23 days into our RV adventure. There have been highs and lows. The first week I was convinced that we wouldn’t make it. It was sweltering hot in Texas, we were still figuring out the new lifestyle and there were so. many. tantrums. My 3 year old is not making the transition easy.

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At least by now, Kent and I have figured out that we need to communicate 20x more than we were, have way more grace for each other and just work together as a team. I understand that I show alot of the perfect, serene moments on my instagram feed, but what you don’t see is just as important because it’s reality.

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So there are upsides and downsides, as with anything new, and some of them are not mutually exclusive – each point is beneficial on it’s own but there is hardship that comes with even good things in life that are really valuable for growth. Living a life of terrific ease and comfort all the time never really taught anyone anything (that I know of). Here are the top 10 observations from a newbie traveler:

DOWNSIDES

1. Tight space = loss of dignity and personal space

2. Less time to work (for me)

3. No consistency

4. Nowhere to put a screaming child

5. Carsickness :( Anyone have any tips on remedies?

6. One wrong switch flipped in the RV while driving into a gas station, we all blow up. For realz.

7. Um, I ran out of “downsides” :)

UPSIDES

1. Meeting new people

2. Seeing new places

3. Building love and togetherness as a family

4. A Simpler life

6. Clean the whole house in an hour or less!

7. Flexibility

8. Focus on priorities in life – relationships, food, water, shelter, work – that pretty much sums it up

9. More time to read, write and journal!

10. A stronger, more intense season of walking with the Lord, listening and abiding

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We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. -T.S. Eliot, “The Four Quartets”

We are in South Carolina right now, soaking up some quality time with my older sis and her family. It’s lovely to be in the south during the fall season. The trees will be turning soon and life is really, really sweet. More updates to come!

 

Embrace Adventure

If there is one thing my boys have taught me, it’s to embrace adventure. To do it more, to do it big. To slow down and see the amazing world God created. I love seeing the world through their eyes. Why not run through puddles with your shoes off? Why not run screaming and laughing in the rain? Why not pick dandelions and put them in our hair? Add a little bit of adventure in, and the world will seem that much less mundane, and that much more magical. You can start small. Begin conversations with people you wouldn’t otherwise.  Stop on the shoulder of the highway and pick wildflowers. Venture across the street and meet your neighbors!

(My little Abe, who turned 2 this week. )

So happy weekend. I hope you embrace adventure, however it comes your way. Be intentional and let life amaze you. I leave you with a small paragraph from Don Miller’s book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”

Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you are 26. So from birth to 26, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you’re groggy and pointing at things saying, “circle” and “blue” and “car” and then “sex” and “job” and “healthcare.” The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of deal, that life isn’t staggering. Life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We are all like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we are given – it’s just another sunset, just another rain storm, just another child being born…

PS - Many, many thanks for all your comments on my last post. It was a lot of fun to write something with more story and show you how I’m embracing adventure for myself. Can’t wait for the next one!

Motherhood & Community

I’ve been feeling like a lone ranger mom these days. It’s not for a lack of friendships, playdates, activities and the like, it’s just for the day to day work and toil of mothering little ones, I feel quite lonely – and worn out. My mind entertains quite frequently the thought of moving to an African village where I can rub shoulders with other women everyday, and bring up my children in a more communal type setting. There is an oft-quoted African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think you could add a second half to the saying, “…and a community to keep the parents sane.” I think modern American home life really lacks in this area.

Patrice Karst is the author of The Single Mother’s Survival Guide. She says, “All through history, women took care of children together. As a culture, we need to stop worshiping privacy and realize we’re tribal by nature.”

Biblical community is something I’ve been thinking alot about lately. Life is not meant to be lived or cultivated in solitude. I’m not sure why our society and our religion has evolved to where we do life primarily alone, and stay at home parenting is set up as something of a burden. We’ve become like silos. At least that’s how I feel.

I’ve been studying Acts this year, and the early believers gave us such a beautiful picture of what Biblical community looks like:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Acts 4:32-35

Anyway, I’ve been praying for months and months about what to do. I considered starting a Good News Club since there is a school right behind our house, but after taking some steps to check it out, didn’t feel like it was the right fit. Finally, a few days ago I had a breakthrough and narrowed it down.

