Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What I Learned in May


So, I thought I was going to not have as many reflections as usual, but when I sat down and got to thinking (I usually keep track of them better throughout the month) I was surprised at what I had learned!

1. Strawberry shortcake made with store bought angel food cake may be the dessert of the Summer.
I have a similar dessert I LOVE to make- you get a big casserole pan and layer angel food cake, vanilla instant pudding, fresh strawberries (or blueberries!), and Cool Whip and it's delicious. The ice cream, cake, and strawberries is even easier, though!

2. Disappointment can help with clarity. I wrote more about it here, but sometimes going for something and not getting the result you hoped for can have the silver lining of really revealing how much you hoped for it. Which in turn can help with formulating a plan for the next step.

3. Risk taking is rewarding (and also frightening- obviously). Again, I wrote a whole post about it but I took a few risks in the last few months and I think it did so much for how I feel about myself and for my confidence (even in the case where it didn't work out the way I had hoped it would).

4. Leaning toward a "capsule" for the kids' wardrobe has worked really well.
 I mentioned this in another post, but Annie's style has changed a lot. I thought it would be fun to share her capsule for the Summer. She has other things that fit from last year, but this is basically what I bought her. SO different from previous years. .
Her Summer uniform basically consists of:
- four t-shirts
- three pairs of shorts
- two new church dresses and quite a few from previous years that still fit
- two swimsuits (plus one worn out one for the yard)
  PLUS
- Saltwaters for church and athletic sandals for play
- several rompers and dressier shorts sets also from previous years and a couple of things I got her at the     

  Brooklyn Flea
We picked it all out together this time. So fun to give her some autonomy and watch her take ownership.

5. For myself, I don't think I'll ever be able to really do a capsule (I think clothes are too much fun and I like the variety but I do think it'd be great to really streamline my closet a bit). Now that there's so much I can't wear, I took most everything that doesn't fit (Summer and Winter) and it's SO nice not to have a ton of stuff to weed through. I have a whole post I want to write about this.

6. College dresses serve as nice tops these days. Here's a little dress/shirt, baby on the outside/baby on the inside comparison. 
 

 [I captioned the picture on the right captioned "when you're in your thirties and this is your third pregnancy and you resort to wearing your college dresses as tops".]

7.  At the hospital where I'm delivering you can wear your own clothes. With Graves, I asked and they said no. I changed OBs and hospitals (for a variety of reasons) and this time it's allowed. There is no explaining how excited I am. Those hospital gowns just skeeve me out so bad and I can't stand not being in my own clothes. 

8. Right now, the couch enables better sleeping than the bed. I think it's partly that our living room is cooler and there's nobody else remotely near me. But also, it's easier to position myself in a way where I'm a bit more upright which helps a lot with the never ending heartburn I've been dealing with. When I was pregnant with Annie Peyton had this tacky old recliner and I LOVED to sleep in it. We got rid of it and I'm not sure I really found a good solution with Graves.

9. It's possible to fit three carseats in a Mazda 6, including one rear facing infant seat with a base. 
 
We were really unsure if it'd work and in fact it doesn't if the infant seat is on either side, but we've got our set up. It's not going to be paticularly easy getting Sister Baby out, but we'll make it work!

10. Related: with a little creativity, our house can accommodate five people's stuff. 
We'll see how it goes accommodating five actual humans, but again, I'm confident it will work itself out.

11. I actually learned this a couple of months ago, but "Daisy" (Annie's preffered nicknamed for this baby) is a nickname for Margaret. We were talking more about names this month and Peyton also found out that Daisy is very popular in English. For some reason, I had this feeling it was a common British thing. A friend told me that there's a character on Call the Midwife named Margaret who goes by Daisy.

12. Sometimes, it's helpful to remind yourself how you want to live. I wrote recently about how I want to encourage myself to live out my days during this season of our lives. Thinking about it just now, I realized that it reminded me a lot of this post I wrote years ago. In one way, they're pretty different- the more recent one is much more specific in some senses and the one from three years ago is a good bit more fluid and vague. But in a lot of ways, they're similar. They're both focused on the big picture rather than the details, on being rather than doing, on the process rather than the results, on a lifestyle rather than a list. Lately, I've gotten REAL dependent on my to-do list and planner and I'm grateful for them- they enable me to manage things well- but there comes a point where I need to step back and look at my life overall and how I want to daily live it.

