The Baby is Now in School

It may only be two days a week. Of those two days, it may be for less than four hours a time. Even still, I feel like my tiny one has grown up in some big, important way.

first-day-of-schoolRowan began going to Montessori a couple weeks ago, and it hasn’t taken him long to get over the initial shock of being in a room full of toddlers and no mamas.

Griffin also has grown in that time, acting as a model big brother throughout the entire process. He meets me in the toddler room and helps to put Rowan’s indoor shoes on, telling him it will all be ok. He even sings the little song we made up when Griffin was in Rowan’s situation:

Mama Comes Back,

Daddy Comes Home,

We Have Fun at Schoo-oo-ool!

(No one said the song was going to win any awards.)

Looking back on his first day, most of what I can remember is that I woke up with a migraine. After dropping him off, worrying that he just wasn’t going to be able to handle being away from me and feeling nauseous the entire car ride home, I got into the bed, pulled the covers over my face, and tried to sleep off the headache. The few hours he was in school was vital for me to survive the migraines which have been longer and stronger lately.

Since then, Rowan’s been eating more for snacks and lunches when he’s there, cuddling up with the teachers, and doing so much independent work that Mrs. Heather has a hard time snapping pictures to document it because he’s always on the move.

I would call that quick progress!

A First Birthday Carnival

This post is a long time in the making, but I wanted to share the wonderful day we had celebrating Rowan as he turned one!

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I went easy on myself and chose a carnival theme – it’s so easy to find decor for this type of party! We had delicious, fun food and drinks, and even a game or two to keep the older kids occupied.

All of the games came from Oriental Trading, and I found a few places online that carried really fun temporary tattoos. That was my favorite part of the party! Even the grandparents were sporting some tattoos before the day was through.

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The Ferris Wheel centerpiece was handmade by my father – isn’t it amazing? I wanted something that would be cute for the party but would also serve as great nursery decor after everything was said and done.

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As for costumes people wore, we picked a few hats from our stash of halloween costumes, and I found quite a few carnival masks from Amazon. But the best ones were from my favorite seller on Etsy – Mosey! She not only made the cutest felt animal masks, but she also did all of the bunting, Rowan’s adorable hat, and his birthday bib.

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After hesitantly poking his finger in the cake, he dug right in – but he requested a spoon for the process once he saw that the cake was getting more on his bib than in his mouth!

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Wake up, You Sleepy Head

sleepI love this picture of Rowan as a tiny baby. He looks so peaceful, asleep in my mom’s living room. Amazing that he could do that with everyone sitting around him, staring at him being adorable just by breathing.

God is always asking me to get out of bed before I feel ready. This has been going on for years, and sometimes I’m very diligent about it, whereas at others I hit snooze or forget to set an alarm in the first place.

But over the last week or so I’ve been getting even more of those messages from Him. At church this week the pastor made a passing comment about rising early, and then later that day I read it somewhere again, not even in connection with God, but with the same message of getting my butt out of the bed before the last possible minute.

Now, I’m an early riser anyway. It’s not as if I’m throwing on a sweatshirt and grabbing the kids a granola bar for the road as we leave for school each morning. I always get up, get ready, put on makeup, make them a good breakfast. Each and every school day. On days off my oldest and I may snuggle a bit, but the little guy generally demands milk, so I’m not sleeping in.

But what does all that sound like? It sounds like me. I get up early so that I can look good. Preparing the kids’ breakfast doesn’t take that long, really. The majority of my morning routine is spent in front of the mirror if I’m really being honest.

So Monday I tried something new. Nothing groundbreaking, but a test-run of sorts. I got up when my husband’s alarm went off at 6am, leaving me about 45 minutes of quiet time before my oldest came running into the room. I didn’t put on makeup or change out of pajamas. In fact, I only brushed my teeth and then got back in bed with my bible and devotional.

But listen, Monday was a GOOD day. I didn’t have any meltdowns or moments of huge stress. I was even able to take the kids to Target, come home and make lunches, and put them down for naps without too much fuss on their part or mine.

Did God give me some kind of epiphany for taking the time to rise and meet him, as I was? Not in any lighting bolt, dramatic fashion. But I think maybe he did in a “gentle whisper” kind of way. This is what your days can be like if you give them to me. This is how you could mother if you allow me to nurture you first.

But guess what? Each day has been more and more of a struggle to grab that time. Monday was easy – I didn’t have to take the kids anywhere. I didn’t have to put on my mask so that humanity wouldn’t freak out over a bare face. But the world tells me I need to cover these dark circles and blonde lashes, so I do it.

Today I read 1 chapter of the bible while nursing my son. Griffin back-talked me after breakfast for one of the very first times, and I didn’t respond as I know I should have.

