Friday, March 30, 2012

Meet my mother-in-law

I have an incredible mother-in-law. While most women dislike their mother-in-laws I feel lucky to have a mother-in-law whom I not only love, but get along with.

She raised my husband and his older sister as a single mom for most of their growing up years. Not only that, but she did a wonderful job at it. I remember when I first started dating my husband I was super nervous to meet her, but she welcomed me with loving arms and I saw such a respect from Chris towards her.

Even though I probably haven't been the daughter-in-law that she imagined her son to marry, she has accepted my different ways as both a wife and mother. Not only that, but she encourages me, does the research as well, and supports me.

Grandma Cindy, Grandpa Tim, and Auntie Katie, at the girls' birthday party last year!
As a mom, my desire has always been for my girls to have grandparents that just adore and love them. Thankfully they do have that, and my mother-in-law is one of them. She often drops whatever she is doing to watch the girls. She giggles with them, plays on the floor, does their nails, make-up, reads books with them, and snuggles them.

This week, she gave us the most wonderful gift. She took 3 days off of work so we could get away, just the two of us on a little mini trip. It is our first time in close to 5 years (since we first became parents), that we have been away from kids. It is a bit nerve-wracking for me to be a away from two of my nursing babies and also my preschooler. However, knowing that Grandma Cindy is there to help cuddle, play, and take care of the girls, has made me relax and once again realize how lucky I am to have her. Plus from everything I've heard, the girls are doing great with her (I'm not surprised).

Thank you Cindy! We love and appreciate you!!

Do you have a wonderful relationship with your mother-in-law? What do you appreciate about her the most?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our Little Xio Bio

I try and describe with words the joy this little girl brings,

 but there really are no words.

But don't let this innocent face fool you,

uh uh, she tries to fool me, but it doesn't work.

You see this face, this is the face she gives me when I ask her to please look at me and smile. Yep, definitely not innocent.

But I secretly love it and of course, I adore her! :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just me {raw, honest, and real}

Growing up, I was always the girl who was just a bit different than the other girls. When the girls around me in Elementary school were chasing boys or swinging from the monkey bars on the playground, I was swinging on the swing and singing at the top of my lungs the hit Amy Grant song. I literally sang, and did so loudly, wherever I went. I had a few close friends and that was that. I didn't really care that I was different.

Come middle school, I was still singing wherever I went, and I still only had a few close friends. I asked a lot of questions and worked hard for my A+ grades. Junior high brought about a love of boys, but I was still strong willed and still just a bit different because I didn't go through a real questioning stage of my life. When the majority of girls around me were struggling to fit in and feeling awkward, I was proud of who I was and not really ashamed to let others know.

In high school, I hung out with a group of friends from church and my best friend. I became so convinced that my way was the only way of thinking. I also desired to be the best in everything. I remember taking a test in Bible class and being devastated because I got one wrong, and a simple one at that: Who sold Jesus to be killed? I had studied and studied for that test and I loved my teacher. I wanted to be the first person to ever get 100% on his test. When I got such an easy question wrong, I beat myself up over it!

I was a perfectionist and I longed to please others. It has taken me many, many years to admit that the majority of the reason I never rebelled wasn't out of a heart felt conviction, but rather to please people. My parents, my teacher, my name them and I wanted to please them.

Legalism at it's finest.

Image Via Pinterest

This leads up to me becoming a mom. Becoming a mama has been one of the most joyful and amazing experiences of my life. It also has left me feeling alone and the odd man out. For you see, sometime in the last few years I started to find out what I really believed about God, politics, drinking, parenting, tattoos, homosexuality, and a whole host of hot button topics. I searched God's heart on these matters and followed Him truly for the first time in my whole life without the desire to please others. I didn't follow blindly because someone told me to, rather I searched out the truth and asked questions.

But old habits die hard. There are times still in my life at almost 30 years old that I so long to be a part of the crowd. That I feel so incredibly alone and lost that I just want to agree to the parenting beliefs of those around me, or just vote Republican because that is what Christians should do, or act a certain way just to fit in with those around me.

And I hate that about me.

Slowly though, I realize that parenting brought me to a lifelong journey of resting in the God who created me as I am. That my worth is not in pleasing others or in being a good enough Christian. Instead, my worth has already been completed through Christ. That He sees me as a daughter of His despite being different. That I don't have to please Him or others by conforming to a certain box.

I'm not always perfect in believing this and sometimes I struggle with it, but I'm trying to rest in His grace and His love so that I can pass it on to those around me.

I'm not sure why today I decided to go ahead and click the orange publish button. After all, it leaves me so exposed and open, which does scare me. But perhaps one of you needs to hear that you are already perfect and being who you are makes you real and genuine despite what others think. It's the lesson I've had to learn and while hard, it has brought about so much freedom which is truly what God wants.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

India Has A Message

Chris was out of town last week with my dad, brother-in-law, and some other friends for three days. In order to have a bit of a break from watching three kids all day by myself, my sister suggested we go to my parents and help my mom organize her boxes of photos from when we were younger (a Christmas gift we had promised her).

It was the perfect distraction for both myself and the girls. Plus they got to spend time with some of their aunts and uncle, and I got to spend time with my niece India. It's been awhile since I've shared about my cute niece. Since spending two days straight with her, all I can think of is her sweet little voice and how she says, "Ok", "Nessa", "Outside", and "Sorry". Trust me it is adorable!! Since you can't hear her voice through my blog, I thought I would share a few pictures of her.

Make sure you pay attention as she has a certain message she wants to share with my blog readers.

Yep, India is going to be a big sister this summer and she is pretty excited about it! My sister, who seemingly has pregnancies very similar to mine, is finally feeling a bit better. I am thrilled to be welcoming either my third little niece, or perhaps my very first nephew!