Of course, I'm linking up with Emily and can't wait to read what some other folks have learned this month!

Monday, May 30, 2016

What I'm Into: May


On the Nightstand:
I did a bit better with reading this month than I have in the past few.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way- Susan McCutcheon
I'm not even reading the whole thing (like the chapters on eating healthy during pregnancy- it's a little late for that). And I'll be honest, I'm not sure the positions and breathing and exercises are going to be that hugely helpful for me. I'll write more about that at some point, but I just have a really hard time having control over my own body. I think the mental and emotional component will be a lot bigger than the physiological one. That said, it's helped me get in a good mental space, reminding me that this is natural, women all over the world and throughout history do and have done this, and that it's possible for it not to be the excruciating experience birth is often portrayed as.

And I made it a goal this month to be more consistent about picking up these two:
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris
I didn't do it every day, but I'm opening them more often and it's been a blessing that is hopefully becoming a habit. 

On Their Nightstand: 

Basher Books- Simon Basher
These are some of our new favorite books! Annie got super into the human body and Graves really loves the mythology. And they both like reading about the individual states and deciding which they'd like to visit! (Annie says once Sister Baby ("Daisy") is two or three months old she'll be ready for our trip to the Smokey Mountains!)

On the Shelf:

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

I'd love to finally pick this back and up and now that I've nested my house to death, I'm thinking a month or so with low key goals like reading will be perfect with a nursing newborn.

Modern Romance- Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
I saw Eric Klinenberg speak at the Mockingbird conference and it was absolutely fascinating so I got Peyton this book for his birthday and we planned to read it together. I actually started it but I've only read the first little bit.

Our Q&A a Day: A 3 Year Journal for 2 People- Potter Style
I've seen the one you do with kids a couple of different places and I really want to do do it with Annie when she's a little older, but I got this one for me and Peyton to do right now and we need to start it! The questions seem to be a little more thought provoking than some other books like this that I've seen that are mostly about sex/appearance/ect. and remind me of Teen Cosmo or something.

At the Theater (or from the couch):
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
This was somewhat interesting, but a little redundant in that people kind of kept saying the same thing over and over. I did learn a lot of troubling stuff I didn't know and it was pretty heartbreaking learning about how people were coerced and how they couldn't have connect with family members who didn't subscribe to the "church's" teachings. It was also interesting to really learn the history behind the movement and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

On the Small Screen:
The Hunt
So John Walsh (the guy who created and hosted America's Most Wanted and had a child abducted himself) now has this show on CNN, which we've been watching on Netflix. It's basically about (unsolved) cases of missing children. For some reason, I feel like it's not as seamless as it could be and it too seemed sort of redundant with the people in certain episodes saying similar things several times just in different ways. Maybe I've gotten more critical about that sort of thing. Or maybe that's just a common problem in certain genres (documentary styles where actual people are being interviewed).

I'll be honest, it also sort of heightened my anxiety in a way that SVU (not real) and FBI Files and Unsolved Mysteries (cheesier and not exclusively about missing children) just haven't lately. I was actually thinking that this Summer I really want to watch more lighthearted thing. I have a couple of ideas in mind!

Tiny House Hunters 
So I watched like a literal marathon of this one night while the kids and Peyton camped at his grandmother's and I stayed in her house. It was pretty fascinating. Obviously we're trying to be more minimalist, but we're never going to to be that minimalist. Still, it was really neat to see the intention that went into decisions and what people prioritized with such a limited amount of space as well as the ingenious ideas for using that space to its fullest capacity.

In My Ears:

Starting this week, we won't be at church for awhile, so I decided to start listening to the Calvary-St. George's podcast again. I kind of want to make it a goal to pick up some good podcasts this Summer, and this one needs to be a non negotiable! 
Favorite sermon quote from last week: "If you can figure out God, you do not want to worship Him." 
 
Around the House:
 Quite a bit this month, actually! We've done a TON to get ready for our newest family member who should be here in the next couple of weeks!  

 
 Why yes, I am about to have three kids sharing the master closet. And yes, I did color coordinate their hangers. Next up, three kids sharing the room! 

