Monday, August 20, 2012

Just keep swimming...

This summer, Cody and I were watching a comedian one night as he described what it's like to have four kids.  He said, "It's like you're drowning and someone hands you a baby."

This resonated with me so much, I literally had tears in my eyes...tears from laughing and tears from crying.  "This guy really gets it!" I thought. 

Just a few months earlier, those had been my words through tears on the phone to Cody, "I just really feel like I'm drowning all.the.time.  Having four kids is killing me."  I was so overwhelmed.   

It certainly doesn't take four kids to feel like you're drowning.  As life situations pile up, those emotions and feelings of helplessness can leave one feeling like they're drowning in a heartbeat. 

I knew I needed help.  I knew I needed encouragement.  I knew I needed accountability.

Thankfully, my husband and some very sweet friends helped me through that "drowning" time of my life.  You see, I had to realize something:  I couldn't do it all.  Simple, right?  But I liked to do it all.  It was a fun challenge before.  My friends were doing it all...or so it felt.

Cody really helped me prioritize and balance things in our lives so that I could function.  He reminded me where true strength and wisdom could be found.  And we made it...head above water the whole time!

Today, I joined in with 25 of my most favorite moms from Moms Up a Creek for the Hello Mornings Challenge.  

One year ago, the thought of doing this challenge would have paralyzed me.  Get up early before the kids?  Exercise?  Read my Bible?  Pray?  Prioritize my day?  No thanks. I think I'll claim every last minute of sleep and squeeze those things in during my day...because that always happens...never.
But all of those things happened this morning.  And it worked.

Here are just a few tips I thought of as I looked back on how I went from "drowning" to "swimming" in a year:

1.  Never be too proud to ask for advice from your husband.  Yes, God did seem to gift women in multitasking, BUT that does not mean we are to feel superior or proud in it.  Ask your husband if he has any time-saving, practical tips.  Ask him what he would like your priorities to be...be willing to change them for him and let go of something you might be holding on to selfishly. 

2.  Look for ways to adapt things to your priorities.  The Hello Mornings Challenge provided a Bible Study to go along with the challenge.  However, I'm already trying to read through the Bible in a year.  Practically, I knew I could not do both things and do either one well.  I chose to save their Bible Study for another time and focus on my Bible reading.

3.  Don't be afraid to "kill two birds with one stone".  I love my iPhone.  (I think anyone who's ever met me probably knows this already.)  My Bible reading plan is on my YouVersion Bible app.  (By the way, they have several awesome reading plans for the whole Bible, the Gospels, Proverbs, etc.--check it out!)  My exercise plan is on my RunKeeper App.  (Don't be fooled, I'm only walking, People.)  When I walked out my front door this morning, I hit start on RunKeeper and play on my Bible.  Hello?  Exercising and listening to Scripture?  It was perfect!
This should also just say, "Don't be afraid".  I can be such a fearful person.  Should I walk alone?  You never know...kidnappers might want to nab this sleepy mom of four early in the morning... Don't be afraid.  Having a phone isn't like having a gun...but it's communication.  Keep it on you.

4.  Plan ahead.  I guess this one should have been earlier on my list...but I didn't plan ahead. Haha.  Last night, I laid out everything I would need this morning so I could sneak out quietly.  In case the kids woke early, they had clothes laid out and cereal in their bowls.  A bottle was ready in the refrigerator.  Everyone knew...mom is going to be out for a few minutes in the morning; you will survive until she returns.

God has taken me from cries of drowning to confidently participating in an early morning challenge!


So Hello Mornings!

What's your best tip for staying afloat in motherhood?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School...already!

This week, the kids went back to school.
Our summer seemed to go by crazy fast!
(There might be some back-dated posts appearing so we don't forget all the fun we had along the way! 1 camping trip, 2 weeks at church camp, 1 week at a conference, 1 week of vacation, a quick trip to say good-bye, swimming lessons, family swim days, reading summer school...phew!)

Our week started with Back-to-School Night!
 Of course, we couldn't go to meet our teachers empty-handed.
This cup says, "I'm thirsty for knowledge in fourth (or first) grade!"
Our teachers are all so nice!
I think we got the best ones!

 Then we had to take the annual front step pictures!
Together
 and individual
and because we got to the school so early, there was time for one on the bench in the garden.

Thankfully, the tears were fewer this year.
(mine were, at least...one boy still loves his mama quite.a.bit!)

Maddox and I took right off for our favorite coffee shop.
(Which is closing tomorrow!  Boo!)
We shared a delicious Sputnik!
(honey-almond-cinnamon latte...no one can duplicate it's awesomeness!)
Then we did a little Bible reading with our favorite people!

I was so looking forward to the one-on-one time to play with Maddox during the rest of the school day.  However, he decided to crash and slept for 4 1/2 hours!  Talk about salt in my lonely wounds! 

We were ready and waiting when the bell rang to snatch up the three amigos and treat them to a little Orange Leaf!
Our favorite!

I'm so proud of these three BIG kids!  
They are growing up so quickly!
It's fun to see them grow and learn and develop!
The boys took their favorite books for show and tell on the first day.
They chose "The Jesus Storybook Bible" and the "ESV Kids Study Bible" because they wanted to make sure their classmates knew about "the most powerful and loving guy that ever lived: Jesus!"
Cloe was met with "new" friends in her class...girls whose "circle" she hasn't always been accepted into in the past.
I was SO nervous for her, but she came home with glowing reports on building friendships with the girls and being thankful for renewing old friendships at recess.
I know...I'm a mom who's bragging.
But seriously, these three kids are showing me answers to prayer every.single.day.

So, here we go.
School Year 2012-2013!
Phew!