Saturday, February 13, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

Another large helping of links. This week's links include wasted years, historical amnesia, pain and illness, Winter, banned books, and kudzu.
   On Faith:
"Friend, Maybe you needed to know that today. Maybe you needed to know that at your lowest, Jesus bent down — all the way from heaven — to find you and save you. Jesus is more than a flicker at the end of the hallway. He is more than a light at the faraway door. He is not Someone whom you have to strain to reach. He is at the doorway. But is also with you in the hallway. He IS the way. God is faithful, even when we have been broken down into so many pieces that we feel utterly faithless."
"Your Father God is a good, good Father and all you need to do is curl up next to Him and breathe in and out; you don’t even need to say anything. It’s enough and it’s the best and if it’s my favorite part of a day filled with gifts and blockbusters and all the razzmatazz the marketing world could cook up for us – if this moment right here, at midnight, this moment my son isn’t even aware of – if this is the best, the BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT Of my day – how much more must our Heavenly Father thrill when you come and curl up exhausted at the end of the year and just breathe in and out next to Him."
"So, together, we organized an event called “Southside Evangelism.” Our church is located in “Southside Columbus.” It is a historic, diverse neighborhood bordered by downtown, the Mississippi University for Women, and the Tombigbee Waterway. This neighborhood, our neighborhood, became our aim. Our goal was to simply remind them that we are neighbors, and we would like to get to know them." 
I so love this PB and his message and I also adore the idea of Mississippi Episcopalians evangelizing door to door with pecans. [Also the priest at this church is a former Biking Club buddy's baby brother. I love FB because I get to keep up with folks like him.]
"When we familiarize ourselves with only one side of the debate (typically the side ultimately found to be just) we miss the full depth of the argument and, worse yet, slip into a sort of historical amnesia that allows us to believe we too would have chosen the side of good on account of its seemingly obvious virtue." 
Peyton shared Neil Carter's article that she mentions with me awhile back. My thoughts were mostly "low anthropology, all day every day" but I think RHE makes some very good points here. Let's be willing to examine (all parts of) our pasts and examine ourselves. [ETA: low anthropology-- in other words, no shit Christians are often found on "the wrong side of history". We miss up quite a bit. It *kinda* points to our need for a Savior. That doesn't trouble me too much at all.]

"Sometimes what we’re holding onto isn’t really an anchor for our soul — but an idol for our destruction. Sometimes when it feels like God’s breaking our anchor — He’s really breaking our idols —- what we were holding on to more than we were holding on to Him. Sometimes God allows all our anchors to break —- so we know the only unbreakable anchor we have is Him."
"Christians fear the freedom we have in Christ, not only for others but even for ourselves. We are terribly concerned that life apart from the law is no life at all, only chaos, and so we have attempted to bury grace underneath a fiction that it can be married to the law to give the gospel structure. Understand this fear clearly– it is the fear that Christ’s own word of forgiveness, his promise of life, cannot deliver what it says, but must be reinforced to protect us. We pretend that some blend of law and promise still deserves the name freedom. But it is not so. Jesus Christ and his forgiveness need no supplementation, and his freedom needs nor tolerates any hedge around it. It’d be nice if his people remembered that now and then."
On Love:
"If justification by information breeds exhaustion, and justification by flip phone breeds self-righteousness, then justification by grace through faith breeds love. Which brings us to the final part of the equation. Because there are those who are looking to technology to inform them of something more than just their acquittal. They are looking to scratch an itch even more nagging than the one for acceptance. I’m talking about love. And that’s where cynicism ends and compassion takes over. The digital wind howls, with singular purpose, a tune that is neither new nor particularly informative. It is one we all know: acknowledge me, affirm me, love me. This is the age-old cry of the human heart, a cacophony not of fact or opinion but of need." 
This is LONG, but so interesting. Wanted to quote the whole thing.
On Peace:
"Sometimes I think I want peace but what I really want is calm. Calm is quiet rooms and alone time. Calm is slow movements, deep breathing, and zero percent chaos. Calm, when you can get it, is a gift. But it’s not the same as peace. Peace is hard-won, the child of justice and courage. And anyone who has fought for justice with courage knows that peace is not the same as calm."
On Calling:
"Instead, a calling is more about becoming the person you were meant to be. It’s about becoming the best and truest version of yourself. And the journey to becoming that person could take many shapes and forms and paths. But for most of us, there are often some common denominators in that journey: Suffering. Discontentment. Relinquishing the need for control. Forgiving. Accepting others, and yourself – warts and all. Surrender."
On Sacraments:
"So much of evangelical Protestantism, both mainlines and charismatics (the Catholic and Anglican charismatic movements, which tended to pour more spiritual significance into the Sacraments, not withstanding) has tended to drain the spiritual or metaphysical reality from the Sacraments. Whether from the Zwinglian influence on a non-sacramental view of the acts instituted by Christ as “ordinances”, or the cessation of regular celebration due to the influences of Revivalism and a lack of ordained clergy on the American frontier, true sacraments have largely been absent from the evangelical Protestant landscape. In the absence of “true” sacraments, people have adapted new ones. The Spirit of God was always at work in and through music and singing, that’s not in question here; however the privileged position these acts of worship now enjoy may really more a function of our prescription rather than God’s. The same might also have been said in earlier times about preaching. The safest guard against an anthropologically centered “worship experience” is the guardrails provided by our Lord in the Sacraments of the church."
On Family and Home:
"There is no one right way to live life in a home. No one size of routine or rules or order fits all…. But the more carefully we plan our days, the better our homes will provide us with freedom and enjoyment as well as purpose and accomplishment. … Familiar rhythms and routines give structure that provides leadership and personal care to all who live there. When children and guests know what to expect, they also know how to ask for their personal needs to be met and understand what part they play in the life of the home."
On Perspective:
"As I move through life I’m learning to intentionally allow things into my life that will grow my perspective in the gray areas. And let’s be honest, a lot of life is gray."
On Self-Care:
"The question of, “What is the real deadline here?” is the exercising of some self-care and preservation—a little pushback to test the deadline and to give yourself time to make a sound decision."
On Gender:
"First, reform does not work when cloistered away in elite communities. A sense of perspective, and a sense of human limitation and weakness, and a sense of the weight, not of history only but of the human condition, gets lost. Perspective is thereby lost and a movement may have all the superficial energy in the world, but none of the deep, abiding conviction, entirely resigned yet infinitely resolute, possessed by the great movements for change of the past."

