2/24/2014

Recent Crafty Projects

Thought I would share some of the projects I've been working on. I have a friend who went on a fair-isle hat knitting spree before Christmas and it inspired me to blow the dust off of my own yarn stash. She actually took the time to teach another friend and me how to knit a fair-isle hat! Whoopie! When I was knitting it, Oldest asked if she could have it. Of course, I said yes.


And of course, she couldn't resist a goofy picture. She is her mother's child.



I asked her to model this headband I made for her also. She couldn't do it without her "giraffy." The headband pattern is from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders and I learned how to do the crocheted flower with this YouTube tutorial.




Here's another headband that is crocheted. I don't like it as much as the knitted one.

The fun thing about these (or any) headbands is if you add a button, you can crochet different accessories to go on them. Like this heart, flower or butterfly. The girls love them.


Crocheting is my newest endeavor. I still prefer knitting I think, but I do, however, love that it's fast! The instant gratification with crocheting is so great! I've been finding all sorts of crochet projects that I like on Pinterest.

This is a taggy cube that I made for Littlest for Christmas. It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to make it, start to finish.  Here's the tutorial that I *sort of* followed. This looks like a good tutorial for a Taggy Ball. Maybe I'll try that next.


I wanted a few of the sides to be crinkly and then I had a scathingly brilliant idea! I took the plastic from a cereal bag and cut two pieces the same size as my fabric squares then just sewed it along with fabric. It worked wonderfully! The cereal bag plastic is just the right thickness.



I was inspired by this pin to make these granny squares. Don't you just love the colors she used?? Believe it or not, when I started crocheting the first one I thought I was going to make the blanket. Then I realized how silly that was. I don't have enough patience, time or yarn for that right now. So now I have (soon to be) 4 granny squares. That is all.


I gotta tell ya. These were very fun to crochet. It's a little addicting, actually. Maybe someday I will make a blanket.

If you're looking for some crocheting (or otherwise) inspiration you have to check out the blog, Coco Rose Diaries. So loverly. It's my new favorite.



What projects have you been working on?

2/22/2014

Rinse and repeat

In case this post, in which I tell you how I'm trying to rely more on the Holy Spirit in my parenting, caused you to think I've got it all together, I'd like to bring you some realness tonight.

I'm sucking at being a mom these days. This time of year really gets to me. I try not to let it, but the days are cold and long and we're all stuck inside and getting on each others nerves. I NEED SUNSHINE DARNIT.


Sure, I'm praying for wisdom and help but it seems like 30 seconds after I've prayed, I've blown it again. And again. Rinse and repeat.

I feel like giving up on some things. Giving up on ever having a clean house again. Which, honestly, I'm fine with. Clean homes are overrated anyway.

Giving up on ever being able to communicate an intelligent coherent thought again.

Giving up on giving my husband the time and attention he deserves because at the end of the day I can barely stay awake past 8:30. No joke.

Giving up on sleeping. Ever.

Giving up on thinking my children will ever want to be friends with me.

 Isn't this diaper so cute? Not to mention the baby in it.

I'm starting to sound a bit melodramatic, aren't I? And I wonder where my girls get it from.

So, yes, days like today, this is how I feel. 

BUT.

I know that even though today was a bad day, it was just that. A bad day. Tomorrow will (hopefully) be better. And if it's not? The day after that will be fresh with new mercies and grace. And the day after that and the day after that. Rinse and repeat.

 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end; 

 they are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness.   ~Lamentations 3:22-23

It is not hopeless. Even though, right now, it feels like it. Tomorrow is a new day.  

Thank you, Lord, for your new mercies.



2/18/2014

The Right Way to Parent

Starting when I was pregnant with my first, I was on the search for the Right Way to Parent. There had to be one, right? We've all seen those kids who grow up in seemingly perfect good homes and they turn out pretty darn good. When I saw those kids grow into adulthood and not waiver from their faith, I would think, "Those people have the secret formula! I want to know what it is too.”

So I did what I usually do--I read about it. If there’s a book on parenting, I’ve probably read it.
And every time I would read a book I would think, "THIS! This is it! This is the way to get Good Children Who Turn Out to Be Good Adults Who Love the Lord."



And while all of those books have great ideas and I have gained something from all of them, good or bad, I still was relying on The Right Way to Parent mentality. To be honest, the older my children get, the more sin shows up in their life AND MINE and I feel like I’m losing control some days and I get anxious and then I would stress out and talk to my husband and decide I was a bad mom so I would.... read another book. 

There HAD to be a Right Way!


Well, it turns out there is a Right Way, or Right Person, however, and He was there all along. I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.

I'm realizing that instead of relying on Twelve Steps to Better Kids, I need to rely on God. Is that painfully obvious or what? I'm a slow-learner, I know.

Practically speaking, that means several things for me: I (try to remember to) pray every morning for wisdom. Wisdom to train each child in the way he or she should go (Prov. ). Then I continue to pray throughout the day--for wisdom for each situation. Because each situation is different and each child is different. There isn’t One Size Fits All training. I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work.
   
Another thing that has really helped me is figuring out what my goals are as a parent. This was suggested to me by my wonderful husband one evening as I was lamenting to him how horrible a mom I was. He point blank asked me, "What are your goals as a parent? Do you want to raise kids that are perfectly obedient no matter what the cost? Even at the cost of your relationship?" 