We love our neighborhood in midtown Oklahoma City – it’s busy, loud, diverse, colorful and full of wonderful people. We have Latin American neighbors right next door with three kids that we play with all the time. They teach us Spanish, we teach them English. The way we do life differently is so unique, and interesting. We know most of our neighbors that are closest to us, but I want to branch out and get to know other families that are on my block. When we moved here, I had this vision of our home being an open place for anyone to come and be loved, served, and cared for. I want neighbor kids running around playing, I want my kitchen to be stocked with food so I can make meals for people who stop by.

So it feels a little scary, but I’m making step towards this vision, because I know it just won’t happen by itself. I’m starting a big community playdate once a week at my home. Since the weather has warmed up, it’s perfect timing. I’m envisioning blankets laid across my back lawn with books, toys, games. We will have snacks, sing songs, let the children play and the parents/caregivers get to know each other, and hopefully build a community of people that we can know and serve.

I’m blogging about this because I want to know your thoughts – especially those of you who stay at home with young kids. Do you feel a strong need for community like this? What would it look like for you to pursue it? I look forward to sharing more with you soon…my first one is next Tuesday! I’ve already printed the flyers, so there is no turning back now. :)

A Stripping of Comforts

Recently my 1.5 year old lost his pacifier – and I ran out of backups. My first son never really took one, so it was foreign to me to have a babe that desperately needed it so often. So I had the choice to force weaning him from it or get a new one. I chose the first option. Poor guy, he was having a pretty rough time.

Just a few months ago I successfully weaned him from nursing, after about two months of hard nights and days trying to get him unhooked. I started to think about why it was so traumatic for him. And it’s simple really, I’m removing something from his life that comforts him.

To which I thought, “Hmm, that’s familiar.”

God has been leading us on a journey that has resulted in comforts being removed. In the last 3 years the comforts of money, safety, friends, family, and things that were familiar have been slowly stripped away more and more. At first it was very uncomfortable. I might have even thrown a few tantrums. But by now, I’ve not only gotten used to it, I welcome it. For it’s in discomfort that often you have the chance to grow the most. To trust. To actually know who – or what – you really put your trust in.

Ultimately God has done this, I believe, to force us to grow up a little. Kind of what my little babe has to go through. But I think the big reason why is to learn:

He is sufficient. He is enough.

He is our comfort. Not our house. Not our money. Not our marriage or relationships. It’s Him. So in other words, if all those other things in life were removed (which, let’s be honest could be removed at any time), the ideal response would not be a traumatic one, but a peaceful one.  One that’s totally and completely comforted by the sufficiency of Christ.

As for my baby, well…I broke and got him a new pacifier. I know – tsk tsk! Let’s just say I’m saving that battle for the road ahead. But he’ll learn soon enough that the little bit of temporary comfort that a piece of plastic and rubber can give him will soon hopefully be replaced by something far more valuable and eternal – the comfort of the true and living God.

My Baby Is One

My baby boy is one today. It’s simultaneously a year that feels as if it’s dragged on forever and flashed by in an instant. It was – and I don’t say this lightly – the hardest year of my life. We got much more than we bargained for with this little one. Much more crying, much more sleepless nights… much more love.

The birth was thrilling, but also one I’m not eager to do again anytime soon. I think exhaustion has been the hardest thing to deal with this year, that and trying to do everything else too. But, oh what joy. I just melt inside thinking of the joy he brings in my life. So it’s been hard, and character building. And this post is dedicated to him.

Journaled at 7 Weeks
You are the embodiment of everything beautiful in my life. You are sweet and peaceful, thoughtful and content. You began smiling at me about a week ago, and though you don’t smile ALL the time like Eli did, you seem to have a distinct look of intention and focus behind your smile, and it’s so endearing. The first week you were born you would lock eyes with me and your gaze was so intense. You seem to have such depth and personality already at your young age. Your eyes are deep blue and your toes are always flexed when you are awake, almost like you can’t relax.

You are very strong. Sometimes we will find you turned a 180 from where we set you down – you can maneuver around quite well for an infant! You can also hold your head up by yourself if I’m holding you upright. It’s very impressive! One time you even nose-dived off my pillow to try and retrieve your pacifier…and you succeeded.

Journaled at 4 Months
You still eat 4-5 times a night, and every 2-3 hours in the day – which wears me out, but I really don’t mind too much. Your joy is expressed with your entire body, it starts in your eyes, then creeps down to your mouth, and then your arms and legs join in. Sometimes you look at me so happy and your eyes water…which inevitably makes me tear up too. In the rare occasion that we get to nap at the same time, you like to touch my face all over and then fall asleep. You have developed the cutest dimple in your left cheek despite the baby fat that’s been stored there. It shows every time you smile. I hope it stays. Eli has been interacting with you more and you love it. You seem to have already idolized him as your big brother. You love to watch and be involved with whatever he is doing. He is great at helping with your diaper and always says, “whoooaaa” just like I do. Haha!