On Diversity:
Excited about these ideas!
On Pain and Illness:
"In my outings on crutches, I've noticed people reacting to me in a way they haven't since I was pregnant. I have a theory now (and I'm sure I'm not the first) that people are the nicest to people with obvious short-term injuries or medical conditions, such as pregnancy, crutches or casts. Less so than they are to people with long-term injuries, like walkers or wheelchairs or canes. And illness, forget about it. Nobody wants to be in the same room with someone ill: Even if it's not catching, we're afraid we'll catch it. Some part of it. Maybe the fear part. It makes sense, I suppose. We don't like to think about our own mortality or how we would feel if it were us in the wheelchair instead. Crutches or a cast denote temporary conditions, ones we think we could probably live with, and that the otherwise healthy-looking person sporting them seems like us."
On Winter:
"Without the stress of cold in a temperate climate, without the cycle of the seasons experienced not as a gentle swell up and down but as an extreme lurch, bang! from one quadrant of the year to the next, a compensatory pleasure would vanish from the world. There is a lovely term in botany — vernalization — referring to seeds that can only thrive in spring if they have been through the severity of winter. Well, many aspects of our life have become, in the past several hundred years, “vernalized.” (Even those who live in warmth recognize the need for at least the symbols of the cold, as in all that sprayed-on snow in Los Angeles in December.) If we didn’t remember winter in spring, it wouldn’t be as lovely; if we didn’t think of spring in winter, or search winter to find some new emotion of its own to make up for the absent ones, half of the keyboard of life would be missing. We would be playing life with no flats or sharps, on a piano with no black keys."
Humor Worth Sharing:
"Commonly Banned: Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. Ban Instead: Rope swings over rain-swollen creeks; heartbreak."
Photography and Art (and Information) Worth Sharing:
"Unattended in the deep South’s ideal climate, it grew virtually unchecked and is today estimated to cover nearly 7.4 million acres, causing a loss of $100–500 million per year in forest productivity and costing $1.5 million per year to repair damaged power lines."
 How talented is our friend Nia? I always think it's so fun when she gives us a little peek at the process behind her craft.
Noteworthy Quotes:
A question worth asking often: "Is my theology consistent?"If I claim to be pro-life, do I only mean anti-abortion?How do I feel about IVF? Surrogacy? Access for persons with disabilities? Racism? Economic inequality? Misogyny? Refugees? Immigrants? Native peoples? [...list continues for quite awhile...] End of life care?To be theologically consistent and to be pro-life is to commit yourself to the flourishing of individuals at every stage of their lives, because that is the common cause of God, who suffers long so thatnone would be lost. Anyway, it's a question worth asking often, politically and generally." -Preston Yancey

Noteworthy Images:

Hope you enjoy the round up!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Babykins #3: Twenty Three Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How far along: 23 weeks
Size of Baby: (via BabyCenter) Babykins #3 is over eleven inches long and weights about as much as a large mango, which is around one pound! She's starting to hear things better and the blood vessels in her lungs are developing so she'll be ready to breath on his own.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: seventeen pounds. Apparently, I had gained ten at twenty five weeks with Graves (and less than that with AP?) and was having discussions with Cookie about how huge I was. Good grief.
Maternity Clothes: Not today, but my friend Haley passed on some super cute stuff and I'm so excited about that!
Gender: It's a girl!
Movement: She's a busy girl! Peyton even felt her kick recently. I think I mentioned this but she's really, really active at night.
Sleep: Whew, I've been so tired lately. I had so much fun on my girls' trip with Ashley and Carrie but it wore me out. Also, I've had a little cough and have had some restless nights. I've been going to bed earlier than usual and that's helped. Last night I felt like I finally got a good night's rest.
Cravings: I ate this "Mexican street corn" at a restaurant Cookie loves in Nashville and I SO wish I could find it somewhere here.