Would the outcome have looked different if I had gotten up with enough time to start my day with God? I’m not sure. But maybe I need to do more than a 1 day experiment to find out.

 

The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge

Although I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, there really isn’t a better time to kick off some good habits.

This holiday season was very overindulgent for me, maybe for the simple fact that I was sleep deprived and stressed with the new additions and responsibilities of a bigger family. I ate too many sweets, too many foods that slow me down and make me grumpy, and most likely had a few too many glasses of wine some nights, as well.

Last week I purged the house of all that holiday junk, and this Monday began the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge. Jeremy is doing it with me and so far we’ve been pretty much spot on. I can already tell a difference in my energy level! I can also tell a big difference in the way my pants fit when I don’t eat sugar, corn, or gluten free cheat foods. I do so well on a primal diet, and need to just stick with it instead of slowly letting treats creep in (like popcorn at the movies and tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant).

I’ve been told before that I’m too regimented – too disciplined sometimes. But I don’t see it that way at all. My body tells me very quickly when I eat something that isn’t optimal, and it’s much easier for me – and my family – if I just stick with what I know works.

I can also see a big difference when I let a lot of cheat foods come into Griffin’s diet, as well. When he eats primally, with lots of vegetables, fruit, quality meats, and raw, organic dairy, he doesn’t have as many chaotic times. He’s more level-headed and fly off the handle quite as much. Of course, this is a 3 year old we’re talking about, so all that’s all relative.

I know for a fact that our entire family benefits from living Primal, and that includes Rowan. Not just in regards to the quality of my breast milk, either. Because Primal isn’t just about food. It’s an entire lifestyle that includes getting the right amount of sleep, quality sunlight every day, moving our bodies and not being sedentary, and PLAYING.

Play is such a huge aspect of the Primal lifestyle that many people overlook. But our best moments as a family are the times that Jeremy is playing the guitar and Griffin and I are having a dance party around Rowan, who kicks his feet and looks in wonder at what he knows his body will eventually be able to do.

So today is day 3 of the 21 day challenge and we are flying high. It allows us to really connect as a family, get as healthy as our bodies can be, and simplify life to include what’s really important.

It’s all about simplifying right now, and this is just one more way we can do that.

Primal Challenge

Revisiting Minimalism as a Mother of Two

The more I acquire, the more I seem to want to simplify. Now that I’ve acquired another child and we’re a family of four, this has hit me with greater force than ever.

BrothersThe need to declutter goes hand in hand with my need to destress as much as possible. Is that even possible in this season of life? I’m not sure – at least about the stress level. But what I can control are my family’s possessions, and that doesn’t just mean the tangible “things” all over the house.

Our possessions have also shown up in the form of anxieties, frustrations, over-abundance of food and convenience products, and unnecessary cultural expectations (decorating the house and keeping it immaculate for any unexpected guests that may arrive).

This past weekend was Griffin’s third birthday, but it was his first that I didn’t allow the party to completely take over my life. Yes, it was still a great party with tons of food and everyone having a great time. But I didn’t go all out like I have in the past. This could be partly due to the lack of brain cells needed to do that – having a two-month-old hasn’t allowed me to focus entirely on any one thing. But the decor was much more scaled down than in the previous two years, and I didn’t worry as much about topping myself from previous years.

I compare myself to myself more than anyone else, always attempting to one-up the previous me and what her accomplishments were.

Griffin's BirthdayI’ve found it interesting that on the days when this need to simplify really strikes me the most, I will have a mental relapse and find myself shopping online for something frivolous, or going to the grocery store and loading the cart with pre-cut fruit and vegetables. I can certainly cut a sweet potato myself and save us money in the process, but the allure of having the produce guy at Whole Foods do it for me is too strong sometimes.

I also want to cultivate a minimalist wardrobe for myself – an overhaul of my current closet, to be replaced with quality pieces that are interchangeable and can be worn over and over. But that would require alot of time and money to get started, and I fall into that trap, telling myself I’m simplifying when what I’m really doing is online shopping.

These things are all an ongoing process, just like everything else where simplification is concerned.

It’s all about this idea of experiences over “things.” Having our family spend our time and money on what is lasting – on memories we will share and always have, versus things that are merely meant to be looked at or compared with someone else’s. Franklin, Tennessee is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, and we constantly have to watch ourselves from falling into the comparison trap. I want my sons to grow up knowing other cultures, other ways of living.

I never want them to belong to this entitlement society, even if they do live in it.

BeachSo I’m trying something new, and with a new year approaching I think it’s coming at the perfect time. We will not be spending a lot of money on things to make our new home more magazine-worthy; rather, we will be spending our money on experiences, starting with a two-month cultural immersion experience in Dublin, Ireland this summer.

More details on that to come!