 
Annie spilled some pink water on her quilt when she was soaking rose petals on her windowsill (???) and it wouldn't come out. I was planning to wait a bit longer but I decided this would actually be a great time to get the bedspread out of the attic that I got when she was tiny because *I* loved bird prints. I didn't realize I got a full set (instead of a twin) but I did a bunch of tucking and made it work! I also love how well it coordinates with the canvas with her name on it that my friend Kellie painted for her before we moved to New York.

 And we picked this up at IKEA for Graves. I loved it but was tentative at first. Even as progressive as I am about colors not being gendered, the pink house threw me off. But it reminded me of a cross between Richard Scary and The Two Little Gardeners (FAVES). And Peyton loved it. I got it and said we could use it later for the baby and ordered a navy bedspread with red sharks in it. It was too dark. I'm just not ready yet. This feels much better. 

Next up was this! All ready for Sister Baby! I got her bedding on sale at Land of Nod and found this alphabet quilt I loved on Amazon.

And here's a shot of the girls' side of the room together! Admittedly, there's a lot going on here. But it turned out better than I had hoped. I'm really proud of my efforts in Voluntary Simplicity. And I'm REALLY proud of how I rehung things without any help from Peyton (he HATES hanging stuff and he really wanted to set up the entire room with the crib when we moved home before I was even pregnant so we wouldn't have to do things twice).

We also got down the baby gear and got to work. First, we needed to do a little reconfiguring in our room. The kids have the master, but it isn't a bad size for an extra bedroom. 

This is what this corner of the room looked like (with a few more decorative things) when we moved home from Brooklyn.

And this is our new temporary set up for awhile. Not perfect by a long shot but we're making it work. I actually sort of think it's pretty even if it's a little crowded and sort of like having a dishwasher, it's making me keep the room tidier. 

      
More gear! In a decidedly out of character occurrence, I'm getting to the point where I'm not just ready for her, I'm *ready* for her. Didn't think it was going to happen that way.
Maybe (hopefully!) the last time to do this for a bit!
In the Kitchen:

Gosh, I love Summer food! 

These fish tacos Peyton found are our new favorite. Second time to have them this month! Recipe c/o Homesick Texan.

Peyton spontaneously picked up an angel food cake from the Kroger bakery the other day (it must have been on sale for like thirty five cents) and I decided to make myself a strawberry shortcake. Amazing.

 
On the fourteenth, Annie asked me what day it was because she was using her calendar to figure put how many days until the baby's due date (26!!!) and she realized that it was my birthday. Graves told me to please stay out of the kitchen for a little while and then said he had a surprise for me. It was this "cake"- a tortilla (with a bite missing), oranges, pretzels, and d plastic bead for a candle. Such a sweet little guy.

In My Closet: 

More dresses and shorts, of course! 

This is one of my favorite dresses. It's not maternity, but it's holding out so well. It's an emerald green color and it's soft. Ordinarily I like things with a pattern, but it's such a great staple! 

I'm so glad every Tri Delta shirt Cookie ever owned was a large or extra large (which makes absolutely no sense since she's nearly as petite as I am but sorority girls always be wearing things either four sizes too big or four sizes too small and these days I'm GRATEFUL for it) because I've totally outgrown all Peyton's mediums.
This is another dress I adore. It's not maternity but it's always been a little big and has a great empire waist. It's actually from the sleepwear/loungewear part of Anthro. I have a couple of things like this that I guess are intended to be pretty nightgowns that I wear as dresses. I could see how some people would wear it as a "house dress" I guess (I wear it to dinner) but I don't understand it as a nightgown. LOL.  I also have a pink seersucker one and a couple of tops from this department that I wear in public. It's obviously less expensive and still so cute and practical. 
I'm seriously running out of things that fit (especially since my other babies were born in April so most of my maternity clothes were Winter and I didn't want to buy any new stuff since it's the FINAL COUNTDOWN). Alternately captioned "when you're in your thirties and this is your third pregnancy and you resort to wearing your college dresses as tops". I guess I'm all about finding non traditional uses for things!  
I love this dress, too, actually. I got it ages ago and it's a little loose so it's been perfect to wear to church. So soft and it doesn't touch me anywhere but the shoulders (my kind of dress- pregnant or not!).  
In Their Closets:


I found this precious dress online at Eleanor Rose and I knew I had to get it for my bird loving girl!