Symptoms: heartburn, headaches, throwing up, you name it. I at least have some of my energy back, though, and I do NOT take that for granted. 
What I Miss: Not taking trips to the bathroom every ten minutes. I was pretty worried about the car trip but it ended up being fine and we probably stopped every couple of hours. I did my best to stay hydrated but at home I'm trying to drink even more water and I feel like I'm in the bathroom ALL the time. 
Best Moment This Week: having some time away from the kids and Peyton and then getting back and being so happy to see them. 
What I Am Looking Forward To: I had not even THOUGHT about this, but in my post with Graves, I mentioned being excited about reaching viability. Of course, we hope Sister Baby stays put for a lot longer, but that's CRAZY to me. I can't believe it and it's sort of a surreal "light at the end of the tunnel" feeling. 
Comparison to Graves:

Well, this was a fun surprise! I was wearing the same dress in my twenty three weeks picture with Graves! I wish it was a full body shot because I realized how much bigger I look all over this time (rather than just my tummy).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weekly Happenings Post #351 (December 21-27)-- Christmas and a Fainting Spell


Well, I'm waaaay behind again. But here's Christmas week!

Monday was SO busy. We got up and got ready in a HURRY (somehow I turned off my alarm) and headed out. We dropped off Graves around nine thirty with Peyton's dad and then Peyton, Annie, and I headed to Haydn's swearing in. It was a really nice ceremony and I do think Graves could have might it through it fine, but we just wanted it to be a little more less stressful.
I'm sure it was hormones, but I literally got teary that Haydn was holding his own somewhat fretful little boy as he took his oath of office. Haydn is such a wonderful man for this job because he cares so deeply for little children and will work so tirelessly on their behalf. "Whatever you did for the least of these..." It's an honor to call him a dear friend (no pun intended).

There was a reception afterwards and I PASSED OUT. Eeek.
 I had some of these for breakfast but I had literally nothing to drink all morning. It ended up being no big deal but I was sort of mortified and it freaked me out so badly while it was happening. I grabbed Peyton's arm and told him I was so dizzy all of a sudden and then everything got so blurry and I literally thought I was dying (which seems so stupid and dramatic but I've never fainted before). Then when I woke up on the floor I thought "this can't happen; we have so much to do today". Then I PANICKED and was like "where's Annie?" (Haydn had grabbed her and distracted her but honestly she's six, she's pretty self-sufficient, and things like that don't really scare her.) Then I finally started fretting over my spilled drink, making sure my dress wasn't pulled up, and telling deputy guy who called the ambulance he could cancel it and every one else how far along I was. That's when I knew I was back to my old self.

We picked up Graves and were going to head to Lenny's because I had been craving it so badly. The kids didn't really even one want sandwiches, though, so we went to Chik Fil A first. We were just going to drive through but the line was LONG so we went in and they ate. Then we headed to Lenny's. We're so absurd. After that, Peyton got a cookie from Primos and we mailed something at the post office and got stamps. Then we headed to Office Depot to make copies of the Christmas letter. The letter got raindrops on it and they made some letters bleed through (I at least had the sense to get the girl working there to make one copy before doing them all). I was able to white them out on the photocopied copy with White Out and then the stack turned out normal. We came back home in really heavy afternoon/Christmas/rainy day traffic. I took a nap and then we played with the kids some. Then Peyton brought boxes up to the attic and I organized them up there.
The specificity of my labeling is intense ("decorative and functional bins and boxes").

I did their Advent reading and they ate supper and Peyton read to them and then they went to bed and we worked on going through some more attic boxes. I got on the computer and read a couple of blogs and then wrote a post. It was late but I finally got our Christmas cards ready- envelopes stuffed, stamps on each, and return address stamped. Peyton and I chatted and then I went to bed after that.

I was so, so excited to see this day. Peyton took off two days the next weekend (he tried for all three but couldn't get one) and because of his weird schedule, he was off nine out of the next ten days. Unbelievable. Lately, I've been feeling like the days that Peyton works long shifts feel not just exhausting but particularly lonely. Hormones, man. However, I have two damn good teammates and I'm so thankful for my time with them. But four is more fun than three (and I'm counting on five will be more fun than four). Also: Graves has never loved a chapter book like he loves The Mouse on the Motorcycle.

Tuesday was a fun day. We got up around eight and basically hopped in the car to go get the truck so that Peyton could get some stuff to hang the swing I had gotten off Craigslist.

We got home and I took a bath, helped the kids get ready, and packed some lunch.

We left and headed to Carrie's for a MUCH overdue play date. The kids had so much fun seeing their friends and Carrie and I had a good time catching up. We came home and the kids finished their shows and I got on the computer briefly and then worked on cleaning off a bookshelf in the study. I ate something and the kids played outside while Peyton and Mickey kept working on the swing. They finished up for the day and the kids ate supper and I put up dishes. Peyton read to the kids and I made a grocery list, started laundry, and then washed dishes. I did the kids' Advent reading with them and changed over the laundry and Peyton and I sorted through more stuff in the den. Graves fell asleep and Peyton and Annie went to Kroger. I caught up on a bunch of blogs and wrote a post. When they got home, I put up groceries, ate something, and finished reading blogs.

Wednesday was a really great day for whatever reason. I just felt good, which can be rare these days. Peyton got up and took Graves to Walmart for a few things and then picked up me and Annie and we all went to The Children's place to look for some pjs.

 We had a few errands and Peyton wanted to get out before Lakeland got crazy (which, to be fair just meant us leaving before ten and he took Graves to Walmart before that and let me and Annie sleep late, which was SO appreciated). Still, they got home and I had no time to shower or anything. I brushed my teeth and put on a hat, y'all. I'm all about loungewear on the go, but I never really go in public without taking a bath, fixing my hair, and putting on some makeup. Peyton told me he loves this look and thinks it's so cute He wasn't being sweet, he was being weird. It's probably because I don't have a sporty bone in my body and I have to search DEEP for the nature girl, so it's just different and fun. I guess?!? Grateful for a hot bath, a blow dryer, and mascara. 

