Monday, August 31, 2015

What I learned: August

This month I've been trying to do better at jotting down the various "aha" moments throughout the month so that I'd have something so share today ;)

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This month I learned that I can share playlist links from Spotify!!!!  I love creating playlists and I tend to start a new one every couple of months. A great playlist makes me all kinds of happy. My favorite playlist right now: Give Me Jesus. Starting my day with some awesome worship music gets my day off on the right foot.

Last week I posted a throwback post to pictures from a couple years ago.  I plan on doing more of this during my postpartum year (but making no promises... we'll see) Those pictures helped me see what is working and what is not. I loved browsing through them and seeing the outfits that totally tanked and the ones that were awesome, even if I felt a bit insecure. Also they're a reminder of how much I loved having short hair!!

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This month I discovered Luna Protein Bars!!! I've been eating a protein bar (and a cup of Greek yogurt) every day to boost my protein intake (which is helping to reduce my swelling!!) some of the bars I've tried have given me various forms of tummy trouble but this brand is the bomb dot com (is that even a thing to say anymore?) my favorite flavors so far are the chocolate peanut butter, the chocolate chip cookie dough and the lemon. All amazing.

This month I have been reminded that the last few weeks of pregnancy are pure psychological warfare. Knowing this in advance doesn't really help.

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I am so ready to be done being pregnant and meet our sweet baby Grayson. If he doesn't come before his due date (which, considering that 4 out of my last 5 births have all had to be induced, is highly unlikely) I'm scheduled to be induced the 8th. We did a "dry run" yesterday, and headed to the hospital with all of the kids in tow to see where to park, where the maternity wing is, etc. It went really well and we feel more prepared. Daniel also told me that the Subway at our hospital is the only Subway in our state that sells the cinnamon rolls that he tried when he was doing a job or taking a class or something in the next state over. So that's another thing to look forward to on D-Day. Yum. 

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This month I got a good reminder that sometimes the best thing for a serious funk is to get outside into nature. This weekend I was feeling super uncomfortable, grumpy, overwhelmed with the kids and just wanting to shut down. Daniel took us to a spot we hadn't been to before near the Canal. The boat tours were closed so the area was practically deserted. There was a little bit of a breeze blowing off of the river, it had just rained and the sky was still full of clouds. It was amazing how much it affected my attitude and my mood. Like night and day. I took pictures of the kids on my phone. Katie-Abigail collected flowers. The kids got to move around a bit and all the stress just melted away. I hope I remember this the next time we're having a bad day.

This month "Simply Tuesday" was released and it is exactly what I needed to hear right now. It has been such a good read. I set it aside for a little bit this week so I can tackle my Library Request Pile but it has been Just So Good. Emily Freeman is basically the only author I actually follow on social media. I read her blog, follow her on IG, listen to her podcasts when she is guest-speaking with someone. I have loved every one of her books - which just keep getting better.

I am reading Rising Strong. Which I blogged about here. It is SO good. So eye opening. I feel like I'm going to need to read it a 2nd time before I could even begin to write a blog post about everything I'm learning from it. It has been such a good read and it has come at the perfect time. One thing I've been learning - the whole "boundaries" thing is legit, but I am terrible at it. I'm just at that "starting to see this everywhere in my life" point of change. Definitely something to keep thinking about. 

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In addition to "Rising Strong" & "Simply Tuesday" I started reading "The Art of Asking" - I'm generally a one-book-at-a-time kind of person but I'm discovering a really wonderful routine of reading Rising Strong during moments when I can concentrate and finish a chapter in one sitting and then reading "Art of Asking" in the evenings when I can stand to be interrupted a million times in one chapter. I'm enjoying the book for the most part (though it's not going to be for everyone... definitely not coming from a Christian perspective. I'll try to post about this one on my Goodreads page). I feel like it is adding a voice to something I'm learning from "Rising Strong" about not being ashamed of need and being willing to ask for help. I was texting a friend this weekend and she asked "what do you need for the baby?" and my knee-jerk reaction was "I don't need anything." because really, as far as diapers and wipes and onesies and all the baby-stuff I think we're good. I also think my room can not physically hold any more baby stuff. But then I texted her "I need you to visit me." Because as friends have been offering support after the baby comes I have been realizing that I need it. I know that I struggle with depression. I have tended to struggle more before the birth than after but looking back at the year I spent in my pajamas at home after Eli was born I think maybe I struggled more than I realized. That's the thing about depression - perspective is the first to go. So I'm trying to practice the art of asking and letting the people around me know that I want their presence more than anything else. And it's going to mean laying down some of my fears about being judged by people and let them come see me, in my house, mess and all, but this is a good thing.

This month Eli finally wrapped up potty training!! He turned four in July. I wrote about our potty training journey here and about how surprised I was by how difficult it has been to potty train Eli.  After years of having to be the one to take him to the potty, put him in a pull-up or clean up an accident Eli is finally taking himself to the toilet (occasionally) and has been consistently pooping in the toilet. I am just so happy about this but just want to laugh at the timing, seeing as kids almost always regress with their toilet training when they get a new sibling. So I'm not getting rid of the pull-ups just yet and we'll see how it goes.