Journaled at 9 Months
All within the last two weeks you’ve started crawling, saying mama and pulling up to a stand. In public, EVERYONE comments on your gorgeous blue eyes, and I’ve been told more than once that they just sparkle.

Journaled at 10 Months
The other morning I woke up with your cute little baby foot about an inch or two from my face. It was awesome. Your feet are so cute. You’ve been sick with an ear infection for several days. So if I thought we were joined at the hip before, this week has pretty much soldered us together. All you want to do is cuddle cuddle cuddle. I don’t mind, I love holding you. Your brother minds though. I don’t think he likes the extra attention you are getting. Changing your diaper sometimes takes two people, one to wrestle you down one to slap the diaper on your bum. Yes, now I can mark the one off the list “let a 10 month old get the best of me.”

Unfortunately you still aren’t a good sleeper. Waking up 2-3 sometimes 4 times a night still. And you started this new thing where you just roll and thrash your body around until you or I finally succumb to what you want (nursing or pacifier). I get a good laugh out of playing chase and hide and seek with you around our couches. This is the most fun. I get a little jump out of you every time I come around the corner you aren’t expecting. And giggles. Lots of giggles. It’s funny feeding you. I’ll set something yummy in front of you and you grab it by the fist full and shove it all in your mouth. Sometimes you use two fists. And then, if I bring something else that you think is yummier, you throw down or spit out whatever you are eating to make way for the new, more yummy stuff. When you don’t get what you want, it’s like the world is ending. You throw your head back and raise your arms and cry BIG tears then throw your self back or forward without caring about the consequences. Sometimes you even bang your head against the floor repeatedly. Aren’t you too young to be doing this? I think so, but you’ve seen your big brother do it plenty of times, so I guess you had a good teacher.

I feel like 75% of the time I’m watching you, you have something in your mouth, or you are about to put something in you shouldn’t, or I’m fishing multiple things out. You are so fearless. You do things that make me so nervous, and I really can’t keep you out of my sight for too long. That and your brother pesters you alot. You like to be right in the middle of things, in the thick of the action. You don’t like being on the sidelines. So that bothers your brother alot, but he will get used to it. You still cry ALOT. Anytime I put you down in your crib, you cry. Anytime I put you down at all, for any reason (and walk away), there is a good chance you will cry. You just still like being right by me or being held by me. It’s exhausting, but you know, I love you so much I would never ever wish it away. I’m just glad I have the time margin to be able to baby you while you are still a baby.

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Abe, you are so loved. Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

My Mother’s Day Gift

I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day weekend. I enjoyed mine thoroughly. My sweet husband granted my one and only mother’s day wish – a root beer float, homemade of course so I can enjoy seconds. My little Abe also gave me a great gift…he took his first steps!

But, while I enjoyed my kids greatly, the highlight of my weekend was spending time with a handful of women through an outreach with Spero Project – a local ministry that helps many people in my community. I blogged about a few weeks ago about a Craft Night that I wanted to organize to make gifts for the mother’s in Spero’s international refugee program. So last week, a group of girls gathered together for one evening at Cafe Evoke, fabric and glue guns flying through the air as we made gifts for precious women we had never met.

It was a fun night with several friends, including Mandy Steward of Messy Canvas (who I interviewed last year), Kasie, a new friend and artist, and Kelly Beall of Design Crush. I was super excited to meet Kelly since I made her acquaintance years ago in the blog world, and she was so fun AND funny, and totally excited about the cause.

I decided on a pretty simple fabric flower with a button in the middle. Very easy to make, following this tutorial, but instead of sewing everything together, we took the easy route and hot glued em all. I think they turned out beautifully, the girls did such a great job.

My little family and 4 others arrived to be a part of the event. Beforehand, I learned that the majority of the refugees in the program are from Burma, Iraq and Africa. They’ve fled their homes due to well-founded fears of persecution for their race, political opinions or religion. For most refugees, the only hope for a life free of persecution is resettlement in another country. So these families have been placed here by Catholic Charities to begin a new life in the United States. Spero helps in many ways by providing for basic needs, teaching English classes, job skills, and giving them lots of social interaction and help adjusting to a new way of life.