We stopped at the library and I just hung out with Graves while he built a "house" with the pillows in the comfy area of the library. We stayed about forty five minutes and then came home. I talked to Minnie for a good while and Peyton fixed lunch. I got on the computer briefly and uploaded pictures from my phone and we had lunch. 
 Trying to stay hydrated. The limes would make me twitchy (I'm very compulsive about certain seasonal eating and they feel so Summery) but it's literally seventy nine degrees, so I'm going with it.

 Follow up: I heard it was supposed to be 72 degrees in New York on Christmas Eve. As hard as it was for me (and y'all know it was HARD) I'm grateful that our two Winters there were actually unusually cold instead of unusually hot.

I made a list for the day and then Peyton and I took baths. The kids watched their shows and Peyton made a trip to Gateway and I scanned our Christmas card, started a post, and backed up pictures from my phone. They had rest time and I read some blogs and organized some new homeschool stuff in the kitchen.

Rest time was over and the kids (and Peyton and I) had a snack and I tried to start supper but we didn't have an frozen chicken tenders to use. I finished up organizing more school stuff and then straightened and organized in the laundry room. The kids cleaned their room, Peyton took stuff to the attic and then worked on some other messes around the house, and I organized in the attic for about two hours.

 I mean, his "new" (from his cousin, via the attic) shoes are a different brand, they don't *seem* that much bigger to the eye, and he does have a good bit of room in them. But there's a certain amount of mom guilt inherent when your baby goes from an 8.5 to an 11. I feel like my life is getting predictable. I kept thinking about how I was more thankful than ever for that manger baby who takes all the guilt away.
You know the late nights are catching up with her when she can't even stay awake for the new today bald eagles library book. This was around 5:30 so I knew we were in for a long night!

 I collected laundry and Peyton cooked supper. The kids ate and had a bath and I washed a ton of dishes while he picked up some medicine for me and did the recycling. I did the kids' Advent reading and Peyton read to them and played with them and then he baked a pie and I got on the computer and wrote a post and read some blogs.

I slept pretty late again on Thursday and then got up and took my bath and ate breakfast. It was Christmas Eve! I made the kids' Christmas scavenger hunt cards. I made the bed and started laundry and then wrapped a bunch of presents- it took a lot longer than I had expected and they didn't look very good at all.

 We are every kind of ridiculous (it was actually some random baby doll clothes we found in the attic).

 I made my parents and in-laws these calendars. I was thrilled with how they turned out!

 Peyton spent most of the morning outside cleaning out the carport and Graves played out there a bunch and AP read inside.
  Who is this grown person at my door?

 I changed over the laundry, did dishes, and had lunch and we got ready to go. We drove out to Clinton to drop of a cranberry pie with Peyton's co-workers and then went to my parents' house. Cookie and Conrad were there and we had a wonderful time visiting. We got there a little before three and stayed until about eight thirty. We had sushi for supper and got to visit alot. We came home and got the kids to their room. I read a few blogs and then got things together for the next day. I folded laundry and went to bed around twelve thirty.

We got up early on Friday and chatted and then I went back to bed. We were all back up at 7:30 and hurried and got ready and headed to my parents' house for Christmas morning. We had such a great time opening presents and having brunch.

 He takes his superhero job very seriously.

 Cookie asked her the night before if she wanted to be Santy and pass out presents on Christmas morning and she said "Well, I'd rather be Rudolph and Graves be Santy. Usually I'm the animal and he's the person."

About to fly...

Around noon we headed to Peyton's parents' and got to visit with his brothers and sister and his parents and uncle. We had good food and presents there, too! Then we headed BACK to my parents' and talked, watched movies, and had red beans and rice.

 Tinker Toys, a golden-doodle photobomb, and my favorite retro cowboy shorts. It's basically a Norman Rockwell painting.


We got home around nine thirty and put the kids to bed. We went through the presents and got a lot put up. I read a few blogs and then went to bed.

Saturday was another great day, but we were tired. I slept pretty late and then got a bath and had breakfast. I helped Peyton find a box of Christmas stuff we were getting rid of for his brother and his wife to come look through and I made the bed and straightened a bit. The kids did their scavenger hunt for the Baby Jesus that goes in the nativity since we ran out of time the day before. I got myself and the kids dressed and Peyton finished installing a fan in the study. He took a quick bath and we finished getting ready and then dropped off the truck at his parents' and headed to my parents' house. Conrad's sister was home (in Baton Rouge) from Portland and they obviously don't see each other much, so she and her husband and Conrad's mom drove up for the afternoon. We had a really nice time visiting (and eating more!) but the kids both struggled some. They were just so worn out.

 I guess we know what his new go-to outfit is. Minnie was so proud of herself with how she did with his presents (he's very laid back but his preferences are near as distinct as Annie's, typically, so he's harder to buy for).

We did end up leaving around five (Conrad's family left an hour or so earlier) and came home. I helped the kids clean up their room and then we did their Bible reading. Peyton fed and bathed them and I took a nap. I felt TERRIBLE.