 
There are still a couple of jonjons in the attic that fit him and it took everything in me to resist. But here we are. That Canada Dry might as well be a Budweiser.

 
Anchors away!

 
Annie has turned into my favorite version of a tomboy- a phrase I don't love and Peyton hates- not the truly sporty kind, but the blue jean shorts/little boy muscle tee kind that reminds me of Joey Potter and Vada Sultenfuss and Roberta from Now and Then and is a bit of a throw back. I LOVE it. (But I'm glad she still loves sweet, fun dresses for Sundays and special occasions, too.)
 



Like I said, Annie's style has changed a lot. I thought it would be fun to share her "capsule" for the Summer. She has other things that fit from last year, but this is basically what I bought her. SO different from previous years. I know I post a lot about Voluntary Simplicity a lot and I'm sure it drives some people nuts but it's fun to share this part of our journey and how we're making it work.
Her Summer uniform basically consists of:
- four t-shirts
- three pairs of shorts
- two new church dresses and quite a few from previous years that still fit
- two swimsuits (plus one worn out one for the yard)
  PLUS
- Saltwaters for church and athletic sandals for play
- several rompers and dressier shorts sets also from previous years and a couple of things I got her at the   

   Brooklyn Flea
We picked it all out together this time. So fun to give her some autonomy and watch her take ownership.
 
Yard work bathing suit. The bottom is as thin as tissue paper. Entirely inappropriate for anything else.




Just your typical rest time attire

 
More rest time wardrobe changes. I'm grateful they occupy themselves so easily.


 Can't skip out on our New Girl! I made myself wait until May because I knew it would make waiting for her even harder (and also until recently I've been so tired and it overwhelmed me but it was mostly the former). I can't wait to see her in all Annie's old stuff I loved so much!!! 

This was one of my favorite things from Annie's first few months!

 In My Mailbox:
Nothing really significant that I can think of.

In My Cart:

I was looking for a new fragrance because I haven't gotten a new perfume since Graves was born (I still have- and love- that bottle of Chanel Peyton got me). Anyway, I stumbled on this "Daisy" set and had to get it since I'm pretty sure that's what Annie's planning to call her sister exclusively and I think it's so cute myself. And no, I don't think it's awkward to place your perfume on top of your BCP when your space is limited.

Actually, I totally replicated my TreatYoSelf list from when Graves was born, which ended up feeling so very special to me for some reason. I bought myself:
- nice, new perfume
- a couple of pairs of comfy pjs for the hospital and beyond
- one new clothing item to look forward to when I'm not pregnant but haven't lost all the weight
* I also splurged (ha!) and got a couple of $4.99 bottles of these Village Natural bath minerals I love
It's really important to me to share how our lifestyle is sustainable and so often for me, I couldn't care less about houses and cars (these days- that hasn't always been the case) but the little things make a big difference. In the midst of Voluntary Simplicity it's nice to practice a little physical self care and reward my body for its hard work.
Around the Town (and At Home):

It was a wonderfully busy month! Lots of celebrating little lives! We also spent quite a bit of time outside this month and that was really nice.

I certainly wasn't expecting anything as she's the third AND we already have a girl and a boy, but my Sunday school class showered Sister Baby so generously.

Singing at church. Love that tiny girl in the front (I heard her practicing with some action figures the other day and then serving them communion).

We also had the kids' joint birthday party. They chose The Jungle Book as the theme!
 
Annie LOVES a party with a theme and she had so much fun helping me with the food! 

I've never had activities before and we kept it SUPER low key- chalk, bubbles, a sticker craft I ordered for less than $5 for twelve, some fresh sand for the box, and these fun elephant stilts Graves has been enjoying again this morning. I think it was plenty and SO easy! (Also, isn't my niece precious in piggies? And Hulk and Beanie Boo fox had to make an appearance, natch.)

We were still enjoying the party aftermath a few days later!  

Mickey and Minnie gave them their own fishing rods for their birthday and they both so excited, but especially Graves. Along with riding his bike, this is the activity he loves the most. He told me recently "I still can't believe I have my own tackle box".