The event was simple and beautiful. We enjoyed brunch together and letting them pick out their gifts. Most of them had never celebrated a Mother’s Day before, so the idea of having an entire day to honor their role was a very new concept.

Looking at these brave women, you would never guess the hardships or treacherous situations they’ve had to endure. They were nurturing, happy and strong. One woman in particular I got to talk to was from war-torn Sudan. She’s been here in the U.S. for 6 years with her husband and three children. I asked her if it’s gotten any easier. She said, yes it had gotten easier, that she’d finally learned English well in order to communicate, but it’s still very hard. I could see it in her eyes, even through the smile she warmly shared. It didn’t take me long to realize these women probably had more of a gift to offer to me – I realized that the gift was perspective. Perspective, and an opportunity to grow and learn.

So thank you ladies, for the gift you gave me. Thank you for being inspiring and strong. Thank you for letting us be a part of your very first Mother’s Day.

Creative Mom Interview: Michelle Dupont

Michelle and I connected online a couple of years ago. I was immediately drawn into her work. She’s an amazing photographer, probably my favorite…and I don’t say that lightly. I had a lot of trouble narrowing down images to go in this article! This mom of six (yes, six!) is also a very gifted crafter, knitter and writer. Her blog is one of the few I read every single word of. I hope you are as inspired by her as I am!

1. Does motherhood fuel your creativity? If so, in what ways?

Motherhood definitely fuels my creativity.  Although my mother taught me at a very young age to knit and crochet, it wasn’t until my first child was born that I totally fell in love with making things by hand.  My first project was a hand pieced and stitched quilt for my son’s bassinet – to be able to make something for someone I loved was an amazing feeling – I was hooked!  That feeling has stayed with my over the years – each piece I create is make with love, and knowing that someone else is wearing and enjoying my is simply wonderful.

My children are a constant source of encouragement and support – they give me feedback about new ideas and prototypes.  I get lots of “oh, you’re so clever mum” and “that’s so pretty mummy”!  They make me smile.  They are also gorgeous  models too :-)

2. What challenges have you overcome as a mother? As an artist?

My biggest challenge has been time management.  First and foremost my children, and my role as a mother is my priority.  As an artist I have had to find creative ways of satisfying my need to create and indulge my passions without neglecting my other responsibilities.  I’ve also had to make a choice to keep my ‘twoandsix’ business relatively small for now.  Because each piece is totally handmade, it’s incredibly time consuming and if I didn’t set limits it could easily take over my life!

3. You have six children, how do you find time to create?

The majority of my creating happens after the sun goes down and little people are snuggled up in bed.  During the day I (try!) to balance taking care of my children and home, and working on my photography business.  However, I am constantly being inspired by the simple, precious things in my life.  I make lots of notes, take lots of photographs, and collect treasures -  then develope and work on those ideas during quieter moments in the evenings.  My hands are never idle, i can’t bear to sit and do nothing!

4. What are your mother’s day wishes?

A sleep-in would be divine!!  Followed by a long brunch, and then a relaxing day at home with my family.  A little bit of chocolate would be nice too :-)

Thank you Michelle! I hope your mother’s day wishes come true.

Creative Mom Interview: Suann of Simplesong

I’ve long been a fan of Suann’s simple and beautiful aesthetic, and she has such impeccable taste. So I was thrilled that she agreed to answer my questions about creativity and motherhood. Be inspired!

1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Suann of SIMPLESONG Design. I write two blogs, simplesong and Hip Hip Hooray; I have a letterpress and design studio; and I’m a wife and mom to our son 4 1/2 year-old son, Ike. We live near Washington, DC and in the last four years I’ve been pretty much living my dream – becoming a mom and also having a thriving, creative business. Though at times I wish for a little more sleep and less craziness of running around, I really wouldn’t change a thing!

2. What is your favorite creative activity with your son?
We love to draw together – sidewalk chalk, little scribbles on napkins or creating a big poster. He’s getting to the age (4 1/2) where you can see him really express himself in his drawings. Its so fun to watch.

3. What are some ways you stay inspired?
Fortunately, I share my studio space with some very inspiring friends and business collaborators (The Hive at 1511). They are a constant source of inspiration (and energy! : ). Blogs and sites like Pinterest are also a great source. But mostly I just try to take some time to look around. That’s when I get most inspired — I just have to remember to jot it down so I don’t forget!