When Peyton put up the fan, he decided he didn't want to include the lights (they hung pretty low and he wanted a more minimalist feel and also he hates overhead lighting anyway). I said okay because he's been really sweet to compromise on a good many things in the room that's supposed to be "his". I actually really like the feel with just the lamps. And the room is finally neat and that's refreshing too. I laid down on our pull our sofa bed from Brooklyn (memories!) and was just resting. I was feeling SO awful and I was worried I was going to faint again. The bad news is that the multiple sausage that I ate that Mickey grilled that day are apparently on the Things I Can't Eat list. The good news is once I spent some time next to the toilet I felt significantly better. I really figured by sixteen weeks I'd be done with this stage. At least it was getting less frequent.

I got up and talked to Peyton, read a few blogs, started laundry, got our church stuff together and had some supper. I changed over the laundry and folded some and then went to bed.

Peyton worked on Sunday and for some reason I hit snooze on my alarm or something and didn't get up on time. I was pretty frustrated since I had gotten up thirty minutes before to use the bathroom and actually felt pretty good. But there just wasn't time. Since we have to drop Peyton off, it's not like we can just be running a few minutes late. Anyway, the kids both slept really late and I did, too. We got up and had breakfast, I took a bath and got on the computer, and they played with their new toys some. They were about to watch their shows and Graves locked us all out of their room. I tried to get it unlocked but I ended up having to call my dad. I read a few blogs and Annie and Graves watched their shows. Mickey came over and unlocked the room and they finished their shows after he left. Both the kids were just in the worst moods and I sort of was, too. They ate lunch and I had mine, too. I put up dishes and started some laundry. The kids had rest time and I mostly just napped. When I got up, I felt a good bit better. I changed over laundry, folded some towels, and swept and scrubbed the bathroom floors. I emptied trash and visited with the kids. They did a little crafting and I cooked tomato soup and washed dishes. They ate and I finished the dishes and I scrubbed the tubs, sinks, and potties in both bathrooms. We brushed and flossed teeth and then read, did our Bible reading, and played. They went to their room and I talked to my mom. Peyton got home and we ate supper and then watched a couple of shows while I folded more laundry. I put up laundry and read some blogs and worked on a post. I did dishes and went to bed.

Next up, January! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

February Goals and Happenings

 It took me awhile to find a background I really liked. There are just only so many themed backgrounds for Valentine's Day that I haven't used and some of them weren't really cute. That said, I ended up LOVING how the header and the background turned out. Two months out of two really loving the design. Maybe I'm getting better at this even though my options are getting more limited?

 January was a great month. I worked three different weeks at MDO and I started my Junior League placement and we really got more fully back into the swing of homeschooling and normal life in general. It felt balanced which was nice because it was a hard month as far as baby growing. Nothing awful, but I was dealing with lots of headaches and dizziness. And of course, it was really fun getting to find out that this new baby is a girl!

Coming up this month:
- I mentioned last month that Peyton is coming along and reading with me on Thursday mornings when I do my Junior League placement just because he loves this type of volunteering (and secretly, or not so secretly, wishes he was a teacher). Anyway, he wasn't able to come last month because we hadn't figured out childcare but my mom is keeping the kids on Thursday mornings now and I think it's going to be wonderful for all of us!
- I'm hoping to work a few days here and there but not too much.
- I do have a doctor's appointment coming up and I'm also going to see a neurologist for my headaches.
- I have my Jumble shift for the Junior League next week and then I'll be done with all my fundraising obligations for this year!
- Valentine's Day!!! (We have absolutly no plans and never do, ha!)
- Carrie and I are leaving tomorrow to meet Ashley in Nashville for a little girls' weekend. I'm so excited!
- Cookie will be here for a weekend later in the month, too, which is always really wonderful.

Here were my January Goals. I was more ambitious in the number I set than usual, but I think I did pretty good! 

1. Pray daily. I'm sure I missed a day or two, but I felt like I did spend more time in prayer than I have in a long while and it felt good and comforting to me.

2. Read daily. Nope. I did finish a book, but I can't say I read (a book) daily or even close to it. I do really want to work on this this year.

3. Try to strike a balance between healthy, real food based meals and snacks and unhealthy/processed meals and snacks. I feel like I was really successful with this. I did eat a bunch of junk, but I ate LOTS of fruits and veggies, too (or a lot for me).

4. Celebrate Epiphany. Yes! As I said, it wasn't really the way I wanted to, but oh well. We gave the kids some small presents in their stockings and we discussed the Wise Men a little but not as much as I would have liked. Peyton and I were also going to go to a service at Northside that night but my doctor's appointment took too long and we didn't have time.

5. Take down Christmas. Yes! Thank goodness.

6. Back up and wipe out computer. Nope. I've been putting this off for far too long. It's going back on the list.

7. Work on Interstate driving. I did some but then when I realized there were only a couple of weeks going to Book Buddies before Peyton started, I just decided to have him drop me off and put it off until later. 

8. Sort stuff for the Junior League Jumble. Yes! I still have some stuff to sell but (this feels SO good!) I got my quota together for the Jumble and then got a bunch of other stuff together and made a huge Gateway trip. Like I said, I still have some stuff to sell but we've done a lot of the work as far as the purge goes.

9. Get Graves an appointment at the GI doctor. I discussed it with Peyton and we decided to just watch his little issue for awhile longer.

10. Start school with both kids. Yes! I'd like to get a bit more disciplined, but we've got a good routine going!

11. Plan this semester. I did this and we've started to get in a routine that accomplishes most of what I want. I need to do a post about it!