And India? Well all she can talk about is babies, but for this day, she had enough! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Someone Is Growing Up

I haven't written about our homeschool journey since the beginning of January. In that post, I shared that I was struggling a bit with school for Zoelle. The funny thing is, shortly after posting that, Zoelle seemed to take off in school. She whipped through her first math book and is well on her way to finishing her second one. She is reading now pretty fluently, and understanding it as well. I brought out our old Bob Books from last year to have her try the other day and I was amazed at how much smoother her reading went compared to a year ago.

So in the midst of all of that, you may be surprised to learn that we made a big new decision; next year Zoelle will be going to Kindergarten. After much prayer and talking, we decided that a local private school is the direction we wanted to go for this next year. I'm not sure how future years past this one will look, but for now, we have a major peace about school.

Of course, it is a big change for me and that is part of my change post. Zoelle is a huge help around the house and I will miss her help each morning as she goes to school. Speaking of morning, mornings are not my cup of tea. I am not a morning person at all. So this will challenge me to have to formulate some sort of schedule. I'm not positive yet if I will be bringing her to school or if she will take the school bus, but either way I'm sure we have just added a bit of busyness with going back and forth to school even if just for school programs.

While a bit nervous about this change in our lives, I do feel it will be a great one for Zoelle. She has a wonderful teacher that I know will work hard with her. At the same time, this will give me a chance to focus a bit more on Meridian and Xiomara and because I have the preschool Heart of Dakota Publishing curriculum, I will be starting both the younger girls on a part-time homeschooling routine this Fall.

Overall, I know this is the right decision for our family, but I'm sure you will have to remind me of that this September as my oldest daughter, who I never thought would turn five, goes off to school for the very first time!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

On Embracing Change

I've been quiet this week. Normally when I am quiet it is because life is happening around me and I just can't find the time to add blogging to that list of things.

This time however, I feel as if I have to. Writing is therapeutic to me and if there is anytime I need it, this week is definitely one of them. I feel as if I am barely hanging on by a thread.

I don't want to be vague, but with a public blog there are some things that while I wish I could blog about them, I just can't. These things are weighing heavily on me this week. To the point where I feel overwhelmed. It has piled up so much that by today, I realize more than ever how I have failed at being both a wife and mom this week.

Essentially, I can sum it all up with one word: CHANGE

Those that know me, know that change is not something I handle well. However, it is looking like there are numerous areas in my life that will be changing and changing soon. Change scares me, tests me, yet can also strengthen me and better me as a person.

Source: Pinterest
With all that is within me I wish I was one of those people who embraced change as an adventure, but reality is, I am not.

Through it all I feel like I am desperately grasping at this thin, frail thread that is dangling in front of my face. The thread that is engraved with the words of "I will carry you". So I am doing my best to throw my hands around that, dig my nails in, and hang on until He sets me down where He wants me to be.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Winter Getaway!

Those that know me well, know that winter gets long for me. Why I live in one of the coldest and snowiest states is beyond me! Except for the fact that I was born and raised here, met my husband (who was also born and raised here), and we have stayed ever since. I'm not ruling out that dream for a move to a warmer climate yet!

Snuggled up close to mama. Xiomara was terrified of the water at first!
In the meantime though, we have been planning all winter long to go on a short getaway with the girls just to break up the monotony of winter, cold, and snow. Of course the one year we plan this, it has hardly snowed, has rarely been below 30 degrees, and in all honesty, has been a relatively nice winter.

Still getting away from the routine of things is good for all of us I think. So when I saw on Facebook that a waterpark close by us had $29 a night special for Leap Day, I could not turn it down.

We found this moose sculpture at the hotel. The girls found it hilarious!

While we thought the hotel was ok (it lacked nice/updated features). The waterpark made up for it! The first night we stayed there the waterpark was closed so we drove around, went out for supper, and then hung out in our hotel room watching whatever cooking show or home improvement show we could find. The next day got a bit long for the girls as they had to wait until 4 o'clock for the waterpark to open. They also did not want to nap/rest, so they were a bit wound up.

Meridian pretty much ignored us the whole time and just swam! She is a little fish!
Zoelle kept watching the clock and as soon as it turned to "4" as she would say, we left our room and went to the waterpark. For the next 4-5 hours the girls, Chris, and I swam to our hearts content. It was a joy to watch each of our girls in the water and I am so thankful we took the time to do this with them as it is now just one more memory for them to forever remember!

Do you take a family vacation in the winter? If so, where do you go?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where we dream together!

"We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams." ~Herb Brooks

Confession: I had no idea who Herb Brooks was until I just Googled his name! I loved this quote so much that my friend Sarah shared on Facebook the other night though that it got me thinking about wanting to hear your dreams! So I had to share!

Some of mine (either practical or impractical, it doesn't matter):

I dream of working with orphans in Africa, specifically in Ethiopia.
I dream of taking my girls on missions trips in order that they can serve others.
I dream of getting my doula certification and possibly one day becoming a midwife.
I dream of becoming a birth photographer. Birth and babies all in one = LOVE
I dream of returning to Venezuela  with my husband, so I can show my him where my heart is.
I dream of meeting my sponsored child in Brazil one day.
I dream of taking a 7 day vacation someplace warm with my husband for our 10 year anniversary!
I dream of moving to a warmer climate.
I dream of traveling the world with my family, so that we can all see how much bigger of a world we live in. Also, so we can see beyond our own needs and wants to others needs and wants!!
My biggest dream is to one day pay in full someone's adoption costs just because I know how much that means to them.

I think I could dream all day!

So now that I shared some of my dreams (and I have so many more) with you, I want you to share with me your dreams. I'm convinced something magical happens when we share our dreams and we begin to dream together!