4. What are some challenges you’ve overcome as a mother? As a designer?
As a mom, the biggest challenge is juggling everything and doing everything well. Its not easy and is a constant struggle. As a designer, staying inspired can be tough. Especially when a lot of work time comes at the end of the day. Some times those quiet nights can be inspiring but often times you’re just tired. So, I make it a priority to not work past a certain time and always take little breaks. It helps!

5. What are your mother’s day wishes?
No big wishes – just a little down time with my son and husband. A lot of my work revolves around weddings — and we’re at the height of wedding season (!) so its hard to take time off around this time….so, a quiet picnic or an afternoon out sounds just perfect : ).

Thank you Suann!

Creative Mom Interview: Jordan of Oh Happy Day

Jordan of Oh Happy Day is a San Francisco based party planner and letterpress printer. She recently packed up her family of four, put things in storage and moved to Paris for a year. She is a pretty much a genius when it comes to creative party ideas, and I love her design style. Enjoy!

1. Does motherhood fuel your creativity? If so, in what ways?

Yes, in some ways. I work best with deadlines and having children gives me limited amounts of time do work in.

Above: Fringey Streamers DIY // Zig Zag Accordion Streamers DIY

2. What challenges have you overcome as a mother? As a designer?

Balancing time. I think it is important to keep work time and mom time separate. As I designer I wasn’t formally trained so I’ve had to learn programs and increase my skills.

Above: Sculptured Flags // Confetti Invitations + Template

3. Any tips for pursuing your dreams while still building a strong family?

My husband and I are really supportive of each others’ goals. It makes it a lot easier when there is another person to help you pick up the slack.

Oh Happy Day Letterpress

4. What are your mother’s day wishes?

World Peace and maybe a massage.

Creative Mom Interview: Disney of Ruffles and Stuff

It’s Mother’s Day week! This is one of my favorite times of year on my blog. I love getting to pick other artist mom brains out there, and this is the perfect excuse to do so. I’ll be interviewing a creative mom every day this week, and you don’t want to miss any of the wisdom these gals have to offer. I’m starting right out of the gate with an interview with Disney of Ruffles and Stuff. She is a fairly new source of inspiration for me, I love her transparency, humor, creativity, and her obvious devotion to what is most important to her. Sit back and enjoy!

Above: The “Lauren” Headband Tutorial

1. Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I’m Disney. In my mind I live in Seattle, where I spend my days blogging, shopping at little indie boutiques and sipping lemonade in my organic garden. In reality, I live in eastern Washington, I spend my days continually cleaning up after my three year old princess, I refashion clothes instead of shopping for more, and my “garden” consists of various weeds and plants that I murdered last season. :o) I do thoroughly enjoy my life, however, and I try to create pretty little things whenever I can along the way. I keep track of all my pretty things on my blog, and I treasure the relationship I have with my readers!

Happy Birthday Paige

2. What is your favorite creative activity with your daughter?
Paige and I both love coloring. We do that together every day. She also loves to sit in my craft room and make “presents” for her friends. She’ll fold up tons of pieces of felt, and tie them together with bias tape. It’s adorable! :O)

Above: the perfect coral lipstick – Vegas Volt by mac // Grosgrain Belt Tutorial

3. What are some ways you stay inspired to create?
I think the most important thing I do to stay inspired is try not to worry too much about it. Usually my best ideas come to me when I’m not stressed out. But if I do need a little dose of inspiration, I just check out my favorite stores or websites. A lot of my projects come from things that I’d really like to buy for myself, but can’t afford. I try not to copy stores’ designs outright (most of the time), but it will usually put something similar into my mind that I can create for myself.

Above: Cardigan Tutorial // 3-Way Skirt Dress Tutorial // Ruffle Necklace

4. What are some challenges you’ve overcome as a mother?
Having time to do everything! It’s really important to me to raise my daughter well. However, she requires insane amounts of time and attention, so it is really a struggle sometimes to get other things done. I’m a person who likes to keep busy, and wants to get out and try lots of new things all the time, so it’s hard for me to get on the floor and play “puppy dog” for an hour. But I know that in the end, playing “puppy dog” will have made a bigger impact than any skirt tutorial.

Pleated Scarf

5. What are your mother’s day wishes?
Hmm, let’s see…sailing in Anacortes, jeans that fit perfectly, a Cannon 5D Mark II, and for my daughter to take naps. But….Realistically? Just a grateful heart, and maybe an iced americano. :O)