12. Think about curriculum for next school year. We met with a friend who helped advise us to discuss next year and I feel so great about it.

13. Formulate yearly goals list. I got this done last week and I'm really happy with my yearly "ambitions" as I call them.

14. Work on catching up on the blog. I worked on it, but as I suspected, it's going to take awhile.

15. Find a doula. I also researched and asked around, but I haven't settled on anyone yet. I need to nail that down.

16. Finish Making a Murderer. We did! Gosh. So, so many thoughts.

 And now February's Goals. Again, I'm picking one yearly goal from each of my focus areas or at least something related to that area.

1. Pick back up my devotions. I have two AMAZING devotional books and I've really gotten out of the habit of reading them. I want to make time to read one in the mornings and one at night. (Faith)

2. Work on making a Spring "bucket list" for the kids. This was largely Peyton's idea. We have a little tin bucket in the kitchen and he thought it would be great to fill it with little slips of paper with fun ideas of things to do with the kids on them. He's already put some in but I want to make it cuter and use these preschool cards we have for Graves to come up with some ideas. They have really fun suggestions on them (like playing charades with animal crackers and acting out the animal you are) but we always forget about them. I just want to make it easy and accessible. (Family)

3. Have at least one family over for dinner this month. ACTUALLY, we were supposed to have family friends over this week on Tuesday and Wednesday but both got cancelled because both had sick kids! I hope we can reschedule with both these families for later in the month! (Relationships)

4. Daily practice self-care. There's something about February that feels indulgent and I don't think "self-care" should be considered indulgent but sometimes I feel like it is. Whatever. I do think it's a good month for me to focus on little things that will bring more joy and peace. (Health)

5. Finish another book. As I said, I want to keep focusing on becoming a reader (of BOOKS) again. (Creativity/Passion)

6. Continue to fine tune our Spring semester school routine. I know it will get a bit more chaotic once soccer starts back in a few weeks, so I'd like to try to get a little more organized with this. (Education/Edification)

7. Back up everything on the computer and wipe it out. Again, I NEED to do this. (Organization)

8. RELAX and enjoy our friend trip to Nashville this weekend.  (Travel)

9. Challenge myself not to buy anything "extra" this month and get my personal finances (my work money) up to date. I did order some homeschool supplies off Amazon and I'm going to order the kids some Summer shoes whenever they appear on Zulily again, but I don't want to spend on anything not planned. I have a few items I want to save towards for the Spring and I'm just going to keep and list and prioritize them after I save up some. (Finances)

 10. Practice being content without buying things. I spent a good bit back before Christmas and it's hard to get back into the saving mindset again. (Joy/Gratitude)

11. Clean kitchen appliances. I did the fridge recently but we need to do the microwave, oven and stove,a and toaster oven (Additional Goal)

12. Pick back up The West Wing and have text discussions with Cookie. She just started it. When I watch it I'm always like "best, most amazing, most inspiring show ever" but then I drop it for a bit. It's partly hard because Peyton's already watched the whole series and I like to watch stuff together with him. BUT, I really want to pick it back up. (Fun Goal)

Here's to February, the month of love. May we delight in our blessings and remember that they half hidden in the glimpsed city Earth longs to become.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Babykins #3: Twenty Two Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How far along: 22 weeks
Size of Baby: (via BabyCenter) Babykins #3 is almost a full pound and about eleven inches long (about the length of a spaghetti squash)! Her facial features are becoming more distinct and s he's starting to look like a miniature newborn!
Total Weight Gain/Loss: about twelve pounds. With Graves, I had only gained about five at this point. Whoa!
Maternity Clothes: Ugh, not if I can help it. Tights, leggings, and comfy pants, pretty much. I am breaking out the jeans, though, because Carrie and I are spending the weekend with Ashley in Nashville and it's going to be chilly!
Gender: It's a girl! I've been meaning to mention this, but I think we're going to keep her name a surprise until she arrives =) Not that we've even figured it out yet. 
Movement: Oh my goodness, she's moving up a storm lately. I know it's not going to be long until Peyton and the kids can feel her kicking around! Oh, and she's SO active at night. I wonder if she'll be a nightowl like me and her big sister. Eeek ;)
Sleep: It's been kind of rough this week. I think it's partly me being inconsistent with my schedule, though.
Cravings: Corndogs. I know, I know.

Symptoms:  Well, I'm back to throwing up some. I've had some terrible heartburn and some days I'm honestly like "HOW am I going to make it until June?" But then I have some really good days where I don't feel miserable and I so, so love feeling her move around now. I know this is the last time I'll get to do this so I'm trying VERY hard to enjoy it as much as I can even though pregnancy has never been something I love as much as I adore the end result. 
What I Miss: I guess I just miss feeling like "me". And I'm facing the reality that with postpartum hormones, it will likely be next Fall before I do again. But it's so, so worth it and I don't want to take this for granted at all.  
Best Moment This Week: really starting to feel her move more!
What I Am Looking Forward To: February is a just a fun month in general and while I don't want to be wishing the time away, I can't lie- I'm happy it's a short one. When we hit March I'll just feel so much closer to meeting our girl!
Comparison to Graves:
I did get Peyton to take some pictures on the real camera during week 20. I'm planning to do a little "halfway there" post, probably next week, so I'll include them there!

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I'm Into: January

On the Nightstand:
I actually finished a book this month!