You see my dear husband, he knows me. He knows that that is exactly what I don't want. I don’t want to sacrifice the relationship with my children for anything. Because, I believe having a close relationship with them will ultimately lead them closer to Christ. And that is my goal. They are not going to give a rat's patootie what I say if they don't feel invested in, loved and appreciated by me.

Of course I want obedience, too. But that doesn't mean that I have to be a strict disciplinarian who demands obedience without any grace no matter the cost. That isn't how God is with us, why should I treat my children differently? Quite frankly, that is my first go-to parenting method though. I’m trying to change that. I’m trying (and failing a lot) to show grace and be compassionate and understanding.

I'm not saying I won't ever read another parenting book. In fact, I'll probably always be reading some sort of parenting book at any given time. They keep me inspired and refreshed and focused on the job at hand.

But I won't, I repeat, I won't rely on them solely for making sure my children turn out Right. Because that's the Holy Spirit's job. Sure, I'm here to help and the Lord has entrusted me with my children for a reason, but if my heart is right with Him, then I'll leave the Heart Work for my children up to Him too. At the end of the day, He's the one who really changes people anyway.

With all of that said, I have found that Sally Clarkson's resources for parenting are wonderful. Because they actually encourage what I've said here—they encourage you to follow the Holy Spirit's leading. To train your children the way Jesus trained and loved his disciples. To treat them the way the Lord treats us.

2/10/2014

Living simply and with intention


This post is (SO LATE!!) part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I'm thrilled to be a part of! To learn more and join us, head here.

I always get this feeling after I have a baby. This feeling of wanting to remove every single little thing in my life that doesn't serve a purpose. If you have children, you know that along with making life wonderful and a thousand times more beautiful than anyone could have ever told you, they also make life messy and a little more, well... messy. This desire to purge everything and reduce my home to just things that I love and find useful has come after each of my 3 babies.

But eventually, life goes on and my resolve to live more simply fades. I start to succumb to the fast-paced, go-go-go way of life. I'll admit, I'm the most extroverted person I know, so it's sometimes a struggle for me to be at peace with just being at home. I want to be out! I want to be doing! I want to be socializing!

But in my heart, really deep down, what I really want is to enjoy and soak up this time in my life with small children. I love being a Mama so much and I don't want to wake up one day and realize that while I was busy taking my children on playdates they grew up and left home!

I want to savor these moments.


And maybe since this is my third child, (isn't he adorable?) I'm feeling even more this way. With every child we have, we obtain more and more stuff and time is becoming a hot commodity.

So the book, Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrieder could not have come at a better time. Incidentally, I read Tsh's book, Organized Simplicity when my first child was still a baby which was also perfect timing. ;)

So much in Notes From a Blue Bike resonated with me, but the thing that stuck out the most is just learning to slow down. To take my time making dinner, taking time to put my laundry on the line and taking time to just...ahhhh.... breathe. We are so used to rushing around and moving quickly to the "next thing" that in the meantime our family life is getting pushed to the wayside.

I want to be the mom that says "Yes" when my 3 year old wants to play CandyLand for the 16th time. I want to say "Yes" when my 5 year old wants me to watch her dance around the living room. I don't want to feel guilty about having a conversation that consists of high-pitched cooing sounds with my sweet baby boy.
  Middlest LOVES to be in the kitchen.

Not only do I want to slow down, I also want to be more intentional. In one chapter, Tsh talks about being intentional with the food you prepare and serve to your family. That's not easy to do, especially for someone like me who hates really doesn't love cooking. But I'm trying. I really want to teach my children to enjoy cooking and get good at it, so I need to be able to take my time with it.

These are all great ideas, but they are just that--ideas. Here are a few things I'm actually doing to live more simply and intentionally. (Some of these are things I've started before but just gotten out of the habit of doing. *ahem* Here's to new beginnings!)

  • Stop trying to multitask. Multitasking just doesn't work. I'm trying to start ONE thing and FINISH it before moving on to the next. This is not easy with toddlers (I've been interrupted at least 6 times while writing this post and it's quiet time!), but just the fact that I'm trying is helpful. I think. I can't promise that I'll only read one book at a time though. Sometimes I'm in the mood for fiction, sometimes I'm not!
  • Stay home more. Ok. I'm totally cheating on this one. We're down to one car right now, so I kind of don't have a choice but to stay home everyday. But there's something peaceful about the daily routine. And my girls are starting to expect something great and exciting to happen everyday! Well, that just isn't life and I want the special things to remain special. Not having a car is causing some major stir-craziness, but we're making it through. I'm DYING FOR SPRING though. I have a sweet friend who said to me last week, "I feel like Spring was just a dream!" I hear ya, Sister.
  • Stay off of the computer more. This is something I'm always fighting against. There's always just one more email to send, one more quick glance at Facebook, one more blog post to read or write, etc. I'm really trying (and have gotten so much better in this area) to have blocks of time when I'm online; naptime or other down times. There's always room for improvement though.
  • Enjoy the simple things. I've been spending more time knitting and crocheting (I'm hoping to post pictures soon!) and those are great ways to slow down. 

I hope this post has inspired you. :) 


Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. "It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions." Grab your copy here.