At the beginning of month my kiddos started school - they are in grades 8, 7, 5 & 2. It has been a better-than-hoped-for transition so far. They love their teachers, are getting into their new routines fairly easily. One of the best parts of our new schedule is that Eli has been sleeping in for an hour or so in the morning so I have this wonderful sweet-spot for writing, which I have been using to write some posts for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge and it has been so good for me. There is something so very therapeutic for me about writing out all the stuff that's been cluttering up my brain this year. My goal is to have 31 posts ready by the end of this week. I think I have about twelve done so far. That's nearly half, right? So we'll see how it goes. It's been really really good and even if all I end up posting is 31 Days of worship songs that have meant a lot to me this year - that's something, right? Ha!

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This month I worked at re-learning how to crochet a Granny Square. It was a very good experience for me. Granny squares are just the thing for me at this stage in my life. A single square can be finished in not too much time and that is a really good feeling. Last night I started a new project with some fresh yarn and it feels really nice to be doing something like this right now.

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I learned how to make this Blueberry Cake. It took me a couple of tries but it was so worth it. Here's another link, just in case that one doesn't work. It is SO good.

This month I also learned this important lesson... not to underestimate the thrill of a tidy linen closet. Every time I open this closet I want to do a happy dance. I accept the reality that in six months (or less) this might return to a state of throw-it-in and shut the door quickly before something falls but in the meantime I'm enjoying this.

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One last thing: The Age of Adeline. Daniel bought it for me on iTunes (now that is true love) and we watched it last night. I think I cried through half of the movie. It wasn't the best. movie. ever but it was quite good and I kind of want to watch it again today.

P.S. I'm trying a different way of embedding images from my Instagram feed into my blog posts - which is making me nervous. If they don't work please let me know!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Brenè Brown and being Brave

I wrote this post on the 25th - it just took me a couple of days to get it posted...

I believe very strongly that God is gracious to us in our times of weakness - like extra, especially over the top good when He knows we are hitting bottom. 

I'm in the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy and this time is always really hard for me. I have struggled with depression more or less acutely during the last bit of my pregnancies, and struggle with the psychological warfare or worry, anxiety and waiting. It is HARD waiting, feeling miserable, knowing labor could start in an hour or not till next month. Last night I was on the edge of tears just feelings so ready to be done with this pregnancy - so sick of feeling sick. So tired of being tired all of the time, even though I know I'll be flat out exhausted after the baby comes, but post-baby exhaustion is a different kind of exhaustion and one that I typically handle a little bit better.

Last time around God placed "one thousand gifts" in my hands during the last weeks of my pregnancy and it was simply wonderful.  Every night I'd sink into the tub and read another chapter. It was exactly what my heart needed at that moment.

Today this book was waiting for me in my stack of holds at the Library. As I sat down and started reading it today I realized that this is the book that released (at least at my local Barnes & Noble)  today. The unlikeliness of me receiving it from my library on the day that it is released is monumental to me. 

Rising Strong has been so perfect for right where I am at right now. I've been thinking a lot this year about what it means to be brave and I've been writing a lot about it lately getting ready to start the Write 31 Days project in October. 

Sometimes when we are in the middle of things and it's hard to see what is going on. It's hard to make sense of our circumstances and it doesn't seem clear what God is doing. Then we come around the bend and things start to slowly, gradually and then all at once, start to make sense. I feel like the process of starting to write about this past year of learning to be brave in the small and quiet yet hard and messy places of my life has pulled me around a corner - I feel like things are starting to come into focus and I'm seeing more clearly what God has been doing during this hard year. Feeling His presence more, seeing Him at work in my life more clearly. 

This book has been SO good so far - I wanted to share a few quotes. I'll probably be sharing them again during my Write 31 Days project. I was going to save this for then but I feel like I needed to say this now - to say out loud how goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, especially right now during this hard, slow season of waiting for the baby.

From Rising Strong:

Comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity... Hurt is hurt and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects all of us.

Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it's the process that teaches us the most about who we are.

We want to be brave, and deep inside we know that being brave requires us to be vulnerable.

Day two, or whatever the middle space is for your own process, is when you're "in the dark" - the door has closed behind you. You're too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light... Experience and success don't give you an easy passage to the middle spaces of struggle. They only grant you a little grace, a grace that whispers, "This is part of the process. Stay the course." Experience doesn't create even a single spark of light in the darkness of the middle space. It only instills in you a little bit of faith in your ability to navigate the dark. The middle is messy, but it's also where the magic happens.

Monday, August 24, 2015

What I wore

This is a MAJOR flashback post back to 2012 - I was looking through this album on my flickr page the other day and loved it so much that it made me want to write a blog post. So here you go. I guess it's easier for me to share these images because it's from a couple of years ago - my bedroom doesn't actually look like this anymore.  I'm hugely preggo which means that I look so thin to myself in these pictures. I'm all like - look at you girl! You look so cute.  

I'm also totally in love with the real-life around me in these pictures. I love how some of these outfits are so cute and how some of them totally tank. I love that I took pictures in my everyday staying-at-home outfits. I love seeing how little my kids were. And also, can I take a second to say how much I love this short hair cut? This needs to happen again. So here you go - hope this inspires you and causes you to look at yourself more kindly. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bump Shots

February 20

March 24

April 24

30 weeks
June 26
32(ish) weeks
July 5
July 20
July 30

August 6
August 10
August 14

August 15
August 19

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