Telling God's Story: A Parent's Guide to Teaching the Bible- Peter Enns
This book was really, really helpful and freeing for me and it showed me a new way if sharing Scripture the children.

We're spending a lot of time with Jesus, mostly.

And I try to read these two daily. I'm not always successful, though. Either way, I'm going to keep with them until I'm totally sick of them.
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris

On Their Nightstand: 

Picturepedia: An Encyclopedia on Every Page- DK Publishing 
Annie said to me "The other day at naptime I spent most of my time on history. Which, I don't usually do history in the picturepedia book. I usually do nature." (Little chuckle)- "No wonder, right?" Yes, Annie, no wonder. Also, I DO wonder how many hours she's clocked in this thing. It is an amazing volume.

Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
Explaining to my (sometimes stubborn) thinker why poetry is classified as nonfiction (because "sometimes, Momma, poetry can be a pretend story, you know?"). However, this is such a beautiful book and we've loved it. 

Among the Animals: Mississippi by Stephen Kirkpatrick 
I have always loved Mr. Stephen's photography (he lives in Jackson and I was close friends with his son growing up) and when I realized he had, along with his sweet wife, done a children's book, I knew they (especially, Annie) would be enthralled. It is so well done and engaging. Just beautiful!

On the Shelf:
I started these two back several months ago and I'd love to finish both this month. 
Tender Hooks- Beth Ann Fennelly

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms How We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead- Brene Brown

At the Theater (or from the couch):
I only watched one movie, but I absolutely loved it.

 Inside Out- I knew I'd love it so much because I'm so into feelings and emotions and that sort of thing and the concept just seemed brilliant and anything done by Pixar is mostly fantastic. Well, it exceeded my expectation. Peyton said it was "such a gift".  He actually shared about it on Facebook and his words almost made me teary (fitting, right?):
"We had some BIG emotional outburst over having to finish math before going to the park/library and we decided to let AP cool down (and pretend to be getting dressed to walk there alone) while the rest of us watched the movie. As she undressed in a bit of defeat and asked us to help her pull off one of the 6 pair of pant layers she'd suited up in to retain her warmth outside, she was immediately captivated by the movie. She sat on the couch beside me and watched the entire thing. It was probably our first real "family movie" experience where we laughed, cried, and discussed the movie in depth. Inside Out did a masterful job of providing parents (and kids) with a tool to discuss emotions. AP moves away from showing sadness and is pretty good at being angry, the movie gave us some jumping off conversations to that subject. Graves seemed to pretty much revel in the movie and enjoyed it the way through. After it he basically crashed and slept on the couch...AP is now in the office finishing her math thanks (in part) to that great tool pixar gifted to parents like ourselves." 
It was so well done and I think we'll (all) watch it many more times. Graves has already asked to see it again!

On the Small Screen:

Making a Murderer
Oh gosh, I will talk to anyone who will listen about this. Fortunately, it got so much hype, lots of people want to talk =) I finally finished it and I've also been reading (and plan to read more) various opinions about it. Less on whether or not Steve Avery did it, more on just an analysis of ideas surrounding it.

Unsolved Mysteries 
I mentioned awhile back that we had actually gotten a dvd of the show off Netflix. Well, the other day we FINALLY set up our rabbit ears because there were tornadoes around us and we wanted to watch the weather. We discovered that of the like, seven channels we have, one is like a crime channel and Unsolved Mysteries comes on multiple times times during the day and night. We've mostly been watching the ones that air at midnight, but the other day I was feeling terrible and it was beautiful so Peyton turned the kids out in the backyard and we watched while we ate lunch (and then I snoozed). 

In My Ears:
Really nothing. I'm not sure if it'll happen in February, but two things I want to do soon are start making my playlists again and start listening to my favorite podcasts more regularly. I did heart the sermon I needed to hear the other week, though.
I was SO sick that morning and we barely made it in time to drop Peyton off and make it to church. Poor Graves was in such a grumpy state too when he woke up. I'm so glad we pushed ourselves. I'm going to a four week class for visitors and new members this month and this was one of my favorite sessions- it was a fascinating discussion about how Northside is a very liturgical Baptist church. Then, in the sermon I heard just what I needed to hear. There are times when I feel so lost without the Law/Gospel preaching we heard weekly at Calvary so I got a little teary realizing (yet again) that my calling is not to be an excellent mother or teacher but to be an adequate one who points the tiny church goers next to me toward a great Gospel of abundant grace where scarcity (of bread and loaves; of wedding wine; of time, energy and patience) is no threat to me or them.

Around the House:
I love this sunny little corner.

We finally got pretty much everything we wanted to donate (for now) donated and I have everything I want to consign or sell in the laundry room in a big tub. That's a big project, but I'm hoping to tackle it before too long. Thankfully, our house is back to normal for the most part (I still need to declutter some piles in our room) and I have a few things for Peyton to hang and then we'll be done with decorative stuff for a little while, too. I have a few projects for Spring and a few things I'd like to purchase, but that's sort of down the road a bit.  

Oh and then there's this...
New system: I keep the house on (basically) whatever I want during the day and we turn it down LOW at night. Perfect compromise and doable as I'm sleeping so comfortably in Peyton's sleeping bag that goes down to 35ish degrees. Possibly TMI bonus: it's a great barrier. Peyton isn't as bad about swinging his heavy tree trunk legs on top of my delicate self or trying to snuggle up way too close for my liking. Keep to yourself, Pal, I'm uncomfortable enough trying to deal with the human inside of me. Also, yes, I washed and put the flannel Christmas tree sheets back on. The kids convinced me to let them keep theirs out a bit longer so I figured why not break all the rules?