While the kids and Peyton camped on Granny's land, I slept inside the house. I slept a five hour stretch, which is, I'm not even kidding, the longest consecutive stretch I've gotten in MONTHS. And I also took a two hour nap the next morning. I felt more rested than I have since probably August. Granny lives in the middle of nowhere and the only thing I can "accomplish" are enjoying nature, visiting with Granny, eating good food, reading, and watching a tiny house House Hunters marathon. Maybe it's just being away from my to-do list that had me so relaxed. Also, she makes me laugh harder than just about anyone else.

My incredibly sweet and generous friend Ashby was in town and she came over for a visit and to cook us dinner. She even got Annie and Graves in on the cooking. Such a fun night!

 A couple of Briarwood Dolphins ready for swim team this Summer! I don't think I've ever seen Graves look as grown as he does in this picture. The kick off was a blast and we're so excited for a Summer of swimming fun! 

 
We went over to the Howie's the other night for supper. These two are as sweet as they are cute. They (are about to) have a combined total of five sisters and no brothers and I think that makes their special little bond all the more sweet. Apparently, they both woke up the next morning saying they missed each other and wished they were still playing together!

 
Annie and Graves have been catching these lizards like crazy. The first time Annie said "We are SO lucky to have found such an easy catch lizard."

Peyton replanted this tree and he broke the roots on accident and said it'd probably die. So these people took it upon themselves to take the doctor'a kit outside and take its temperature, deliver it three cups of water, and wrap some toilet paper around it.

There's been more than one season where Peyton asked me to do this while he was at work and I just didn't make it happen. Maybe I can do it this year since I have such fabulous back up. Actually, it's kind of unfair to call them back up. I just sit on the porch and they literally do everything. I'm super excited about newborn snuggles, but Seven and Five are so amazing.

Sunday night list making. I was cracking myself up with my top line priority task. A little over three weeks and we were kind of getting down to the wire. I procrastinate with some stuff but this is SO out of character for me. [We still don't have a definite name, but we're closer. Praise God!]


My bag- check✔️
Baby's bag- check
Birth bag- check✔️
Also, I never actually realized how well the luggage Cookie and I got the Christmas we were like eleven and thirteen matches the Vera Bradley from high school. Oh, and I got that big bottom drawer of my dresser that looks like two drawers cleared out and put New Girl's jams and onsies in there. Since Brooklyn, it's become quite the hobby for me to figure out how to best maximize our space.
At the Schoolhouse:

 
I explained that new life began when the algae started producing oxygen. Annie said "wait, there's oxygen in the sea?" I told her yes and she asked why people couldn't breath under water if there was oxygen. I said because the water would get into your body and choke you if you breathed it in. She wanted to know why someone hasn't invented a device that traps the liquid but let's the oxygen through. I love her little mind and it's SUCH a privilege to be her teacher.

Annie was reading to him about cuddle fish and he wanted to pretend to be one!

On the Blog:
Live- some words I came up with to encourage myself on how I want to live each day
Babykins #3: Reflections and Comparisons at Thirty Five Weeks- maybe (probably?) my last installment of these reflections
Getting Uncomfortable and Taking Risks- some thoughts about how I did a couple of hard things for me, the happy and hard results, and how I was better for them both
 
On My Heart:
- I can't believe that these are my last few weeks (days??) of being pregnant ever. I'm trying to enjoy every last minute of it but I'm also so ready to meet this girl. 
- In some ways, life feels so good right now (besides being pregnant) and it's strange and scary to think about upending that. I know it will be worth it and we'll figure out our new normal but it's a change and change can be hard.
- I have a post I want to write but I really can't stop thinking about the way I've seen God work in our family and specifically mine and Peyton's marriage. The issues with his faith are so hard sometimes but when I look back at what God has done so far, it's not as hard to trust Him.
In My Prayers:
- The being done with babies forever things is hard and scary. But after this pregnancy, I'm also real ready. I'm praying that the Lord will help me to enjoy this last baby and not fixate on everything being sad because it's the last time. 
- I'm still praying a lot about goals and plans for after the baby is born and the direction I want to take in several areas.
- I'm praying about the birth. I'm not having a doula this time and sometimes I think it'll be just fine and sometimes it really scares me a bit.
 
On the Calendar: 

Um, mostly having a baby and soaking up those snuggles once she gets here.

What I'm Into