In the Kitchen:

Not a lot, but...
I cooked a brisket recently when we had some friends over and honestly, as much as I love the meal, I prefer the leftovers. Since I was about Annie's age, a brisket sandwich has been one of my favorite things in the whole world. And it's one of maybe three things that I enjoy just as much when I cook it myself as when Minnie cooks it.
Plus, a few guilty pleasures. 
Annie and I LOVE popcorn!  

and my sister in law gave me some hot chocolate for Christmas and it's delicious.

In My Closet:

Again, with the bump pictures. Ha! Clearly, lots and lots of tights and dresses
Cookie found this $90 dress on sale for $35 and got it because she needed to be cute when she goes out at night at Conrad's sister's wedding in the Bahamas. I saw it and ordered it because I need to be pregnant and not in yoga pants occasionally this Spring. Similar but different.

I wore this jumper a couple of times last month. It's houndstooth and feels very classic. 

This is one of my favorite dresses when I'm not pregnant but it looks a little sack-like here and not very flattering. I think it's the angle maybe? Anyway, I paired it with my Sperry rain booties the other night when it was pouring and I was meeting my sister in law for sushi.

I actually thought about getting rid of this dress recently. I just don't feel like it's very in style anymore. BUT, it fits and it's comfy so I'm glad I hung onto it for at least one more season.

In Their Closets:
Most of the pictures of the kids are in pajamas/random ensembles they selected themselves. And I'm learning to be okay with that. 
I did take this picture today in their navy. I was hoping for a better picture but they were pretty wild and rowdy this afternoon.  
In My Mailbox:
Nothing interesting really this month!

In My Cart:
I really haven't made any significant purchases. Okay, that's not true. I have bought a couple of things for the baby- a bonnet and a couple of little things I want to put in her corner of the kids' room. We really have everything she NEEDS (and much more) but it's fun to carefully pick out a few special things for her. Pictures as it comes in/comes together!

 Around the Town (and At Home):

We found this scooter on sale at Walmart for like $10. Graves loves the thing! 

We also spent some Christmas money on a dragon that makes loud noises and spits ice. They love him and I'm thankful we don't have many toys like him =)

We also had a big day recently...

I'm so thrilled to be having another little girl. I mean a boy would have been a blast, too. I'm just glad to be doing it all again! 

That said Sister Baby is doing a NUMBER on me. 
I spent a few hours in Urgent Care this week, trying to figure our these dizzy spells. Lots of tests and all they could find was that I'm still pretty anemic- it hasn't worsened but it hasn't gotten much better. I was a little discouraged. But it was a nice three hour break. Then on Friday, my doctor's nurse called and said they were referring me to a neurologist because my headaches are so frequent on top of the dizzy episodes.  

At the Schoolhouse:

We've really gotten back into the swing of things!

We had exactly ONE fiction book in our collection for the "pretend to be a librarian and sort these books" activity. She is such a little researcher! 
We've started back doing "Morning School" (calendar time, these fun "power cards" we have, critical thinking for both kids, finger plays, and some read aloud, plus a devotion and a craft) with some regularity. While Annie benefits a ton from it, it's really Graves's primary school time. I try to fit in some preschool stuff (finger plays, crafts, ect.) and ordinarily she's pretty engaged, too. The other day Graves was all over the place during their joint "morning school" time and Annie finally took it into her own hands and tried to distract him by telling him "there's some really amazing carrion over there". She's also started calling him an Irratator, which was apparently a type of meat eating dinosaur.

On the Blog:
January is always sort of a different month on the blog. I spend a good bit of time looking back and looking ahead. It's not the way I'd want to write all year long, but I always enjoy it. It feels old and comfortable and new and fresh at the same time and I always feel a certain sense of accomplishment when I spend so much energy combing through old posts and setting goals for the new year.
More Baby Updates- These have been fun to write!
The Best of In Your Warm Hold: 2015- It's always fun to gather up (what I think are) my best posts.
I Belong With You: 2015 Year in Review- This takes awhile every year, but I love doing it too!
Slow Ambitions: 2016 Goals- I finally got my goals for 2016 set and I'm excited about them.
On My Heart:
- January was a really nice month overall. I'm super excited about February and also about getting closer to Spring. Winter is sort of exhausting to me.
- I should probably write a whole post on this, but it took me a LONG time to really learn Annie, despite that she's so much like me. But I finally did. Well, I feel like I'm really starting to learn about Graves a lot more as a person. His strengths and weaknesses, his fears, his joys- all of it- is becoming so much more clear. That's such an exciting aspect of parenting to me.

In My Prayers:
- I'm praying about the children's little hearts and minds and personalities- how to best parent them both, as they are so very different.
- I'm praying for this baby and my health. And my energy. And patience.
- I'm praying for me and Peyton and that we will grow closer this year and love each other more deeply.
On the Calendar: 

February is going to be a fun month. It's always interesting to me because it's so short. Carrie and I are meeting Ashley in Nashville and then Cookie and Conrad are coming for a visit later in the month. With it being so short and two busy weekends, I'm sure it'll fly!

What I'm Into